Beautiful (And Easy) Left-Hand Arpeggio Patterns

Lisa Witt  /  Arpeggios  /  UPDATED Jan 13, 2023

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Your left-hand doesn’t like to listen. It wants to do its own thing and it gets mad when you try and tell it what to do.

Face it … Your left hand is a teenager.

Make it better with these left-hand arpeggio patterns. Not only will they improve your playing, but they also sound fantastic! No more boring single-note left-hand basslines 🙂

Left-Hand Arpeggio Pattern #1

This is my bread and butter. It’s my standard left-hand arpeggio pattern that I use all the time. To play this, I use the root-5th-octave of the chord and play that with my left hand.

I play the notes in a rocking pattern so it goes root-5th-octave-5th-octave. That reads messy, so let’s use a practical example.

We’re in the key of G and want to play this pattern for a G chord. So the notes would be: G(root)-D(5th)-G(octave)-D(5th)-G(octave)-D(5th)

That still reads weird, so here’s what it looks like on the piano:

This pattern is wonderful, but there are many more possibilities…

Left-Hand Arpeggio Pattern #2

Are you ready to stretch? This takes a bit more work but I PROMISE it’s worth it.

The pattern is similar to the first one, but instead of playing the octave at the top, we’re going to skip it and play the note 2 steps ABOVE the octave.

Here’s what it looks like on G:

Look at that stretch. I told you this would take work.

To master it, you’ll have to release your pinky finger from the bottom note and PIVOT (cue Friends reference) your wrist.

Practice slowly and you’ll soon get the hang of it.

How much better does that sound? This left-hand arpeggio pattern is so beautiful and rich.

So why stop there?

Adding extra notes

Instead of playing that top note, try playing one note below it.

This is called a 9th in music (the octave is the 8th) and it’s another stunning left-hand arpeggio pattern that fits so many situations.

You could even experiment with playing the major 7th note. Those 4 notes (the 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th) give you so many options for creating beautiful melodic patterns.

Now you know some patterns, but what do you DO with them?

Applying them in songs

These patterns work best in a song that already uses arpeggios. Take ”Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen.

The original song already uses arpeggios, so we can replace some of the patterns with these new ones and see how it sounds (spoiler alert: it sounds amazing).

”Perfect” by Ed Sheeran is another song that you could easily apply these to.

Or you could sit down and come up with your own beautiful chord progressions that incorporate these left-hand arpeggio patterns.

So by the end, your left-hand won’t be eating all your food and staying out past curfew.

It will no longer be a teenager.

Happy practicing!

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Lisa Witt has been teaching piano for more than 20 years and in that time has helped hundreds of students learn to play the songs they love. Lisa received classical piano training through the Royal Conservatory of Music, but she has since embraced popular music and playing by ear in order to accompany herself and others. Learn more about Lisa.

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