Formal music notation is full of many wonderful terms and symbols. In short, they help us navigate the musical score, giving specific instruction to the singer or instrumentalist. Many of the terms we use come from the Italian language, but some have crept into the English vernacular over the years. Most know that forte means loud, accelerando to speed up, crescendo to increase volume, etc., but what about dal segno, or D.S. as it is most often seen? This navigation marker is also from the Italian and means “from the sign,” and is usually followed by al Coda (“to the tail”). When encountered in the musical score, dal segno al Coda prompts us to return to the sign, to then proceed to the Coda, and ultimately to the completion of the song. The musical roadmap allows composers and editors to save space on the page, as entire sections can be omitted or jumped when taking the Coda.
As we continue to emerge from the devastation of a global pandemic, what signs might we return to? What markers exist in our lives that will allow us to clearly see a new roadmap ahead? And as we return to them, are there sections that can now be omitted as we move towards our own Codas?
No doubt, our time apart has allowed us to reflect deeply on what it means to be the Church. Now, as we reengage with one another through worship and programming, I pray God will give us the vision to find the signs—those traditions and landmarks that have made us who we are. As we find them, may God also grant us the wisdom and courage to move forward in a way that welcomes and invites others to participate on the journey. Our Coda is yet to be written, but with God’s help, it will be a glorious symphony!
May the peace of Christ be with you.