This is intended for members of our choir who are not familiar with some of the indications in the written music that we use.
We usually start at the top of the 1st page and end at the bottom of the last page, but sometimes a composer will want us to change this sequence. As before, this is merely to save on rewriting long sections of notes. Composers use a few symbols to communicate their instructions to us. (In the diagrams below, the red arrows show how we would start reading the music, and the blue arrows show how this will change as a result of the instructions.)
This is an abbreviation for the Italian phrase Da Capo. It means “from the head” and tells us “go back to the beginning and start all over again.”
If the D.C. is at the end of the last page, it is obvious that that is where we will end. If the D.C. is somewhere in the middle of a page, more instructions are needed to tell us when to sing the notes that come after it. (More on this later.)
This is another Italian word (pronounced in an Italian way, not the English way). It means “the end.”
After redirecting us all over the page, the composer might want us to stop somewhere other than at the end of the page. Fine tells us “this is the end”. It is often combined with D.C. to form D.C. al Fine, meaning “go back to the beginning and stop at the word Fine.”
Another Italian word. This one means “the tail” (opposite of the head) and refers to a section of music towards the end of the page.
D.C. al Coda
This means “go back to the beginning, but keep an eye out for more jumping around”. The start of the jumping will be marked by al coda (meaning “to the coda”) and the point to jump to is marked by coda. Instead of the words, both al coda and coda might be replaced with the symbol .
D.S instead of D.C.
D.C. is the abbreviation for Da Capo and tells us to go back to the beginning. D.S. is very similar. It stands for Dal Segno. It also tells us to go back, but back to a specific point in the music rather than to the very beginning. That point is marked with the sign . Dal Segno means “from the sign.” As for D.C., the same combinations with al Fine and al Coda are possible with D.S.