Definition and background:
A mark that represents an articulation directive for musical notation. If there is a vertical dash above a note, it is an indication to the performer to play that note staccato; generally the dash implies a shorter, more accented staccato than the dot.A mark that represents an articulation directive for musical notation. If there is a horizontal dash above a note, it indicates that the player should sustain the note for its full length ( tenuto).If a horizontal dash appears in a figured bass part, it indicates that the preceding harmony is to be continued.
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Wikipedia - Glossary of Musical Terminology
Virginia Tech Multimedia Music Dictionary
ORB -- Medieval Music Glossary