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Nickie
12-21-2017, 05:27 AM
A very popular and knowledgeable ukulele store owner here said something to me yesterday.
He said that chords are just arpeggios, played very fast.
I thought about that all the way home.
I don't know.
What do you think?

jer
12-21-2017, 05:32 AM
Arpeggios are just chords played slower. :p

Croaky Keith
12-21-2017, 05:38 AM
Basically......yes, unless you pluck all strings together. :)

EDW
12-21-2017, 05:41 AM
When you are strumming chords you are playing the notes at the same time. Arpeggios, sometimes known as broken chords, are the individual notes played in a sequence. The word arpeggiare comes from the Italian, meaning playing as if on a harp.

Cornfield
12-21-2017, 06:12 AM
On a low G instrument, a G chord that includes a low G would not have the low B in it. A G arpeggio could be G B D

Piecomics
12-21-2017, 06:31 AM
Chickens are just eggs.

DownUpDave
12-21-2017, 07:35 AM
I always think of it the opposite way........arpeggios are just chords played by picking single strings.

EDW
12-21-2017, 07:43 AM
I always think of it the opposite way........arpeggios are just chords played by picking single strings.

Yeah, same difference

RichM
12-21-2017, 08:36 AM
https://youtu.be/qmBEy56rXwg

olphart
12-21-2017, 09:02 AM
A rooster and an egg are lying in bed, the rooster is smoking a cigarette, the egg turns over and snarls: "Well, there's ONE mystery solved!!"

Choirguy
12-21-2017, 10:34 AM
We’re talking ukulele and guitar only, correct?

Brad Bordessa
12-21-2017, 11:41 AM
...in a sequence.

Serious question. Is an arpeggio a picking pattern? I was asked to settle a debate on this at the HIUR and formulated an answer, but I'm not set on it.

At the time, I said, an arpeggio is the chord tones played IN ORDER, up or down. Like: C E G C G E C. On the other hand, a "picking pattern" is ANY ORDER of plucked strings while holding a chord. So a picking pattern could be an arpeggio, but only in certain instances.

Anybody know the true definition - if there is such a thing?

Vic Arpeggio
12-21-2017, 11:55 AM
We’re talking ukulele and guitar only, correct?

By definition chords are more than one note played simultaneously and arpeggios are broken chords played in rising or descending order. Not just a guitar, uke phenomena, but for all instruments.

Chords played on a saxophone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ghH7ZmYrNpM

Chords by a singer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7zZainT9v6Q

LarryS
12-21-2017, 12:18 PM
Broken chords

zztush
12-21-2017, 12:53 PM
In music theory, arpeggios are broken chords. But we can not use arpeggios instead of chords often on our ukulele, because of root notes. Let's strum!

EDW
12-21-2017, 12:57 PM
Well, you can still play an arpeggio, but in inversion rather than root position. For example C chord in root- C E G, 1st inversion- E G C, 2nd inversion- G C E

DownUpDave
12-21-2017, 12:59 PM
Serious question. Is an arpeggio a picking pattern? I was asked to settle a debate on this at the HIUR and formulated an answer, but I'm not set on it.

At the time, I said, an arpeggio is the chord tones played IN ORDER, up or down. Like: C E G C G E C. On the other hand, a "picking pattern" is ANY ORDER of plucked strings while holding a chord. So a picking pattern could be an arpeggio, but only in certain instances.

Anybody know the true definition - if there is such a thing?

I guess if the sequence is repeated then it qualifies as a "pattern". So to me an arpeggio is a picking pattern.........but I've been wrong before and I'll be wrong again:p

zztush
12-21-2017, 01:03 PM
Well, you can still play an arpeggio, but in inversion rather than root position. For example C chord in root- C E G, 1st inversion- E G C, 2nd inversion- G C E

Hi, EDW!

When changes chords, we need root (base) notes first in arpeggio in general. In piano and guitar, almost always they can do it and they do but we can not do it always on our ukulele.

EDW
12-21-2017, 02:21 PM
Hi, EDW!

When changes chords, we need root (base) notes first in arpeggio in general. In piano and guitar, almost always they can do it and they do but we can not do it always on our ukulele.

Root is on the bottom if you want root position.

zztush
12-21-2017, 03:56 PM
Hi, EDW! Thank you for the replay.


Root is on the bottom if you want root position.

Make your C G7 F arpegio.

How do you start F note in arpegio? On the 2nd string?

EDW
12-21-2017, 04:11 PM
It would depend on which note I choose to begin with. As I stated, it is not necessary to start on the root as the examples above (Beethoven, Mozart, etc) indicate

EDW
12-21-2017, 05:16 PM
Root is only on the bottom in the 1st inversion. In other inversions the 3rd and 5th are on the bottom....

To clarify-Root is on the bottom in root position.(hence the name) 3rd is on the bottom in 1st inversion, 5th on the bottom in second inversion. You would also have the 7th on the bottom in 3rd inversion of a 7th chord.

zztush
12-21-2017, 10:23 PM
Hi, EDW! Thank you for the reply!


It would depend on which note I choose to begin with. As I stated, it is not necessary to start on the root as the examples above (Beethoven, Mozart, etc) indicate

I use very easy example.

