Remember the first time you opened a box of crayons when you were little? Most likely, you had a box of eight colors. Not bad. At first, eight was all you needed. You had all of your primary colors. What else could you want, right? Everything was peachy until you needed an aqua shade for water or maroon for bricks. Then you realized that just eight crayons doesn’t cut it. You need more. There is more than one shade of blue; more than one shade of red. You coveted that 64 crayon box. You know, the one with the crayon sharpener on the back! Now we’re talking. Every shade of every color you’d ever need, right there in one box. That poor eight-pack of crayons never had a chance.
Well, if we didn’t have octaves, all of music would be created with a twelve-pack of crayons, figuratively speaking. Songs would sound limited because we’d only have twelve notes to play. Octaves expand the chromatic scale so we theoretically have an infinite amount of notes to play.
How does this work? It’s actually really simple. When we run out of notes, we just start from the beginning again.
A B C D E F G A B C D E F G A B C D E F G A B C D E F G A B C D E F G A B C D E F G A B C D E F G A B C D E F G A B C D E F G A B C D E F G A B C D E F G A B C D E F G A B C D E F G A B C D E F G A B C D E F G A B C D E F G A B C D E F G A B C D E F G . . . .
You get the point. So you might be asking what’s the difference between all of the A notes, for example. The answer is pitch. Each note octave of a note has a different pitch but a similar sound. Think of each A note as a blue; each B note as green; each C as yellow…etc. This is how the notes would look if they were color-coded:
There are lots of octaves, just like there are lots of varieties of the color blue, or green or any other color.
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