The Coda: A Breakdown of a (Sometimes Tricky) Musical Symbol
The coda is another sheet music term, which again you don’t need to know if you’re a writer or musician who doesn’t read/write sheet music. If you do want to know though, the coda is an important part of letting the performer know where the song is going.
When do I need to know about the coda?
Sheet music is confusing enough, but then you add a bunch of weird symbols at the top of it and it’s a nightmare. I get it! I’ve been reading sheet music since 5th grade so it was a while ago, but I remember being frustrated and confused. Here’s a picture of the coda:
If that symbol isn’t there, you won’t need to worry about it. The coda only exists when it needs to.
Okay, so why does it exist?
In many cases, songs repeat themselves in certain sections (such as the verses and chorus). Since paper costs money, it’s easier to include certain markers in the song, letting people know “hey, just go back and do what you already did.” It’s easier this way, especially back when symphonies were written and the songs were way longer. So throughout the piece of sheet music, you’ll see signs of where to go and how to get there. Sort of like Google maps for sheet music.
I could get really technical with this and tell you about every symbol of sheet music and what it means, but this is one of those things that you either don’t need to know or you’re already learning it (if you’re a musician taking lessons to read music). Plus there are many videos on YouTube about how to read sheet music, which are better than I could explain here. This is a good one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KEFrvGG57Ww and there are plenty of others.
This is another term that I included in the book because I was already talking about certain sheet music parts, and this one seemed sort of important to include. But again, no worries if you don’t know it! We’re all constantly learning in this industry so no one should make you feel dumb for not knowing certain things.
If you need sheet music to practice, and you want to throw me a few cents to support this blog, please check out Virtual Sheet Music, Inc. Thanks friends!