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> What Are Arpeggios, Learn to Recognize the 2 Different Uses of the Term Arpeggios
The Professor
post Apr 1 2013, 11:39 AM
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What Are Arpeggios?



One of the most common melodic techniques that we come across when learning how to play guitar are Arpeggios. But, while we may know or recognize the term, we may not know exactly what it means when applied to soloing, writing music or analyzing music from a guitar perspective.

So, in today’s theory lesson we’ll be looking at what exactly is an Arpeggio, and check out some examples of these shapes in both tab and notation.


Arpeggios The Technique



For anyone that plays classical guitar, this is the term most widely used in that genre when speaking about chords that are “plucked” one note at a time rather than “strummed” all together.

If you hold an open C chord, and instead of strumming the chord all at once you pluck each note separately, you are in essence “Arpeggiating” that chord. You are creating an arpeggio, series of plucked chord tones, out of a chord shape.

This is the first way that the term arpeggio is used in relation to the guitar, but it is not the most common use of the term when talking about rock, jazz, fusion, pop or other genres. In those genres, the term is mostly used in a single-note context.



Arpeggios the Melodic Device



The more common use of the term, at least outside of the classical genre, is to describe the notes of a chord being played one after the other in a single-line context.

You can see examples of this in the tab and notation below where there is a chord in the first bar of each example, and then the related arpeggio for each chord next to it in the following bars.

Notice how the chord and each corresponding arpeggio contain the same notes, but that the chord is stacked straight up and the arpeggio is laid out one note after the other, side-by-side.

Since some of these voicings are impossible to play on the guitar, unless you have extra fingers!, I've written out tab for as many of the notes as I could manage for the first couple, and then just the notes in the staff for the rest.

Now you can see why it's important to learn arpeggios as they can allow you to play chords/chord tones all in a row that you could never play stacked together as one chord on the guitar.


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As guitarists you will probably see both uses of this term from time to time, so it’s good to know both. As a little reference chart, here are the two definitions next to each other.

A plucked chord grip that is played one-note at a time rather than strummed.
The notes of any chord that are laid out in a single-line context rather than played in a stacked formation.

Do you have any question or comments about Arpeggios or this article? Share your thoughts in the thread below.

This post has been edited by The Professor: Apr 2 2013, 12:03 AM


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korblitz
post Apr 1 2013, 10:34 PM
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Really interesting stuff. Might have to have an eye on your following Arpeggio posts...

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The Professor
post Apr 1 2013, 11:29 PM
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QUOTE (korblitz @ Apr 1 2013, 10:34 PM) *
Really interesting stuff. Might have to have an eye on your following Arpeggio posts...


Thanks man, going to be looking at all the different arpeggios starting tomorrow!


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korblitz
post Apr 2 2013, 10:27 AM
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QUOTE (The Professor @ Apr 1 2013, 11:29 PM) *
Thanks man, going to be looking at all the different arpeggios starting tomorrow!



It seem's that applying CAGED to arpeggios help me "not think" and play more.

[attachment=31379:CAGED_AR...rizontal.jpg]
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The Professor
post Apr 2 2013, 10:31 AM
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QUOTE (korblitz @ Apr 2 2013, 10:27 AM) *
It seem's that applying CAGED to arpeggios help me "not think" and play more.

[attachment=31379:CAGED_AR...rizontal.jpg]


Yep the CAGED system is a good way to learn the shapes for each Arpeggio on the neck of the guitar. If you are looking to know the notes of those arpeggios, then combining the understanding of how they are built with the actual CAGED shapes is a great way to go about it.


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