How to Stylize a Song, Part 1: Thinking in Chords

How to Stylize a Song, Part 2: Cool Bass Lines

How to Stylize a Song, Part 3: Arpeggios



Matt Otto·85 videos


Arpeggio Patterns

November 8, 2013


KeithWhalen11·132 videos

Herein lies a few examples of Heptatonic and Bitonal arpeggios from Nicolas Slonimsky’s “Thesaurus of Scales and Melodic Patterns”.

Heptatonic arpeggios are executed by playing the 1st, 3rd, 5th and 7th degrees of a respective diatonic scale and then followed by the 2nd, 4th and 6th tones in sequence. The 2, 4 and 6 tones are played above the first octave, which is why I regard Heptatonic arpeggios as a split-type arpeggio to facilitate the understanding and mapping on the fretboard. Considering this, we see that all 7 tones in the scale are played before repeating the tonic, which will only occur two octaves higher after the sixth and final tone of the scale in question has been arpeggiated. This type of arpeggio can be seen used in Busoni’s ‘Fantasia Contrappuntistica’ and can be applied to just about any diatonic scale or mode.

The second examples covered here are the Bitonal arpeggios, which are far more transparent theoretically but are physically daunting. However, looking beyond the issue of physical complexity, Bitonal arpeggios may also prove to be a successful ear-training exercise, seeing as they force you to listen for two distinct triads and how they may compliment or disagree with each other. If you can pick them apart and separate them you have a hell of an ear! Slonimsky’s ‘Thesaurus’ uses the key of C major for all initial triads, so all of the arpeggios will commence with the C, E, G triad we are all too familiar with. Interestingly, he cycles through all the 23 other major and minor keys in conjunction with the key of C. The cycling of keys is interesting not only because of the juxtapositions with C major but the increasing variance of fingerings needed to find other closely positioned triads on the fretboard.

0:000:23 = Locrian Heptatonic Arpeggio Ex: 1089
0:240:44 = Phrygian Heptatonic Arpeggio Ex: 1090
0:451:07 = Aeolian Heptatonic Arpeggio Ex: 1094
1:081:19 = Heptatonic Arpeggio Ex: 1096

1:201:31 = Bitonal Arpeggio Cmaj + Cmin
1:321:43 = Bitonal Arpeggio Cmaj + Dbmaj
1:441:55 = Bitonal Arpeggio Cmaj + C#min
1:562:06 = Bitonal Arpeggio Cmaj + Dmaj
2:072:17 = Bitonal Arpeggio Cmaj + Dmin
2:182:29 = Bitonal Arpeggio Cmaj + Ebmaj
2:302:40 = Bitonal Arpeggio Cmaj + Ebmin
2:412:52 = Bitonal Arpeggio Cmaj + Emaj
2:533:02 = Bitonal Arpeggio Cmaj + Emin
3:033:13 = Bitonal Arpeggio Cmaj + Fmaj
3:143:26 = Bitonal Arpeggio Cmaj + Fmin
3:273:39 = Bitonal Arpeggio Cmaj + F#maj
3:403:50 = Bitonal Arpeggio Cmaj + F#min
3:514:02 = Bitonal Arpeggio Cmaj + Gmaj
4:034:14 = Bitonal Arpeggio Cmaj + Gmin
4:154:24 = Bitonal Arpeggio Cmaj + Abmaj
4:254:37 = Bitonal Arpeggio Cmaj + Abmin
4:384:48 = Bitonal Arpeggio Cmaj + Amaj
4:494:59 = Bitonal Arpeggio Cmaj + Amin
5:005:12 = Bitonal Arpeggio Cmaj + Bbmaj
5:135:26 = Bitonal Arpeggio Cmaj + Bbmin
5:275:40 = Bitonal Arpeggio Cmaj + Bmaj
5:40 – End = Bitonal Arpeggio Cmaj + Bmin