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Arpeggio Question

#1
Ok guys I am totally confused. In the ABRSM test it asks to be able to play arpeggios. You have to play the "common chords" for the octaves and keys indicated. I asked my teacher what they meant by "common chords" and she she didn't seem to really know and sorta blew it off saying it's just 1, 3, 5.

But that doesn't help. I'm not sure if they mean just playing the root chord or playing all three chords.
 

Gandalfe

Admin and all around good guy.
Staff member
Administrator
#2
Did you try their contact info from the FAQ page? There they say:
Sometimes teachers need reassurance relating to particular circumstances. If, having consulted These Music Exams, the syllabus and the Examination Regulations & Information, you are still unsure about something then you can contact us directly.

Send us your enquiry by email or alternatively, if your query is very urgent, call the syllabus phoneline: +44 (0)20 7467 8830

We aim to answer all calls immediately but if we are not able to do so you will be asked to leave a message. Please include your specific query in the message together with your name and telephone number – this will ensure that we have the answer ready when we return your call.
Otherwise, I'd just be guessing like your instructor.
 

Steve

Clarinet CE/Moderator
Staff member
CE/Moderator
#3
Jim gave the best advice to contact the testing authority.

In general, you should be able to play all your scales
Arpeggios, if you think about pianos and chords,
in the simpleist terms are 1,3,5

basically, for a C Major scale the major arpeggio (from a clarinet book as an example) is
going up: C (below staff), E, G, C (mid), E G C (2 ledger lines above staff
going down: G E C (mid), C E, C (below staff), G E, G C (below staff)

Many technical study books should have Chromatic, Major Scales, Minor Scales, Major and minor arpeggios
dominant sevenths, diminished sevenths, interval studies etc

but to make sure of exactly what they are asking for it is best to contact them.
 

jbtsax

Distinguished Member
Distinguished Member
#4
I agree with Gandalf that the best way to be sure is to contact the testing authority.

That said my best guess is that they want you to play the I, IV, and V chords in each of the keys indicated. If they had wanted you to play only the chord built on the tonic, I believe the instructions would have so indicated. By using the term "common chords of the above keys for the range indicated" it implies that there is more than one chord (arpeggio) in each key.

This is fascinating to compare the U.S. music education system to that of Great Britain. I had to read 3 different links to find out what "ABRSM" stood for. It is gratifying to see that the testing incorporates "musicianship" and not just playing skills and techniques. I would like to see more of that done in music education in the US.
 
#5
Did you try their contact info from the FAQ page? There they say:
Sometimes teachers need reassurance relating to particular circumstances. If, having consulted These Music Exams, the syllabus and the Examination Regulations & Information, you are still unsure about something then you can contact us directly.


Wait ... try their FAQ? That's like asking a lost driver "You going to stop and ask for directions?"

Seriously though. I will check out the FAQ and send them a message.

I'm not really aware of the differences between music schools in the UK and the US as I haven't had the opportunity to go to music school :(

Thanks for the help. I'll post the response.​
 
#6
Your teacher is right. It just means the chord of the scale. i.e. C major arpeggio for the C major scale.

It's nearly 40 years since I took any of those exams but I remember that wording from the syllabus. It is a bit unusual.
 

SOTSDO

Old King Log
Staff member
CE/Moderator
#7
Perhaps this is a case of the original concept of the test meaning one thing (all of the chords), but over the years, the testing has evolved into something else (as the proctors let things slip to just the one chord).

A military example, and one that even relates to the topic at hand:

In the US Army, the Bailey Bridge is a piece of equipment that we inherited from the British Army during World War II. It is a modular item, constructed of side frames, cross members, roadway components and various odds and ends, all of them painted battleship grey, and all having names given to them by the original owners.

Just why the thing is grey overall, alone in a sea of olive drab (when I was in, even the issue towels were olive drab), seems to have escaped the knowledge of anyone in the Army. I was always told that "it's always been that way" and that may be true. Inertia is a wonderful thing.

The one thing that got me the most about the Bailey (an item that I learned to hate during my brief stay in a combat engineer battalion post RVN) was that one component, the curb alongside of the roadway deck when the bridge was complete, was labeled the "riband". What the hell? Where did they come up with that?

(During all of the time that I inquired about this, sometimes with engineering officers up to the grade of colonel, none could tell me what a "riband" was. (And no, I never looked it up in the dictionary - those were not common books in your typical line battalion of any sort.) I first ran into the term when reading a book about transatlantic ocean liners, which coveted the mythical "Blue Riband", an honorary honor awarded to the ship with the fastest crossings of the ocean.)

The answer, of course, is that the British English term for "ribbon" is "riband", and that's the way it was shipped over to us. And, for almost seventy years, people in the US Army go around tossing off a bizarre word in place of a perfectly good American English one that would at least make some sense to the folks in our Army.

Now, the origin of the term was well lost in the mythical past when I first started ruffling feathers in my naturally inquisitive way. Yet, like the grey paint, the bridge component is still soldiering on, and will likely do so until we come up with a better way to erect semi-permanent bridges in a hurry. (Bailey bridging was used to temporarily repair one of the major routes into New Orleans following the hurricane and flooding - driving over those bridges brought back a lot of unpleasant memories of strained backs and amputated fingers.) And, I bet not one in ten thousand knows what the original makers of the thing meant when they named a prominent part a riband...

And, how does all of this relate? Well, another term for arpeggio is bridge...
 

pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
#8
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bailey_bridge

I saw different colors when I Googled. Then again, it might be my meds. I have seen some tangerine trees and marmalade sky.

"Bailey Bridge", brings up the question of whether Beetle Bailey (a private in a WWII "themed" comic strip, if you've never heard of him) was named after the bridge or if the bridge was named after Beetle Bailey.
 

jbtsax

Distinguished Member
Distinguished Member
#10
And, how does all of this relate? Well, another term for arpeggio is bridge...
I have been a musician for many years and have never heard of that. How does a "broken chord" come to be called a bridge? Or are you just pulling our legs?

To me a "bridge" has always been the "B" part of a song in "ABA" form that I have a hard time remembering. In the quartet I used to play in we would sometimes get requests for songs that when we got to the bridge we couldn't remember how it went. Fortunately we had a "utility bridge" that we would go into we affectionaletly named "Melancholy Bridge" for those awkward times.

I we didn't know the song at all the piano player would say, "We don't know that one, but we can play another song with a lot of the same notes in it". The person making the request never got the joke and went away satisfied.

Now what was the original question???
 

SOTSDO

Old King Log
Staff member
CE/Moderator
#11
I must have mixed up the Pope and arpeggios - pontiff has something to do with bridges...after a while all of that Italian starts to look alike.

As Dorothy Hamill said a few years back, on the occasion of not placing in a skating tournament in which she was entered: "I am over forty-five, you know!"
 
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#13
Your teacher is right. It just means the chord of the scale. i.e. C major arpeggio for the C major scale.

It's nearly 40 years since I took any of those exams but I remember that wording from the syllabus. It is a bit unusual.
Yep! You are correct. I just got an email from them. Thanks!
 
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