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Section 14.3 Arpeggiated Accompaniments

Subsection 14.3.1 Arpeggios

One way to express chords rhythmically is through arpeggios in one part and a bass line in octaves in a lower part, as in the following example from Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata.

Figure 14.3.1. Ludwig van Beethoven, Moonlight Sonata, Op. 27, No. 2, I (1802)

The next example has descending arpeggios.

Figure 14.3.2. Alicia Keys, “If I Ain't Got You” (2004)

Notice that in both the Beethoven and Alicia Keys examples there is the harmonious interval of a tenth (an octave plus a third) between the bass (lowest) voice and the soprano (highest) voice.

The following examples have arpeggios that ascend and descend through a chord.

Figure 14.3.3. James Pankow, “Colour My World” (1970)
Figure 14.3.4. Fred Ball, Joseph Angel, and Robyn Fenty, “Love on the Brain” (2016)

Notice in the above example that there is also an organ playing block chords to create a sense of legato in the texture.

The next two examples are from more recent popular music.

Figure 14.3.5. Adele Adkins and Dan Wilson, “Someone Like You” (2011)
Figure 14.3.6. Ryan Tedder, “Secrets” (2009)

Below is an example in \(\begin{smallmatrix}4\\4\end{smallmatrix}\) with arpeggios in sixteenth notes.

Figure 14.3.7. Kevin Briggs, Kandi Burress, Tameka Cottle, Lisa Lopes, “No Scrubs” (1999)

Subsection 14.3.2 Alberti Bass

Alberti bass accompaniment patterns involve arpeggios that do not arpeggiate chords in a simple upward or downward motion, but in a “low–high–middle–high” pattern as you can see in the examples below.

Figure 14.3.8. Mozart, Piano Sonata K. 545, I (1788)

The next example uses the same Alberti pattern as in the Mozart example above, but transposed to E minor and in a lower register.

Figure 14.3.9. Brian Carman and Bob Spickard, “Pipeline” (1962)