Rhythm Symbols

Eye of bird or pig?

A fermata stops the beat. It is commonly called a hold. People also refer to it as a bird's eye or a pig's eye. In any case the performer must decide how long to sustain the moment.

Another time-stopper is a Grand Pause (G. P.) often notated as shown at the right. It denotes a period of silence.
Don't cross the
Railroad Tracks!

These are examples of repeat signs. In the top example the measures between the signs are played twice. The second time the repeat sign is ignored.

In the bottom example the music between the signs is played three times. The third time through, the measure under the bracket marked 1.2. is not played.

You can play that again.

D.C. stands for Da Capo which means to return
to the beginning! The al Coda suffix means to observe the coda this, the last, time through.

In this example the measure before the repeat sign is played twice, the measures between that sign and the D.C. are played once, the measure before the "to Coda" is played thrice, and the measures following the Coda are played once. The D.C. is often a D.S..

The music that follows the Coda symbol is often called the Coda.

Signs, signs,
everywhere a sign.
The phrase dal segno (D.S.) means to the sign. It means to go back to a sign similar to this one.

D.S.S. would mean to find two signs!

Please feel free to write your musical instructions in English. The signs are the same in any language!

If you have the time, try the rhythm quiz.
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