ar·​peg·​gio | \ är-ˈpe-jē-ˌō How to pronounce arpeggio (audio) , -ˈpe-jō \
plural arpeggios

Definition of arpeggio

1 : production of the tones of a chord in succession and not simultaneously
2 : a chord played in arpeggio

Examples of arpeggio in a Sentence

The guitarist warmed up with a few simple arpeggios.
Recent Examples on the Web Fielding a request to do a spontaneous piece, Wheaton starts with an up-tempo, plinking line of notes, adds a brisk allegro melody that plays in syncopation against it, and finally pipes in a series of cascading arpeggios. Rand Richards Cooper,, "In Our Midst: Gabriel Wheaton’s classical, contemporary, opulent and wildly eclectic one-man band," 15 Nov. 2019 There’s scant distance between the man and the music, the politically attuned composer sometimes railing against the world via torrents of arpeggios, chords hammered repeatedly, accents driven like stakes into the ground. Howard Reich,, "Pianist Gerstein launches Chicago’s epic journey into Beethoven’s piano sonatas," 12 Oct. 2019 The gifted composer Mark Bennett’s original music lends beautifully brooding atmosphere, often through haunting arpeggios played on piano high above stage left by Justin Gray. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Review: Old Globe’s music-filled ‘Romeo and Juliet’ brings strange and satisfying surprises to Shakespeare," 18 Aug. 2019 Each took a stumble here and there and the slow movement sounded tenuous, but their arpeggios in vigorous harmony and triumphant finale were more memorable. Zoë Madonna,, "At Tanglewood, thunderstorms and Yo-Yo Ma struck a dramatic note with the BSO," 19 Aug. 2019 Impressionistic string arpeggios, along with other rapid figures, moody thick chords and glissandi pervade much of the piece. Mark Swed,, "Salonen's 'Pollux' supplies some grunge for L.A. Phil tour," 16 Apr. 2018 In the second, the strings mostly took over the arpeggios, holding them to a statelier tempo, and the elements inspired by the chants came more to the fore. New York Times, "Review: Chiara Quartet Says Farewell on a High Note," 13 May 2018 In the first, Mr. Sciarrino, clearly inspired by Paganini’s dazzling violin caprices, writes an avant-garde equivalent, with whirlwinds of jagged, scratchy-toned arpeggios that flow into slinky, sliding tones, then erupt in staccato madness. New York Times, "Review: A Tiny Garage Explodes in Pianistic Madness," 25 June 2018 The track is a collaboration with three other producers — mainly Hudson Mohawke, along with John Hill and Peter Wade — that cunningly mutates from a sparse dembow beat through syncopated trance chords to a skein of prog-rock organ arpeggios. Jon Pareles, New York Times, "The Playlist: The 1975 Talk About Its Generation, and 9 More New Songs," 1 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'arpeggio.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of arpeggio

circa 1724, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for arpeggio

Italian, from arpeggiare to play on the harp, from arpa harp, of Germanic origin; akin to Old High German harpha harp

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about arpeggio

Time Traveler for arpeggio

Time Traveler

The first known use of arpeggio was circa 1724

See more words from the same year

Statistics for arpeggio

Last Updated

26 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Arpeggio.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 6 December 2019.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for arpeggio


How to pronounce arpeggio (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of arpeggio

music : a chord in which the notes are played separately instead of at the same time

Comments on arpeggio

What made you want to look up arpeggio? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


very cautious or careful

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Semantic Drift Quiz

  • a twisty river
  • Which of the following was once a synonym for fun?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!