Repeat Sign Dots

Repeat Sign Dots

Repeat Sign Dots can create confusion.  Where do they go?  Does their placement change based upon the Clef Sign?  When are they written before a double bar line and when are they written after a double bar line...and is there a difference?

In a recent Blog, Debby Choit commented "And it's always good to review dot placement for repeats before students start level 9 written harmony! Please!!!! Please!!!! Please!!!!"

Debby, this Blog is for you!

Repeat Sign Dots  - Placement Rule

There are several different types of Repeat Signs, each indicating a specific "way" to repeat the music.  No matter what kind of Repeat Sign, and no matter which Clef you are in, the placement of the Dots in Spaces does matter!

The Two Repeat Sign Dots are always placed in the middle 2 spaces of the staff.  (One dot written in the middle of Space 2 and the other dot written directly above in the middle of Space 3.)

Repeat Sign Dot Placement

When there is only 1 Repeat Sign (a "Single" Repeat Sign), it is a "Left Facing" Repeat Sign.  This means that the dots are written on the Left Side of the Double (Final) Bar Lines (one thin bar line and one thick bar line).

I tell my students that, when they "hit" a Single Repeat Sign, it bounces them back to the beginning of the music and they have to play it again (repeat it one more time).

A Single Repeat Sign can be written anywhere within the music (indicating to repeat that section from the beginning before going on to the next section) or it can be written at the very end of the piece (indicating to repeat the entire piece from the beginning).

Repeat Sign Dots - Sectional Repeat

When a Composer wants to clearly show that a specific section is to be played twice, they will often use a "Sectional Repeat Sign".  This Repeat Sign is used to indicate that one or more measures (or an entire section) is to be played twice.

The "Right Facing" Repeat Sign is written at the very beginning of the first measure of the section to be repeated.  The "Right Facing" Repeat Sign is two dots placed AFTER the Double (Final) Bar Line.

The "Left Facing" Repeat Sign is written at the very end of the last measure of the section to be played twice.

The Right Facing Repeat Sign and the Left Facing Repeat Sign "frame" the section that is to be repeated.

If the repeat begins at the beginning of a piece, the Right Facing Repeat Sign is not needed.

 

Repeat Sign Dots Sectional Repeats

Repeat Sign Dots - Two Adjoining Sectional Repeats

For music with two adjoining repeated sections (two sections, one directly after the other, both to be played twice), the Adjoining Repeat Signs may share the same "Thick" Bar.

This only works when the two sections are adjoining (side by side, one after the other).

 

 

Repeat Sign Dots Repeated Sectional Repeats

Repeat Sign Dots - Repeating Within a Measure

While a Repeat Sign is written using Bar Lines, a Repeat Sign does not necessarily ALWAYS function as a bar line!  A Repeat Sign may also appear within a measure.

When this happens, the notes before the Repeat Sign and the notes after the Repeat Sign must equal one full measure.

In this example, I have written the Measure Numbers and the Counts directly on the excerpt.  This makes it easier to see that the Repeat Signs do not have the same function as Bar Lines in this example.  The area to be repeated starts on beat/count 3 in Measure 2, and ends on beat/count 2 in Measure 4.

Repeat Signs within a Measure

Did you notice that it doesn't make a difference whether the Repeat Sign is Right Facing or Left Facing, the Repeat Sign Dots are always written in Spaces 2 and 3!

In a Right Facing Repeat Sign, the Repeat Sign Dots are on the Right of the Thick and Thin Lines (in Spaces 2 and 3).  In a Left Facing Repeat Sign, the Repeat Sign Dots are on the Left of the Thin and Thick Lines (in Spaces 2 and 3).

 

Repeat Sign Dots in Open Score

Modern Vocal Score and String Quartet Score are taught in the Ultimate Music Theory Advanced Workbook.

Open Score involves each of the 4 Voices (or Instruments) having their own Staff.  An Open Score for Modern Vocal Score will have 4 Staves:  Soprano (Treble), Alto (Treble), Tenor (Treble "8") and Bass (Bass).  When written in Close Score, the Soprano will be written in the Treble Staff with stems up; the Alto will be written in the Treble Staff with stems down; the Tenor will be written in the Bass Staff with stems up and the Bass will be written in the Bass Staff with stems down.  Repeat Sign Dots are always written in Spaces 2 and 3 for each staff.

 

Repeat Sign Dots in Open Score

An Open Score for String Quartet will also have 4 Staves.  Violin I and Violin II are written in Treble Staves, the Viola is written in the Alto C Clef and the Double Bass is written in the Bass Clef.  For String Quartet Close Score,  The Treble Staff will have the Violin I with stems up and the Violin II with stems down.  The Bass Staff will have the Viola with stems up and the Double Bass with stems down.  And, once again, Repeat Sign Dots are always written in Spaces 2 and 3 for each staff.

It is a good habit to always use your UMT Ruler when writing (drawing) bar lines and Repeat Sign Lines.  The Repeat Sign Dots are small black "dots" (and are NOT just circles!) so be certain to "fill them in".

In an upcoming Blog, I will look at "Volta Brackets" and how they can create different types of Repeat Signs.  So, stay tuned!

And remember, if you have a comment, a question or an idea that you would like to see covered in a Blog, please fill in the "Comment" information below or send me an email at Shelagh@UltimateMusicTheory.com.

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