Octaves clefs

Octave clefs are used to write music notes that will sound an octave lower or an octave higher.

  • If the symbol 8 is below the clef, then all the music notes will sound one octave lower.
  • If the symbol 8 is above the clef, then all the music notes will sound one octave higher.

Here are some example:

Octave treble clefs

Octave treble clefs

In this example, all C notes have the same pitch, they are the same sound with the use of octave clefs.

Below are more examples of octave treble clefs:


The example above sound exactly like:


But you can use the symbol 8va to do the same:


Examples in famous works

Chopin, Nocturne opus 9 n°1

Example in Nocturne n°1 Opus 9 for piano by Frédéric Chopin on measure 12 united states of america (united kingdom bar 12), this royalty free sample was performed by pianist Samson François in 1964, Creative Commons Zero 1.0 license, source):

Nocturne opus 9 n°1, Frédéric Chopin

Octave bass clefs

Octave clef can be used for all clefs, even for the bass clef. Like for the treble clef, here is an example of octave bass clefs:

octave bass clef

In this example, all C notes have the same pitch, they are the same sound with the use of octave clefs.

Other Notations

Here are other symbols to perform music notes one octave lower or one octave higher:

Ottava AltaOttava BassaQuindicesimo AltaQuindicesimo Bassa

SymbolsItalianmeaning
8vaOttava AltaOn octave higher
8vbOttava BassaOn octave lower
15maQuindicesimo AltaTwo octaves higher
15mbQuindicesimo BassaTwo octave lower

External links to learn more about :

1 - https://www.dolmetsch.com/musictheory1.htm
2 - https://www.dolmetsch.com/musictheory14.htm
3 - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clef


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