I show you basic arpeggio patterns (see the figure below). This is very basic style and we have studied it in elementary school. We starts with root notes. Just try it another notes whatever you like. And think the meaning of root notes in arpeggios. Guitar have extra two bass strings and they can choose them. C and Am7 starts with 5th, Dm7 starts with 4th and G starts with 6th string. Even Beethoven can not play this on ukulele.

https://s13.postimg.org/44s70xrhz/images.png (https://postimages.org/)

We sometimes starts new chords on arpeggios with melody notes. That is fine. I use this arrangement too. But we can not play this (see the figure above) kind of basic arpeggios with 4 strings. Hence not many people use arpeggios on ukulele especially in accompaniment.

EDW
12-22-2017, 01:47 AM
I believe I have made my point as clear as I am able. Perhaps not. Perhaps we are not talking about the same thing. Rather than beat my head against the same wall again I'll move on.

Cornfield
12-22-2017, 06:33 AM
A rooster and an egg are lying in bed, the rooster is smoking a cigarette, the egg turns over and snarls: "Well, there's ONE mystery solved!!"

Dilly dilly

Tootler
12-22-2017, 06:56 AM
I was taught that technically, if you play the notes of a chord one at a time but out of sequence e.g. C G E instead of C E G, it's a called a broken chord. However, personally it doesn't worry me if all broken chords are referred to as arpeggios.

I regularly accompany songs, especially slower ones using broken chords. I like to use a low G tuning for that as I can more easily play an alternating low - high, low - high... note pattern. I find it quite effective.

Debussychopin
12-22-2017, 12:53 PM
I don't know , whoever says a statement like that just perhaps has a confusion on simple musical concepts that doesnt really need explanation. I mean, yeah how about middle c is just a higher c but just one octave lower?

I saw a guy trying to teach clair de lune on a piano which is an piece you need some experience musically to learn and he's explaining all the notes one by one by using some strange acronym / sentence , " this note is , once again , on this line, so, remember everyone, this line between 'dog' and 'fast', so what does that mean?? It is a E !!"

Wow after 20 or so YouTube videos, hes still on page 2....if you need to explain music like that to someone, they have no business learning clair De lune

Booli
12-22-2017, 05:12 PM
if 'chords are just arpeggios'

...then 'Parrots' or 'Ravens' are just 'birds'...

:)

feathers in the quiver...tools in the box...

Nickie
12-22-2017, 06:53 PM
Wow, thanks everyone!
This certainly brought up a lot of theory to think about, some way over my head.
But it is certainly very interesting.
Going from trying to strum Jambalaya and sing it in C, to learning music theory and chord melodies is a very long journey, for me.
But I don't care how long it takes, I'm a lifetime learner.
This has become enlightening. Someday I'll understand all of it, maybe.

Croaky Keith
12-22-2017, 11:29 PM
Music theory is a huge subject, just learn what you need to know. :)

EDW
12-23-2017, 02:14 AM
Music theory is a huge subject, just learn what you need to know. :)

I often recommend that people check out Edly's Music Theory for Practical People http://www.edly.com/mtfpp.html

It is a really good book. It explains things in a very user friendly manner and actually makes theory enjoyable. While it is not essential that one learn theory, it can help the music make a lot more sense if you have a little understanding or the hows and whys of it all.

Booli
12-23-2017, 02:37 AM
I've been told by LOTS of people that if they JUST want to learn a song, that getting overwhelmed with Music Theory is a HUGE PITA.

I've got no problem with theory myself, but for MANY folks, they need extraordinary motivation and great persistence to even approach the topic, never-mind to stick with it for long enough for it to be useful.

All the talk of theory is GREAT, but I'm afraid that it's going to scare off lots of newbies who are afraid of it.

dickadcock
12-23-2017, 04:20 AM
if 'chords are just arpeggios'

...then 'Parrots' or 'Ravens' are just 'birds'...

:)

feathers in the quiver...tools in the box...

You mammals have a way with words. :)

EDW
12-23-2017, 04:41 AM
All the talk of theory is GREAT, but I'm afraid that it's going to scare off lots of newbies who are afraid of it.

The great thing about music is that you can learn as much or as little as fits your needs and desires. Most everyone drives a car or uses a computer, but not everyone has an understanding of how they work.

If I were to advise a new player, I would not necessarily suggest they jump in and learn theory to start. It is much the same as one learns language. We begin to speak as young children and the understanding of writing and reading comes a bit later.

It is helpful if one has a basic sense on note and rest values, lines and spaces on the staff and other basics. If one sees a piece of sheet music (as opposed to a chord sheet) it can help decipher what is going on. Later, if one is so inspired, perhaps a general understanding of basic harmonies and how the chords relate to one another (I, IV, V7) will be helpful. One can go as far down that path as one likes or feels necessary. If a player does not care about the nuts and bolts of it and wants to strum along happily playing and/or singing, that is great. If one wants to go more in depth that works too.

It does not have to be intimidating or scary. Some players shy away from it for fear that it will be overwhelming, which is why I always suggest Edly's book. It helps some get over that anxiety. Again, one can choose to go down that path or not, but I encourage those who are curious to explore the topic if they desire.

bratsche
12-23-2017, 08:26 AM
Coming from a lifetime of melodic instrument playing, I find it far easier to discern appropriate arpeggios to accompany a melody than to hear all the individual notes in a given chord. The latter often leaves me scratching my head, especially when going from a piano score! I like to write arrangements to play - I call them "chord melodies", but in fact they usually begin with underlying arpeggios, and then double and triple stops judiciously get added in, so there are eventually chords emerging from that process. The arpeggios may remain, or come and go, however it sounds best in the context.

