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What comes after 8va and 15ma in Piano music? I have tried searching, but nothing helpful comes up.

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4 Answers 4

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Well, purely theoretically, a three-octave transposition would be 22ma. A four-octave transposition would be 29ma. You just keep adding 7 to each previous number.

However, don't use these. No one except true music nerds will be able to puzzle out what you mean. It's not standard music notation. I've never seen an example of this, and even 15ma is exceptionally rare, to the point that many musicians wouldn't know what it means. (However, an internet search tells me, weirdly, that some music fonts include glyphs for 22ma or even 22mb!)

For piano, either use ledger lines or change clef instead.

The only utility I can think of potentially for these symbols might be in inserting cue notes for an instrument in a wildly different range and refusing to change clef. (But cue notes frequently don't notate correct octave anyway, so this sort of thing simply isn't necessary.)

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  • Musescore has 22ma lines in the same section as 15ma lines (if you care to use them).
    – Dekkadeci
    Oct 2, 2022 at 7:23
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There's nothing after 15ma. You'll just have to bite the bullet and draw a ledger line or two. A note on the second ledger line, marked 15ma, is the top C on a grand piano so you shouldn't need to write notes higher than that unless you're transcribing bats.

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    maybe the OP is in possession of a Imperial Bösendorfer
    – Neil Meyer
    May 6, 2020 at 15:11
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Nothing. Look at my piano (it's a slightly short one, the full 88 notes would reach C).

And look at the notation. Section A doesn't require an 8va line. B and C are 8va and 15ma. There is no section D. None is needed, There's no more piano :-)

enter image description here

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    Unless you are fortunate enough to have one of those Bosendorfers, with the 'hidden' extra low octave...
    – Tim
    May 4, 2020 at 6:54
  • @Laurence Payne Nice pic. Yamaha? I envy you that long stand. And the Leroy Anderson! What's in it? May 4, 2020 at 12:57
  • Bechstein. Don't envy the long stand, make one like I did! Simple bit of woodwork.
    – Laurence
    May 4, 2020 at 13:16
  • Yep, but in these days of digital pianos, not all that difficult to pitch-shift the whole dang thing a couple octaves :-) May 4, 2020 at 17:41
  • @Tim: Even if you do have one of those extended pianos, 15ma bassa is plenty to notate all of the notes in that octave, with just a couple ledger lines.
    – Athanasius
    May 4, 2020 at 18:50
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I found this use of 29ma in this Keyboard book from the musical Spamalot. When playing multiple MIDI instruments, it's sometimes necessary to pre-program octaves when you simply don't have enough hands! Thought it would be interesting anyway.

Extract from 'Knights of the Round Table - Keyboard 3 - Spamalot

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  • That’s a really good find! Mar 8, 2023 at 13:04

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