Arpeggios Practice Technique of Grouping Notes

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in Methods

Practicing arpeggios is one of the toughest things I have to force myself to do. When playing the arpeggios I find this is the first place I lose my dexterity and skill when I don’t take the time to keep up on them.

C major arpeggioArpeggios are used in music a lot. It is nothing more than a broken chord played several times up the note range and down again. The extension in songs is playing the chord at various amounts from just one chord in the octave to any note in any other octave.

Grouping Notes for More Effective Arpeggio Practice

There are three really good ways to practice arpeggios to keep them from becoming a practice burden.

  1. Smooth even playing without accenting
  2. Grouping notes in threes
  3. Grouping notes in fours

Smooth Even Arpeggios

In the first method you are simple playing all notes with even tone and pressure. This is actually very difficult control. Your hand is moving and you are to keep it as even as possible.

What normally happens is that you don’t concentrate on this evenness and just play the arpeggio just to get through it. Not good folks it becomes rote and boring. By concentrating on this one requirement you can improve your mind set and your practice by simply trying to improve on the last round.

Grouping in Threes

This is the easiest way to start practicing the arpeggio as the root note of the chord is accented as compared to the other two notes. For the piano player that means the thumb accents each root note.

The accent of loud next soft then louder to loud is fairly easy to achieve and good starting practice.C Major arpeggio triplets

Grouping in Fours

Grouping in fours requires that a different note of the chord get accented each time. This grouping requires more concentration and effort and improves your skill and control when playing. Again a great benefit in playing and embellishing songs phrases.

You can refer back to the post on scale practice to get more information on this technique.C Major arpeggion group in fours

Of course you could vary this and group in sixes or fives to expand your skill and practice to keep it from getting boring.

Dealing with Connecting Notes on the Keyboard

One of the hardest things to do in the arpeggio is to connect the notes is the crossing of the thumb. Alex Peskanov in the Russian Technical Regimen teaches a technique called the flying thumb.

This is in essence a method of smoothing out the cross over by allowing the thumb to fly to the root note as the third or fourth finger is coming up off the last note of the chord. You should practice just the crossovers until you find a smooth transition to create that connected sound.

To learn more start here: Alexander Peskanov’s the Russian Technical Regimen for the Piano Introduction and Guide (Alexander Peskanov’s the Russian Technical Regimen for the Piano (Series of 6 books), Introduction and Guide, Volume 1)

Reference lessons:

Scales page or Scale and Key Workshop

Chords page or Creating Chords Workshop

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