The goal of this lesson is just a general understanding of measures. They will be revisited more in other lessons as it becomes relevant.
Measures are the fundamental building blocks of time. In the piano roll they are the sections of the grid that change the number.
In sheet music they are the lines that divide up the staff. The length of time each measure gets is determined by the tempo. A faster tempo means the measure goes by faster, a slower tempo means the measure goes by slower. For example:
This is not the whole story however, measures may have different amounts of beats in them, because of this we cannot truly talk about how “long” a measure is until we talk about time signatures. We will cover this in a future lesson, for now we assume the number of beats in a measure is the same and the tempo is the same. This means, it doesn’t matter how long or short a measure is visually, they represent the same amount of time. Assuming our assumptions are true, which is usually the case.
In the piano this is obvious because all measures are the same length. However in sheet music measures may visually be bigger or longer than other measures. This is so it is easy to read. Sheet music was made in a time where one could not simply “zoom in” to the paper and without the ability to zoom it made more sense to change the size of the measure even though they represent the same amount of time.
Measures are often numbered or labeled to make it easy to find a specific spot in the music. This often is every measure, every group of measures, or labeled to show the structure of the piece. Measures are often called “bars” instead.
For example I could say, go to measure 22 or go to bar 22. It’s the same thing. Musical phrases especially in popular music often happen in chunks of 4, 8, 16 and 32 measures.
That's measures in a nutshell. They do get a little more complex once we consider time signatures but we will deal with that in another video, for now you just need to understand the general lingo.
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