Oh, and music reading and writing is not the same thing as knowing music theory, which indicates a thorough understanding of the nuts and bolts of music, and the whole "how it works" aspect! I know only the most rudimentary theory, despite making my living playing violin and then viola since my early twenties. I never formally studied music theory. So when I write arrangements, I just mostly go by what my ears tell me, and usually couldn't describe to you what chords or inversions I am even using, unless I should stop and pick them apart.

But that's just me. I generally dislike analytical approaches to any subjects I love, as it tends to make it seem more like work and less like enjoyment. I think if I were required to diagram the sentences I spoke, I would stop talking altogether. :)

bratsche

EDW
12-23-2017, 09:15 AM
Oh, and music reading and writing is not the same thing as knowing music theory, which indicates a thorough understanding of the nuts and bolts of music, and the whole "how it works" aspect!
bratsche

The reading of music is theory, but is merely the basics or rudiments. Here is a good thumbnail description. (compliments of the Wikipedia page on theory)


The Oxford Companion to Music describes three interrelated uses of the term "music theory":

The first is what is otherwise called 'rudiments', currently taught as the elements of notation, of key signatures, of time signatures, of rhythmic notation, and so on. [...] The second is the study of writings about music from ancient times onwards. [...] The third is an area of current musicological study that seeks to define processes and general principles in music — a sphere of research that can be distinguished from analysis in that it takes as its starting-point not the individual work or performance but the fundamental materials from which it is built.

zztush
12-23-2017, 01:05 PM
Hi, Nickie!



He said that chords are just arpeggios, played very fast.

In general, the statement is very true. But on ukulele, we can not see good results. The figure shows arpeggio of C, Am7, Dm7 and G on guitar. Basically we play bass (root) notes first when change chords (see red circles). We play melody notes on the last note in chords in chord melody. We play melody often 1st strings in chord melody. Our ear distinguish that root on the bottom and melody on the top in play. If we just slow in these chords on our ukulele, the results are shown on the next tab. C/G means C chord on G bass. C and C/G are different chord and different sound. We have only 4 strings on our ukulele. In this manner, it is hard to manage root (bass) note in arpeggio. We can change the arpeggio patterns in order to get root note first. But it is still very difficult and frequent change pattern leads to bad result in a song. Guitar has 6 strings and they can manage it in the figure. EDW stated that the word arpeggiare comes from the Italian, meaning playing as if on a harp. Harp has lots more strings. We can not play as if on a harp.



https://s14.postimg.org/apad8ipb5/images.png (https://postimages.org/)



C/G Am7/G Dm7/A G
A |----------3-----------3--------------0-----------0--------------3-----------3--------------1-----------1----
E |-------0-----------0--------------0-----------0--------------1-----------1--------------1-----------1-------
C |----0-----------0--------------0-----------0--------------2-----------2--------------2-----------2----------
G |-0-----------0--------------0-----------0--------------2-----------2--------------0-----------0-------------

Nickie
12-24-2017, 01:16 PM
ubu, my friend, please go easy on ZZ. He meant well, and I think I understood what he meant. I would LOVE to understand theory, it's not that I'm lazy (but I am very good at doing nothing), but hard headed. I failed college algebra twice.
I've studied MT with a teacher, and learned a little, but maybe only 10%. It's NOT easy.
And thanks for your explanation.

EDW
12-24-2017, 05:23 PM
.
I've studied MT with a teacher, and learned a little, but maybe only 10%. It's NOT easy.
And thanks for your explanation.

Try http://www.edly.com/geninfo.html as I mentioned above. It may change your perspective

spookelele
12-25-2017, 02:03 PM
nuts and bolts... are for building objects.

Music is for listening though.
In my mind.. if it sounds right, it's right, and nothing else really matters.

The thing about theory... is it's words, and analysis of something someone already pulled out of their head to explain what they did.
Someone always has to create something before it can be "theory-ed" into a label or a thesis.

But that first guy to play it... didn't theory it into existence. It just came out, and sounded right.
So.. by nature of it... sounds right has to come before someone can analyse it, and put a label on it.
And if that's true.. you don't need theory if you can just.....feel it.

That isn't to say theory isn't useful.

But.. really.. it's an academic way of studying something someone already did, and the conventions they used.
But... so is listening, and just internalizing it.

sopher
12-26-2017, 03:16 AM
"Chords are just arpeggios played fast" is absolutely correct

If you are down strumming, you first hit the 4th string and then the 3rd, then the 2nd and lastly the 1st string. They are played in sequence, not simultaneously. The fact that the separation is not easily heard does not make them actually simultaneous.

All chords are arpeggios. Even if you pluck all 4 strings, if you record that on an oscilloscope, you will find that the 4 strings do not start absolutely simultaneously. Therefore, stop quibbling. It is not possible to manually play 4 strings simultaneously - all chords are arpeggios.

Nuf said

sopher

spookelele
12-26-2017, 05:33 AM
"Chords are just arpeggios played fast" is absolutely correct

If you are down strumming, you first hit the 4th string and then the 3rd, then the 2nd and lastly the 1st string. They are played in sequence, not simultaneously. The fact that the separation is not easily heard does not make them actually simultaneous.

