"Arpeggiated chords" - or whatever that thing is called :-)

Classical Guitar technique: studies, scales, arpeggios, theory
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klassikathi
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"Arpeggiated chords" - or whatever that thing is called :-)

Post by klassikathi » Sun Jun 16, 2019 10:39 am

Hello everyone, I've got a small problem - and the first part is that I don't know what it's called.

There is this beautiful ornament ... some people call it "rolls", others say "arpeggiated chords", but neither seems to be the proper name. It's this really nice way to play a chord not in one block, but as a fast, light and gentle little arpeggio. It's very common, I hear it all the time when others play ... but somehow my right hand keeps stumbling over the strings when I try to do this.

I've tried to find tips via google, youtube and of course this forum. But since I don't even know which term(s) to use for the search, it's hard to find answers. So here are my questions to you:

1. Does this thing have a name - and if so, what is it?
2. How can I best practice this?

Sorry if the second question has been asked and answered before. In that case, I'd be grateful for a link to the related discussion(s).

Thanks and cheers
Kathrin
Last edited by klassikathi on Sun Jun 16, 2019 11:59 am, edited 1 time in total.

Guero
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Re: "Arpeggiated chords" - or whatever that thing is called :-)

Post by Guero » Sun Jun 16, 2019 11:12 am

Hi Kathrin!

It reminds me of something like "rake technique" in electric guitar playing where the arpeggiated tones are almost muted.
Mark Knopfler comes to my mind immediately..
Country guitar playing uses similar techniques, sometimes referred to as rake picking or chicken picking.
But with classical guitar?!

Do you have some examples of it?

Greetings, Güero.

klassikathi
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Re: "Arpeggiated chords" - or whatever that thing is called :-)

Post by klassikathi » Sun Jun 16, 2019 11:24 am

Thanks Güero, for this first reply!
Yes, when I'm looking for tips, I keep finding non-classical stuff - and that's part of the problem, as I feel it doesn't really suit my need. But also yes, I'm referring to something I keep hearing it in classical guitar pieces. Perhaps it's so natural for most people that they don't even realize they're doing it? But there MUST be at least SOME people who are struggling like me! ;-)
Again, since I'm lacking the proper term, it's even tricky to find examples. But let me check and come back ...

klassikathi
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Re: "Arpeggiated chords" - or whatever that thing is called :-)

Post by klassikathi » Sun Jun 16, 2019 11:49 am

Ha, I just found a CG (!) tutorial on "rolled chords", which at least shows what I mean. However, it's mostly about where and when to use them (or not), and that it takes practice to get them clean.

What I'm still missing is exactly that last part: getting them clean (I'd add: and gentle). My hand seems to refuse doing this (except very rarely, more by accident), and I'm looking for exercises that, with time, help me internalize the technique and play clean and gentle "rolled chords" by decision - not just occasionally by accident. ;-)
Last edited by klassikathi on Mon Jun 17, 2019 5:11 am, edited 1 time in total.

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lagartija
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Re: "Arpeggiated chords" - or whatever that thing is called :-)

Post by lagartija » Sun Jun 16, 2019 12:34 pm

This is part of the current state of your right hand development. The way to practice is to play pima arpeggio studies. As you play them, pay attention to control the volume and timing of each note. After you can play them evenly, you can increase the speed at which you are playing the arpeggio.
At some point, you will practice playing two sequential notes with your thumb on string five and four followed by ima. Then three sequential notes with the thumb on strings six, five and four followed by ima. A study helps you learn to play the notes in time. If just playing the arpeggio by itself with a metronome, be sure to keep the space between the notes even. Start slowly with a click on each note you play.
When you have this control, you will be able to control how you play any chord, rolled or not.
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Mark Clifton-Gaultier
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Re: "Arpeggiated chords" - or whatever that thing is called :-)

Post by Mark Clifton-Gaultier » Sun Jun 16, 2019 12:43 pm

klassikathi wrote:... the first part is that I don't know what it's called ... some people call it "rolls", others say "arpeggiated chords", but neither seems to be the proper name.
Arpeggiated chord is in fact the accepted term.

