"Dal Segno", often abbreviated as "D.S.", is an Italian musical term that translates to "from the sign" in English. It is used as a navigation instruction in sheet music to indicate that the performer should return to a specific point in the music indicated by a symbol called the "Segno" (which looks like an S with a vertical line through it).
When the instruction "D.S." appears in the music, it means that the performer should go back to the segno symbol and continue playing from that point onward. This is particularly useful in music with repeated sections or sections that need to be played differently in various repetitions.
"Dal Segno al Coda" (often abbreviated as "D.S. al Coda") is a variation of this instruction. It means that after returning to the segno and playing the indicated section, the performer should continue until reaching the word "Coda" and then skip to another designated point in the music called the "Coda". This is often used to direct the performer to skip over a certain passage and jump to a different part of the piece.
The use of "Dal Segno" and related terms provides a way to structure and navigate through the music, ensuring that performers know where to repeat or skip sections as indicated by the composer or arranger.