Repeats in Music Scores

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Repeats in Music Scores

Postby PeterA » 21 Apr 2018 23:19

In this topic I want to take a dedicated look at Repeat markers in music, and try to fully appreciate how to handle them.

Music Scores for your playing are very much like road maps for your driving. To be frank, some road maps are pretty poor, while others are designed for the motorist and therefore are very clear. You need to know and understand the meaning of all the "road signs" in our music, and one area which we often struggle over is the different types of Repeats. The handling of all these signs and symbols should be second nature to us, and we should not have to stop and work out what to do when we come across any of them.

The most common Repeat that you will find in music is probably the double bar line with two dots, and it looks like this:

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When you come across something like this you simply play the written notes

    B, A, G, F, E, D & C

.. and then go back to the first repeat sign, (ie. the one with the two dots facing away from you) and repeat all of these notes in the same order, and finish.

You may sometime see this without the first (or 'start') repeat. So if you come across a piece a music that just has the second, or final repeat sign, (ie. the one with the dots facing you) then you always go back to the very start of the piece of music.

In the following Replies I shall explore the variations you may find with these symbols and how we interpret them as we play the music.

Peter
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Re: Repeats in Music Scores

Postby Brian007 » 22 Apr 2018 06:38

Hi Peter,

Always handy to have a refresher on this subject, thanks for posting

Brian007 :D :D
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Re: Repeats in Music Scores

Postby Hugh-AR » 22 Apr 2018 09:19

Peter,

When I have music up in front of me I am not 'reading the dots', just looking at the chords. But this is a topic I will definitely take on board as you need to know where to go next even if it is only to follow the chords.

Hugh
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Re: Repeats in Music Scores

Postby PeterA » 22 Apr 2018 09:39

First and Second Time Endings

First and second time endings indicate different music to be played the first or second time.

Here is an example:

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Obviously all the red lines, numbers and arrows I am using are there simply to explain how to navigate through the music notation and symbols.

After you have started to play the piece from the beginning (ie. from the red 1), when you arrive at the End Repeat sign, at the end of the 1 time bracket, you return to the very beginning and play the piece through again, playing the bars marked with a red 2.

But this second time, though, you do not play the bars under the 1 time bracket, but jump to the bar marked 3, under the 2 time bracket, and in this instance stop at the end of the 2 bars, because this is the end of the piece of the music.


Sometimes these Repeat Brackets can have other higher numbers.

Imagine a song with 5 verses and a final chorus or closing section to end with.

You may well have the first bracket showing instead of the single 1. 1,2,3,4 & 5, with the word chorus written in the final Repeat Bracket. If it is just a closing phrase, it may have no words, or sometimes a helpful comment, like to end.

You may also find something like 1,3 written in the first time bar, with 2,4 written in the second time bar.

So appreciating the sequence of these repeats is very important, and you need to get them clear in your mind before you tackle the piece of music.

Again multiple Repeats like this may have a Start Repeat sign, and that is the point to which you should always return, to repeat the verses, but if not, you must always go back to the very beginning of the piece.

Peter
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Re: Repeats in Music Scores

Postby JohnT » 22 Apr 2018 14:41

Hi Peter. Thanks for the post always useful to help me in my playing. Nice and simple easy to follow instructions. Looking forward to more helpful hints etc, John
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Re: Repeats in Music Scores

Postby PeterA » 23 Apr 2018 07:39

D.C. al fine

This stands for Da Capo al fine. Da Capo literally means “from the head”.
It means to start back at the very beginning of the piece of music. It is another way of saying, “Let’s do that again!”
D.S. can stand alone, but it generally has the added instruction of al fine, or al coda. Again both of these words instruct the player where they should go, after the Repeat.

Al fine means after repeating back from the start, continue to play until the Fine mark.

Traditionally musicians skip over any first ending, after they go back for a D.C. repeat, (or a D.S. – that we look at, in a later Reply).

