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Music Theory for Computer Musicians by Michael Hewitt

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Arpeggiation and Non-Chord Tones

The process of arpeggiation becomes more complex when arpeggios make reference to non-chord tones. A non-chord tone is any note that does not form part of the chord. The use of these in arpeggio patterns is very effective because they are capable of enhancing the melodic interest of the arpeggio.

Passing Notes

There are a certain number of generic types of non-chord tones that are extremely useful to know when you are writing arpeggio patterns. One of the most important of these is the passing note. A passing note is the note between two chordal tones that are a third apart. Occurring on a rhythmically weak part of the bar and safely nestled between two chordal tones, the passing note’s use provides melodic interest ...

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