Wonder how many bars in a song? Knowing how many bars a normal song has is important for producers as it can help them create a specific number of beats. Bars also make written music easier to follow. One reason is that each bar of staff symbols can be read and played as a batch.
Most producers are more concerned about how long is a tune and this is how important knowing the bar is. However, you can’t count the bar in your head while playing the tune or recording vocals to find out how long it would take. So it’s not about counting on a song and then hooks up or goes to the chorus. When it comes to song bars, you got to have an ear for music. This is why you should listen to music and then make a statement.
What other people have said is that a verse is usually 16 bars, but 16 bars are only for 3 verses. If you choose to do a song with 2 verses, how would you do it? This article will teach you how. Here, you will learn how many bars a normal song really has and how to count it.
What Is A Bar?
A bar simply stated as one complete measure of music. In short, a bar is a measure. It is just like a ruler in which it can measure the size of something in either centimeter or inch. In music, we can measure the music with beats. The word bar is more common in countries such as British English. The word measure, on the other hand, is more common in American English. Although the two different words often used interchangeably, the word bar is correctly referred only to the vertical line itself and the word measure refers to the beats contained between bars.
A bar is a division of time corresponding to a specific number of beats in which each beat is represented by a particular note value. The vertical bar lines are being indicated as the boundaries of the bar. When you divide music into bars, it provides regular reference points in order to pinpoint locations within a musical composition. Generally, a piece of the song consists of several bars of the same length.
How To Count A Bar
Related: 3 Ways to Count Beats in a Song
The calculation is just like 12 inches equals a foot where in hip hop, 4 beats equal a bar. There are exceptions in the counting of course. Bear in mind that music can be measured by 2 to 6 beats per bar and so on. But if it is about the hip hop, the most common measurement is 4 beats per bar. So if you’re listening to music at this moment, try something for you to learn how to count the bar.
- Listen to music such as hip-hop. It is known for giving high and different beats.
- Don’t be shy to nod your head in sync with the music.
- Nod your head in the right way. If your head is moving at an even speed, and certain sound patterns begin to emerge, then you probably hear the beat of the music.
- Begin counting to 4 starting with 1 every time your head nods. Do this when you feel the beginning of the pattern.
- Repeat counting after you reaches 4.
Got that? Start counting the bar, the next time you listen to a rap verse. When you’re done counting the first bar, repeat counting with 2, 2, 3, 4 then 3, 2, 3, 4 and soon. Do this count instead of repeating the count in ascending order like 1, 2, 3, 4. The first number is the number that represents the bar you are on.
Let’s say you have an 8-bar verse. An 8 bar verse would be like this:
1,2,3,4 2,2,3,4 3,2,3,4 4,2,3,4
5,2,3,4 6,2,3,4 7,2,3,4 8,2,3,4
Orchestras, brass and marching bands are using the same technique. It makes them easier to count measure rest in a piece of music. This method of counting the bar is effective for understanding what a bar really is the potential of music.
When it comes to rap music, 16 bars is the standard measure.
Book for a Beginner: A Beginner’s Guide to Music Production
How 16 Bar Formula Is born
We have an 8 bar verse above as a sample but music with 16 bars does the same formula. Why does rap verse have 16 bars? The theory behind this formula involves many things. Some say it’s the music industry that influences on hip hop but this does not mean they have a fetish for multiples of four. It’s all because of the blues. But the Blues is a good place to start for hip hop music. We can now conclude that the 16 bar format comes from the blues not just from what other people says about it.
The 16 bar formula is born as the hip-hop borrowed from the same sources of songs which all have all roots in the blues. This is the reason why becomes the standard bar counts in normal songs but of course, it depends on the song. Though a verse is usually 16 bars, if you choose to do a 2-verse song, it turns to either 20 or 24 bars. A song that is about 3:15 minutes usually have 8 bars intro, 20 bars in 2 verse and 8 bars in a chorus.
Matching Up The Lyrics
In a verse, 16 or 32 bars are common. It is hip-hop (a song where there are more beats) you are going to be better if you lay a track out and record the vox. Then wrap the beat around the lyrics. For one verse, 30 bars are enough and the next could be 46. However, this depends on the artist and their style. Don’t forget to layout a beat template and loop the verse you and the artist are satisfied with the lyrics of choice.
How many bars in a song? Normally, there are 16 or 32 bars but it depends on the song. Your song does not have to be necessarily 16 or 32 bars. You can extend the verse to match the lyrics, without limit.
Learn more: Song Structures