The Art of Connecting Chords

Arpeggios are a method of practicing chords by playing the three note chord and then connecting it to the root note an octave above.

Example: C E G C

In practice it is used to connect the same chord several times in a row for the full range available in your instrument.

Play Over Several Octaves

Let’s say you have an instrument that has a 4 octave range. You play the C Major Arpeggio as follows starting at the lowest note available and working up in tone ending on the same note as you started 4 octaves up.

Going up the Arpeggio:

C E  G  C E  G  C E  G  C E  G  C

Then reverse and come down the arpeggio:

Since you landed on C going up the first note played coming down will be G

_ G  E  C G  E  C G  E   C E  G  C

This is how that will be scored (written) on the staff:

C Arpeggio Triplets

(The fingering for the keyboard is shown – top  is right hand, bottom is left hand, note that on the piano the two hands are played together an octave apart, i.e. the right hand would start on the C an octave higher.)

Accenting an Arpeggio

There are two common ways to practice or play an arpeggio. The first is to group them in threes where you can accent the C every time you play it. 

C Arpeggio Triplets

The second is to group in fours and accent every fourth note played after your first accent. This causes you to accent every note in the chord but in different places as shown above in the first example with the > mark.

So if you play arpeggios using eight notes you accent the 1st and 3rd beat. If you play them using sixteenth notes you accent each beat.

C Arpeggio 15ths

There are plenty of reference books that show instrument fingerings for practicing arpeggios. In order to make them work for you, create a tracking chart for practicing them. This will pay off greatly in making you more flexible in playing chords.

Learning Resources

Creating Chords

cover-creatingchordsBefore you buy another music learning book you’d better read this!

Every wondered why musicians can work with songs so quickly? It’s all about the chords and the scales.

Learning to create, recognize and work with chords and scales is essential in mastering music.

It can be intimidating for the beginning student.

Don’t let them get the best of you. These Getting It Down Cold Workshops easily lead you through the process step by step.

And in a fraction of the time that most students take to learn this vital part of music. Learn more about the workshops here: GIDC Workshops