The word arpeggio comes from the Italian word arpeggiare and it means to play on a harp. If a singer sang an arpeggio or a pianist played an arpeggio, it would be a group of notes for a particular chord one after the other. It can also be called a broken chord. For instance, the C chord consists of C E & G, so you would sing or play C E G one right after the other and you can end with a C on top (C E G C). I use arpeggios in many of my vocal warm up exercises, as well as piano exercises.

The arpeggio (a type of broken chord) is played or sung in a sequence of notes. You can expand the notes to one or more octaves. A broken chord will sometimes repeat the notes from the chord or use inversions and cover a few octaves. But the arpeggio is a type of broken chord, in which the notes that compose a chord are played or sung in a rising or descending way, in the order of C E G. The arpeggio jumps over notes, C (skip D), E (skip F), and G, ascending and descending in that order. It’s the 1st, 3rd, and 5th, the 1st being C, the 3rd being E, and the 5th being G.

The broken chords are a type of arpeggiation, but the difference is the order which the notes are played or sung. The broken chord is a chord that is not blocked which means they are played at the same time (blocked).


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