Arpeggio--Legato or Staccato?

by Dan
(Layton, Utah, USA)

I've been told that arpeggios must always be legato. But my teacher says that my hands "gallop" across the keys and the notes don't sound smooth. Should I practice arpeggios staccato? How are arpeggios played by the great pianists? Legato or staccato?


Hi, Dan--

As far as SOUND goes, it depends on the particular arpeggio in the particular piece. Some arpeggios are meant to be played Staccato and are marked accordingly. If not, marked, they are to sound Legato.

Technique is another subject. You can play them either way, using the pedal to make them sound legato when you play them the way your teacher has advised.

I prefer to practice and play them legato rather than "galloping" because if you can actually do the legato with your fingers, then you have more choices when it comes to sound. You can, for example, give them kind of special effect with the judicious use of the pedal while playing the
galloping way.

On the other hand, a trained ear can always tell the difference between "real" legato and pedal-dependent legato.

Just my opinion. Hope it helps.


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