Musicians: How Do I Notate This?

I’m documenting some songs I’ve written using an application called NoteWorthy Composer which is sort of a poor man’s Sibelius.

I kind of want to minimize the number of times I write the same sequence of notes to save paper but the structure of one song is making that difficult. That song has essentially 3 parts that, for want of better terms I will call verse, bridge1 and bridge2. What I have so far is:

verse (intro)
||: verse (“To Coda” symbol after 1st half)
1st,3rd ending - Bridge1 :||
2nd ending - Bridge2 :||
Bridge2 (D C al Coda)

So it’s pretty straight forward for the first three repeats but then it goes straight from Bridge1 (3rd ending) to Bridge2. Then repeat the intro and first half of the verse and head to a short outro and call it a day.

I don’t see a way to keep from writting out bridge2 twice but I’m a bit of a newb at reading/writing music. I learned it 35 years ago but didn’t learn well and haven’t use it much until now.

Anybody know a better way to write this?

Moved from GQ to Cafe Society.

General Questions Moderator

Thought the first, have you ever seen D.S.? aka Dal Segno?

It’s a way of saying “when you reach this point, go there”–it has less specificity to it than coda does.

Thought the second: for whose benefit are you notating this music? Are you really sure that saving paper is more beneficial than writing a longer but less potentially confusing work?

Thought the third: if you are writing mostly for your own benefit, I’m not sure there’s anything wrong with just writing your own notes longhand about the structure or even making up your own shorthand notation as you go along.

Thanks Eureka,

I kind of understand how the segno works and I use D S al Coda a lot – more likely to work than D C al Coda which just happens to work here. I still can’t see how it will help here but maybe your other thoughts are more on point.

This will be for me and a few others to look at. I’m using NoteWorthy instead of writing it out longhand because without the software I’ll get it wrong. With the software, I can play it back and know it’s right or at least close.

My desire for brevity and concision isn’t really about paper. It’s because the first thing I showed to a friend/mentor was a 4 minute song with no repeats at all. He found that pretty daunting and recommended a shorter version. I think I’ve swung the pendulum too far the other way is all.

You reply has been very helpful.

I have no experience writing music. I have experience reading music, playing music, singing music(in a choir).

Thus I know that it can be helpful to know that page 4 and page 7 are the same, or would be the same except for the key change on page 5 (oh, and that descant which appears on the last verse). But it’s not always helpful to have to turn back so that one uses the same written piece of music for each verse.

Of course, as a choir member, I’ve also sung stuff where half the choir has just the vocal parts and the other half has a score which also contains the piano music and maybe if we’re lucky the accompianist and the director are on the same page.

I didn’t mean that there is anything wrong with using the computer program to notate your music–just that you might find it simpler to write a note to go with it which explains your thought process or the order of the performance if you insist on not writing out the same measures more than once.

Best wishes to you in your creative endeavors, especially if you are exploring non-standard music.


A big part of my problem is I’m trying to do every thing at once including both a concisely written score and something that plays back the way I want to hear it with the organ not coming in until the second verse and the melody a little different the third time around. I’m starting to grasp that not everything is a nail just because I have a hammer.