Songwriting For Dummies
Book image
Explore Book Buy On Amazon

As you read or write piano music, reading and writing ledger lines for more than four or five notes above or below the grand staff can get a little ridiculous. After all, if you were to keep using ledger lines, you’d take up an impractical amount of space, and reading all those lines would become tedious not to mention confusing.

That’s why composers invented the octave, or ottava line, which tells you to play the indicated note or notes an octave higher or lower than written. The abbreviation 8va means play an octave above, and 8vb means play an octave below:


About This Article

This article is from the book:

About the book authors:

Jim Peterik, a Grammy-winning songwriter, has written many Billboard Top 10 hits, including the legendary #1 hit "Eye of the Tiger.” Dave Austin is a National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences Presidential Award recipient. Cathy Lynn is a screenwriter and nonfiction writer.

This article can be found in the category: