Parallel octave


Audio: parallel octave (0:08)

Parallel octave
Figure: parallel octave

parallel octave audio plays parallel octaves on a metallophone in the key of C. The parallel octave figure shows the score. The melody in bars 3-4 is an invert retrograde variant of bars 1-2.

A parallel octave is a part which is an octave above or below another part.

Parallel unisons and octaves are easy to write. They are such obvious harmonic techniques that they can easily be overlooked. They change the timbre of a sound by doubling an existing part.

A few musical instruments, mainly stringed instruments, are tuned in parallel. The mandolin has four pairs of strings tuned in unison. The 12-string guitar has four pairs of strings tuned in octaves and two pairs tuned in unison.