All chords are arpeggios. Even if you pluck all 4 strings, if you record that on an oscilloscope, you will find that the 4 strings do not start absolutely simultaneously. Therefore, stop quibbling. It is not possible to manually play 4 strings simultaneously - all chords are arpeggios.

Nuf said

sopher

Although I agree that a strummed chord is a fast arpeggio....
If you can't hear the separation, and need to slow it down mechanically..... is there a difference if you pluck them simultaneously?

Here's a thing....
An up strum and a down strum do sound different.
So you can can hear a separation. The first note in the attack is different, and the last note on the stack also makes a difference
And a fast strum sounds different from a slow strum, which is really the same as a slow vs fast arpeggio.

But if you pluck, you don't hear the separation.

In the end, its the ear we are trying to influence, by up strum, down strum, or pluck.
If we make a difference in how we play it to get that sound... then there is a difference.

Tootler
12-26-2017, 06:10 AM
<pedant alert>
When you downstrum a re-entrant tuned Ukulele, are you playing an arpeggio or a broken chord?

I suggest the latter as you are not going low to high through out but start high then drop to low

Does it really matter?
</pedant alert>

Seriously, one of the features of reentrant tuning is it down plays the difference between the down strum and the up strum since the strum in both directions starts with a high note.

As others have pointed out elsewhere it also changes the chord voicing compared with linear tuning as it puts the "bass" of the chord in a different place i.e. You are playing different inversions of the chord with the two tunings

bratsche
12-26-2017, 06:22 AM
I'd say that many, but not all, chords are just arpeggios played fast. Besides when they are plucked (simultaneously), what about when a chord has a 7th in it, for example? That note is in the chord, but it is not in the arpeggio....

bratsche

EDW
12-26-2017, 06:57 AM
I'd say that many, but not all, chords are just arpeggios played fast. Besides when they are plucked (simultaneously), what about when a chord has a 7th in it, for example? That note is in the chord, but it is not in the arpeggio....
bratsche

You could play arpeggios for all types of chords, not just triads- 7th chords, dim7, aug, etc

bratsche
12-26-2017, 08:37 AM
Okay, I concede your point. I was commenting while so fondly remembering my teen years, and the violin arpeggio studies.... 1,3,5,1,3,5,1,3,5,1,5,3,1,5,3,1,5,3,1.... up and down three octaves (sometimes four), major and minor in every key. Ugh! ;)

bratsche

EDW
12-26-2017, 09:37 AM
As I have sometimes told students- you have to do it, it is good for you, like eating your vegetables!

sopher
12-26-2017, 11:23 AM
Wanna cite the Federal Statute or Supreme Court ruling that so narrowly defines arpeggio?

sopher
12-26-2017, 12:49 PM
First, check any dictionary. Almost all say somethings like:
arpeggio: the notes of a chord played in succession, either ascending or descending.

Then, try Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arpeggio

Yes, a lot of people (even many regarded as authorities) use "arpeggio" as a fancy synonym for "broken chord," but technically arpeggios are only certain types of broken chords.

Don't be the old fart that thinks that dictionaries are the world of God and language is immutable. Dictionaries are always changing and they are always behind. They add words to the dictionary and change the meanings of words all the time because they haven't kept up with life.

For pianos I will accept fancy smancy broken chords vs arpeggios. For ukes, broken chords = arpeggios, most chords are normally played inverted and there is no difference. It isn't reasonable to say arpeggios are only non-inverted when most of the chords are inverted - don't you want to insist that everyone is "strumming inverted chords, not chords?" You make me laugh. Especially when you think wiki is some kind of supreme reference. You know that's not allowed in formal bibliographies, right. Hey, you can call them broken chords, or you can call them arpeggios, or you can call them hippopotamus, but I'll call them all arpeggios, and "technically" it's all good. I hope you can lower your nose enough to read this without hurting your neck! ;-)

ukuvas
12-26-2017, 01:42 PM
In my Guitar Lessons I learned: The term "arpeggio" means 2 different things:

1. The notes of the chord are played in succession (broken chords)
2. Arpeggios as melodic patterns using the notes of the chord

sopher
12-26-2017, 02:19 PM
In 2nd grade I learned that the Moon is made of cheese.

Sometimes, what you learn is not necessarily correct.

daviddecom
12-26-2017, 02:32 PM
There seems to be constant confusion on this thread between “non-inverted” and ”in order”. An inverted chord is simply one where the bass note is not the root. Even by the strictest definition, arpeggios can be broken root position chords or broken inverted chords.

I’m generally in agreement with ubulele here, but I think the ukulele does make the question of what should count as “in order” a little complicated. Even on a piano, arpeggios go up and back down again—who’s to say that a broken chord that starts on the high 4th string, goes down to the low 3rd string, and then comes back up again on the 2nd and 1st strings isn’t an arpeggio and a half (or rather half an arpeggio and then one)?

David

sopher
12-26-2017, 03:23 PM
Well said, sir! In my mind arpeggio is a technique, like stacatto.

Arpeggio is playing notes sequentially, one after another, rather than all at the same time... and fingerpicking over chords is also arpeggio chords, even when I'm inserting color tones and transition tones while changing chords. There are strummed chords and arpeggio chords, A or B.

