Octave lines

Octave (Ottava) lines are used to indicate that a section of music is to be played one or more octaves above or below written pitch: The line may be dotted or solid. Ottavas are available in the Lines palette of the Basic and Advanced workspaces.

8─────┐or 8va─────┐: Play one octave above written pitch
8─────┘or 8vb─────┘: Play one octave below written pitch

8va/8vb lines are particularly common in piano scores, though they are sometimes used in other instrumental music.1 15ma (2 octaves above) and 15mb (2 octaves below) are also occasionally used.

Debussy. Études, Book II, X

Apply an octave line

Use one of the following:

  • Select a range of notes, then double click an octave line from a palette.
  • Select one or more measures, then double click an octave line from a palette.
  • Click on a note, then double-click an octave line from the palette (extends line from selected note to end of bar).
  • Drag an octave line from a palette onto a note (extends line from selected note to end of bar).

See also, Lines: Adjust vertical position.

Change length

See Lines: Change length.

Custom lines

Octaves can be customized just like any other line. See Lines: Custom lines and line properties.


  1. Gerou/Lusk. Essential Dictionary of Music Notation (Internet Archive). ↩︎

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