While working through 'Duet in D' for piano, by A. Diabelli, I came across this unfamiliar notation that looks like a slur between two notes of the same chord or some kind of bracket (see below). What is this notation called, and how do I read it?

Bar 112 of Diabelli's 'Duet in D'

1 Answer 1


It's an alternate way to notate an arpeggio.

arpège (Fr.), arpeggio (It.), arpeggi (It. plural): (Italian, meaning 'in the manner of a harp') a spread chord played from the top down or from the bottom up indicated by a vertical wavy line, a vertical square bracket or a curved bracket (the latter two signs are now uncommon).

(Direct quote from Dolmetsch. Always a great place to start when looking for music symbols)

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  • If the notes aren't supposed to be played at the same time, why are they on top of one another? Is the arpeggio too fast to be written correctly otherwise? Commented Mar 8, 2019 at 20:51
  • 2
    usually yes, but not necessarily. arpeggios can be played slow too and, secondly, there is much freedom in playing arpeggios. up/down, add notes, hold certain notes, play some notes more often... arpeggi are embalishements like trillo, mordent, they too are only notated as a symbol.
    – tommsch
    Commented Mar 8, 2019 at 21:06

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