Just like stacatto chords don't have to be played strictly in ascending or descending order - chord is one thing, stacatto is a quality of that chord, as is arpeggio or strummed. All else is making a differentiation without a difference

Nickie
12-26-2017, 04:42 PM
Well, what an interesting discussion!
Most of this went right over my head, but I do realize this isn't about me.
I should clarify myself, at this point.
I only want to understand music theory to the point that I need to in order to improve my playing to the point where I'm happy with it, apply chords and melodies to the songs I write, and not just come up with catchy lyrics.
I need to be able to tell what key others are playing in, and not just other ukers, but guitarists and wind instrument players and such. And know what key a singer needs to sing in to suit her voice.
But, I am glad that this sparked such a lively and informative discussion, but mostly, I'm glad we're all still getting along. We're pretty grown up here at UU, and we do have the ability to agree to disagree.
I think it's a good idea to define music theory terms to suit ourselves as ukulele players, and not be too concerned about the other instruments. Maybe.
Thanks everyone for your wonderful input, and carry on.
I think I am going to order Edly's book.
ubu, I'm not sure I'd know when you digress. LOL. You guys are so much more knowledgeable than I....

acmespaceship
12-26-2017, 07:23 PM
Every so often I hear a pianist or guitarist dismiss the ukulele as a toy. The uke is not a real musical instrument, they say, and the people who play it never develop any real skill or knowledge. I get tired of listening to those people. And I get mighty tired of reading that attitude here on an ukulele forum!

*sigh* Here we have uke players arguing that centuries of music theory cannot be applied to our instrument. We should reject the dictionary definition of "arpeggio" because... well, because it wouldn't be convenient on uke. And anyway theory is hard, which makes it an evil conspiracy and we're better off without it. We should get to use all the fancy-schmancy words, whether we understand them or not!

To paraphrase 30 Rock's immortal Dr. Spaceman: "Arpeggios are whatever we want them to be."

Which of course is not true. Words have meanings. Music has underlying theory whether you understand it or not. You can play arpeggios (not to mention scales) on ukulele. There is no need to dumb down the uke by claiming that you are playing "arpeggios" when in fact all you are doing is fingerpicking chords. The ukulele is better than this.

I am a hobbyist with little knowledge of theory. But I RESPECT my instrument. If you are genuinely curious about arpeggios and chords, please go read a book about music theory. If you are not inclined to learn about theory, that's ok. But don't tell me it's because theory is too complicated to apply to the ukulele. The ukulele can handle it.

daviddecom
12-26-2017, 07:33 PM
I agree that many strummed chords will not be arpeggios and also that you can play arpeggios by playing strings out of order.

What I meant to point out is that if you, say, slowly strum a G chord repeatedly, you end up with a 2nd inversion arpeggio going up and down:

G4 D4 G4 B4 G4 D4 G4 B4 G4 D4 ...

Obviously, this doesn’t hold for all chords, but it does suggest that the claim that strummed ukulele chords are just fast arpeggios is sometimes not wrong.

David

Jarmo_S
12-27-2017, 01:45 AM
I wish this forum be a friendly one as ukes are to us.

Myself I am a simple player .. strum mostly. Where I have something like arpeggio is when I solo then can do upwards or downwards, but slow thumb strum certainly also I count as one. Now we have mostly reentrant ukes ... i hope this is not another low G advertising thread lol?

ubulele, well he is a very serious person from posts I have seen. Scary too since he attacked me once, I remember that my whole life and was like wtf was going on in his mind? Wish you peace in mind and aloha feel if you can have. Relax maybe a little.

Despite our ukes are somewhat limited, that limitation is only something that can be used as an advantage. Our instrument is also a mighty chord machine. I play as a daily practice common chord sequences in the keys from 4 flats to 4 sharps. Major and minor. Someday I will probably widen that to all 12 keys.

Unlike guitar its easier to play with ukulele practically all the chords that are written in the songbooks. Something has to do with the reentrant tuning nature that I advertise lool. Our instruments are not castrated guitars that require to learn a whole bunch of chords to make them sound right ;)
Now I was a bit rude too, but hope in a funny way.

https://ukebuddy.com/ukulele-chords

stevepetergal
12-27-2017, 03:52 AM
Serious question. Is an arpeggio a picking pattern? I was asked to settle a debate on this at the HIUR and formulated an answer, but I'm not set on it.

At the time, I said, an arpeggio is the chord tones played IN ORDER, up or down. Like: C E G C G E C. On the other hand, a "picking pattern" is ANY ORDER of plucked strings while holding a chord. So a picking pattern could be an arpeggio, but only in certain instances.

Anybody know the true definition - if there is such a thing?

Therefore, a chord may be an arpeggio, but an arpeggio is not a chord.

sopher
12-27-2017, 05:44 AM
<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

Every so often I hear a pianist or guitarist dismiss the ukulele as a toy. The uke is not a real musical instrument, they say, and the people who play it never develop any real skill or knowledge. I get tired of listening to those people. And I get mighty tired of reading that attitude here on an ukulele forum!

*sigh* Here we have uke players arguing that centuries of music theory cannot be applied to our instrument. We should reject the dictionary definition of "arpeggio" because... well, because it wouldn't be convenient on uke. And anyway theory is hard, which makes it an evil conspiracy and we're better off without it. We should get to use all the fancy-schmancy words, whether we understand them or not!

