I have a question regarding D.C. al Fine with standard repeats. Let me try to explain this with an example.

Let's say I need to chart out a piece of music. Upon listening to the music, this is the structure:

  1. There are 8 measures of music, with the second half (measure 5-8) the same as the first
  2. Followed by 5 measures of unique music
  3. Followed by 8 measures of music similar to 1

So, what I'm thinking when it comes to charting this down is:

  1. Chart the first 4 measures (1-4) and add a standard repeat open at 1 and close at 4, so that the 4 measures will be played twice
  2. Chart the next 5 measures (5-9)
  3. Add a D.C. al Fine at the end of measure 9, and add Fine at end of measure 4

My question is: When we go back to the start once we reach D.C. al Fine, will we still play the standard repeats or do we only play through it once?


2 Answers 2


Okay I've found the answer: We have to add con rep. if we want to include nested repetitions, or senza rep. if we do not (though by convention D.C. al Fine defaults to D.C. al Fine senza rep.)

  • 2
    That's fine in 18th century classical writing. If you're writing a pop song today.there are no set conventions and your audience won't understand 'senza rep.'
    – Laurence
    Aug 25, 2017 at 9:29

The 'no repeats after a DC' convention applies to the early Classical style, particularly in suites of dance-style movements, the presecessor of the symphony. It has connections to the convention of enclosing the Exposition, but not the Recapitulation of a Sonata form movement in repeats. There is dispute over whether this repeat in e.g. a Beethoven piano sonata is to be actually played, or whether it is merely a structural convention.

It is unlikely a modern 'classical' piece will use a DC, unless consciously emulationg an older style. A pop song might. You need to state 'make repeat on DC' or 'no repeat on DC'. It's also common to see 1st, 2nd and 3rd X endings to the first verse of a song, with an indication to proceed to the middle 8 after the 2nd ending, to the coda - possibly a repeat chorus with a key lift - after the 3rd. State what you want in plain English.

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