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.

  • 5
    Perhaps 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?
    – user18490
    Commented May 1, 2016 at 15:18

4 Answers 4


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.

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