Definition of arpeggio in English:


nounPlural arpeggios

  • The notes of a chord played in rapid succession, either ascending or descending.

    • ‘As the first song played, I pressed different buttons on the joystick and keyboard and heard notes, chords, cadenzas, arpeggios, and even special effects typical of the piano.’
    • ‘As a result, pianists are required to negotiate unusual combinations of note groupings and clusters that go beyond the fingerings used in traditional scales, arpeggios and chords.’
    • ‘In a beautiful and affecting way, Shostakovich evokes the sounds of the Moonlight Sonata, the triplet arpeggios and the dotted rhythm of the main theme, without really quoting it.’
    • ‘Octaves, large chords and arpeggios are all formations that seemingly call for large hand stretches.’
    • ‘The virtuoso tour de force begins with a flourish, the piano arpeggios answered by bold chords in the woodwind trio.’


Italian, from arpeggiare ‘play the harp’, from arpa ‘harp’.