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Coda (KOH-duh)

The concluding passage of a piece of music

Common clues: Sonata finale; Musical conclusion; Closing part of a piece

Crossword puzzle frequency: 2 times a year

Frequency in English language: 36856 / 86800

Coda (Italian for "tail"; from the Latin cauda), in music, is a passage which brings a movement or a separate piece to a conclusion through prolongation. This developed from the simple chords of a cadence into an elaborate and independent form. In a series of variations on a theme or in a composition with a fixed order of subjects, the coda is a passage sufficiently contrasted with the conclusions of the separate variations or subjects, added to form a complete conclusion to the whole. Beethoven raised the coda to a feature of the highest importance. What is known in rock and popular music as an outro and in jazz and worship music as a tag can be considered a coda. See also fade out.


Coda sign

In music notation, the coda symbol is used as a navigation marker, similarly to the dal Segno sign. It looks like a large O with a + superimposed. It is encountered mainly in transcriptions of popular music, and is used where the exit from a repeated section is within that section rather than at the end. The instruction "To Coda" indicated that the performer is to jump to the separate section headed with the symbol.

Charles Burkhart (2005, p.12) suggests that the reason codas are common, even necessary, is that in the climax of the main body of a piece a "particularly effortful passage", often an expanded phrase, is often created by the "working [of] an idea through to its structural conclusions" and that after all this momentum is created a coda is required to "look back" on the main body, allow listeners to "take it all in", and "create a sense of balance."


This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Coda".