Definition of octave in English:


Line breaks: oct¦ave
Pronunciation: /ˈɒktɪv


  • 1 Music A series of eight notes occupying the interval between (and including) two notes, one having twice or half the frequency of vibration of the other.
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    • These ratios produce the eight notes of an octave in the musical scale corresponding to the white keys on a piano.
    • Trotter uses this music to introduce octaves, accented rhythms, a whole tone scale and a continuous cross-hand pattern.
    • One of the most difficult passages for the violin in the first movement is a melodic minor one-octave scale in fingered octaves.
  • 1.1The interval between the two notes at the extremes of an octave.
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    • What is it that makes notes one octave apart fit together so well?
    • I hissed softly, my voice a few octaves higher than it should have been.
    • His voice had changed, dropping several octaves.
  • 1.2Each of the two notes at the extremes of an octave.
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    • Meanwhile, strong octave Bs in the bass, along with the lengthy pedals necessary to sustain them, create the tremendous resonance this passage requires.
    • In another, open octaves alternate with chordal homophony.
    • Psychotic disco drums and vivacious octave bass lines introduce us to the Liars new mania.
  • 1.3The two notes at the extremes of an octave sounding together.
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    • Lerner conquered the score's thunderous octaves and tone clusters brilliantly.
    • They chant in a deep harmonic, which can be heard sounding three octaves at once during stages in the ritual.
    • The main difficulty of the second section is the pages of interlocking octaves, chords and single notes covering the entire range of the keyboard.
  • 2A group or stanza of eight lines; an octet.
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    • The second quatrain of Smith's sonnet alludes to Petrarch's octave.
    • Not only has the poet repeatedly discovered different dramatic structures, she also discovered whole new octaves of tone.
    • The beginning octave of this sonnet fits poorly with the sestet.
  • 3The seventh day after a Church festival.
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    • On the watery desert from Pentecost to Christmas, they stay on the Isle of Ailbe from Christmas through the octave of Epiphany.
  • 3.1A period of eight days beginning with the day of a Church festival.
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    • They composed new liturgies in his honor and celebrated his death (unique for any local saint) with a full octave of worship.
  • 4 Fencing The last of eight parrying positions.
  • 5British A wine cask holding an eighth of a pipe.


law of octaves


Middle English (in sense 3): via Old French from Latin octava dies 'eighth day'.

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