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What exactly are broken Chords?


(@dagwood)
Noble Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 1029
Topic starter  

If I'm not mistaken.. a broken chord is simply not play the 'full' chord.

Example a G maj chord:

e --3---
B --0---
G --0---
D --0---
A --2---
E --3---

Then "Broken"

e --3---
B --0---
G --0---
D ------
A ------
E ------

Research is what I'm doing when I don't know what I'm doing. - Wernher Von Braun (1912-1977)


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(@greybeard)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 5899
 

I've always understood "broken chord" to be just another term for arpeggio. You break the chord up into individual notes, played as a sequence.

Question: How can you know that you want to make a solo with broken chords, if you don't know what they are?

I started with nothing - and I've still got most of it left.
Did you know that the word "gullible" is not in any dictionary?
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 pab
(@pab)
Estimable Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 103
 

yes, a broken chord is similar to an arpeggio. sometimes also referred to as a roll pattern (some on youtube call it that). instead of playing a chord as a block chord, there is a small space between the playing of each note.

btw, it's pretty impressive to get to 614 posts in a little over 2 months. remember to save some time for playing! :D

best of luck,

paul


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(@noteboat)
Famed Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 4933
 

Looks like a few misconceptions here... taking it from the top:

Dagwood, you're mistaken. xxx003 isn't a broken chord. In fact, technically it isn't a chord at all, but an interval (because you've got two G notes, one B note - all tertian chords have at least three different letters). If you played xx000x, that would be a G chord.

Greybeard, I think you're right... but it depends on what you mean by "sequence". If you meant it like "scale sequence" (scale tones played in any order) that's right, but if you meant it like "scale" (ascending or descending sequence), it's too restrictive. Arpeggios are chords played as individual notes, in any order.

Pab, broken chords aren't "similar" to arpeggios - they're identical. In fact, if you look up "broken chord" on Dictionary.com, you get a one word definition: arpeggio.

An arpeggio is any chord played note by note. If the single notes are close together, it's indicated in standard notation by a squiggly vertical line in front of the chord. Many people (heck, even some notation programs like Finale) refer to this as a "rolled" chord, but the technical term for it is "quasi arpi" - Italian for "like a harp". That's essentially the same as "arpeggiare" - Italian for "to play the harp", which is the source of the word arpeggio.

But arpeggios can also be played slowly. Heck, you could make each tone a double-whole note if you want... as long as there are only chord tones involved, it's an arpeggio.

Guitar teacher offering lessons in Plainfield IL


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(@greybeard)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 5899
 

Greybeard, I think you're right... but it depends on what you mean by "sequence". If you meant it like "scale sequence" (scale tones played in any order) that's right..........Arpeggios are chords played as individual notes, in any order.
That's what I meant - should have been clearer.

I started with nothing - and I've still got most of it left.
Did you know that the word "gullible" is not in any dictionary?
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My Articles & Reviews on GN


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(@fretsource)
Prominent Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 974
 

I've asked my teacher to teach every broken chord there is in open D and open E.

Well that'll keep both of you busy for the next few thousand years :D

I suspect you may have missed the point of the above explanations. ANY chord can be played as a broken chord and it can be broken up in countless different ways.

The bottom line is that a broken chord isn't a TYPE of chord - it's a WAY of playing a chord, ANY chord.


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(@jwmartin)
Noble Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 1437
 

So for example, If I take say the F chord in open G tune and hammer on & pull off on the first thre notes of that cord then go in to a slide with the finger to another note? that would be a broken chord? And if so then I think I've been learning broken chords even before I've asked the question.

In a nutshell, yes.

Let's take the A chord, the notes are A C# E. If I play those 3 notes individually, I'm playing a broken chord. Even playing 2 of the notes followed by another (or another 2) is a broken chord. I.e. I play A and C# together and then A and E together. All "broken" means is you aren't playing all the notes of the chord at the same time.

Bass player for Undercover


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(@dagwood)
Noble Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 1029
Topic starter  

Isn't learning fun :)

Thanks NoteBoat, once again for your fine "Tutor" ship :)

Research is what I'm doing when I don't know what I'm doing. - Wernher Von Braun (1912-1977)


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(@rparker)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 5492
 

I like broken chords. Gives me a (maybe false?) sense of freedom or creativity. My two favorite examples are Neil Youngs songs, although I don't he does it himself.

The first one is "Down By The River". Starts off with the standard Em7, but I'll damned if I cannot resist a couple of percussive strums on the e-a-d strings (in effect, the top three strings of an Em chord) before finishing off the bar. Gives it a good bit of energy. Then I spit beer on the audience, kick a couple of neighborhood kids in the head, set the (now hairless) cat on fire and grab me some...... well, not really. I do get into it, though.

The other example is quite the opposite. The beginning of "Old Man". Maybe not a great example, but years ago, the minute I stopped trying to follow the tab, I could play it.

As a wise man once said, "It's all good".

Roy
"I wonder if a composer ever intentionally composed a piece that was physically impossible to play and stuck it away to be found years later after his death, knowing it would forever drive perfectionist musicians crazy." - George Carlin


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(@raistx)
Trusted Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 78
 

Gives it a good bit of energy. Then I spit beer on the audience, kick a couple of neighborhood kids in the head, set the (now hairless) cat on fire and grab me some......

Roy,
Can you post a clip of that :) But leave that "grab me some..." out please. I don't want to see that


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(@rparker)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 5492
 

Footage should be available due to the Freedom of Information Act and some sensationalistic reporting by the local media.

Roy
"I wonder if a composer ever intentionally composed a piece that was physically impossible to play and stuck it away to be found years later after his death, knowing it would forever drive perfectionist musicians crazy." - George Carlin


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