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First attested in 1922; probably formed as octav(e) +‎ -ation, but compare octavate.


  • IPA(key): /ˈɒktəveɪʃən/, /ˈɒkteɪveɪʃən/


octavation (plural octavations)

  1. (music) Transposition by an octave.
    • 1973, George R Neaderhiser, Guidelines for the Development of a Comprehensive Music Curriculum for Elementary Secondary Schools, page unknown
      OCTAVATION (also called Pitch Control) — Changing the rate of tape speed over the playback head of a tape recorder changes the pitch of the signal being played back. If the speed is doubled, the signal will increase in pitch one octave.
    • 1977, Curt Sachs (author) and Jaap Kunst (editor), The Wellsprings of Music, page 158
      A French rondeau from the Roman de la Rose (12th century) first establishes the triad, then turns to the seventh, but leaves it immediately to catch the octave, only to return in haste to the safer, wonted seventh. A similar example of uncertain octavation will be described in the following section on the Fate of Quartal and Quintal Patterns.
    • 1988, William Primrose quoted by David J. Dalton in Playing the Viola, page 202
      I arranged ‘octavations’ which seemed to me to give the two movements greater elegance and litheness.
    • 1996 August 19th–24th, Lydia Ayers and Andrew Horner [eds.], Proceedings of the 1996 International Computer Music Conference, page 127
      The method provides a simple control mechanism to provide spectral morphing via the octavation parameter.
    • 1998, Hayes Biggs and Susan Orzel (editors), Musically Incorrect, page 13
      He also once mentioned a principle of “octavation” (his term), whereby, coming to a difficult point in the evolution of a contrapuntal texture, the composer could, as it were, escape to fresh territory by the straightforward strategy of jumping a part up or down by an octave.
  2. (rare) Normalization of a numerical ratio by repeated multiplication or division by 2.
    • 1922, Frank Ebenezer Miller, Vocal Art-Science and Its Application (2nd edition), pages 230 and 240
      It may be said that the sex question is both brain stem and pelvic stem in its fourfold octavation with its stabilizing governor, the pituitary body. These consist in coördination and correlation, the sex relation of octavation of voice and pitch.
    • 1923, Medical Review of Reviews XXIX, page 22
      Energy is apparently transmuted by a series of octavations and that these octavations differentiate matter.
    • 2010, Hartmut Warm, Signature of the Celestial Spheres: Discovering Order in the Solar System, ISBN 1855842351, page 58-59:
      These arise when the reciprocal of the orbital periods in seconds is taken and the resulting number is equated to a frequency and finally transposed into a reference note by means of octavation.
  3. (astrology, rare) The relationship between two planets that are distant from each other by one eighth of a great circle (45.625 degrees)
    • 1947, George Llewellyn, Improved Perpetual Planetary Hour Book (rev. ed.), page 170
      This octavation will be qualified (and perhaps rendered nil) if on a day when Uranus is well aspected its octave Mercury should be adversely aspected, or vice versa.
  4. (mathematics) Conversion (of the expression of a number) from denary to octal notation.
    • 1949, The American Mathematical Monthly LVI, page 463
      The inverse operation, which is termed “decimation,” together with an adequate treatment for the octavation of decimal fractions will be mentioned here without consideration of the details.
    • 1956, Hugh Jones (author) and Richard Lee Morton (editor), The Present State of Virginia, page 37
      The author [] supplied elaborate rules for the use of the octave system and for the reducing of numbers from the decade to the octave system, and the reverse — processes which he called octavation and decimation, respectively.
    • 1973, Donald E. Knuth, The Art of Computer Programming (2nd edition) II: “Seminumerical Algorithms”, page 309
      The 18th century American mathematician Hugh Jones used the words “octavation” and “decimation” to describe octal/decimal conversions.

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