So! This week I have been surfing the net, conducting searches, while muttering “Arpeggiated? What????” to myself.
After hearing Girl Crush by Little Big Town over the radio repeatedly, I realized I can sing it in my voice range and looked up the lyrics. It’s relatively new to the ukulele chording community, however, comments and instructions confused me. The advice I read was “remember to arpeggiate the chords”, so that the chords sound right, and also for the proper timing of the piece.
Wow. Arpeggiate? That is some slang-ization of a musical term! An arpeggio in music theory means you play certain notes in a scale individually, following a rule or pattern. For the C scale, the notes could be 1, 3, 5, 8, 5, 3, 1 (c, e, g, C, g, e, c). In fact, while I was studying piano when I was younger, one of my favourite books, which neither my mother nor I can find, was Arpeggio Exercises for Piano. I loved it. It was full of wonderful patterns of all kinds of scales. I can still play some of them today. Here’s another example: 1, 2, 3 – 2, 3, 4 – 3, 4, 5 – etc.
When applied to a chord – according to my recent internet researching – we arpeggiate the chord by playing the notes individually in a pattern instead of strumming. If that involves all four strings of the ukulele, then we also play that string as an open string indicated by a 0.
Here is the exact wording as gleaned from a site called Stack Exchange, found under Music: Practice and Theory (www.music.stackexchange.com):
An arpeggio is simply a chord played one note at a time. So if you’re playing in an arpeggiated style, then instead of strumming the chords, you’ll play each note of the chord one at a time.
Below is my rendition of the C chord in both strumming and this arpeggiated style, for comparison.
Strumming a C chord:
Arpeggiated C chord:
Here is the pdf of the song Girl Crush by Little Big Town. It’s 2 pages: the first page is the words with the change of the chords positioned; the second page has each arpeggiated chord laid out.
Have fun, I sure am!