When playing rolled chords on piano, do you lift each finger from the note before pressing the next note and the next note? For example , take the chord c,e,g. As you play each note (C) finger 5; then (E) finger 3; then (G) finger 1. Is the technique to lift each finger as you play the rolled chords?

  • Just checking, are you aware of the term arpeggio, and you're not asking about that? Commented Apr 17, 2023 at 20:32
  • 1
    Yes, I am aware of arpeggios,but I have some music that requires rolled chords up to the notes on treble clef with the left hand. However, I'm not too good at understanding arpeggios either.
    – Annetta
    Commented Apr 17, 2023 at 21:42

3 Answers 3


No, in a rolled chord, the goal is to play the entire chord, but rather than play ever note at the same time, the notes are played one at a time until the entire chord is complete.

If one rolls a C Major chord (C - E - G), then

  • C is played and held
  • E is played and held
  • G is played and held
  • The entire chord is held for the duration indicated in the notation.

Depends. It might be rolled and sustained, it might be rolled and staccato, or anything in-between. If sustained, the sustain might be achieved by holding the fingers down, or with the sustain pedal. Some rolled chords are too big to be played with finger sustain, indeed they're rolled precisely BECAUSE they are bigger than the hand stretch.

Some might argue that if NOT sustained, by one means or the other, it's a fast arpeggio rather than a rolled chord. A fair point, but not I think a conclusive one.

This video covers playing them pretty comprehensively.


Not necessarily. We have the use of the sustain pedal on the piano, which often comes into play when the notes involved are harmonious, as they are in a chord.

So there's really no need to hang on to each note as it's played as a rolled chord, as the sustain pedal will probably be used anyway.

But if the sustain (damper) pedal isn't used, it makes sense to hold each note, otherwise the whole effect of a chord as such is lost.

  • There is a definitely a different effect depending on whether the (rolled) chord is played with or without the sustain pedal. Sympathetic harmonics from the unsuppressed strings Commented Apr 18, 2023 at 13:47

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