In a simple piano book I'm using (Jumbo Easy Piano Songbook: 200 Songs for All Occasions - Hal Leonard Corp.), one of the songs (The Entertainer - Scott Joplin) that has a first and second ending, also has the notation in the bar for the first ending ("1."): "2nd time R.H. 8va".

How can there be a second time playing a first ending?

p. 4 of The Entertainer - showing "2nd time R.H. 8va" under volta 1 bracket

  • 3
    Could it be referring to the second time playing through the whole repeated strain?
    – Luke_0
    Dec 24, 2013 at 15:31
  • Thanks, that's a good thought, but two issues: first, several times throughout the strain there are R.H. 8va notations covering groups of bars. Second, if your interpretation was intended, why not just say at the beginning of the strain "2nd time R.H. 8va"? But what you say makes sense and I can't come up with any alternative interpretation. Dec 24, 2013 at 15:39
  • 1
    OK, I get your point -- it doesn't say at the beginning "2nd time R.H. 8va" because the first time they want only certain bars played R.H. 8va. I'm becoming more and more convinced you nailed it, thanks. Dec 24, 2013 at 15:46
  • Perhaps you're supposed to play the section three times and take the first ending up an octave the second time?
    – Kevin
    Dec 24, 2013 at 16:18
  • I would double-check, as Kevin said, that you aren't supposed to play the 1st ending twice and then the 2nd ending third-time as a finale. But if you could at least post the name of the book and the song in question, we could check it out. Dec 24, 2013 at 16:21

2 Answers 2


Is there a pickup phrase at the end of the first ending? If so, then I would expect that the "2nd time R.H. 8va" notation is placed in the 1st ending to remind you to start playing an octave up at that pickup. Otherwise it would sound odd to play the pickup in the written octave and then suddenly jump an octave up on the downbeat.


I have just had sight of the actual book. So we can stop guessing!

This repeated section is NOT included in the DS. The Coda jump occurs before it starts.

So the intention is clearly to play the second strain of 'The Entertainer' at written pitch first time, 8va up the second time. This carries into the 2x bar, hence the need for 'loco'.

The whole arrangement is a confusing mishmash of 8va lines and text instructions. The instruction under discussion is particularly confusing, as '2nd X' is superfluous, and it's to say the least unhelpful that there's no confirmatory '8va up 2nd x' instruction at the beginning of the repeated section. The one and only time that 1st x bar is played, the pickup notes are to be played 8va up.

Hal Leonard should be ashamed of themselves.

Here's the page before the one the OP showed us. So now we're fully informed!

enter image description here

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.