To expand your piano expertise, you should try some broken chord exercises. Broken-chord patterns are common in accompaniment figures and can help make you a well-rounded player. Check out these four patterns found in a wide range of styles.


Alberti bass exercise

The Alberti bass is common in classical-style accompaniments. The pattern is a simple re-ordering of the chord notes in an arpeggio.


Guitar-style broken chord exercise

Playing guitar-style arpeggio patterns often involves spreading the chord out over both hands. The next song is an arrangement of the classic “Careless Love,” with the right hand playing the melody and completing the arpeggio pattern started in the left.


Blues-style broken chord exercise

Although you’ll easily recognize the blues pattern in this piece, it’s fun to realize it’s simply an arpeggio set in a triplet rhythm. Try the pattern with the melody to W.C. Handy’s “St. Louis Blues.”


Octave, extended broken chord exercise

For a big, full piano sound, extend the arpeggio up to the octave and beyond. This extended pattern is a great exercise for the left hand. Keep the arpeggio smooth during “House of the Rising Sun.” Alternate fingerings are in parentheses.