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mike.janel
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Re: "Arpeggiated chords" - or whatever that thing is called :-)

Post by mike.janel » Sun Jun 16, 2019 1:24 pm

The process described by lagartija is the right way to start.
If you already control pima arpeggiated chord at moderate speed but still not fast enough to make it "prrram...", you are in good company.
Not many can continuously arpeggiate at this speed, due to time it takes for fingers to reset.
Nevertheless most can pull off a decent rolling chord when called for. It is just a reflex motion.
So after you have pima in place, try practicing just pi on just 2 strings. Make them come closely, almost together, then a bit more apart.
After that try pim on just 3 strings, than pima on 4 strings.
Once this is easy, do ppima on 5 strings. P should come down in one motion over the 2 base strings
From here having pppima should be easy.
The partial ones need more work, like pia skipping the m string, or pma etc.
Michael
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klassikathi
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Re: "Arpeggiated chords" - or whatever that thing is called :-)

Post by klassikathi » Sun Jun 16, 2019 2:24 pm

Thanks Mark, for confirming the name of the "thing". :-)

And thanks, lagartija, for your ideas. Actually, most pieces I play and practice are studies and based on, or even exclusively consist of, arpeggios. (Examples at different levels: Sor Op31 #6 and Op35 #22; Guiliani Op 48 #5; Villa Lobos Etude 1)

There too, my main problem is getting to speed. Most of those studies are supposed to be played allegro, but in my hands they remain andante at best ... and usually for a long time larghetto or even largho. :(

My issues with arpeggios and arpeggiated chords may be related. Still, I'm not sure that resolving one solves the other, too. Playing a whole piece of arpeggios means sustaining the speed for a long time - which is part of my issue there (and not my main question here). Playing an arpeggiated chord, on the other hand, usually occurs only at brief moments during or at the end of a piece.

While still struggling with both, my impression is that the specific challenges are different. To play arpeggiated chords, it seems that my right hand needs to be in a momentary state of tension and relaxation at the same time. From other experiences (e.g., dancing Argentine tango or pronouncing a rolled "r") I know that it can come with practice. Just "how" is the question.

Continuing to practice "normal" arpeggios may be part of the solution. But it still seems to me that something else is required for those light gentle "rolled" arpeggios ... and I keep wondering how to practice exactly that.

Or am I fundamentally mistaken somewhere ...? :?

klassikathi
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Re: "Arpeggiated chords" - or whatever that thing is called :-)

Post by klassikathi » Sun Jun 16, 2019 2:35 pm

mike.janel wrote:
Sun Jun 16, 2019 1:24 pm
If you already control pima arpeggiated chord at moderate speed but still not fast enough to make it "prrram...", you are in good company.
That describes my situation quite well - thanks, Mike, for assuring me that I'm not alone. :-) I'll try the stepwise approach you suggest and will let you know how it goes.

Any additional tips are still welcome!

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Larry McDonald
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Re: "Arpeggiated chords" - or whatever that thing is called :-)

Post by Larry McDonald » Sun Jun 16, 2019 3:11 pm

Hi,
I am not sure if anyone has mentioned this yet; place all the fingers on their respective strings at once (called a full plant) instead of one finger at a time (called a sequential plant). If there are more than four notes, use the thumb to sweep the wound strings.

All the best,
Lare
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Author of The Conservatory Tutor for Guitar
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Royal Conservatory Advanced Guitar and Theory Instructor

klassikathi
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Re: "Arpeggiated chords" - or whatever that thing is called :-)

Post by klassikathi » Sun Jun 16, 2019 3:37 pm

Thanks Lare, placing all fingers on their respective strings is one of the things that my teacher told me. It still doesn't prevent my pima from stumbling erratically when I try those gently rolled arpeggios.
Perhaps it's really just about practice, practice and even more practice ... until it finally works. (That's actually how I learned to pronounce the rolled "r" ... although that was at the age of six. ;-) )

Karen
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Re: "Arpeggiated chords" - or whatever that thing is called :-)

Post by Karen » Mon Jun 17, 2019 1:28 pm

And I thought I was the only one that had trouble with this! My teacher just told me to do a full plant, then kinda roll my hand when playing the chord. I find, for me, it requires a light touch and perfectly shaped and smooth nails :( And practice. Maybe this is a beginner way to do it but it is still difficult (for me, anyway)

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