Musical Direction

The Composer’s Direction

A composer sometimes needs to instruct the performer how to properly interpret a composition so he uses certain directions to tell the performer how to play the piece. It could be just when and where to do something or merely how fast to play the song. Other times, the composer may not wish to repeat or rewrite a particular part as most compositions are repetitious. These directional or instructional symbols on the sheet music are an easy way for the composer to accomplish such tasks.

Directional Symbols Instructing the performer

Directional signs are merely instructions to the performer. With these symbols, the composer can tell the performer exactly how to interpret the composition and where to emphasize, repeat or separate specific areas. See also Ornamentation for some other marks of instruction to the performer.

The metronome or meter mark indicates the tempo of the composition and is placed above the staff at the beginning of the composition.
The verse or stanza symbol separates the different verses of the song and is placed above the staff at the point of a verse start or ending.
repeat marks instructs to repeat from the mark back to the mark.
The repeat sign instructs to repeat from this symbol.
A del segno instructs to repeat from this symbol.
codaA coda denotes the end of the passage or musical phrase.
Also, denotes the point to repeat from the del segno if present.
Fermata or hold sign instructs to sustain or hold the tone.
Up bow or upward strum for strings
down bow or downward strum
pedal start and release for keyboard
release pedal for keyboard
staff change – change staves