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How do you use arpeggios to improvise?

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rapter    0

I am new at improvising and like the self expression it gives. I have not yet learn all positions of a major scale but do know the pentatonic scale. Every book that I read about scales mentions something about arppegios. My question is how and why would you use arppegios? I know the intervals that make up a major triad are 1,3,and 5, are these chord tones? Would this be called an arpeggio if you strum each note individually? I don't mean to make this request long and drawned out, but I am getting stale using my ole pentatonic scale, everything is starting to sound the same. Thanks for taking time to read this and thanks again for replies.

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Kirk Lorange    128

Yes, 1-3-5 are chord tones of a plain old major chord. Check out the CAGED lesson I did for more on that.

I think often people think that playing arpeggios means holding a chord shape and picking notes separately. That's not really it. It's using the notes from chord shapes as single notes, playing through them melodically as a series of single notes that can be scattered all over the fretboard. The more extended the chord, the more you have to choose from. Click on the "Power of Chord Tones" link in the moving ticker tape of my lessons above to watch a couple of examples of playing arpeggios that don't look at all like playing through chord shapes ... even though that's exactly what it is.

Here are links to those two "Power of Chord Tones" lessons:

http://www.guitarforbeginners.com/forum/general-lessons/6265-power-chord-tones/

http://www.guitarforbeginners.com/forum/general-lessons/6281-power-chord-tones-2-a/

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Fretsource    3

Here's a tab version of a 3 octave arpeggio practice pattern for the chord E major, taken from Trinity College of Music's Scale and Arpeggio exam syllabus. As Kirk said, there's more to arpeggios than just holding a chord and playing some strings in turn. This example shows one of many routes through the chord tones of E major (E G# B) in strict order of 1, 3, 5 ascending and 5, 3, 1 descending.

-------------------0----------12----------0----------------

----------------0-----9---12------12---9----0--------------

-------------1----------------------------------1-----------

----------2----------------------------------------2--------

--------2---------------------------------------------2-----

--0--4---------------------------------------------------4--0

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rapter    0

Thanks for the information on arpeggios. The hardest thing for me to do is learning my major and minor scales and make it stick into my mind. With arpeggios, I was thinking this may be another way to make my improvs. more melodic along with scales.

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hb    0
Thanks for the information on arpeggios. The hardest thing for me to do is learning my major and minor scales and make it stick into my mind. With arpeggios, I was thinking this may be another way to make my improvs. more melodic along with scales.

Personally speaking, I have found that an arpegggio style covers a lot of mistakes. When plucking over a held chord or non-held chord, I have found that some melodies, (at least to my ear), sound a little better when using the next higher or next lower note in that chord. So as long as you're working in that chord and that chord only, it can cover the mistake of hitting the wrong melody note quite nicely. The song "Amazing Grace" comes to mind. If you can play 3 simple chords, it's kinda difficult to hit a wrong note, (wrong note meaning on that doesn't fit in very well). Hope this helps.

hb

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Kirk Lorange    128

hb, as I said in my previous post, what you describe is not really what rapter was asking about, I don't think. I think he was wondering about playing melody lines using arpeggios, or to put it the other way, chord tones.

However, what you say is right. If you're holding a chord shape down playing melody notes that are in those shapes, if you hit a 'wrong' string, you're going to be hitting a note which is in the chord, therefore a harmony note, and there will be no 'clanger'.

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hb    0
hb, as I said in my previous post, what you describe is not really what rapter was asking about, I don't think. I think he was wondering about playing melody lines using arpeggios, or to put it the other way, chord tones.

However, what you say is right. If you're holding a chord shape down playing melody notes that are in those shapes, if you hit a 'wrong' string, you're going to be hitting a note which is in the chord, therefore a harmony note, and there will be no 'clanger'.

Yes, I agree. There's a fellow over at Plane Talk that I think will agree with this type of thinking! Hmmmmm.......what is his name????? LOL!

hb

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LMay    0

Yes, the notes in a chord are CHORD TONES. As to how to use them to improvise, I think that a knowledge of chord progressions and how they are built is essential. If you know what key you are playing in and if you know which chords belong to that key, it is fairly simple to play arpeggios which fit the key of the music.

I have a website which offers free guitar and music theory lessons and I will post it here as soon as I am allowed.

Keep up the search for musical knowledge and you will be rewarded!

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Kirk Lorange    128

Rapter, I just posted a couple of improvs here: http://www.guitarforbeginners.com/forum/art-improvisation/17720-couple-improvs/

They are pretty much all arpeggios, but not in the sense that most think about arpeggios. In this case, the chords in the tune are fairly complex, not all from the mother key and it's certainly not a matter of holding down a chord and playing the notes within. However, the melody consists of chord tones almost exclusively, with the odd passing tone or passing run here and there to link those chord tones up, so they are indeed arpeggios. Once you start working with extended chords, the number of chord tones increases and in tunes like this, you do wind up playing all 12 notes at some stage or other.

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StickMan    0

Chords don't usually have the notes in order, like 1-3-5-7. So playing arpeggios, where you tend to play the notes in order doesn't sound the same as plucking the chord strings individually.

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