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Updated: May 3, 2023

This article will give you a great overview of the different repeat signs you will encounter reading drum sheets, drum scores or drum transcriptions. Each of the signs is easy to understand and very common practice, so make sure you have the following three repeat signs under your belt.


The "section repeat" sign is a musical notation used to indicate that a section of music should be repeated. It consists of two dots placed on either side of a thick vertical line. The section to be repeated is placed between the dots and will be played two times total:

Section Repeat Sign 1

If you want to repeat a section more often you can put the total number of repeats above the line. In the next example the four bars of music will be played three times total:

Section Repeat Sign 2


The "repeat barline with dots," also known as the "one bar repeat" sign is used to indicate that the previous measure should be repeated. It is denoted by a single vertical slash with two dots placed above or below it:

One Bar Repeat Sign

Written out, it would look like this:

One Bar Repeat Sign (written out)

Drummers often use the abbreviation "N.C." (for "No Crash") to indicate that the crash cymbal is only supposed to be played in the first bar of music. This also means that the crash will be automatically replaced by Hi-Hat or ride cymbal, depending on where the rest of the groove is played. Check out the following example:

One Bar Repeat Sign (No Crash)

In real life, this would be played like this:

One Bar Repeat Sign (No Crash, written out)


The "double bar repeat" or "two bar repeat" sign consists of two vertical lines with two dots placed above or below them and is used to indicate that the two measures preceding it should be repeated. Since drummers often play two bar grooves, this sign really comes in handy:

Two Bar Repeat Sign

And here's how this example sounds:

Two Bar Repeat Sign (written out)


All of the repeat signs above are commonly used in sheet music and drum scores. They make the structure of the piece more visible and allow the performer to memorize the music more easily.

Here's an example that incorporates the three different repeat signs:

Repeat Signs Full Example

And here's how it looks without any repeat signs at all:

Repeat Signs Full Example (written out)

Feel free to comment if you have further questions. PRO Drumsheets also offers some FREE Stuff so you can see how the three examples are used in actual drum scores.

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