[Notation, general] Repeat pattern

• Jul 20, 2016 - 00:48

I'm doing a transcription of a pop piano piece, which has numerous sections that repeat.
The form is something like A B C B D E D F.
Therefore I ended up needing more than one "segno" sign, and there's no way to do that. Well, I know there's an alternative version of the sign, but what if I need 3 signs?
I searched all over the internet, and, weirdly enough, I've found only one single page giving a possible solution:
Is this common?
Are there other options?


The more segno's you use, the more confusing it gets for the player. If there is a particular section that often gets repeated but with differing passages in between then it might be better to notate that as a separate section and just give text directions to play that section as and when needed.

Having said that, it if you post the piece or an exact sequence of what you want (A B C B D E D F) then often someone can come up with a way of doing it. A B C B D could be - Play A, (start repeat), play B, play C (1st Volta), jump back to play B (end repeat), play D (2nd Volta), etc.

Attachment Size
Complex repeats.mscx 85.93 KB

In reply to by 255

The specific technique discussed on that site is more common in certain specialized circles, but for the vast majority of musicians would be completely unfamilair and just lead to train wrecks. Voltas and ordinary repeats / DS etc. are the best way of doing this unless you know for absolute certain that all musicians who will read your chart are familiar and comfortable with the specialized method described on that site.

Just to clarify, I wanted to talk about this in general, not regarding the last specific score I was working on. So, yes, anything can be of help.
Thank you for showing me this score, it's a very interesting application of standard symbols.

In reply to by 255

Well, in general there are a number of acceptable ways of notating this sort of thing but the goal is always to ensure that pretty much any musician will understand the notation without long and complex text explanations. So the use of standard symbols has persisted over hundreds of years, even while evolving.

In Couperin's original edition (see attached file), which he published in 1716-17 as part of his second book of Pièces de clavecin, you will see a slightly different way of indicating these repeats and jumps. Couperin does not use multiple voltas or endings; he simply places the segno and the word 'Fin' ('end') followed by a text indication of the next couplet. (The modern edition I posted the other day is derived from this one, not from the 1888 Chrysander-Brahms travesty, wherein no repeats of any sort are indicated after each couplet.) While this score might give pause to a modern harpsichordist not used to reading 300-year-old notation in multiple clefs, it is still decipherable with a bit of study, and Couperin's intent is clear.

In reply to by 255

That is known as a 'Couperin Pincé.' Contrary to a trill, or 'tremblement', it is started on the note itself. (Trills usually start on the note above the one written.)

Here is an illustrative section, redacted from Couperin's L'Art de Toucher le Clavecin:

Couperin Pincé.png

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