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[ahr-pej-ee-oh, -pej-oh] /ɑrˈpɛdʒ iˌoʊ, -ˈpɛdʒ oʊ/
noun, plural arpeggios. Music.
the sounding of the notes of a chord in rapid succession instead of simultaneously.
a chord thus sounded.
Also called broken chord.
Origin of arpeggio
1735-45; < Italian: literally, a harping, noun derivative of arpeggi(are) to play on the harp (< Germanic; compare Old English hearpi(g)an to harp)
Related forms
arpeggiated, arpeggioed, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for arpeggio
Historical Examples
  • The most essential figures which Beethoven employs are built upon the scale and the arpeggio.

  • The study ends with the arpeggio passage as at the beginning.

    Nicolo Paganini: His Life and Work Stephen Samuel Stratton
  • There can never be too much practice of a scale or arpeggio exercise.

  • This noise was not repeated, and by a treble rap I mean the sound was like an arpeggio chord.

  • Scale and arpeggio passages were absolutely clean and without a flaw.

  • If due attention be given to the intonation of the arpeggio, the scale should not be, as it too often is, all out of tune.

    The Boy's Voice J. Spencer Curwen
  • Or, to lessen fatigue, is an occasional rise and fall of the wrist permissible in a long passage of scale or arpeggio?

    Piano Playing Josef Hofmann
  • He was unequaled in producing pizzicatos with the left hand, arpeggio passages, the tremolo, and the gettato.

    Ole Bull Sara C. Bull
  • I amused myself by playing an arpeggio when Schikaneder came to a pause.

  • Begin by making the class sing them in arpeggio, and in a definite rhythm, so as to get precision.

    Music As A Language Ethel Home
British Dictionary definitions for arpeggio


noun (pl) -gios
a chord whose notes are played in rapid succession rather than simultaneously
an ascending and descending figuration used in practising the piano, voice, etc
Word Origin
C18: from Italian, from arpeggiare to perform on the harp, from arpaharp
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for arpeggio

1742, from Italian arpeggio, from arpeggiare "to play upon the harp," from arpa "harp," which is of Germanic origin (see harp (n.)). Related: Arpeggiated; arpeggiation.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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