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Updated: May 3, 2023

Have you ever been confused by the Italian terms used in classical music, like D.C. (Da Capo), D.S. (Dal Segno), "al Coda" and "al Fine"? Don't worry, this post will explain how to make sense of them. These terms are commonly used in professional drum sheets and scores, so understanding them is important.

D.C. and D.S. are simply "jump to" or "go to" commands. Let's explore them.


Da Capo means "from the beginning" or "from the top". When you see a "D.C." sign at the end of a bar, it means you should jump back to the beginning of the piece.

da capo


Dal Segno means "from the sign". When you see a D.S. at the end of a bar, it means you should jump back to the "Segno" sign, which looks like the letter S with a line through it. After the jump, you continue playing through the whole piece exactly as written, including the repeat signs.

dal segno

Here's what this section looks like without the D.S.:

dal segno (written out)

If you prefer a non-Italian version of the same thing, it could look something like this:

dal segno (alternate version)


You can modify both "jump to" commands in certain ways. For brevity, I'll only modify the Dal Segno command in the examples below, but you can apply the same principles to Da Capo.

"al Fine"

"D.S. al Fine" means you should stop at the "Fine" command, AFTER jumping to the "Segno" sign. It might sound complicated, but take a look at the following example:

dal segno al fine

Note that the "Fine" sign is located under a specific note. However, "D.S." and "D.C." will always be triggered at the end of the bar, which makes sense if you think about it.

Here's how the last example looks like without the "D.S. al Fine":

dal segno al fine (written out)

"al Coda"

"D.S. al Coda" means you should jump to the "Segno" sign first, then play until the "to Coda" command, and then jump to the "Coda" sign, which looks like a circle with a cross inside it. It might sound even more complicated, so here's an example to help you understand:

dal segno al coda

Here's how the whole thing looks like without any fancy Italian commands:

dal segno al coda (written out)


The "Da Capo" and "Dal Segno" commands can also have custom modifiers. In the example below, the first line is not repeated after jumping to the Segno sign:

dal segno modifiers

The possibilities are endless, but it's wise to use only modifiers that can be easily read and understood. While "no crash on D.S." is probably quite clear to most drummers, "N.C. on D.S." can be quite confusing.

In theory, it's possible to use Double Segnos and Double Codas. However, in practice, this is almost never done, since it makes sight-reading music a very complicated task, even for professional players.

PRO Drumsheets strives to create easy-to-read sheets that are the best compromise between saving space and readability. "D.S. al Coda" is commonly used in our drum sheets because it's quite easy to understand and requires nothing more than a sharp eye or, even safer, a marking pen.

Feel free to comment if you have further questions. PRO Drumsheets also offers some FREE Stuff so you can see how "Dal Segno" and "Coda" are used in actual drum scores.

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