Short version

How would I notate a repeat and fade in a music sheet, for the entire piece? Is there a standard way to do it?

Long version

I've been transcribing a piece of music of a SNES game, and like many of its contemporaries it loops at the end to keep the music going.

Since there is no actual end, I'm thinking of having it fade out as a third loop begins, or the second finishes. And that's actually what it does from the OST files I have available. The piece loops once, and then fades at the end of the second loop. Because of this I added a Da Capo al Fine, but I'm at a loss as to how to represent the fade out of the third loop, other than explicitly writing "Fade out after/before finishing the second loop".

How can this be notated?

enter image description here This is what I have right now of the (incomplete) transcription, from this piece. In case the link dies, it's the Town Theme, from Illusion of Gaia.

  • 2
    A repeat& fadeout is sometimes referred to as a "vamp," although a vamp is more commonly a section that's repeated ad nauseum until someone (onstage actor) is ready to go. Fadeouts are almost always effected in studio editing not in the actual performance, BTW. Sep 21, 2016 at 11:11
  • Agree with Carl, you could designate any section as "vamp (and fade last time)" or "fade after DC". Sep 21, 2016 at 16:57

3 Answers 3


I would suggest writing it out explicitly, as you mentioned. DC al Fine literally translates as something like "from the top to the end". So in order to follow these instructions you need to designate a Fine or end. If you did put a fine in then you could put a long decrescendo on to indicate a fade out, but then you would want to indicate that this would only be for the 2nd time. I think explicitly writing something like "fade out 2ndX through" would take care of this. You may still want to designate a fine just so the musicians have a target to end together.


Good answer from jomki, I'll just add an example here:

enter image description here

(Excerpt for illustration purposes from Pink Floyd, Wish You Were Here (C) Copyright 1975 PINK FLOYD MUSIC PUBLISHERS LTD.)


If you want a fade ending at a specific place, write it precisely as a decrescendo 'al niente'. If you want the common pop song 'repeat and fade' just write that over the top. I've also seen 'RTF' (repeat to fade) used.

Do you want the players or the recording engineer to perform the fade? If the engineer, perhaps better to put nothing on the music, just let them play to the end and tell the engineer what you want.

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