Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
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 popular music as an outro 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 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."
- The first part of this article originally came from a well-known 1911 encyclopedia
- Stein, Deborah (2005). Engaging Music: Essays in Music Analysis. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0195170105.
- Burkhart, Charles. "The Phrase Rhythm of Chopin's A-flat Major Mazurka, Op. 59, No. 2".
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