Musicological question re repeat structures

This isn’t a Dorico question, it’s a musicological question. So if it’s invalid here, please say. For the moment, I’ll go ahead.
It’s about the use of D.S. al Fine and DC al Coda repeats.
I’ve a March. Its repeat structures are copied from the Radetzky March.
It should play acc. to the following sections: A B C B D E E A B.
Here are two versions.
Old Version.pdf (86.1 KB)
New Version.pdf (89.5 KB)
The Old Version is laid out pretty much like the Radetzky March.
Radetzky March 01 Fl & Picc.pdf (272.3 KB)
The problem is that my musicians were in utter confusion over this. Some said that what I wanted was clear enough. But others said that D.S. al Fine just meant to repeat to the Segno and stop at Fine and that sections D & E would never be played.
That’s why I made the New Version. But it’s clumsy and takes up too much paper.
So do the repeat markers in the Old Version add up to A B C B D E E A B? Or don’t they?
And if so, what is the solution? Should I add “To TRIO” above the Fine?

Hijacking this topic in a more “notation” sense, I just have to note how much my stomach hurts every time I hear “al Fine”.
It’s an old topic, I know, but Fine is masculine in a “ultimate objective” meaning only. It’s always feminine with “End” meaning. Thus please “alla Fine”!
And forgive my unpolite intrusion. It was my stomach :cry:

(Same for Coda, obviously!
But OK for Segno and Trio)

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Well, you can add me to the list of confused musicians :slight_smile: FINE is to the end, so go to the end twice? One DS and One DC?

Anyway, one option could be to put a repeat at “B” and treat “C” as a sort of long first ending and “D” as a second ending. “E” repeats and then you just have DC Al Fine. I can make no comment on languages I don’t speak - just the musical abbreviation I was taught. :slight_smile: “alla” would confuse me.

This isn’t going to fit on a Lyre for marching anyway :slight_smile: So I might vote just to write it out to save rehearsal time.

Old Version:
A B C → Dal Segno al Fine. Stop.

New Version:
There’s confusion about whether I go on to C after B the 2nd time.

Non voglio i paperi menare a bere le oche, but fine as masculine means ‘conclusion’ or ‘ending’ (a lieto fine, a buon fine, etc); and I think it’s workable in this sense, isn’t it? It’s likely that the distinction between la fine and il fine was not so strong in 18th-century Naples…

Sorry Ben I don’t agree: you can say a buon fine, or a lieto fine, but it’s always in the main meaning of “target”.
You can say to the end but not to the target.
For sure my stomach allows me al Segno only! I prefer any other circumlocution…

(raro o ant. [probably 18th c.] m.)

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O ye’ll take’ the high road and I’ll take the low road,
And I’ll be in Scotland before ye.

If I recall correctly, a lot of “Italian” musical terms do not mean what they would mean in modern Italian.


Honestly for me it’s the only one! (But I’m old!)

(Old vexata questio: In Italian "Coda" is feminine, therefore...)

Not sure what direction this thread has taken… Looks like it has become a discussion on correct Italian. So I don’t need to feel guilty about musicological questions.
Also not sure whether Derrek’s “Loch Lomond” quote refers to the snippet of “Scotland the Brave” in the march turnaround, or whether it’s part of the discussion on Italia antica.
I can accept the general idea that what I’ve currently got for repeats doesn’t work.
But can anyone say whether they think the Radetzky March sheet works as it stands? After all, if one just follows the signs, one goes from DS al Fine > to the Segno > to the Fine. A B C → Dal Segno al Fine. Stop. And so the Trio section is not played there either.
Or did Strauss’s band just assume that one goes to the Trio.

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Could the problem be alleviated by using “D.S. al Fine e poi Trio”?
The meaning equates to D.S. al Fine and then Trio.
I recall having seen something like this a few times over my many years of making music. The picture below shows some examples I found by doing a quick internet search.

In your march, you might have to place the “Trio” marking at rehearsal mark “D”.


I like the old version better. I know that when a Trio exists, it will come into play after the main body of music. Why would something be on a page if it’s not meant to be played?

The new version is too distracting for me with those 1st ending lines persisting for multiple systems. Needlessly elaborate. If the old version had the sequence of rehearsal marks on the page, it would be perfectly clear to me what needs to be done straight away. D.S. al Fine e poi Trio as @stevenjones01 offered above is also perfectly clear, immediately. If it wasn’t on the page, I would just ask the conductor. Yes, I’m a peasant and I have no pride. :grin:

I don’t know about measures 17-19 though…


I can’t say that the Radetzky example is entirely consistent, and a good amount of convention is probably in play to counter that. Still, there are some subtle differences.

