How to Read Repeats on Piano Sheet Music
Understanding Repeat Marks on Sheet Music
Sheet music can be a little overwhelming for new piano learners especially kids because it is filled with all kinds of musical symbols. Piano scores regularly use different kinds of repeat marks. This makes it easier to write musical compositions but they can be a little confusing. I will explain how some repeat signs work in music using colored blocks to demonstrate how notes should be played. The colored blocks may be especially helpful for children who are trying to understand repeats in music sheets.
How do repeats work in music?
You will often see repeat marks in music that have the numbers 1 and 2 like in the example below. These are very simple to follow. You start from the beginning and play until you reach the end of the number 1 section. Then you go back and play the beginning again. When you reach the number 1 section, you skip it and go directly to the number 2 section.
It will be easier to understand using these colored blocks as an example. This reads green, green, yellow, yellow, green, green, blue, blue. You will see that the green part repeats or is played twice. After you play the green blocks the second time, you must bypass the yellow blocks and go directly to the blue blocks.
What does Da Capo mean?
Da Capo is another kind of repeat used in sheet music. Da Capo means head or top. You will often see it abbreviated as D.C. You might also see Da Capo al Fine or Da Capo al Coda or in abbreviated form as D.C. al Fine or D.C. al Coda. Fine (fee-nay) means end.
D.C. al Fine means to go back to the beginning and play all measures until you reach fine. So, you play red, blue, green, red, blue.
D.C. al Coda means to go back to the beginning and play until you reach the coda symbol (circled in red). Then you skip that section until you reach the next coda symbol.In this example, you play red, blue, green, red, yellow. You play the red, blue and green blocks first. The D.C. al Coda tells you to go back to the beginning, so you play red again. When you hit the al Coda symbol circled in red you have to jump to the next al Coda symbol, which is the yellow block.