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I was looking at some sheet music when I came across something I am seeing for the first time. It looked like a horizontal bar on the first measure. Here is an image:

Bar

What does this bar tell you? What is it for?

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    I really fail to understand why the most basic of questions (not just this one, by any means) gets so many up-votes. Dolmetsch and Wikipedia, to name two of dozens of music sites, have extensive lists of notation symbols. – Carl Witthoft Mar 25 at 12:46
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    @CarlWitthoft "One of the primary purposes of the whole Stack Exchange system is to be near the top of the results of web searches, so we want the answers to your questions to be found here. If there isn't already the answer here, then we want your question and answer here." -- music.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/2899/… – Wayne Conrad Mar 25 at 12:54
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    @WayneConrad I'm not convinced that asking about notation symbols qualifies. WHich would you rather do - search thru a few hundred music.se questions (many of which have images which are difficult to search), or just go to Dolmetsch.com? – Carl Witthoft Mar 25 at 14:37
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    @WayneConrad I'll also point out that, despite the best intentions of the creators of StackExchange, we get hundreds of questions that would have easily been answered if anyone ever bothered to search the database. Clearly that paradigm has failed. – Carl Witthoft Mar 25 at 14:38
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    @YourUncleBob "Not enough research" is not, and never has been, a close reason on SO. It is, however a valid reason to down-vote on SO or here. – Wayne Conrad Mar 25 at 23:26
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That is a multi-measure rest. The numeral 15 above it indicates that it is equivalent to writing out fifteen bars of full-measure rests. This is done to save space, for example in orchestral parts.

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    It also saves you from having to count all 15 measures and praying you didn't miscount. – Dekkadeci Mar 25 at 5:22
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    You still have to count to 15, but at least you know it's 15 that you have to count to... – Michael Kay Mar 25 at 10:15
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    Note, that for less than 15 full measuress a different notation exists using whole rest and vertical lines representing 2 or 4 measures of rest, see lilypond documentation. – guidot Mar 25 at 10:44
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    @guidot that is true, and it's well worth knowing both kinds of notation. As a personal preference, I'd rather see this symbol for 4 measures or more. – Carl Witthoft Mar 25 at 12:47
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    @CarlWitthoft ...provided the numerals are clearly written. I've had to distinguish between 1 and 7, 5 and 3 (!) based on the longa/breve notation before! – Geoff Mar 25 at 16:24

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