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Broken chords and the Damper pedal

August 12, 2007

Today I learnt broken chords. This where you play the keys of a chord separately. Isn’t this what you call an arpeggio? I have no idea, hopefully the book will mention arpeggios later as I see the word pop up quite often.

So the exercise had me practicing the broken chords of G and D7 triads. This where I discovered a fault with my right hand. I seemed to be lifting my index up straight when I wasn’t using it thus breaking the ‘cup’ shape it should be in. I tried to correct it but then I found my arm started to ache. This was not the position I was used to. I went off to lunch (Mmm spaghetti bolognese), came back and it seemed to be ok. I guess I needed the rest. I also had to cut off my beautiful guitar nails to make it a bit easier… nevermind I have been using the pick more anyway.

The song for this exercise is Harp Song. Very simple song, its just the broken chords repeated in 3/4 time. But theres a catch – the damper pedal! I believe this is first time it is mentioend in the book, I was dreading this day. I never really had co-ordination in my legs, I completey suck at football, and to think I wanted to learn the drums before too! Its quite easy though, I just have to step on it at the beginning of a measure.

Here is the recording – http://www.box.net/shared/glr6qtaxmc

Not sure if the recording quality is good enough, but it does sound lush with the damper pedal on with those sustained notes in harmony with the melody.

Anyway thats enough for today. Theres a few writing exercises to be done – boring! But after that it introduces the E key in the G position and we can play a variation of the C major chord. Is that a “chord inversion”?

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5 comments

  1. I asked that to somebody. She answered the following.

    -“No difference between broken chord and arpeggio. The latter term is older”.


  2. Chords inversions, for C-major for example.

    CEG Root position, a 5/3 chord
    EGC Ist inversion, a 6/3 chord
    GCE 2nd inversion, a 6/4 chord.


  3. I knew it!! Thanks for confirming it Nin.


  4. Jon, I thought you handled the damper pedal excellently. A lot of people forget to let it back up, and run one chord into the next. Good work. If there’s one thing to be done to make it even better, try and arrange things so there is only the slightest gap in sound between bringing up the damper pedal, and starting the next note, between the end of bar two and the beginning of three, the end of four and the start of five, the end of six and the start of seven.
    You also managed a good sensitivity of volume throughout the entire piece, apart from that very last note, which got bashed just a little bit, perhaps with a sense of relief? :o) Anyway, the damper pedal encourages you to go louder, and you didn’t, which is great. Well done.


  5. Hi Mat, many thanks for the comments. Yes the last note was intentional and it was from a sense of relief. This recording came straight from multiple takes and was the first one I completed without hitting a wrong note. Goes to show I have no discipline without a teacher! I do play the song a lot smoother now with minimal gaps between damper up and the next note. I will certainly take your advice the next time I play it. Thank you!



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