Musical Term Definitions


From the note A to the A above it is an octave. From the note B to the B below it is an octave. From F# to the F# above it is an octave. An Octave is a musical interval that is 12 half steps or 8 diatonic degrees apart. When you play a standard major or minor scale you are spanning an octave.


A Scale is a pattern of notes either ascending or descending, that adhere to a specific structure of intervals.

Note or Tone

A note or tone is a pitch that can be heard and defined by the ear.


A triad is a group of three notes that are 1/3 apart. Traids are formed using the 1st, 3rd and 5th note of a scale (See: Triads & Chord Character).


Chords are similar to triads, but the notes in a chord need not be 1/3 apart and may contain more than 3 notes (See: Triads & Chord Character).

Transpose, Transposition

Transposition is the act of moving a musical piece from one key to another. Musicians usually transpose a piece in order to accommodate vocal ranges. For example, a singer may transpose a song down if he or she has a low voice and cannot hit the high notes in the song. If on the other hand, a vocalist wishes to show off his or her great range, then he or she may transpose a song up to a higher key to make the high notes more dramatic.