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!