In a piece I am learning the sheet music suggests I should play in one octave, when the piece is performed in a different octave. I need help figuring out the notation.

Consider the following piece of sheet music:

enter image description here

From listening to the piece, I know that bars 4 and 5 repeat bars 2 and 3, but an octave higher. However it is non-obvious to me that this should be the case from the sheet. Bar 4 switches to treble in the left hand, so that is clearly a higher octave. But the right hand notation doesn't change from bars 2 and 3 to bars 4 and 5.

Am I missing something? Or is the sheet ambiguous?

1 Answer 1


Looks like bars 4 and 5 are missing the 8va sign applicable to the treble clef. Without it, both hands will be fighting for room.

  • 1
    You're assuming (probably correctly, to be fair) that it's to be played on piano - but that's not the only possibility (e.g. it could be played, without the hands fighting, on an organ with multiple manuals... though I don't know enough about how organ music is typically notated to know if that's likely!)
    – psmears
    Mar 13, 2020 at 11:17
  • 2
    @psmears - I am indeed. Based mainly on the treble and bass clefs bracketed. if 'twere on organ, there would more likely be one treble and a bass clef, with another bass clef for pedals, I think.
    – Tim
    Mar 13, 2020 at 11:51

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.