Recapitulation of Opening with New Measures

• Jan 13, 2021 - 04:54

Hi Everyone,

This is a very basic question, I know, but I've seen different approaches used by different composers, although I'm sure there is a standard:

If you have an ending to a long piece of music-- one in which it starts again from the beginning of the piece and, after identical measures, proceeds to new material which brings the piece to a close-- where do you place this ending?

To repeat the opening and place the new measures as a coda at the end of the piece works but means the performers have to flip to the end of what might be a large number of pages in the score. To place the new measures as a coda where they occur in the score means the performers must skip over them in the first play-through, but that seems more convenient. To write out the entire beginning with the new measures and just place it at the end of the piece is redundant but works as well and means they don't have to return to the beginning of the score.

What is the correct placement? I'm sorry, I don't have a specific example to upload but there must be a convention to be followed. And, if I use a coda, then what would be the correct markings?

Thanks to anyone who answers. I very much appreciate your help. And please forgive this rather obvious question!



The conventional way for this is indeed to use a D.C. al Coda with the coda chucked on at the end.

I have seen alternate endings in the middle; mostly when involving volta's and/or very short endings (just one or two measures).

If you're concerned about the musician having to jump, then write it out. In these times there is not a lot of effort involved with writing that out (copy & paste is a lot more work with pen and paper) and it keeps the easy flow during playback.

One thing worth considering is that while it might be a lot of pages in the score, the individual parts are likely to be much much shorter. And parts are usually set up so you can see three or even four pages at a time on your music stand. So there's probably less flipping of pages than you imagine.

Anyhow, codas are virtually always at the end of the score, attempting anything else is likely to cause confusion.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Thanks jeetee and Marc,

Yes, I agree, it would be easiest just to add the opening with the new measures at the end. I wanted to be sure there wasn't a standard rule. As a performer, I've had to deal with both flipping to the coda and having the new measures written out. And as for parts, true as well, but when showing the score to players for rehearsals it's often less time-consuming to give them the whole score before generating all the part scores since corrections inevitably occur. And they seem to like seeing the whole piece in front of them for a first run-through. At least that's my experience.

Thanks for your comments!


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