Frequently asked questions about arpeggios

Remember that this topic is about arpeggios for all instruments, not about arpeggio technique on the guitar. Both are different concepts. However, we are clarifying some doubts so that the two are no longer confused. This article aims to clarify some of the main doubts about the arpeggio.

What is an arpeggio?

To venture into the subject, it is important to know what arpeggio is. Basically, an arpeggio is playing the notes of a chord in succession. In other words, one at a time. For example: if we have the chord E major formed by the notes E – G # – B. If we play these notes in isolation, then we have the arpeggio of E. Many people think that the name “arpeggio” comes from the instrument called “harp” which is played by arpeggios with fingers. However, this is only a theory. We use arpeggio on the guitar, the keyboard, and the guitar. In the latter instrument, there is also a more specific technique that uses playing one string at a time and is widely used for solos and riffs and even for improvising on the guitar. But that’s a topic for another class.

What differentiates chords from arpeggios?

While chords are played at the same time, arpeggios, as mentioned earlier, are played one note at a time. And a detail here: you can either play arpeggios starting with the root or starting with one of the other notes that make it up (the third or fifth). You can use the arpeggio to compose the solo of a piece or even to enrich your harmonies. And, as mentioned earlier, the guitar arpeggio can also be used to do improvisations and solos.

How to learn arpeggios

To start learning arpeggio, you need to already know some chords, rhythm, and timing between the right and left hand. To start making your first arpeggios on the guitar, for example, you will need to know the bass of the chord (the lowest string and usually the note that gives the chord its name).

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