Definition: An arpeggio is a type of broken chord whose notes are played quickly in order as opposed to simultaneously; to give a chord a harp-like effect (arpa is Italian for “harp”).
- An arpeggio is signified by a squiggly, vertical line. If the arpeggio line spans both staves (see image), the notes are played as one chord, starting with the bottom staff. If there are two separate lines, both arpeggiated chords are played at the same time.
- Notes in an arpeggiated chord are usually played from lowest to highest pitch, unless marked by a downward arrow.