In music notation, arpeggiation is a type of ornamentation unique to the piano and other chord-playing instruments. It is drawn as a vertical squiggle just to the left of a chord of notes. The musician interprets it as playing the lowest note in the chord first, then adding the next-highest quickly after, and so forth one note at a time until the entire chord (usually a musical arpeggio, hence the name) is being played.

On the staff, it looks something like this:


    /\           |                                         
---| /-----------|-----------------------------------------
   |/            |                                         
---/-------------|-----------------------------------------
  /|          / O|                                         
-/-|/\--------\--|-----------------------------------------
|  |  |       /  |                                         
|--|--|-------\-O|-----------------------------------------
 \ |  |       /  |                                         
--\|_/--------\-O|-----------------------------------------
   |          /  |                                         
  \|          \-O--                                            

and is played as a series of thirty-second notes and an eigth note joined by ties:


                 ________________                         
    /\          |___|___|___|    |                        
---| /----------|___|___|___|----|-----------------------
   |/           |   |   |   | __ |                        
---/------------|---|---|---|/  \|-----------------------
  /|            |   |   |  *|   *|                      
-/-|/\----------|---|---|---|----|-----------------------
|  |  |         |   |   |   |    |                       
|--|--|---------|---|--*|--*|---*|-----------------------
 \ |  |         |   |   |\_/|\__/|                       
--\|_/----------|--*|--*|--*|---*|-----------------------
   |            |   |\_/|\_/|\__/|                 
  \|          -*---*---*---*----*--
                \__/\__/\__/\___/

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