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#3201081 03/14/22 02:57 PM
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Sorry for the newbie question.
I am not sure how to play the two arpeggios marked by the two arrows on this picture:
https://ibb.co/L0KLCcN
For the first arpeggio I think I should play the 3 notes that it is composed of, separately, from the bottom note up - each for the duration of one quarter note (that way the 3 notes would be evenly distributed inside the measure). Am I right?
What about the second arpeggio? It is composed of only 2 notes. Should I play each of the two notes separately, each lasting 1 and a half quarter note?

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You play each note separately from bottom up quickly and keep them for the duration of the bar.


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It should sound like a guitar chord. Don't play each note as separate notes with definite values.

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Hi Bill,

We all have asked similar questions as beginners.... all of us.

These are rolled chords, not arpeggios. The piece is in 3/4 time, and the chord notes are dotted half notes, so you hold the rolled chord notes down for 3 full beats (the whole measure). Pay attention to the other note values as well..... you should probably count this out loud as 'one and two and three and one......' Slow at first wins the race!

good luck


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Yeah those wiggly lines means a rolled chord. Notes played separately, but with little time between the notes, so the listener perceives them a one chord.

I have a recording of Valentina Lisitsa playing Bach Busoni Chaconne D Minor BWV 1004, and the effect of the rolled chords is fantastic.

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Maybe in USA you guys have a different way of explaining things with your 1/4 notes and so on, but I've always thought that the little squiggly line indicates an arpeggio, that the notes are to be played arpeggiated.

Perhaps someone could explain to me the difference between a rolled chord and an arpeggio. I would respectfully suggest that they are the same thing.

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Originally Posted by CharlesXX
Maybe in USA you guys have a different way of explaining things with your 1/4 notes and so on, but I've always thought that the little squiggly line indicates an arpeggio, that the notes are to be played arpeggiated.

Perhaps someone could explain to me the difference between a rolled chord and an arpeggio. I would respectfully suggest that they are the same thing.


As stated previously, a rolled chord is the piano equivalent of a guitar strum:

. . . the individual notes (like the strings on a strummed guitar) are played quickly from bottom to top, _almost_ all at the same time.

In an arpeggio, each note has its own start-time (within the bar) and duration.


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"In an arpeggio, each note has its own start-time (within the bar) and duration."

Let's just say that I don't agree with that definition.

Perhaps in Australia we do things differently, but someone that has taught music for quite a few decades, I had not even heard of a rolled chord before now. OK. I'm old. Maybe I've just forgotten, but it's not something we teach especially.

"The Oxford English Dictionary", Vol 1 pg 643. arpeggio, "The employment of the notes of a chord in rapid succession instead of simultaneously; a chord thus played or sung."

The second edition of the "Harvard Dictionary of Music", pg 54 "The notes of a chord played one after another instead of simultaneously." Numerous examples are further given. Worth a look.

I can't find a definition of a rolled chord in these books, but on the internet (so it must be true) : "A rolled chord is a chord whose notes are played quickly in order, as opposed to simultaneously; to give a chord a harp-like effect."

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Another way of putting what some are saying is that in an arpeggio, the note value of each note in the notes that make up the arpeggio is specific; e.g. sixteenth notes and are played "in time," one after the other (look at Chopin's Op. 10, No. 1 Etude, for example, four notes to the beat).

In a rolled chord, while the notes are played successively and not simultaneously just as they are in an arpeggio, the individual notes do not have a separate time value with respect to the other notes in the chord, but are played as a broken or "rolled" chord so that the top note of the chord usually - but not always - lands on the beat. This means that the rolled chord starts a fraction before the beat - again, I say "usually." Look at Chopin's Op. 10, No. 11 where the "rolled" chords (so indicated by the wavy line) are played so that the top note ends on the beat.

I, in North America and with my North American training primarily by European-trained pianists/teachers, would call the Op.10, No. 11 a study in rolled chords, while the Op. 10, No. 1 is an arpeggio study. Would some call the Op. 10, No. 11 an arpeggio study as well?

The sources quoted above don't make a distinction between the two with respect to the note values in the chords being played, although I think that many of us do, and I think that that is an important distinction.

Regards,

Last edited by BruceD; 03/15/22 12:15 AM.

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All that verbiage above from me notwithstanding, I do think that some will call the example queried by the OP an arpeggiated chord!

Cheers!


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The term rolled chord is a modern term coming from jazz or pop music and is purely american. I have never seen anything equivalent in german, italian or french. None of the classical theory book ever used that term.

In classical music, The wavy line is always called an arpeggio. BTW arpeggio is coming from italian arpeggiare ie to play on a harp. In italian the harp is arpa and in greek άρπα (arpa).

Essentially it just means that harmony is played by successive notes instead of simultaneous. How fast and how long each note is played does not change the definition. In other words an arpeggio can be played quickly in which case, I guess it is akin to what pop musician call a rolled chord or it can be written out with specific duration assigned to each note. In both cases it is still an arpeggio.

In the baroque period which used a lot the arpeggio technique on the harpsichord in imitation to the luth type playing, there are many ways of arpeggiating a chord, including using foreign notes to the base harmony, and with different duration for each note. The exact lenght can vary as well and it is not necessarily fast. It can also be played several times and when applied to half notes in slow mouvements it can be played from bottom to top followed by top to bottom. See the Bach chromatic fantasy. Very often The arpeggiation is not even indicated and chords can be arppegiated even without any sign.

That said for the wavy line the usual way to play it is indeed quickly from bottom up (like a rolled chord in pop) which is one way of arpeggiating the chord essentially coming from french ornamentation. Interestingly in the 17th century Chambonniere in his book of harpsichord still uses the term harpègement with an h which shows clearly the origin of the term, when in modern french it is now written arpègement from the italian origin.


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Very interesting as usual Sidokar but I think it's too much information for the OP who just wants to play this simple piece (it looks like the end of Lady Greensleeves). Even playing block chords is fine I think.

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Originally Posted by Qazsedcft
Very interesting as usual Sidokar but I think it's too much information for the OP who just wants to play this simple piece (it looks like the end of Lady Greensleeves). Even playing block chords is fine I think.

Sure, I agree !


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BruceD, I would describe the op.10 #1 as a study consisting of broken chords.

The op.10 #11 is a study using arpeggios. The wavy line for me indicates an arpeggio.

How would you describe the opening chord of the Beethoven Sonata op.31 #2? Surely Beethoven did not know about rolled chords. But arpeggios? I would describe it as an arpeggiated chord.

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Originally Posted by CharlesXX
I would describe it as an arpeggiated chord.
I agree entirely with your use of "arpeggiated chords" rather than 'roll', as I was brought up on British English (including in my home country - though we had American game shows and movies, and Dynasty and Dallas on TV, so I learnt to speak British English with an American accent), and now live in good ol' Blighty, but being on an American website, I tend to roll with the waves and endeavor (note my Americanized spellings cool) to conform, as it were.

Even going as far as to say "sixty-fourth note" rather than the far more impressive hemidemisemiquaver......... wink

I never heard of "roll" or fractionated notes in relation to classical music until I joined PW.........but one has to adapt in this world.


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Well, whatever terminology is used, the most important element is that we hope we know what we are talking about and that others understand.

Some of us still have to confirm the reference when we see such terms as "quaver, semi-quaver, minim, breve," etc., in spite of our long-term residence here! smile

Cheers, all!





Regards,

Last edited by BruceD; 03/15/22 02:29 PM.

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