What does this technique called? Also, what's the proper notation for this? The audio link is attached below.


Edit: It sounds like fast arpeggio repeated over and over again with the same voicing.

  • I call that 'rolling' a chord, but no official backing for that.
    – Tim
    Mar 28, 2023 at 15:59

2 Answers 2


Adding to Aaron’s answer some notation remarks: In orchestral music such a between-two-notes tremolo is usually notated by notating the two notes in question with double length and putting tremolo beams between them.

In piano notation there is a special notation for this, where the tremolo beams attach to the stems of the notes, making it look like it was a pair of small notes with note heads from large notes. This is only really used for a total length written with a half note, as a whole note would look weird, and black notes allow for no distinguishing between smaller note values (so a 32th tremolo lasting a quarter would look just like 32th notes). Thus for such cases there is a notation where the first beam is attached to the stems, while the other beams are not.

Here is how these three variants look:

enter image description here

  • This notation is far more common than that in Aaron's answer, at least in piano music I've seen (Mostly classical and romantic period. Maybe the other is more of a jazz-thing?) Mar 29, 2023 at 16:12
  • Although I've never seen them in practice, multiple note/chord tremolos in this style are also possible, and probably a better fit for an arpeggiated chord (as mentioned by Gould, p. 229). Apr 1, 2023 at 13:36

It's called a "shake", "tremolo", or "tremolando".

  • Shake: this term is most often used by jazz or blues players, and is IMO the most descriptive.
  • Tremolo: probably the most common term, though some musicians use it to mean repetition of a single note.
  • Tremolando: less common, and technically a synonym for "tremolo", but some musicians use it to mean repetition between multiple notes.

To get the specific effect, it's probably most clear to write "shake", "trem.", or "tremolo" above the notated chord.

"shake"/"trem."/"tremolo" notation example

"Tremolo bars" are also fine.

Tremolo bar notation example

One can also use a trill line to indicate duration.

Shake with trill line

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