AskDefine | Define coda

Dictionary Definition

coda n : the closing section of a musical composition [syn: finale]

User Contributed Dictionary

see CODA



From coda#Italian


  • italbrac RP /ˈkəʊdə/
  • italbrac US /ˈkoʊdə/
  • Rhymes with: -əʊdə


  1. A passage which brings a movement or piece to a conclusion through prolongation.
  2. The optional final part of a syllable, placed after its nucleus, and usually composed of one or more consonants.
  3. The conclusion of a statement.
  4. alternative spelling of CODA



coda f (plural codi)



From coda#Italian


  • /kɔ.da/


fr-noun f
  1. A musical coda.
  2. A syllable coda.


  1. Form of Third-person singular indicative past historic form, coder





  1. genitive of cuid



  • [ˈkoda]




  1. tail
  2. queue, line

Derived terms




Extensive Definition

Coda (Italian for "tail"; from the Latin cauda, see below), 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 in his sonata form movements to a feature of the highest importance, producing a final section of equal musical weight to the foregoing exposition, development and recapitulation sections and completing the musical argument. 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.
In music notation, the coda symbol is used as a navigation marker, similarly to the dal Segno sign. It looks like a set of crosshairs. 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."


Cauda, the Latin root of coda, is used in the study of conductus of the 12th and 13th centuries. The cauda was a long melisma on one of the last syllables of the text, repeated in each strophe. Conducti were traditionally divided into two groups, conductus cum cauda and conductus sine cauda (Latin: "conductus with cauda", "conductus without cauda"), based on the presence of the melisma. The cauda thus provided a conclusionary role, also similar to the modern coda.


Codetta (Italian for "little tail," the diminutive form) has a similar purpose to the coda, but on a smaller scale, concluding a section of a work instead of the work as a whole. Typically, a codetta concludes the exposition and recapitulation sections of a work in sonata form, following the second (modulated) theme, or the closing theme (if there is one). Thus, in the exposition, it usually appears in the secondary key, but in the recapitulation, in the primary key. The codetta ordinarily closes with a perfect cadence in the appropriate key, confirming the tonality. If the exposition is repeated, the codetta is also, but sometimes it has its ending slightly changed, depending on whether it leads back to the exposition or into the development sections.


The following are examples of a coda embellishing the end of the song.

See also


  • Burkhart, Charles. "The Phrase Rhythm of Chopin's A-flat Major Mazurka, Op. 59, No. 2" in Stein, Deborah (2005). Engaging Music: Essays in Music Analysis. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-517010-5.
coda in Czech: Coda
coda in German: Coda (Musik)
coda in Spanish: Coda (música)
coda in French: Coda (musique)
coda in Italian: Coda (musica)
coda in Hebrew: קודה
coda in Dutch: Coda (muziek)
coda in Japanese: コーダ (音楽)
coda in Norwegian Nynorsk: Koda
coda in Polish: Coda (muzyka)
coda in Portuguese: Coda (música)
coda in Russian: Кода
coda in Finnish: Kooda

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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