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Topic: Arpeggiated chords

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  1. #1

    Arpeggiated chords

    Hi all,

    I was wondering whether anyone could help me. I'm having a problem orchestrating a Beethoven piano piece. How would you orchestrate an arpeggiated ("spread") piano chord? Would you literally (within a section, for example the strings) put the bottom note first (in the string case, probably a double bass) then put rests for each instrument until it's note needed to come in or is there another way of orchestrating this?

    This is the score that I'm looking at : http://imslp.info/files/imglnks/usim...mond_-_4.2.pdf

    The chords in bar 14.

    Many thanks.

  2. #2

    Re: Arpeggiated chords

    There are probably countless ways of orchestrating it; I think the art of orchestrating is in these sorts of decisions.

    So it's of course subjective, but I probably wouldn't translate such arpeggios so literally to the strings; to me I think that would sound a bit awkward. I'd probably just have one instrument in the proper register run through the notes, perhaps one section of the strings, or perhaps a wind instrument or two.

    It really all depends on the "feel" you're going for and is ultimately more of a creative decision than a technical one.
    Sean Patrick Hannifin
    My MP3s | My Melody Generator | my album
    "serious music" ... as if the rest of us are just kidding

  3. #3

    Re: Arpeggiated chords

    Quote Originally Posted by DomTre View Post
    Hi all,

    I'm having a problem orchestrating a Beethoven piano piece. How would you orchestrate an arpeggiated ("spread") piano chord? Would you literally (within a section, for example the strings) put the bottom note first (in the string case, probably a double bass) then put rests for each instrument until it's note needed to come in or is there another way of orchestrating this?

    This is the score that I'm looking at : http://imslp.info/files/imglnks/usim...mond_-_4.2.pdf

    The chords in bar 14.

    Many thanks.
    Sometimes piano chords are arpeggiated due to the large reach (the chord notes cannot all be played at once). This is not the case in the example that you provided. Rather, the chords in question are arpeggiated to add a little "punch" to the two chords (which are loud, short punctuations surrounded by softer material). I would say that you are only limited by your imagination--thicken up the orchestration to create the punch. Don't literally arpeggiate--that is a piano thing only in this particular case. Hope this helps.

  4. #4

    Re: Arpeggiated chords

    Why not use a harp on the arpeggios?

    Allegro Data Solutions

  5. #5

    Re: Arpeggiated chords

    This is the easiest lesson on Arpeggiated Chords, where all the notes were played in sequences, from the lowest one to the highest. The picking motion is not the constant alternate one you are accustomed to, but follows the same rules of economy picking.

    Hi there Joe Kataldo here with another installment of I Got Rhythm Guitar, today the spotlight is on Arpeggiated chords Today and for the next four lessons, we will analyze and practice in a musical way the most common patterns from simple to complex.

    This Lesson Will Improve
    ------------------------

    Arpeggiated Rhythm Patterns

    Play Chord Progression

    Chords Embellishment


    Arpeggiated Chords I
    --------------------

    This is the easiest one, where all the notes were played in sequences, from the lowest one to the highest, the picking motion is not the constant alternate one you are accustomed to, but follow the same rules of economy picking, you will change from Down picking to Up picking only when you have to change direction. This may feel a little bit odd in the begin, but trust me is the most flawless method to play arpeggiated parts, specially in live situations.

    The picking pattern for this lesson is constant: DOWN - DOWN - DOWN - UP

    The Progression is:

    D - Dsus2 - Dsus4 - D

    F/D - G/D - D Dsus4 - D

    D - Dsus2 - Dsus4 - D

    G/D - A/D - D Dsus4 - D


    Techniques Focus
    ----------------

  6. #6

    Re: Arpeggiated chords

    Well, depending of the size of the size of the orchestra, I would do this way:

    1. For a small orchestra (e.g.: Beethoven's Symphonies orchestras), I think that I would dispatch the chord's notes to a whole section (I thought of strings, the right hand part'd be played by the oboe and/or flute).

    2. For a bigger orchestra (e.g.: John Williams' orchestrations), I would orchestrate it this way:
    - The first chord is played by the strings and the brass (no trumpets nor horns) forte. Then, the second chord is played only by strings piano. No arpeggio, dispatch the notes to the whole section.

    3. For a concert band, I would dispatch the notes to the saxophones section. No arpeggio.

    Nevertheless, everything depends on which colour you want to give to your orchestration. But either way, I wouldn't keep the arpeggio.

  7. #7

    Re: Arpeggiated chords

    Yeh EJR, you're absolutely right. Use a harp on the arpeggios.

  8. #8

    Re: Arpeggiated chords

    I'm not sure if DomTre is even around to read this but,

    Technically, these aren't arpeggios, per se, but rolled chords, which implies a very quick succession of pitches. It is difficult to achieve this specific effect orchestrally, short of using harp/piano, which isn't something Beethoven scored. Also, the chords aren't really voiced properly for orchestration as is and would come across pretty muddy, but that is another topic.

    However, taking things as they are, some possibilities:

    1) if the chords are given to strings alone, on the first chord one could have the bass play the downbeat G, divided cello playing grace note G to B and grace note B to D, with divided viola playing grace note D to F and grace note F to G. The second chord would be similar, though likely ommitting the bass. This will provide a scooping effect to the chords which is somewhat analogous to rolling it on the piano. Optionally, for volume and greater diffusion, the chord tones could be doubled with horns over bassons. Maybe add timp on G.

    2) another option would be to give the chord to bass/cello/viola divided as needed but playing sf pizzicato. This will tend to provide a nicely blurred attack, somewhat simulating the roll effect. Again, for thckness winds/horns can be added, most likely staccato.

    However, neither are as Beethoven would have done it. First, I don't believe he would have even concerned himself with the rolling effect, but instead simply scored an orchestral tutti or near-tutti, marking the chords sforzando.

    Have fun with your orchestration.

  9. #9

    Re: Arpeggiated chords

    I am working on the first piece of Schumann's Kinderszenen (click for score), which is a piano piece with arpeggios all over the place. I have to orchestrate it for a string orchestra.

    So I was wondering the same thing as the thread starter.

    Here is my thought process so far:

    1. simply make the cello or viola arpeggiate it.
    --> I think it would be annoying to hear those instruments play arpeggios for 2 minutes.
    --> Listened to various string orchestra pieces, but didn't find any lower instrument playing arpeggios.

    2. consider the arpeggio as a piano thing and ignore it.
    --> Maybe I'm altering the piece too much? What if the arpeggio is an important element of this piece?

  10. #10
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    Re: Arpeggiated chords

    Quote Originally Posted by sixte View Post
    I am working on the first piece of Schumann's Kinderszenen (click for score), which is a piano piece with arpeggios all over the place. I have to orchestrate it for a string orchestra.

    So I was wondering the same thing as the thread starter.

    Here is my thought process so far:

    1. simply make the cello or viola arpeggiate it.
    --> I think it would be annoying to hear those instruments play arpeggios for 2 minutes.
    --> Listened to various string orchestra pieces, but didn't find any lower instrument playing arpeggios.

    2. consider the arpeggio as a piano thing and ignore it.
    --> Maybe I'm altering the piece too much? What if the arpeggio is an important element of this piece?
    What I would do is not literally transcribe the arpeggios, but give the 2nd violins and violas the triplets as rotating broken chord figures (or repeated-note triplets.) After the repeat sign, that material could be given just to the divided violas.)

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