7 Types of Repeat in Sheet Music (Signs)

Songs nowadays trended to be repeated lyrics. Similar to that music must be repeated at this point to be matched with lyrics. As writing down music takes tons of time, repeats help a lot to narrow down the music sheet. So, how to read and write repeat? Read the whole article carefully to get your answer!

Types of Repeat

All the repeats are not the same. There are some categories that represent different kinds of repeats to make sheet music short and easy. We divided these repeats into four different categories. Let’s jump on it! 

1. Common repeat

The common repeat symbols are very basic and widely used in sheet music. There are two symbols that represent common repeats. These are ||: & :||. Here, you don’t have to be worried about this symbol ||: at the beginning until you reach “:||” this. This “:||” symbol means to repeat the music until you reach ||: this symbol. If there is no ||: symbols then repeat from the beginning. 

common repeat

To play this repeat, play the first two measures at the beginning. After that play again the first two measures and then move to the third measure. 

common repeat

Here, you have to play measure 1st & 2nd at the beginning. After that go back to the start repeat symbols (||:) and play 2nd measure again then move to the third measure. 

There is an alternative common repeat that appears before and after ||: repeat symbols. You can see here two upper lines with 1 & 2 written under them. It tells us to repeat and skip the 1st upper line and jump on the 2nd upper line. 

first and second repeat in sheet music

This sheet tells you to play the first two measures at the beginning. After that play the first measure and skip the 2nd measure because line 1 is on the top. Now, play 3rd measure (2nd line on the top). 

2. D.C al Fine

D.C. means ‘da capo’. In English, it means “start from the beginning”. And ‘Fine’ means ‘end’. So, D.C. al Fine tells to go back to the beginning and end at fine. 

d.c. al fine repeat

In this photo, we can see ‘D.C. al Fine’ symbols at the end of the 6th measure. To play this sheet, play the first six measures until you reach ‘D.C.al Fine’. After that, repeat the notes from the first measure until you reach the ‘Fine’. 

3. D.S. al Fine

The ‘D.S. al Fine’ gives instruction to go back to the 𝄋 sign and end at fine. The difference between ‘D.C. al Fine’ and ‘D.S. al Fine’ is, in ‘D.S. al Fine’ you have to go back to 𝄋 symbols instate of going back to the beginning. 

d.s. al fine repeat

Similar to the previous example, play the first four measures until you reach D.S. al Fine. After that, go back to the 𝄋 symbol that is placed at the start of 2nd measure. then play 2nd 3rd and 4th measure and end at fine. 

4. D.C. al Coda

The Da Capo al Coda in the music sheet says go back to the beginning and play to the coda sign and then play the coda. Here, ‘play the coda’ means playing the next measure after ‘D.C. al Coda’ repeat. 

d.c. al coda repeat

To play this music sheet, play notes still you reach ‘D.C. al Coda’ that is placed at end of the 7th measure. After that go back to the first measure and play until you meet the Coda sign (5th measure). And then play measure after ‘D.C. al Coda’. 

5. D.S. al Coda

The ‘D.S. al Coda’ is almost similar to the ‘D.C. al Coda’. Here you have to go back to the 𝄋 symbols instate of going beginning. After that, play until you reach coda symbols, and then play the coda. 

d.s. al coda repeat

This music sheet tells you to play notes until you reach ‘D.S. al Coda’ at the end of the 7th measure. Then go back to 𝄋 symbols(2nd measure) and play to the Coda symbol(5th measure). Now, play measure after ‘D.S. al Coda’.

6. Notes and Measure Repeat 

To make music sheets easy to read and write notes and measure repeat plays an important role. It shortens down the sheet and saves time while the musician writes notes and measures repeat in music. Look at the picture below to understand this repeat from the beginning to end. 

notes and measure repeat

In this picture, we can see three different notes and measure repeats. Let’s describe it one by one. 

In the first example, we can see a quarter C note at the beginning and three ‘/’ after that. Here, you have to play quarter C notes four times for this first measure. Similar to that, four A+B eighth notes for the 2nd measure and four F quarter notes for the third measure. 

In the next example, we can see something new. The ‘%’ symbols tell us to play the previous measure. So, play the C note four times and then repeat it for the 2nd and third measures. 

In the last example, we can see double ‘/’ in the music sheet. These ‘//’ symbols are used for sixteenth notes repeat. It’s simple as like the previous example but looks a bit different. So play the sixteenth notes four times for the first measure and repeat it for the 2nd and 3rd measure. 

7. Repeated Whole Measure Rests

Using a whole rests a couple of times consumes a lot of measure spaces and looks annoying. Using repeated rest makes this easy to read, saves time while writing rest in music, and minimized sheet size. 

repeated rest

Here, in the third measure, we can see whole rest symbols but a bit longer than the normal whole rest and a number (5) on the top of it. This longer rest tells us to take whole rest for 5 times. On the other hand, there is another whole rest and there is 2 on the top of it. So, you have to take two whole rest for the measure. 

The Bottom Line

Musicians who create original music repeats are a blessing for them. It saves a lot of time when they write music. Not only that it makes the sheet looks good and helps the user to read music easily. 

We hope our article on repeat will help you a lot to be a good musician. Want to know more about sheet music? Read how to read sheet music for the ukulele.

How was this article on repeats? Let us know in the comment section. 

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