aria da capo

Da capo

[dah kah-poh; It. dah kah-paw]
Da Capo is a musical term in Italian, meaning from the beginning (literally to the head). It is often abbreviated D.C.. It is a composer or publisher's directive to repeat the previous part of music. In small pieces this might be the same thing as a repeat, but in larger works D.C. might occur after one or more repeats of small sections, indicating a return to the very beginning. The resulting structure of the piece is generally in ternary form. Sometimes the composer describes the part to be repeated, for example: Menuet da capo. In opera, where an aria of this structure is called a da capo aria, the repeated section is often adorned with grace notes.

Variations of the direction are:

  • Da Capo al fine (D.C. al fine): repeat from beginning up to the word fine.
  • Da Capo al coda (D.C. al Coda): repeat from beginning to an indicated place and then play the tail part (the coda).

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