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I' m currently playing a sonata from late baroque, which ends with two menuets, minuetto primo and minuetto secondo. Now under the closing repeat mark of menuet two "al primo" is notated. I assume, that it means, that the first menuet has to be played again, but can't match it with the meaning of "al" known from "al fine" (up to "fine"). An Italian dictionary was not overly helpful. Any confirmation or other ideas?

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up vote 8 down vote accepted

Al is indeed 'go to', and primo is 'the first part'. So it must mean go back and replay the first minuet. Probably DC cannot be used, as it would confuse the reader as to the top of which minuet.With no DS or al coda, you'll probably be expected to run straight through the first minuet, but there should be a 'fine' at the very end of the first minuet, to qualify al primo.

Either that, or was the tune written by Mr. and Mrs. Primo's son Al...

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+1 for a joke as bad as I'd make :-) . I checked & the Bach Suites have "menuetto I DC" at the end of 2nd menuet. So "Al Primo" sure seems to be the same direction. – Carl Witthoft Dec 16 '13 at 13:39

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