To paraphrase 30 Rock's immortal Dr. Spaceman: "Arpeggios are whatever we want them to be."

Which of course is not true. Words have meanings. Music has underlying theory whether you understand it or not. You can play arpeggios (not to mention scales) on ukulele. There is no need to dumb down the uke by claiming that you are playing "arpeggios" when in fact all you are doing is fingerpicking chords. The ukulele is better than this.

I am a hobbyist with little knowledge of theory. But I RESPECT my instrument. If you are genuinely curious about arpeggios and chords, please go read a book about music theory. If you are not inclined to learn about theory, that's ok. But don't tell me it's because theory is too complicated to apply to the ukulele. The ukulele can handle it.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Well, you have a few things misconstrued.

No one is saying that centuries of music theory cannot be applied to our instrument. The definition of arpeggio is hardly music theory. It is semantics. And we are not rejecting the "dictionary definition of arpeggio". I looked in a lot of dictionaries and it is not always defined as "ascending or descending". Many define an arpeggio as notes played not all at once, with no reference to required order, some say it is "usually ascending" (which means it doesn't always have to be, so it can be other orders), and yes some say it is ascending or descending. Just because some dictionaries define it that way doesn't mean that all dictionaries do. And the differences in the dictionary definitions just reflect the differences in meanings. Like I said earlier, language is not immutable.

Jarmo_S
12-27-2017, 07:41 AM
No one is saying that centuries of music theory cannot be applied to our instrument. The definition of arpeggio is hardly music theory. It is semantics.

Yes semantics exactly. Now there seems to unfortunately in english wikipedia mentioned of ascending or descending order. And many poor kids sitting at piano have I guess learned what a "real" arpeggio is by the teacher with a whip cane stalking and jumping forward yelling "That's not an arpeggio! .....".

Wikipedia is not a reliable source of information anyways, but I checked it also in few other languages regarding arpeggio. My finnish says that it is often from low to high as instead to play all notes same time. Something like that.
Swedish and norwegian wikis make no mention on order. Nor does the german version.

But as told it is anyways semantics. We can't define a word and force others to think some limited way. Language has been and forever will be an evolving thing except in a very limited scientific context. There also debate continues...

Booli
12-27-2017, 07:50 AM
I don't even know what this thread is about any more.

The semantics are so thick that the focus has been lost to me. This bickering form of debate has made this topic sour for me.

Ubulele has tried to impart both useful and practical knowledge and the resistance to understanding it and accepting it with an open mind has been, extreme.

I am tired by this thread.

As such I am going to un-sub this thread after posting this, but I kindly suggest that we each consider that there is a huge world of music that many folks will never understand, either due to lack of trying or due to willful resistance, and maybe we should each ask ourselves, if it is worth doing something well, half-baked, or just not at all?

Peace be with you. :)

EDW
12-27-2017, 07:56 AM
From the Harvard Dictionary of Music:
Arpeggio-The notes of a chord played one after the other instead of simultaneously. ....Its execution always starts with the lowest note

bratsche
12-27-2017, 10:39 AM
Well, okay then!

sopher
12-27-2017, 10:47 AM
From dictionary.com
1.
the sounding of the notes of a chord in rapid succession instead of simultaneously.
2.
a chord thus sounded.

Merriam-Webster

Definition of arpeggio
plural arpeggios
1 : production of the tones of a chord in succession and not simultaneously
2 : a chord played in arpeggio

Cambridge English Dictionary
the notes of a musical chord played quickly one after the other instead of together

MacMillian Dictionary
a set of musical notes produced by playing each note in a chord separately instead of together

WordReference.com Random House
(in music) the sounding of the notes of a chord one after the other very quickly.


Oxford English dictionary
The notes of a chord played in rapid succession, either ascending or descending.

So, hardly unanimous!

ukuvas
12-27-2017, 12:16 PM
[QUOTE=sopher;2025989]In 2nd grade I learned that the Moon is made of cheese.

I did want to tellyou something about the moon

When a blues or rock lead guitarist is playing an "arpeggio", he thinks in "arpeggio shapes" but not in chord shapes. He is fretting and playing only one note at a time and not the whole chord and is playing a melodic pattern, not one chord note after the other. Its not my idea to call this arpeggio but blues guitarists do it.

Nickie
12-27-2017, 12:38 PM
From the Harvard Dictionary of Music:
....Its execution always starts with the lowest note

Well, I guess I'd better tell Sam Muir. She gave me lots of right hand arpeggios to practice that don't start with the lowest note.

sopher
12-27-2017, 12:41 PM
[QUOTE=sopher;2025989]In 2nd grade I learned that the Moon is made of cheese.

I did want to tellyou something about the moon

When a blues or rock lead guitarist is playing an "arpeggio", he thinks in "arpeggio shapes" but not in chord shapes. He is fretting and playing only one note at a time and not the whole chord and is playing a melodic pattern, not one chord note after the other. Its not my idea to call this arpeggio but blues guitarists do it.

Well, I played guitar in a band long, long ago, and yes, there is a tendency to think of "shapes". But, generally, they are based on scales and not just chords. Even when "playing the changes" players are not limited to chord tones alone, so I'm not sure that qualifies as an arpeggio.

