A measure in music notation (also called a bar) contains a certain number of beats as specified by the time signature. They are purely a conceptual way to divide the music into rhythmic, managable chunks. Each measure is indicated by two vertical bar-lines drawn completely through the staff or grand staff from the top line to the bottom one. For the computer-literate, you could loosely think of each note as a bit and each measure as a variable-length byte.

For instance, if the time signature is 4/4, then four quarter notes or their equivalent will reside in each measure. The following example has a staff with three measures in 4/4 time. The first measure has four quarter notes (one beat each), the second has two half notes (two beats each), and the third has one whole note (four beats).

|----| /-------------------------------|------------|------|
|    |/                                |            |      |
|   /|       4    *     *     *    |*  |  |O    |O  |  O   |
| |  |  |    4   |     |     |     |   |  |     |   |      |
|-| -|--|--------|-----|-----|-----|---|--|-----|---|------|
|  \ |  |        |     |     |     |   |  |     |   |      |
|    |
|   \|

If a certain note's duration carries it beyond the end of a measure, two different notes at the same pitch are drawn in each measure and a tie is used to connect them.

KANJI: KEI haka (measure, plot, plan, scheme)

ASCII Art Representation:

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Character Etymology:

Radical at left meaning words and combined with ten, meaning to count in tens and later just count/measure.

A Listing of All On-Yomi and Kun-Yomi Readings:

on-yomi: KEI
kun-yomi: haka(ru) haka(rau)

Nanori Readings:

Nanori: e kazu ke

English Definitions:

  1. KEI: plan, scheme, trick; total; meter, gauge.
  2. haka(ru): measure, gage, weigh; fathom, sound; compute, estimte; plan, devise scheme; counsel with; have in mind; deceive, impose on; measure.
  3. haka(rau): manage, arrange, dispose of, see about, talk over.

Character Index Numbers:

New Nelson: 5555
Henshall: 105

Unicode Encoded Version:

Unicode Encoded Compound Examples:

(goukei): total
(keji): timing (in races).
(keiki): meter, gauge.
計算 (keisanki): calculator, computer.


  Previous: form  |  Japanese Kanji  |  Next: origin

Definition: A measure on a σ-field F is a function μ: F --> [0,∞] satisying μ(∅) = 0 and σ-additivity: if A = ∪j=1..inf Aj with Aj being some disjoint sets in F, then μ(A) = Σj=1..inf μ(Aj).
A measure assigns a number to a set, with the null set getting 0 and the union of two sets getting the sum of their measures individually.

Properties: Any measure μ is:

  1. monotone: AB implies μ(A) ≤ μ(B).
    If one set is inside another, its measure is smaller than the set it is inside of.
  2. continuous from below: if A1 &sube A2 ⊆ . . . is an increasing sequence of measurable sets, then μ(∪j=1..inf Aj) = limj-->inf μ(Aj).
    The measure of the union of an infinite number of nested sets is the same as the limit of the measure as you take larger and larger sets.
  3. conditionally continuous from above: if B1B2 ⊇ ... is a decreasing sequence of measurable sets and if the measures μ(Bj) are finite, then μ(∩j=1..inf Bj) = limj-->inf μ(Bj)
  4. subadditive: if BA1A2 ∪ ... &cup An, then μ(B) ≤ μ(A1) + ... + μ(An).
    If a set is contained in the union of a bunch of other sets, its measure is less than the sum of the measures of the other sets.
  5. σ-subadditive: if B ⊆ ∪j=1..inf Aj, then μ(B) ≤ Σj=1..inf μ(Aj).

More: Some examples of measures are the Lebesgue measure the Hausdorff measure, and plain old Euclidean distance (on the appropriate sets). Measure theory is good for dealing with weird and pathological mathematical constructs like the Cantor set and Dirichlet function.

Meas"ure (?), n. [OE. mesure, F. mesure, L. mensura, fr. metiri, mensus, to measure; akin to metrum poetical measure, Gr. , E. meter. Cf. Immense, Mensuration, Mete to measure.]


A standard of dimension; a fixed unit of quantity or extent; an extent or quantity in the fractions or multiples of which anything is estimated and stated; hence, a rule by which anything is adjusted or judged.


