Creating A BrokenChord Piano ImprovisationCreating A BrokenChord Piano Improvisation

There are really only two ways you can play chords on the piano - solid or broken. While solid chords are nice, it's the arpeggio or broken chord that students love to play! Cascading notes shimmer and glide up and down the piano keyboard to create a waterfall of sound!

Creating a broken chord piano improvisation need not be difficult. All that you need to know is what chords to play and how to create the broken chord sound. Knowing the chords you will play is the easy part. Creating the broken chord sound can present some with problems. These problems can be easily overcome if we start out by using a special chord structure known as the open position chord.

Here, both hands are used to create a modern sounding seventh chord. The left hand gets the root, fifth, and seventh of the chord while the right takes care of the third and seventh as well. With this chord structure, the beginner can create that beautiful lush sound right away!

We can begin in the left hand and go up to play what is called an ascending piano run, or we can begin in the right and go down. We can alternate fingers back and forth to create different textures and use the notes under our fingers to explore a whole new world of broken chord possibilities.

For example, in the lesson Forest's Edge, we use open position chords in the Key of B Major to create an ascending broken chord run. Both hands are used to create it. The right plays melody notes as well. The amazing thing about this lesson is that it sounds a lot more difficult than it actually is to play.

Of course, broken chords can be played using triads, closed position chords, and any number of infinite chord varieties. But by using the open position chord first, students can quickly create a modern broken chord sound right away!

by Edward Weiss
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Edward Weiss is a pianist/composer and webmaster of Quiescence Music's online piano lessons. He has been helping students learn how to play piano in the New Age style for over 14 years and works with students in private, in groups, and now over the internet. Stop by now at for a FREE piano lesson!

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