CODA (Ital. for "tail"; from the Lat. cauda), in music, a term for a passage which brings a movement or a separate piece to a conclusion. 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.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)