How could a coda function without any cadential progressions? Containing not a single Perfect Authentic Cadence (PAC) despite its enormous span of 61 bars, the coda of the first
movement (Majestoso) of Anton Bruckner’s Sixth Symphony challenges the common idea of
coda as a post-cadential reinforcement of the tonic. Having befuddled theorists for its
constant iterations of the movement’s first theme materials over an ever-shifting harmonic
background, the coda’s harmonic organization and formal implications await further
examination. Illuminated by Miguel Ramirez, this paper analyses the coda from an
intervallic perspective, revealing an underlying process of disintegrating the first theme into
intervallic contents and recollecting them in a paratactic way. I argue that this coda functions
as a lyrical extension of the sonata form in the first movement rather than a true apotheosis as
it appears, displaying a harmonic kaleidoscope that requires no authentic progressions. The
paratactic structure in the coda also reveals an under-explored connection between
Bruckner’s and Schubert’s sonata forms.
Ruixue Hu is an MMus student at Durham University. He earned his bachelor’s degree from
the Chinese University of Hong Kong with a concentration in composition. Under the
supervision of Profs. Julian Horton and Ian Dickson, he currently works on Anton Bruckner’s Sixth Symphony. His research interests include nineteenth-century instrumental forms, neo-
Riemannian theory, geographic models and motivic analysis.