MeHaRyTe Guide To Arpeggiated Textures

1.1 Chordal or arpeggiated textures

Arpeggiated textures are the most common form of textures. If we are talking about tonal arpeggiated textures (which are far the most common form), then the texture interlocks with the harmonic layer and compliments it. We can also think of arpeggiated textures as an arpeggiated accompaniment.

The easiest, yet very effective, arpeggiated texture to do is, spelling out the chords played in the harmonic layer in an instrument or instrument group. So let’s say you you have a Cmajor – Fmajor – Gmajor – Cmajor chord progression in whole notes in a string orchestra. I will be using this most simple chord progression for most of the examples. The reason for this is, so we can observe what we can achieve with texture, even if we are dealing with the most common and dull chord progression on planet Earth.

To make this chord progression more interesting inside the whole orchestration, you can have the celli, for example, playing eighth notes, that are spelling out the chord.

*Tip: for the best results for these kind of texture in celli, try to incorporate as much open strings of the cello as possible. This way it will be a lot easier for the players to play the arpeggiated lines. To learn how to write great arpeggiated cello lines, I advise you to study Bach’s cello preludes and suites. Note also, that I am using bigger intervals at the bottom of the arpeggio and smaller intervals on the top. You do not want to muddy your low end with texture!

You can see how this simple texture works as a symbiotic layer to the harmonic layer. The example above thus shows a very simple two-layer orchestration in the strings (harmony + texture).  Although the cellos are playing the exact same notes as the other instruments (just in faster note values), our brain thinks of these notes