What does "Coda" mean in music? I don't understand, and it appears in many articles about "sonata form" but I still don't know.
5Perhaps too simple to refer to Wikipedia, but is there a specific part of the Coda article you don't understand? Or in relation to the sonata form, where the coda is also explained, what specifically do you not understand there?– user18490May 1, 2016 at 15:18
Coda means "tail" in Italian. It's a tail-end part of a longer piece. A coda may be used however a composer wishes: to extend a cadence, to recapitulate some material, even to introduce new material.
The architecture of Sonata Form is Theme 1 (in the tonic key), Theme 2 (in a contrasting key), Development (mess around freely with themes A and B), Theme A (tonic key), Theme 2 (modified to be also in the tonic key.
There may also be an introduction, for which the technical name is "Introduction" :-) And maybe a tailpiece, wrapping up the whole piece, for which the technical name is "Coda".
Normally it goes after a repeat with dal segno sign or to coda, it's a musical term in Italian it means go to the sign, play from the sign but don't repeat as you finished before there is a special ending or cadence to bring the music to a close. That ending is called in music nomenclature coda.
A coda is usually included at the end of a musical piece to indicate the ending/ give the listener the feeling that the music is coming to an end. Most importantly, it gives a meaningful end to the piece. A codetta is a similar but smaller version of a coda.