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1. Music the final, sometimes inessential, part of a musical structure
2. a concluding part of a literary work, esp a summary at the end of a novel of further developments in the lives of the characters



(1) In poetics, a supplementary verse outside the firm strophic scheme (or firm combinations of strophes)—for example, in the sonnet, verses beyond 14 lines, and in the triolet, beyond eight lines. Broadly, a coda is the concluding part of a complex strophe differing from the main body in the arrangement of rhymes, number of feet, or other indications—for example, lines 5–7 of a strophe from Goethe’s The Bride of Corinth:

Nightly from my narrow chamber driven

Come I to fulfill my destin’d part

Him to seek to whom my troth was given

And to draw the life-blood from his heart.

He hath served my will;

More I yet must kill,

For another prey I now depart.

(2) In music, a concluding section that supplements the main part. The coda has a fixed character: it employs a tonic organ point, repetition of constructions of a closing character, and melodic-harmonic turns that recapitulate and summarize the work’s thematic material. In slow works the coda is usually even slower, creating a calming effect, and in fast pieces the coda’s tempo often increases. Large works with contrasting themes frequently introduce the theme of the middle section as a reminder into the coda.


(1) A distributed file system developed at Carnegie Mellon University in the late 1980s. Evolving from the Andrews File System, Coda is noted for its ability to withstand network failures. See AFS.

(2) A software company based in the U.K. that produces accounting software for mainframes, VAX and client/server environments. The parent company is the Coda Group, Plc. with U.S. offices in Manchester, NH.

(3) Earlier Web authoring software from RandomNoise, Inc., San Francisco, CA. It was used to generate very sophisticated Web sites that were built in Java rather than HTML codes. Coda itself is written in Java.