It basically means to “play again”.
There are two common ways that we find repeat signs in our music.
Let’s take a look at both…
Back To The Beginning
This type of repeat sign has the two dots placed on the left hand side facing towards the beginning of the music.
In fact, that is exactly what you need to do whenever you see this. You go back to the beginning and play that section again.
In this example, you start at the beginning and play until you see the repeat sign. Then, go straight back to the beginning and play through that same music again. Once you reach the repeat sign a second time, you move on to the very next passage of music and keep playing.
Play Section Again
There are many times when repeat signs can appear in pairs. If you see two repeat signs with the dots facing inward towards each other, then you need to play only that section again.
In order to keep this kind of repeat separated from the type listed above, you could call this one “sectional repeat signs”. That’s not an official term. I just made it up to help you see and remember the difference.
Here, you can see the two repeat signs facing each other. You would start at the beginning passing the first repeat sign (with dots on the right hand side) and keep playing until you hit the second repeat sign (with dots on the left hand side).
Then, you go back to the first repeat sign (not the beginning) and play through until you hit the second repeat sign. After that, continue to move right on to the next measure of music after the second repeat sign and keep playing.
There is still one more way repeat signs are used. We’ll talk about it in the next lesson.