Now I have a tendency to play chords using sort of Scruggs 3-finger picking patterns, although not really banjo rolls or Travis picking. I'm not sure of that either, but when I describe that style as "arpeggio chords" people don't seem surprised when they hear it, so I think the general understanding of arpeggio includes that.

sopher
12-27-2017, 12:42 PM
Well, I guess I'd better tell Sam Muir. She gave me lots of right hand arpeggios to practice that don't start with the lowest note.

You def should ask for your money back! ;)

bratsche
12-27-2017, 01:29 PM
Well, I guess I'd better tell Sam Muir. She gave me lots of right hand arpeggios to practice that don't start with the lowest note.

I've heard of being busier than a one-armed wallpaper hanger, but don't you need both hands for arpeggios? I do!
:biglaugh:

bratsche

Nickie
12-27-2017, 01:38 PM
I've heard of being busier than a one-armed wallpaper hanger, but don't you need both hands for arpeggios? I do!
:biglaugh:

bratsche

These are just right hand arpeggios for strengthening right hand memory. It's Sam Muir's Little Book of Right Hand Arpeggios.
No kidding.

bratsche
12-27-2017, 01:44 PM
Ahh, see, you learn something new every day! This was today's thing for me. ;)

bratsche

sopher
12-27-2017, 01:46 PM
These are just right hand arpeggios for strengthening right hand memory. It's Sam Muir's Little Book of Right Hand Arpeggios.
No kidding.

Maybe she could send you a sticker to put over it that says "Sam Muir's Little Book of Right Hand Broken Chords"

Really rolls off the tongue, doesn't it!

Tootler
12-27-2017, 02:01 PM
If you want accurate definitions, then consult a music dictionary not a general dictionary.

From the Oxford Concise Dictionary of Music:

Arpeggio; a chord 'spread' ie the notes heard one after the other from the bottom upwards, or sometimes from the top downwards.

Broken Chord; a chord in which the notes are played one after the other or a group followed by another group rather than simultaneously.

So on the basis of those two definitions an arpeggio is a special case of a broken chord. Yes, sopher, "Sam Muir's Little Book of Right Hand Broken Chords" would almost certainly be more correct, unless he specifically was playing arpeggios which I doubt. However, I agree that Right Hand Arpeggios does sound better.

In practice, however there is a tendency to be somewhat lax in the use of terminology and the term 'arpeggio' is commonly used for any kind of broken chord regardless of the order in which the notes are played and over time it is quite possible the term 'arpeggio' will change to mean any chord whose notes are played separately rather than together.

sopher
12-27-2017, 02:13 PM
Geoff,

Welcome to this lighthearted discussion. I think I have to disagree with you. Language is not precise. It is not scientific. It is fluid and evolves bottom up.

There is a technical definition of a "fluid ounce" and the Bureau of Standards can specify it to scientific precision. Furthermore, there is a statute that legally establishes that the quantities so defined are legally binding.

However, if arpeggio is "commonly used for any kind of broken chord regardless of the order in which the notes are played", then that's what arpeggio means.

There is not a statute that states that words mean what Music Dictionaries say despite what most people think. Music dictionaries are no more "correct" than anyone else.

Language is fuzzy and imprecise. My entire objection in this thread was to the idea that although most people know what arpeggio is, (and Merriam-Webster, my go-to, agrees with them) people want to impose their narrow and rigid definition and I see no moral, ethical or legal basis for that.

Someone accused me earlier of deliberately not understanding the good teaching I'm being given. I think on the contrary, some other people are resisting learning about semantics and linquistics.

EDW
12-27-2017, 04:06 PM
In the world of music, one of the reasons we stick to certain definitions and interpretations is so that we all have a standard terminology and are all talking the same language. It is not about semantics or interpretation. It is about having standards and norms that have been agreed upon and used for hundreds of years to mean specific things. Classically trained French chefs operate in the same way. They all understand certain terms, techniques and practices so that they can work together seamlessly.

If you want to reinvent the terms to fit your desires, go right ahead. I can call a cat a dog if I really want, but when I go to the vet there will be some confusion.

I guess I'll go now and play my little 4 string reetrant lute-guitar.

sopher
12-27-2017, 04:07 PM
Bill1, I like you even better than Bill0!!

I like the way you think - if you ever get to the Allegheny Ukulele Broken Chord Soiree in PA, I will take you out to dinner (or if you're ever in NE Ohio).

Thanks for some good thoughts!

sopher

sopher
12-27-2017, 04:29 PM
In the world of music, one of the reasons we stick to certain definitions and interpretations is so that we all have a standard terminology and are all talking the same language. It is not about semantics or interpretation. It is about having standards and norms that have been agreed upon and used for hundreds of years to mean specific things. Classically trained French chefs operate in the same way. They all understand certain terms, techniques and practices so that they can work together seamlessly.

If you want to reinvent the terms to fit your desires, go right ahead. I can call a cat a dog if I really want, but when I go to the vet there will be some confusion.

I guess I'll go now and play my little 4 string reetrant lute-guitar.

Your are mistaken in thinking that I aim to "reinvent the terms to fit your desires". The vast majority of people and musicians have re-defined what arpeggio means and I am only pointing that out. I have been playing music in rock bands, community bands, wedding bands, and in private for 50 years. I have heard the term "arpeggio" many many many times over that span. I have heard the term "broken chord" for the first time this week. It seems a completely arbitrary and unnecessary distinction which serves no purpose whatsoever. The Musical Dictionaries have lagged behind real usage as they always do.

