Tip #88 – Breaking a Chord Rhythmically

Say you have a chord and a really good voicing too for a measure. It sounds great… but it is lacking a sense of motion that you desire.

Without disrupting the harmony, how do you accomplish it?

One way is by breaking apart the chord so that each of the chord members sound at different times within a period of length. You see this already in stuff like “boom-chuck” guitar accompaniment, Travis picking, arpeggiating, etc.

Besides breaking it apart, try to come up with a pattern as well for it. Below is a common pattern found in ragtime music used to break-apart a chord:

Notice that there are a few arpeggiations of single notes, and broken parts of group chords as well.


Thank you so much for taking the time to read! Feel free to comment, share, and subscribe for more daily tips below! Till next time.

Author: Bryan M. Waring

Bryan Waring is a graduate of USM's School of Music with a B.M. in Performance – Composition and is now attending Belmont University for a M.M. in Commercial Media – Composition & Arranging. During his time at USM, he studied violin with Dino Liva and composition with Dr. Daniel Sonenberg, as well as has premiered several pieces during the semiannual Composer's Ensemble concert series. In 2017, Bryan was a writer for the original musical theater work of "Molded By The Flow," directed by Paul Dresher and Rinde Eckert. Outside of school, Bryan has been involved with writing music for videogame developers at Portland's CI2 Lab, collaborating with the King Tide Party, and studying with Larry Groupé (Straw Dogs) in San Diego. Now living in Nashville. Along with composing, Bryan teaches music to children, receiving the Master Teacher Award for his work at ESF Camps; and does audio engineering for live ensembles. Besides talents in music, Bryan is a team-player in any competitive work environment; equipped with skills in leadership, organization, mathematics, creativity, communication, and managing. On the side, Bryan has worked as a model for several skilled artists in the New England area. Among his other accomplishments include obtaining the rank of Eagle Scout in April 2013 with a project of building a side parking area with guide rails for Webb Mountain Park in Monroe, CT.

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