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The concept of meter in music has changed throughout the centuries and many related terms and concepts (such as bar, time signature, tactus and prolatio) have either emerged or disappeared from the vocabulary of the professional musician according to the mindset of each period. Consequently, the understanding of metric organization in Renaissance music by modern musicians is compromised, and so are modern editions of said repertoire, which are based in modern music notation. In informed editions, the decisions regarding the use of bar lines, if one is to avoid arbitrariness, should reflect a concern for conveying a metric idea that is as close as possible to the concept in vogue at the time and, at the same time, consider the target audience: a 21st century musician. Therefore, this essay will address the question of how to appropriately use bar lines in modern editions of Renaissance music for guitar. More specifically, it will discuss this topic in the context of transcriptions from vocal works and original music for modern guitar’s predecessors.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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