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Learning Arpeggios on the Piano

By Edited Aug 7, 2016 0 0

Breaking up Chords to Create New Accompaniments

The term arpeggio, Italian for breaking it up, refers to breaking up a chord into individual notes. In fact, absolutely any chord can be broken up and played as an arpeggio. This is easy to do, especially on a piano or keyboard, as all 12 notes are already separated for you into the keys. It also makes learning new chords easier, as you are taking apart the chords and learning the small bits of information (the keys) that make them up.

Arpeggios will help your understanding of the flow of songs, and also will prepare you for working with triads in music. Practicing these will also help you with understanding melodies, and will give you much a better feel for rhythm and timing. Just make sure you stay relaxed while you practice, and don’t repeatedly tense up if you do not get things right immediately. Have fun with your practice and enjoy the sound of the instrument.

If you are studying new chords, remember that it helps to take it slow. It also helps to take each chord apart and look at the notes individually, and this is exactly what it means to arpeggiate a chord. Arpeggios are built from the notes of a chord. The only difference between the two is that chords require you to play the notes all at once, and arpeggios are played in sequence.

Playing arpeggios instead of chords can really help you in playing most instruments, particularly piano or guitar. If you are playing piano, try playing the chord with your left hand, and playing an arpeggiated series of notes of that same chord with your right hand. Then reverse it, playing a chord with your right hand and an arpeggio with your left hand.

Another neat option is extending the arpeggio to the note an octave above the root of the chord. For example, if you were playing a C Major chord, you would arpeggiate it by playing the C note, then the E note, followed by the G note, and finally the C note one octave above the first C note (Make sure you do some hand and finger stretching before you attempt this). These types of arpeggios lend themselves very well to playing accompaniments as triplets, when there are three notes to a beat.

Playing arpeggios up and down the scale, and in both hands, will surely help your musical style to blossom. And you should never feel limited in using arpeggios, as they will sound appropriate as an accompaniment to any piece of music where the root chord was equally appropriate.


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