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Music Term: Octave treble clef

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A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z 1-9

Octave treble clef
Definition and background:
A normal treble clef is said to be an "octave treble clef" when a number 8, or sometimes 8va, is placed above or below the clef symbol, which indicates to the musician to play an octave higher or lower. If the the number 8 (or 8va) is placed above the clef the musician is directed to play the notes an octave higher than they are written. If the number 8 (or 8vb) is placed below the the clef the musician is directed to play an octave lower than written. The va is short for the Italian word ottava, which means "octave". The vb is short for the Italian phrase ottava bassa, which means "low octave".

The lower octave treble clef (8 printed below) is also known as the vocal tenor clef and is used in vocal music to indicate to the male tenor to sing the voice part an octave lower than where it is actually notated. The vocal tenor clef should not be confused with the C clef that is also named tenor clef. In the past, the C clef, known as the tenor clef, was used for the tenor voice and is still used for other instruments in the same range such as the trombone, the cello, and the bassoon. While music for the tenor voice is often written using only the treble clef, the vocal tenor clef, with the 8 printed below, is a much more accurate notation as this is how a "tenor" part should be sung. A much rarer symbol is to use two treble clefs side by side to indicate the same as the lower octave treble clef (8vb).
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Last Updated: 2017-12-06 11:15:16
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