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The Importance of Repeat Signs in Music

Learn more about D.C. and D.S. with Repeat Signs

Released on June 11, 2014

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Video Transcription

Welcome. I'm Robert Estrin here at and And the question today is how to handle repeats with Da Capos and Dal Segnos with D.C.s and D.S.s in your score. You may have seen these before. I'm going to break it down to for you so you understand exactly how to deal with repeats because it gets so complicated.

I could tell you from sometimes when I'm sight reading for an event and a person gives a score, one of the hardest things is when you have these different symbols that tell you to go back or forward in different places in the score, it could be pretty maddening. It's one of the things that you have to look at very carefully before reading into anything. So, the Dal Segno or Da Capo, you'll see D.C. in your score at a certain point and tells you to go back to the beginning. A Dal Segno tells you to go back to the sign, and there's a certain symbol that you have to go back to.

But suppose you have repeat signs to begin with, then you wonder what do you do? Well, generally unless the score tells you otherwise, you take the repeats the first time through and when you take the D.C. back to the beginning or the D.S. back to the sign, you no longer take the repeat signs on the Da Capo or the Dal Segno. That's basically all there is to it.

Now, sometimes there will be other instructions, and it could be almost like a road map particularly with sheet music. Why? Because they're trying to save paper, and a lot of the pop music is particularly repetitive, so they'll just have all these symbols to try to tell you, "Dal Segno twice and go to the coda and then go to the second coda." Sometimes it's really hard to decipher. And really, the only reason it is done is to save paper, and sometimes they really go overboard with these signs.

But the thing to remember is the repeat signs, you ignore when you're going back to a D.C. or a D.S. Thanks for the great questions. Again, Robert Estrin here at and
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Laurel Gibson * VSM MEMBER * on June 12, 2014 @7:54 am PST
I have that "you don't repeat a repeat" when going back to da capo....And yet there seems to be instances where you do...Is there any hard and fast rule, or are we at the mercy of the publishers to figure it out?
Ernest on June 12, 2014 @1:59 am PST
great,these videos has helped me greatly in increasing my musical knowledge
Tony Lockwood * VSM MEMBER * on June 11, 2014 @3:37 pm PST
Thankyou - that was well presented and covered a basic subject. I look forward to the next. Thanks again.
Bill * VSM MEMBER * on June 11, 2014 @4:55 am PST
I̢۪m just an amateur composer, and so can̢۪t be considered an authority, I suppose, but any repeats I incorporate in my music are absolutely integral and the effect wouldn̢۪t be the same without them. Skipping my repeats would be like editing out parts of (rewriting) my music without my permission.
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