8va

The musical command 8va on the treble staff.
8va used in place of ledger lines. Image © Brandy Kraemer

Definition of 8va:


The musical symbol8va is:

  1. an abbreviation of ottava, Italian for octave (otta is the Italian feminine of “eight”).
  2. a musical command indicating a note or series of notes will be played an octave higher than written on the staff. 8va makes it easier to notate and to read notes off the staff, which would otherwise have multiple ledger lines (see image).

    8va can affect a single note, or it may span several measures. In the latter case, it stops at the word loco, or at the end of its dotted, horizontal line. If an entire staff is affected, a tiny 8 will be sitting atop the clef.

     

    See 8vb & 15ma.


     

    Also Known As:

    • 8a
    • allottava, “at the octave”;  ottava alta, “high octave”;  ottava sopra, “an octave over” (It)

     

    Pronunciation: al'  oh-TAH-vah;  oh-tah'-vah  AHL-tah
     


    More Musical Abbreviations:

    View All / By Category

     


    Beginner Piano Lessons
     ?  The Piano Keyboard Layout
     ?  The Black Piano Keys
     ?  Finding Middle C on the Piano
     ?  Find Middle C on Electric Keyboards
     ?  Left Hand Piano Fingering

    Reading Piano Music
     ?  Sheet Music Symbol Library
     ?  How to Read Piano Notation
     ?  Memorize the Staff Notes
     ?  Illustrated Piano Chords
     ?  Musical Quizzes & Tests

    Piano Care & Maintenance
     ?  Best Piano Room Conditions
     ?  How to Clean Your Piano
     ?  Safely Whiten Your Piano Keys
     ?  Signs of Piano Damage
     ?  When To Tune Your Piano

    Forming Piano Chords
     ?  Chord Types & Their Symbols
     ?  Essential Piano Chord Fingering
     ?  Comparing Major & Minor Chords
     ?  Diminished Chords & Dissonance
     ?

      Different Types of Arpeggiated Chords

    Getting Started on Keyboard Instruments
     ?  Playing Piano vs. Electric Keyboard
     ?  How to Sit at the Piano
     ?  Buying a Used Piano

    ?Musical Articulation:

     ? staccato
     ? tie
     ? (rfz) rinforzando
     ? arpeggiato
     ? accentato

    Volume Commands & Symbols:
     ? (mf) mezzo forte
     ? (sfz) sforzando
     ?

     diminuendo
     ? al niente
     ? (fp) fortepiano

    Common French Musical Terms:
     ? à l’aise
     ? doucement
     ? en ralentissant
     ? mi-doux
     ? très vite

    German Musical Commands:
     ? anschwellend
     ? lebhaft
     ? geschwind
     ? fröhlich
     ? schnell



     

    Format
    mla apa chicago
    Your Citation
    Kraemer, Brandy. "8va." ThoughtCo, Jun. 12, 2017, thoughtco.com/8va-symbol-2701434. Kraemer, Brandy. (2017, June 12). 8va. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/8va-symbol-2701434 Kraemer, Brandy. "8va." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/8va-symbol-2701434 (accessed November 18, 2017).