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Music Theory for Computer Musicians by Michael Hewitt

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Steps in an Arpeggio

In addition to non-chord tones, you must think carefully about the number of steps in an arpeggio. Ordinarily, arpeggios are in four, eight, sixteen, or thirty-two steps, which means that the arpeggio is in sync with the bar. However, you can obtain amazing effects with step numbers out of sync with the bar. Here again, there are a number of generic types that have found their primary application in various styles of dance music. These include five-step, seven-step, and eleven-step patterns.

The beauty of these is that because the number of steps is odd, different notes of the arpeggio are highlighted on the strong points of the measure. This is a sort of wheels-within-wheels effect that generates inner melodies in addition ...

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