Electronic Musician

Octaves

In this month’s Easy Guide, I’m looking at one of the most compelling mysteries you come across when exploring music theory for the first time: what is an octave, and why are they called octaves when they contain twelve notes? OK, that’s two mysteries, but to address one means addressing the other, so let’s start picking at the thread and see where it leads.

It’s become a sort of unofficial Easy Guide tradition to start off with a diagram of a C major scale, largely because an understanding of how a scale is formed is integral to so many other aspects of music theory. An explanation of octaves is no different, but what you’ll have noticed if you’re a

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