Look at this example:

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Remember, all the red markings I have added are there simply to explain how the music notation and symbols are to be interpreted.

So let’s explain these red numbered arrows:

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1 Play through to the first ending
2 Repeat back to the very beginning of the piece

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3 Play again from the start, but Jump to the second time bar, as shown
4 Play to the last written bar or measure

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...and working through the rest of the numbers:

5 Return to the start of the piece – N.B. D.C. = to the “head” (i.e. the start)
6 Play the piece again from the start until….
7 When you reach the first time bar, do not play it this time, but jump to the start of the 2nd time bar ... and finally
8 Play through to the Fine, skipping any first endings and stopping at the end of the measure with the Fine marking.

Sometimes D.C. will stand alone.
But on many other occasions it may have D.C.al fine, or D.C.al coda.

D.C.al coda is similar to D.C.al Fine, and we discuss al coda in a later Reply, after we look at D.S. (dal segno) in the next Reply.

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Re: Repeats in Music Scores

Postby PeterA » 09 May 2018 07:06

D.S. (dal segno) means repeat back to a special sign, as ‘segno’ means sign. So when you encounter this instruction, it means that you continue to play from the place where the sign is located. This (segno) sign looks a bit like a dollar sign, or an S with an angled slash through it, as well as a dot either side, and looks something like this.

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As in the case of D.C., D.S. generally has the added instruction, of al fine or al coda. Again both of these words instruct the player as to where they should go after the Repeat.

In the case of the words al coda it means that when you arrive at the little coda sign, which looks something like this:

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.. you immediately move to the Coda section, which will be labelled accordingly, at the end of the piece, and this is graphically explained in the next Reply.

If D.S. is used with Fine, it means that after repeating the correct bars from the sign, when you arrive at the word Fine (which can be printed either above or below the music score) you stop playing.

Just as for D.C., sometimes D.S. will also stand alone. On other occasions it may have D.S.al Fine, or D.S.al Coda.

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Looking at the red arrows here, we:

1 Play through the piece until we reach the instruction D.S.al coda, then
2 Go back and start playing again from the sign.

As mentioned above, this (segno) sign looks a bit like a dollar sign, or an S with an angled slash through it, as well as a dot either side, like this:

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Now let us proceed to fulfil that last instruction, which has the words al Coda added.

Look at this diagram:

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Again following the red arrow directions;

3 Play from the coda sign up to the instruction to Coda
4 Jump over to where the word Coda appears
5 Play from that point to the end of the piece.

In the following Replies I shall consider 3 other types of Repeat in music scores, but they are only used for drums, guitars and sometimes piano.

Peter

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Re: Repeats in Music Scores

Postby PeterA » 09 May 2018 09:23

The Repeated Beat symbol is used in music scores for rhythm parts for Drums and Guitars and sometimes for piano.

This is what it looks like:

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And this is how you interpret it:

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In the next Reply I shall reveal the Repeated Measure

Peter
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Re: Repeats in Music Scores

Postby PeterA » 21 May 2018 14:34

The Repeated Measure is used only for Drums, Piano or Guitar.

This is what it looks like:

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And this is how you interpret it:

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In the final Reply I reveal the Two Measure Repeat

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Re: Repeats in Music Scores

Postby PeterA » 21 May 2018 15:09

The Two Measure Repeat is used only for Drums, Piano or Guitar.

This is what it looks like:

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And this is how you interpret it:

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Four measure repeats are also possible but they use four slashes and the number 4, not 2.
To repeat more than 4 measures, use the simple repeat signs.

This wraps up this Topic about Repeats in music scores.

Peter
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Re: Repeats in Music Scores

Postby dentyr » 27 Apr 2019 07:31

Hello, Great for those who can remember these things. I scan the music then re-write it so it is all in one go, no repeat marks or add ins. I suffer from a chronic disease called Laziness. Regards,Den.
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