Definition and background:
This is an abbreviation for both 8va and 8vb. It is an indication to perform a specific note or passage an octave higher or lower than written. If the 8 appears above a note or passage, it is the abbreviation for 8va and the note or passage should be performed an octave higher than written. If the 8 appears below a note or passage, it is the abbreviation for 8vb and the note or passage should be performed an octave lower than written.See 8va, 8vb.The number that appears above or below the treble clef or bass clef symbol to indicate that the indicated passage or staff of music should be performed at the octave. The number above the clef symbol indicates the music should be performed one octave higher than notated and the number below the clef symbol indicates that the music should be performed one octave lower than notated. These clefs are often called octave clefs.See also octave clef; G octave clef; octave treble clef; vocal tenor clef; F octave clef; octave bass clef.Name and Indication SymbolName and Indication SymbolOctave treble clefPerform One Octave HigherOctave treble clef( Vocal tenor clef)Perform One Octave Lower Octave bass clefPerform One Octave HigherOctave bass clefPerform One Octave Lower
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Wikipedia - Glossary of Musical Terminology
Virginia Tech Multimedia Music Dictionary
ORB -- Medieval Music Glossary