My son (5th grade) has received this Jingle Bells score. He shall play the treble clef on the piano. The colourful highlighting is mine for the purpose of explanation here. I have played piano ~25 years ago and I'm trying to help him understand the score.

Jingle Bells Score

I can't figure out where the repetition (marked green) ends and what exactly shall be repeated. I see that the yellow part and the pink part are identical. IMHO, it would be possible to put that into a repetition, ending at FINE. The repetition would then have an indicator for 1. and 2. like so:

Repetition with 1. and 2.

Is it possible that the score is just wrong? Maybe it was simplified for children, i.e. they wanted to get rid of the complex repetition notation but forgot to remove the repetition sign at the beginning? Or is the repetition somewhere else and I don't see it?

When we say "DC al FINE", we don't put those repetition marks, do we?

  • 5
    I'm guessing that your analysis is exactly right: They originally had the chorus using a repeat, but decided to take that out and forgot to get rid of the repeat marks at the beginning.
    – Ben Miller
    Nov 2, 2020 at 16:24

2 Answers 2


DC = da capo - go back to the top. Al fine = then play to where 'fine' is written, and stop. Obviously if there are more verses, it all continues! There's really no need for the set of repeat dots at the beginning, as 'da capo' tells where to return to. And because that's written at the bottom, there's no need to put them there, either.

There may be need for repeat signs at the top if there is an anacrucis, to show exactly where the repeat starts, but not here. Basically - chorus - verse - chorus.

  • 2
    I agree, there should be no repeat sign. Just another example of music that looks professionally copied but is not properly proofread. Nov 2, 2020 at 16:49
  • @JohnBelzaguy - I often see that repeat sign at the bottom, with/out the DC. Maybe for newbies. But how many times have we seen signs but the rest of the band (and their charts) go elsewhere, so we busk it till we're together again...
    – Tim
    Nov 2, 2020 at 17:15
  • 1
    I’ve seen that many times as well. Call me old fashioned but if I see a left facing repeat I’m playing all the way to that repeat sign regardless of whether there’s a “fine” written somewhere. The problem is many people make assumptions that music that is created with a notation program is always correct because it looks so clean. Nov 2, 2020 at 17:23

The structure of the version of the song that I know, has the form:
A1 A2 B1 B2 A2, where each section is 8 measures long.
This would look something like this:

           1.      2.  Fine
    |     |     :||      ||     |     ||
                              DC al Fine

I think what has happened is as you've suggested - someone has tried to "simplify" the score, but has messed up.

Note that before unfolding, the repeat barline at the start is unnecessary (but not incorrect). However after unfolding, it doesn't make any sense at all.

Also note that the repeat barline at the Fine in your second image is incorrect - as there is no repeat there.

You are right that DC al Fine doesn't need repeat barlines.

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