What is an arpeggio for flute, and how do you play them?
This is a really great question because every flute player will come across arpeggios. Here is a really simple, but descriptive answer.
Perfecting the respective arpeggios is the best way to become as awesome as you can be!
An arpeggio is the same thing as a chord. The difference is that we flute players only have one mouth, so we can only play the notes of the chord one at a time. This sequence is called an ‘arpeggio’.
Arpeggios go along with scales. They are hand-in-hand. So, if you have already learned some scales then you are in a perfect spot to learn the arpeggios as well.
There is actually a formula you can memorize, and you’ll be good to go with any arpeggio. In this article we’ll be using major or minor scales as the example.
If you think of the notes of a scale, there are 8 notes (the top and bottom notes are the same, just in a different octave). If we number those notes 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8, we can find the arpeggio notes we are looking for by circling numbers 1, 3, 5, and 8.
Play the notes (usually) from the bottom up and then back down again in this pattern: 1,3,5,8,5,3,1.
That’s all there is to it (on a basic level), and I know if you can play the scale you can also play the arpeggio.
It’s awesome to learn how to play these by both tonguing and slurring. Arpeggios are an awesome way to extend your breath control because there is a jump in octave usually between notes number 5 and number 8.
Coming back down always poses a slight challenge also because you have to learn to regulate the breath speed in order to not have the notes crack. Don’t be tempted to use an alternative fingering. You can do it, and still keep the correct fingering. We flutists always want the best pitch and tone possible, so practice will definitely make perfect here.
There are 12 major and minor scales you should be learning as a budding musician, and perfecting their respective arpeggios right alongside is the best way to become as awesome as you can be!
6 thoughts on “Arpeggio Explanation for Flutes”
In Orchestra music I see the arpeggio sign, but it goes from a B flat to an F, in the key of F.
What notes do I play?
Hi Susan, this is a great question. Actually, the symbol you’re seeing is meaning for you to ‘arpeggiate’ the notes that are stacked on top of each other. Flutes have to arpeggiate anyway because we only have one mouth and play one note at a time. 🙂 The term “arpeggiate” is not meaning that the notes you see are a perfect ‘arpeggio / chord’ of a major scale. I hope this makes sense. So when you see the squiggly line in orchestra music, it’s probably not written for flute- but does mean to play the notes one at a time ascending (most likely). Glad you’re playing your flute and having fun! Hope you can join us in the Learn Flute Online Member’s Area sometime to learn even more and have fun with our community. 🙂 Rebecca
Ola from West TX. Graci for explaining Arpeggios!! Would you kindly offer a workshop or sheets of the 12 major and minor scales we should know!!!
Hi DeAnna, yes yes the major and minor scales (with all the lessons) are in the modules. In the Intermediate level they are all on one page for you. In the Gold Level they are introduced at the proper timing for your learning stage. Good question! 🙂 ~Rebecca
Oohhh! Thank you! You made me understand it now 🙂
Oh good! I’m glad this helped you. ~Rebecca