I have only been studying music for a couple of days now, and I was advised to look through music I like, so I can further my understanding.

Whilst doing so, I have come across some markings that I am not familiar with at all, nor have I come across them in the study guides I currently have.

What does this "+8vb" marking mean?

score with "+8vb" marking

  • 1
    What is the blue tick in the bottom right corner of the page?
    – Vighnesh
    Aug 27, 2023 at 6:46
  • Ah, yes, 8ᵛᵇ, the classic Italian abbreviation for "ottavb."
    – A. R.
    Feb 27 at 13:30

1 Answer 1


+8vb means those notes are played one octave lower than written. Otherwise they would be on leger lines and more tricky to read. Also found as 15vb meaning two octaves lower. And the opposite is 8va to play an octave higher, usually found in the treble clef. Dashed lines take us to the end of the affected part.

EDIT: since the previous notes are octaves, it makes good sense, as Killian Foth says, that + 8vb means play the shown notes and those an octave lower, difficult to write due to too many leger lines.

  • 6
    This score clearly shows "+ 8va", which means to play the lower octave in addition to the notated pitch. You're describing the normal "8va_____", which tells you to play the lower octave instead of the notated pitch. Jan 8, 2017 at 18:58
  • 1
    Why wouldn't 2 octaves lower be 16vb instead of 15? Jan 8, 2017 at 20:26
  • 3
    @RockinCowboy - in a word 'no'!! Don't count the actual octave note twice!
    – Tim
    Jan 8, 2017 at 21:07
  • 2
    @RockinCowboy Because C to E is a third, E to G is a third, but C to G is not a 6th.
    – user19146
    Jan 8, 2017 at 22:29
  • 2
    The sign means literally "Plus ottava bassa", or "Add the lower octave." Jan 9, 2017 at 19:29

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