So your grand preservation of musical heritage is appreciated, but don't think that such an artificial and trivial distinction as arpeggio vs broken chord is preserving anything other than musical snobishness.

I really think that I should write Jimmy-Joe-Bob's Truck Stop Musical Dictionary, and in it I can define arpeggio as only chord tones played as semi-quavers and plucked with a rubber chicken. Then, no matter what most of the people and the musicians "think" an arpeggio is, if they don't define it the way my "Musical Dictionary" does, then they will corrode our musical heritage and eventually cause all music to be reduced to the level of Neanderthal grunts. That's how important this artificial distinction is!!!

daviddecom
12-27-2017, 05:26 PM
There might be some dialect drift going on here. In four decades of playing various keyboard instruments and the violin and singing in choirs, I had never heard anyone use arpeggio to refer to broken chords played out of pitch order until coming into contact with the ukulele and banjo communities. Of course, it’s totally understandable how linguistic communities oriented around instruments that use re-entrant tuning might develop slightly different meanings for technical terms like “arpeggio” and “inversion”, but that doesn’t mean the words have unconditionally changed in meaning. In fact, there are communities where the distinction between “arpeggio” and “broken chord” is useful and has been retained.

(There are also some questions about edge cases that have come up in these discussions, which is somewhat orthogonal to this issue.)

David

MopMan
12-27-2017, 09:53 PM
Every so often I hear a pianist or guitarist dismiss the ukulele as a toy. The uke is not a real musical instrument, they say, and the people who play it never develop any real skill or knowledge. I get tired of listening to those people. And I get mighty tired of reading that attitude here on an ukulele forum!

Pianist here. Also I am a person who has, in the past, dismissed the ukulele as a toy. Everyone is prone to the follies of youth.

It is self-evident that any instrument, with sufficient investment, can be played skillfully. It is further self-evident that the ukulele or any other musical instrument can be used as a vehicle for learning music theory to any extent to which one is willing to dedicate oneself. Those who claim otherwise are disingenuous, short-sighted, or fools.

I think in keyboards, so that's my "handle" on things when I need to analyze things musically. But there is no reason at all that one could not learn to relate musical concepts to another instrument.



A very popular and knowledgeable ukulele store owner here said something to me yesterday.
He said that chords are just arpeggios, played very fast.
I thought about that all the way home.
I don't know.
What do you think?

The definitions are broad and simple:
A chord is a collection of two or more pitches that sound pleasing when sounded together.
An arpeggio is a chord whose pitches are sounded in sequence.

I think your store owner friend was being a little bit cute with you and this thread has carried things a bit too far. An arpeggio is simply a chord that is played in a particular fashion.

Jarmo_S
12-28-2017, 02:14 AM
Bill1, the ukulele is tuned to C6 chord, most ones I mean. So our ukes can do that really well, even in ascending order if needed. That chord is though usually not associated with traditional arpeggio use.

Arpeggio is not limited certainly to only stringed and plucked instruments. Piano can do that too and the players use it.

But it is used in our stringed instruments very often often to finish the song. With guitar it is mostly associated with the thumb or pick with steel strings. Less so if you fingerpick it in that somewhat limited genre. I do it with reentrant ukulele too. It is that good effect that just does sound right :)

I am not happy with that neo nazi limited definition of it and some people wanting to force feed it to us.

Nickie
12-28-2017, 01:41 PM
So some things which apply to pianos and guitars are just not possible on a ukulele.

Ah, and therein lies the challenge. And some of the fun!

Tootler
12-29-2017, 01:58 AM
There might be some dialect drift going on here. In four decades of playing various keyboard instruments and the violin and singing in choirs, I had never heard anyone use arpeggio to refer to broken chords played out of pitch order until coming into contact with the ukulele and banjo communities. Of course, it’s totally understandable how linguistic communities oriented around instruments that use re-entrant tuning might develop slightly different meanings for technical terms like “arpeggio” and “inversion”, but that doesn’t mean the words have unconditionally changed in meaning. In fact, there are communities where the distinction between “arpeggio” and “broken chord” is useful and has been retained.

(There are also some questions about edge cases that have come up in these discussions, which is somewhat orthogonal to this issue.)

David

I think this pretty much hits the nail on the head. These terms and their definitions are part of classical music theory and if you play classical music at all. I play classical music on the recorder and did a course in classical music theory some years ago and in those circumstances you have to learn the precise definitions and so I had to learn to distinguish between an arpeggio and a broken chord. However in less formal musical styles, technical terms are often used much more loosely. In a sense it doesn't really matter as long as everyone understands what you are talking about.

I think sopher was only partly right when he (she?) said language was imprecise. It's true of everyday language but if you are working within a particular sphere then there will be terms that have a precise meaning because they describe key aspects of that sphere. In that sense the language is precise, in fact it has to be precise and you need to know that precise meaning so if you use that term, others will know what you are talking about and everyone is clear they are all talking about the same thing.

Croaky Keith
12-29-2017, 03:17 AM
I will admit that I think of an arpeggio as a rising or falling of notes, & broken chords as the picking of strings in any order, so it seems my understanding is technically right. :)