An instrument by means of which size or quantity is measured, as a graduated line, rod, vessel, or the like.

False ells and measures be brought all clean adown. R. of Gloucester.


The dimensions or capacity of anything, reckoned according to some standard; size or extent, determined and stated; estimated extent; as, to take one's measure for a coat.

The measure thereof is longer than the earth, and broader than the sea. Job xi. 9.


The contents of a vessel by which quantity is measured; a quantity determined by a standard; a stated or limited quantity or amount.

It is like leaven which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal. Luke xiii. 21.


Extent or degree not excessive or beyong bounds; moderation; due restraint; esp. in the phrases, in measure; with measure; without or beyond measure.

Hell hath enlarged herself, and opened her mouth without measure. Is. v. 14.


Determined extent, not to be exceeded; limit; allotted share, as of action, influence, ability, or the like; due proportion.

Lord, make me to know mine end, and the measure of my days. Ps. xxxix. 4.


The quantity determined by measuring, especially in buying and selling; as, to give good or full measure.


Undefined quantity; extent; degree.

There is a great measure of discretion to be used in the performance of confession. Jer. Taylor.


Regulated division of movement

: (a) Dancing

A regulated movement corresponding to the time in which the accompanying music is performed; but, especially, a slow and stately dane, like the minuet

. (b) Mus. (1)

The group or grouping of beats, caused by the regular recurrence of accented beats

. (2)

The space between two bars

. See Beat, Triple, Quadruple, Sextuple, Compound time, under Compound, a., and Figure. (c) Poetry

The manner of ordering and combining the quantities, or long and short syllables; meter; rhythm; hence, a foot; as, a poem in iambic measure.

10. Arith.

A number which is contained in a given number a number of times without a remainder; as in the phrases, the common measure, the greatest common measure, etc., of two or more numbers.


A step or definite part of a progressive course or policy; a means to an end; an act designed for the accomplishment of an object; as, political measures; prudent measures; an inefficient measure.

His majesty found what wrong measures he had taken in the conferring that trust, and lamented his error. Clarendon.


The act of measuring; measurement.


13. pl. Geol.

Beds or strata; as, coal measures; lead measures.

Lineal, ∨ Long, measure, measure of length; the measure of lines or distances. -- Liquid measure, the measure of liquids. -- Square measure, the measure of superficial area of surfaces in square units, as inches, feet, miles, etc. -- To have hard measure, to have harsh treatment meted out to one; to be harshly or oppressively dealt with. -- To take measures, to make preparations; to provide means. -- To take one's measure, to measure one, as for a garment; hence, to form an opinion of one's disposition, character, ability, etc. -- To tread a measure, to dance in the style so called. See 9 (a).

Say to her, we have measured many miles To tread a measure with her on this grass. Shak.


© Webster 1913.

Meas"ure, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Measured (?); p. pr. & vb. n. Measuring.] [F. mesurer, L. mensurare. See Measure, n.]


To ascertain by use of a measuring instrument; to compute or ascertain the extent, quantity, dimensions, or capacity of, by a certain rule or standard; to take the dimensions of; hence, to estimate; to judge of; to value; to appraise.

Great are thy works, Jehovah, infinite Thy power! what thought can measure thee? Milton.


To serve as the measure of; as, the thermometer measures changes of temperature.


To pass throught or over in journeying, as if laying off and determining the distance.

A true devoted pilgrim is not weary To measure kingdoms with his feeble steps. Shak.


To adjust by a rule or standard.

To secure a contented spirit, measure your desires by your fortunes, not your fortunes by your desires. Jer. Taylor.


To allot or distribute by measure; to set off or apart by measure; -- often with out or off.

With what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. Matt. vii. 2.

That portion of eternity which is called time, measured out by the sun. Addison.

To measure swords with one, to try another's skill in the use of the sword; hence, figuratively, to match one's abilities against an antagonist's.


© Webster 1913.

Meas"ure (?), v. i.


To make a measurement or measurements.


To result, or turn out, on measuring; as, the grain measures well; the pieces measure unequally.


To be of a certain size or quantity, or to have a certain length, breadth, or thickness, or a certain capacity according to a standard measure; as, cloth measures three fourths of a yard; a tree measures three feet in diameter.


© Webster 1913.

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