Dal Segno Meaning: A Quick Guide for Musicians

Get more paid gigs once you understand this dal segno meaning.

You have an audition coming up and anxiety is starting to set in. There is a sight-reading part. What are you going to do? How are you going to prepare?

What if you just freeze up because the sight-reading excerpt has an unfamiliar marking? What if they give you this passage on purpose to check your skills? How are you going to handle it?

The answer? With ease.

It’s common to see directional musical terms in sight-reading material. This is given on purpose to see if you know what to do. It’s an easy way to weed out performers quickly. It separates the amateurs from professionals.

After fully understanding the dal segno meaning, you will have the confidence you need to prepare for your next audition.

dal segno meaning

Dal Segno Meaning

Dal Segno means to return to the segno sign and play once again. The acronym D.S. is often used in music notation. This Italian musical word is directly translated as “from the sign.” The melody is to be repeated beginning with the “S” symbol. In sheet music, the segno sign is used as a marker.

This navigation marker is commonly found as dal segno al coda or dal segno al fine. These are two common variants of dal segno that appear in instrumental music. 

D.S. al Coda 

D.S. al Coda is the abbreviated version of dal segno al coda. Here are quick instructions on how to understand what to do when you see this Italian term.

ds al coda example

1. Play from beginning until you see D.S. al coda.

2. Go back to the segno sign and play again until the coda sign.

3. Once you reach the coda sign, jump to the coda section.

Read More About Dal Segno al Coda

D.S. al Fine

D.S. al Fine is the abbreviated form of dal segno al fine. Follow these directions when you see this music theory term in your music piece.

1. Play from the beginning until you see D.S. al fine.

2. Go back to the segno sign and play again until you see fine.

Read More About Dal Segno al Fine

According to Wikipedia, dal segno instructs a musician to repeat a section beginning from the sign, which is called a segno in English. As it states in this musical terms book, segno is an Italian word that means “sign” in English. Most people in the United States do call it an “S” sign for simplicity and do not call it segno.

Dal Segno Meaning: What this Means for You

You can feel more comfortable about your upcoming audition if sight-reading is part of it. You now understand the dal segno meaning so you know what to do if this pops up. This means you can have less anxiety and actually enjoy visiting with others at the audition.

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