In this post I cover how to enter a DS or DC al coda in Finale and Sibelius and have it execute the markings during play back.

D.S. and D.C. al Coda

  • D.S. al Coda – Dal Segno al Coda or in English go back to the sign and take the coda.
  • D.C. al Coda – Da Capo al Coda:  go back to the beginning and take the coda.

D.S. and D.C. al Coda in Finale

There is a plug-in for this!  Here is how it works. First, you need to determine a couple of items. Where does the the coda begin?  Where does the music jump back to (the location of the sign)?  And, where does the player jump to the coda? Once this is determined you are a couple of mouse clicks away from the solution.  Take for example the following notation:

How to create the DS al Coda in Finale:

  1. Choose the Selection Tool.
  2. Create the systems the way you want them to appear.  If you want the first bar of the coda system at the beginning of a system, click inside the bar and press the down arrow. Get the overall page layout done before you run the plug-in.
  3. Select the first bar of the coda, bar 13
  4. Choose Plug-ins > Measures > Create Coda System…
  5. Carefully input the appropriate measures for what is required. The plug-in does not account for the pick-up bar so in this example, you will need to add 1 bar to each setting. If there were no pick-up bar, the bars would match up.
    If this were a DC al Coda, you would check that option in the bottom of the Create Coda System dialog box.

The last step is to manually indent the coda system:

  1. Choose the Page Layout Tool.
  2. Drag the left handle to the right.

D.S. and D.C. al Coda in Sibelius

To enter a DS or DC in Sibelius so it plays back properly, you must use the appropriate text style. Do not use the Symbols menu to input the symbols. Everything must come from the specific DS/DC text style if you want the file to properly execute the DS or DC al Coda on play back.

  1. Select the first note in bar 8.
  2. Sibelius 6: Select > Create > Text > Other System Text > Repeat
    Sibelius 7: Select the Text Tab > Styles > Repeat (…To Coda)
  3. Right-click on the blinking cursor and select the first D.S. sign.
  4. Press Esc.
  5. Click and Drag the D.S. sign so it aligns with the first note in the bar.

Here is a tip that is helpful when it is difficult to remember where specific text items reside: copy an item and then delete it and select the necessary symbol.

  1. Select the D.S. Sign in bar 8 just entered.
  2. Hold down Alt (Win) or Option (Mac) and click on the last eighth note in bar 10. You will get a duplicate of the D.S. sign.
  3. Double-click on the sign just entered. Delete it and then right-click and select the coda sign .
  4. Press Esc.
  5. Select the coda sign just entered. Hold down Alt (Win) or Option (Mac) and click on the G to the left of the sign. A duplicate sign will be copied.
  6. Double-click on it to edit it, delete it, and right-click to select the words “To Coda.”
  7. Press Esc and align the markings properly.
  8. Repeat the above steps and insert the D.S. al Coda in bar 12 and the coda and coda sign in bar 13. By using the copy feature, it saves a lot of hunting for the proper text style.

To test the playback of either the Finale or Sibelius file, I would change the metronome marking to something really fast just to check if  the playback is working properly.

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    Is there any way in Sibelius to listen to score already going to the the Coda, something like “play as second time” ? That would avoid a lot of waiting when hearing if the Coda jump is musically working.

    That would be a helpful thing to add to Sibelius.
    Here is what I usually do:
    - Select the notehead of the last note in the DS bar. In the above example, select the notehead of the last eighth note in bar 12. Then press the letter P to play from the selected location. It will then jump to the sign and then go to the coda. If you speed up the tempo, it will go through it quickly to check the playback.


    Hello, I would like to buy either Finale or Sibellelius. I don’t know how to choose which one would work the best. The use would be for drumming transcription. Also, are there different versions of the program? Could I use a less complete version? Thanks.


    Both Finale and Sibelius do an excellent job of entering percussion notation. As far as which to choose, I would talk with your friends and colleagues. What are they using? This is important as you can then develop a network. The other option is to try both programs and see what you think. You can download the demos of both and use them for 30 days before you need to decide. As far as light versions of the programs, you can do basic note entry with Sibelius First and Finale PrintMusic. I do think that it is worth it to get the full program as there are lots of plug-ins and features that can save time. If you are an educator or student, there is a significant academic price for both programs.


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