I have some sheet music where I want to correctly annotate that the final lyric of the final chorus should be repeated. It is 2 and 1 quarter measures long.

Our choir calls this a 'tag'. From what I've web searched, this should be synonymous with 'coda'.

Does that mean all I need is the coda symbol at the first measure of the tag? Or is there more to it than that?

Edit: I think this will fall under fair use, but I could be wrong if so, please delete the image. I've snipped out just the final 2.25 bars and changed the lyrics. In my latest attempt I add D.S. al Fine + sign but I am not sure that's correct either.

Note: for the partial measure, it's actually a split measure - the other 3/4th is the end of the previous lyric line.

final lyric of the chorus

  • My sense is that "tag" is shorter than "coda"; a coda can be -- and perhaps typically is -- several measures long. (But that shouldn't stop you from using the coda symbol if it makes sense to use it.)
    – phoog
    Jan 25 at 9:49
  • 2
    You might get more useful answers if you post an image of what you've got so far. The answer might be different if this is lead sheet rather than staff notation! And, is the chorus already subject to repeats? If not, a simple repeat sign might be all you need. Jan 25 at 16:08
  • I was hesitant to show the sheet music in this case cause it's copyrighted, but we have license to it under CCLI. We have other songs where they have tags added different from the original sheet music - it's usually just the last lyric repeated a final time. Let me see if I have one that needs a tag added but the sheet music is public domain... As to repeats, in this case no - it's just 2 verses with the chorus after each verse, and then on the 2nd chorus they repeat the final lyric - I think they may slow it down a little to (so a rit... needs to be added).
    – B.O.B.
    Jan 26 at 2:19
  • @phoog I might add bracket text with 'tag' - that should be good enough. I've only been reading/transcribing sheet music for about 4 months now - self taught. I've been going through and standardizing our choir book/binder. It's a chaotic mix of public domain and CCLI stuff. After standardizing the look, I've been trying to modify to the small parts to match how the choir actual performs it. Been an interesting learning experience.
    – B.O.B.
    Jan 26 at 2:32
  • There's no Fine in your sheet. If you want to go dal segno all through to the last bar, that should be D. S. without adding anything. D. S. al Fine means "look for Fine and end there"; without pairing with Fine it doesn't make sense. - Though, if this is all there is to it (and it isn't inside another repeat you're not showing or something), then forget about D. S. and shove a pair of repeat brackets there instead.
    – Divizna
    Jan 26 at 3:48

2 Answers 2


There is a coda and there is also a coda sign. They can be related but are different. A coda is an ending section or passage of a piece of music. A coda sign is a marker that is used to navigate within a piece of music, usually by jumping ahead and skipping measures. A coda sign may lead to the actual coda but it can also be used to jump ahead in a piece of music but not necessarily to the actual coda.

In your case the extra bars (regarding that, isn’t 2 bars and one beat actually 3 bars with the last bar being a quarter note and 3 bears rest?) are a coda but unless you need to jump to it from a non contiguous section there is no need to use a coda sign. A coda sign might even be confusing to some if there is no jump involved. A double bar wouldn’t be a bad idea though. You can also label it either with a rehearsal letter, or with the word “tag” or “coda” if you like, your choice.


Based on your added music, your best solution is to simply write out the 3 extra bars (a one beat bar is still a bar) rather than use a DS. A DS is usually reserved for larger sections in order to keep a chart from getting too long. Signs, codas, repeat signs and voltas help prevent charts from getting extremely long but they also can add an element of potential errors and confusion to a piece and should be used sparingly. It is much easier to just increase the piece by 3 bars than use a DS to go back such a short distance.

In order to literally write out what you have here you have to include one bar of 1/4 time. Here is a condensed version of what the final 3 bars would be and this would be added on to what you have written but without the sign and DS al fine:

enter image description here

I wonder if the 1/4 bar is what you intended or if the two 8th notes making up the word “final” are meant to be on beat 4 of the previous bar with the whole note instead, making the entire passage in 4/4 time. If that were the case it would look like this:

enter image description here

  • Thanks for the info. Yeah the fact there was coda symbol and coda word was confusing to me to no end. Thanks for clarifying. There is no jump to another segment in this case. In all the sheet music symbols that I've learned in past few months, jumps and repeats are the hardest for me to wrap my head around.
    – B.O.B.
    Jan 26 at 2:41
  • 1
    @B.O.B. You’re welcome. I will be adding an edit based on the music you included so keep an eye out. Keep in mind that if you like or dislike an answer you can upvote or downvote it. Usually downvotes are reserved for answers that are blatantly bad, wrong or disrespectful. You can also choose to accept one answer you think best answers your question or not, your choice. Jan 26 at 7:08
  • Isn’t the word fine obsolete? Jan 26 at 9:40
  • @B.O.B. So out of curiosity, is it a 1/4 bar or is it more like the alternative I added? Jan 26 at 16:39
  • Your alternative I believe.
    – B.O.B.
    Jan 26 at 20:39

Coda is the maximum of what you may need. Depending on the song, you might do with writing it as the final volta, or just at the end after the last verse, or even put the last phrase in a repetition if the tune also repeats (but the typical situation is that it varies, so this is unlikely).

You don't need a coda unless you need to jump there from the middle.

If you aren't writing the music sheet but lyrics only, in my corner of the world the traditional way to denote repeated lyrics is to put a pair of repeat signs on the the repeated part, thus:

Some lyrics to be sung once,
only once and no more,
/: a pair of lines that are
meant to be sung twice, :/
/: a single line to repeat, :/
and so on.

No idea how internationally widespread that is, though.

  • I was watching youtube videos last night and realized the coda symbol is most likely not what I want in this instance. I'll have to keep the lyrics repeat in mind and discuss with the choir director - last year before diving into learning sheet music I digitized all lyrics for use with our confidence monitors the choir uses. When changing slides where the lyric repeats there is no visible difference currently. I'll have to see what they think about using /: :/ for repeats.
    – B.O.B.
    Jan 26 at 2:37

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