What is the Difference between a Triad and an Arpeggio

I love questions. They reflect the state of understanding of our course participants and students.

And I love watching the answers come in on our Facebook Group when the question is posted there. Some spot-on, but others adding more to the confusion revealing why precise and careful instruction is needed.

After an epic thread that contained some answers that were on top of it such as the one from our friend Mark Smith, we also had plenty of other answers that weren’t quite as accurate and may have muddied the waters a bit for our questioner.

Particularly this one, which we had in several versions:

If it is a triad, it’s three notes. If you play an arpeggio, you always add the seventh on top. (fact-check: not so)

So I made this quick video to clarify things:


difference triad and chord

Both are C major triads.

First one is played as a chord.

The second one as an arpeggio (you can also say it is “arpeggiated”).

Many ways exist to play a triad as a single chord (voicings, order of notes, inversions, what octaves… etc) and many ways exist to arpeggiate a triad, but the principle as shown above, remains the same.

Keep the questions coming!

Our questioner is part of our Cohort Course. Learn more about this unique learning experience!