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Piano Technique: Scoop it up, loop around 4-note Arpeggios (in inversions)

These particular arpeggios in 4-note sequences are some of my favorite warm-up routines.

Although most students find them tricky to navigate, certain “cues” planted in the psyche assist a smoother ride.

The video demonstration below lays out preliminary blocking techniques to reinforce fingering and centering for each 4-note broken chord starting with the first in root position. (CEGC)

Next, I encourage a loop around from the 5th finger (top note) to the “scooped up” note in the next broken chord inversion which uses finger 1 or thumb. Too many pupils play with hiccups BETWEEN inversions– Or the thumb comes crashing down disrupting the flow from one 4-note arpeggio to another.

So key words, “Scoop it Up,” and “Loop Around,” seem to imbue the supple wrist motion at the beginning of each arpeggio, and then a rounded, “seamless” turnaround from finger 5 to the thumb. (Right hand)

(The left hand simultaneously scoops up and loops in harmony with the right–only difference is that finger 5 is scooping up, and 1 is looping around to 5 in subsequent inversions)

In addition, I explore counter-clockwise and clock-wise motions of the arms as these graceful arpeggios unfold.


For C Major, 4-note arpeggios:

RH CEGC (1235) EGCE (1245) GCEG (1245) CEGC (1235)
(5421) (5421) (5321) (5421)

D Major
RH DF#AD(1235) F#ADF#(1245) ADF#A(1245) DF#AD(1235)
(5321) (5421) (5321) (5321)

GOING from C Major to C# Major (Through Sharp Keys)