Found this whilst reading some basic theory on wikipedia, but am trying to figure out what the supposed meaning is.

example: b-c' kleine secunde 16:15 source: Wikipedia link with interval table ( dutch )

Rest of the table has some references with apostrophe, and some without, from what i can gather its only on small intervals ( i.e. minor second, minor third, diminished fifth )

2 Answers 2


As far as I can conclude from that web page's "Moderne naamgeving" section, the apostrophe denotes a note in a higher octave, assuming that the C notes determine octave boundaries. Note that the perfect unison is merely " c-c " and the perfect octave is " c-c' " there.

  • To round out this answer, the apostrophe here is about the next octave up, not the absolute octave of the A a a' a'' a''' series with a' being the 440Hz a note which I first though about in the b - c' example.
    – ndim
    Mar 14, 2019 at 0:56

As @Dekkadeci says, the primes refer to the next octave. The lower octave would be indicated by a comma: c, .

This is the notation used in LilyPond, http://lilypond.org/index.html, which is a program of Dutch origin.

enter image description here

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.