2

What is the correct way to play an arpeggiated chord such as the following?
Arpeggiated Chord

Is the correct way to play the bottom note and add on the top notes one by one (so the end result is a solid chord), or should you play it like a quick broken chord and hold the top note? I'm asking because I often do both of these options and wonder which one is correct. Also, sometimes I see chords with a large range between the bottom and top notes, leading to me wondering if the composer intended it to be played sequentially.

2

You must hold all the notes. If the composer wants you to play successive notes that are not held, they will be notated as grace notes (small type notes not counted against the bar rhythm) instead.

  • I'm also wondering because sometimes composers add arpeggiated that would normally be too big of a stretch to play. – ericw31415 Jan 1 '18 at 15:13
  • That's true, but usually they do this in combination with the sustain pedal, so that the effect is the same as if you held all the notes manually. – Kilian Foth Jan 2 '18 at 7:16
1

Each note is notated as a semibreve - 4 beats long. This is translated in playing as making each one last that long - a full bar probably. As the highest will be last to be played it won't last exactly those 4 beats, but, depending on the player and the style of music, the arp. could be started before the bar, so the top note is played on the beginning of the bar, or, start with the lowest note on the first beat, which is the more usual way to play an arp. Generally, something such as this will be pedalled, so actually physically holding down all the keys becomes unnecessary.

  • I'm also wondering because sometimes composers add arpeggiated that would normally be too big of a stretch to play. – ericw31415 Jan 1 '18 at 15:14
  • 1
    That's why the last sentence is there. – Tim Jan 1 '18 at 15:19

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.