Music: Practice & Theory Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for musicians, students, and enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I play piano. Sometimes, measures in pieces are separated by a double vertical line instead of a single one. What does this signify?

share|improve this question
up vote 15 down vote accepted

In addition to indicating the end of a distinct section of the piece, a change in key signature, time signature or major tempo change, the double bar is also used to mark the location of a Da Capo or Dal Segno (a notation system that marks the repeating of a certain section of music without requiring additional measures to be written/printed.)

It is also used when a "fine" (end) of the piece appears in the middle of the piece. These examples are described and illustrated on the following website:

share|improve this answer
I think Stephen and Kristina and I are all correctly explaining the various uses of the double-bar line, so pay attention to all three of our answers! – user1044 Nov 4 '12 at 19:09
I should also add that the beginning and end repeat signs (the thin and thick barline with the two dots on the inside) are in fact a special kind of double-bar lines in themselves. – user1044 Nov 4 '12 at 19:11

Adding to what Stephen Hazel said, a double-line can also indicate an abrupt change in key, key signature, tempo, or time signature or metrical phrasing or a different rhythm. It is basically a cue to alert the musician that one section of the piece is ending and a new section that is substantially different is beginning.

share|improve this answer

end of a section of music usually (such as chorus, verse, bridge, etc).

sometimes of a lengthy "phrase" of music.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.