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RCM book used 8va to indicate go DOWN an octave? What? #2431519
06/13/15 08:11 PM
06/13/15 08:11 PM
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bananasushi Offline OP
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I am playing lady moon on page 16 of the RCM preparatory book.
The first bass note of each line has '8va' under it. I watched 5 people including a teacher play this and was surprised to see everyone plays it an octave down. They all played it the same as well. So I'm sure they are playing it right.
I thought 8va is an octave 'up' and an octave down is 8vb. The last note also has 8va under it and it is not a bass note and it is played an octave higher.
What is going on? Is this a typo? If it is, how do all these unrelated people, who are playing it the same, know to play it differently than what the sheet music is indicating? Are there any instances when 8va means to go down an octave? Why stray from what is more commonly known?

Thank you all for any help I get!

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Re: RCM book used 8va to indicate go DOWN an octave? What? [Re: bananasushi] #2431527
06/13/15 08:37 PM
06/13/15 08:37 PM
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BruceD Offline
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Theoretically, what you write is correct 8va = octava alta - one octave higher, and 8vb = octava bassa - one octave lower.

That said, it's common practice to write 8va in both staffs (staves), or sometimes just 8; if the 8va is above the treble staff (right hand) the line is played an octave higher. If the 8va (should be 8vb) is placed below the bass staff, the line is played an octave lower.

The instances where one would play the treble staff (right hand) one octave lower and the bass staff (left hand) one octave higher using only the 8va and 8vb symbols are quite rare. In all cases I can think of where the bass staff (left hand) is to be played an octave higher, the 8va is written above, not below, the bass staff.

I don't think I have ever seen an 8vb underneath the treble staff indicating to play an octave lower nor do I think I have ever seen an 8va above the bass staff indicating to play an octave higher. When the left hand plays an octave higher, the notes are usually written in the treble staff and when the right hand is played an octave lower the notes are most frequently written in the bass staff.

Regards,


BruceD
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Estonia 190
Re: RCM book used 8va to indicate go DOWN an octave? What? [Re: bananasushi] #2431531
06/13/15 08:50 PM
06/13/15 08:50 PM
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P.S.

Many editors avoid the distinction between 8va and 8vb by simply writing 8. If the 8 is above the treble staff, play one octave higher, if it is below the bass staff, play one octave lower.

Regards,


BruceD
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Estonia 190
Re: RCM book used 8va to indicate go DOWN an octave? What? [Re: bananasushi] #2431533
06/13/15 08:55 PM
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bananasushi Offline OP
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Ok. Thank you all very much. Good to know now! Most of my exposure to 8va 8vb has been with Japanese video Game Sheet music published by the company Doremi. They use the 8vb, so I was trained to interpret them to be different. Well, now I know! smile

Last edited by bananasushi; 06/13/15 08:57 PM.
Re: RCM book used 8va to indicate go DOWN an octave? What? [Re: BruceD] #2431568
06/13/15 11:55 PM
06/13/15 11:55 PM
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Originally Posted by BruceD
....if the 8va is above the treble staff (right hand) the line is played an octave higher. If the 8va (should be 8vb) is placed below the bass staff, the line is played an octave lower.....

Yes, that's it. Actually I'd put it more simply: if the 8va is above, it means an octave higher; if it's below, it means an octave lower. You don't need to specify "treble clef" and "bass clef," and actually I think that wrongly limits the meaning, because theoretically it could appear below the treble clef, meaning an octave lower, or above the bass clef, meaning an octave higher, although I'm not sure I've seen those.

Re: RCM book used 8va to indicate go DOWN an octave? What? [Re: bananasushi] #2431569
06/13/15 11:56 PM
06/13/15 11:56 PM
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Nikolas Offline
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I'm actually not sure that 8vb is correct, even though I personally use it.

Quote
8va is short for the Italian: all' ottava--literally "at the octave." It says nothing about higher or lower. 8vb is musically illiterate. There was a long discussion about this on MakeMusic's user forum after which MakeMusic dropped 8vb.


From the Finale forum.

But, in my defense (if the quote is correct) the complexity of the music I publish usually requires the differentiation of 8bv and 8va...

Re: RCM book used 8va to indicate go DOWN an octave? What? [Re: bananasushi] #2431692
06/14/15 12:37 PM
06/14/15 12:37 PM
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hreichgott Offline
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^ yes, 8va stands for "ottava" -- the "a" doesn't mean "alta."

However, some publishers like to specify 8va alta and 8va bassa.
Some of those, confusingly, further abbreviate those to 8va and 8vb.

If in doubt about how to read an 8va, look for whether it is above or below the staff. Above the staff always means an octave higher, and below the staff always means an octave lower.


Heather W. Reichgott, piano http://heatherwreichgott.blogspot.com

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Re: RCM book used 8va to indicate go DOWN an octave? What? [Re: bananasushi] #2431702
06/14/15 12:59 PM
06/14/15 12:59 PM
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I like it when composers go into three staves instead of two to avoid or simplify 8va designations (like Debussy Preludes Book II, some Rachmaninoff and Bartok).


WhoDwaldi
Re: RCM book used 8va to indicate go DOWN an octave? What? [Re: Nikolas] #2431734
06/14/15 03:22 PM
06/14/15 03:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Nikolas
I'm actually not sure that 8vb is correct, even though I personally use it.

Quote
8va is short for the Italian: all' ottava--literally "at the octave." It says nothing about higher or lower. 8vb is musically illiterate. There was a long discussion about this on MakeMusic's user forum after which MakeMusic dropped 8vb.


From the Finale forum.

But, in my defense (if the quote is correct) the complexity of the music I publish usually requires the differentiation of 8bv and 8va...


.. and this is what the Dolmetsch On-line Music Dictionary has to say about 8va and 8vb (which was the source of my post, above) :

8va : octave higher ottava alta, play notes under this sign one octave higher than written
8vb : octave lower ottava bassa, play notes under this sign one octave lower than written
[entry corrected by Charles Whitman]


... and Groves :

All'ottava. An instruction to play an octave above the written pitch if the sign is placed above the notes (sometimes specified as ottava alta, or sopra); if an octave lower is intended, this is indicated by placing the sign below the notes or by specifying with ottava bassa or sotta.


Regards,


BruceD
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Estonia 190
Re: RCM book used 8va to indicate go DOWN an octave? What? [Re: bananasushi] #2433710
06/20/15 03:53 AM
06/20/15 03:53 AM
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Nikolas Offline
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I just noticed your replies guys...

For me, with the highly complicated scores that I work on, I'm almost forced to use 8vb and 8va... It makes things clearer which can never be a wrong thing I think...


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