Most importantly, the whole structure is basically treated as two pieces of music, the March and the Trio. This is reflected in, amongst other things:

  1. the omission of the cautionary key signature between March and Trio (which is, in fact, unnecessary, or even wrong, when considering the two parts as separate pieces of music)
  2. the explicit instruction “Marcia D.C. al Fine”

Thus, the way through the whole structure can roughly be described as:

  • Play through the March, using the “1.” bracket
  • “D.S. al fine.”: Jump back to the sign and play from there, this time using the “Fine” bracket, which is where the March ends.
  • Go on to play the Trio; repeat its second half, using the two brackets appropriately.
  • “Marcia D.C. al Fine”: Having finished the Trio with the “2.” bracket, now play the March from the beginning, using the “Fine” bracket, with which the March once again ends.

It can be debated whether it is good practice to indicate the cautionary key for the return to the March, or if this adds a potential for confusion. My conjecture regarding the obviously practiced convention is that it probably amounts to a deliberate omission of the cautionary for the Trio’s key in the “Fine” bracket of the March, since that would be severely confusing. The one for the return to the March, however, is completely straight-forward and is kept.

To mirror this structure in Dorico, you could

  • either split the thing into two Flows at rehearsal mark D,
  • or insert a custom Coda there to get the gap.

With both solutions, the Trio now starts at D, as @stevenjones01 already pointed out, and I guess that this is actually appropriate. His suggestion of adding “e poi Trio” is also recommendable. Optionally, add the cautionary at the end, if you feel it is useful.


Radetzky-ish structure.dorico (816.8 KB)

This should be marked as the answer :slight_smile:

Coming from a marching band background, the Old Version is fine. All you would need is having some experience in playing marches, because they all work more or less the same way. (Little things like “D.C. al Fine, then Trio” and “Marcia D.C. al Fine” might help, but to be honest, my lay musicians would not read them in detail before playing anyway :smiley: )

If there is some confusion among your musicions, just take 5 seconds to explain how things are to be played, but that’s it.
(Your New Version with its 1st ending bracked running over multiple lines would induce even more visual confusion, I would guess.)

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There’s also the more modern way is using the rehearsal marks as instructions:

“To D”

Or you could put a footnote with the sequence: A–C, A–Fine, D–End, A–Fine

Like others, I prefer the original. I would feel inclined to connect the intro to the trio though, and have the indent there, rather than before E. This would make it more visually clear that D is actually the intro to E and it would be easier to find the intro to the trio section while playing. Otherwise you risk people jumping straight into the Trio.

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Oh, very good catch!
The section D needs to be indented and labelled “Trio”. Just like in the OP’s linked sheed of the Radetzky March, the intro to the Trio is part of the Trio.


I’m really grateful to all of you for your replies.
@stevenjones01 and @Alexander_Ploetz and @Estigy are definitely right that the TRIO should start at D (the transition) and not at E (the main theme). Thank you.
DS al Fine e poi Trio is great to know, Steven. Thank you.
Thanks to @Romanos for pointing out the sequence method. I think I’ll use both methods.
And thank you to everyone else. I’ll upload the better version soon.
Does anyone know how I can rename a custom Coda as “TRIO” and get the left Coda indentation without doing each part manually? In fact, it would be best if there were a way to do it like the Radetzky with March and Trio leading the indented line.

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Create a Coda, use the properties panel to hide symbol+text, and use your own System Text to add a label.
(Unfortunately, when you enter your own custom text to the Coda via the properties panel, the Coda symbol itself will stay, so you have to take this extra step.)

Thanks. I just added an addendum to my earlier question.
It would be best if there were a way to do it like the Radetzky with March and Trio leading the indented line.
Radetzky March 01 Fl & Picc.pdf

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For the record, it wasn’t a “musicological” question. It was a question about musical notation. Musicology is the historical study of music.


So thank you to everyone for their advice. Here’s the new best version.

Ding-Dong March New - Flute - Piccolo.pdf (88.7 KB)

A couple of questions.

  1. The MARCH and TRIO labels which precede the staff had to be dragged there in Engrave mode. Can anyone see a way to automate this?
  2. My Repeat Markers (Fine, DC al Fine, etc.) do not right-justify to the barline. I’m aware of the option for this in Engrave Mode > Repeat Markers > Horizontal Position > “Indent for Repeat Markers right-aligned with barlines”. It’s set to zero, but it still doesn’t right-align. Any ideas?