Some elaborate preparations to long notes in piano music are attempts to mimic the ways singers can begin a sound. The many shadings and extensions of initial consonants may get translated into piano music as multiple short notes, usually notated in small print. Though often marked with a slur, this kind of writing can still be confusing. The articulateness of the keyboard is certainly what’s not wanted — these are compound sounds.
I believe the practice of variously arpeggiating chords, and delineating multiple lines through hesitations and anticipations was pervasive in old music. Let’s welcome back a nuanced “style briseé.” An unbending insistence on “simultaneity” robs us of subtleties of timbre, inflection, and even just of hearing fully all the pitches being played — particularly in dense textures, or in really large rooms.
Sometimes, J. S. Bach marks a specific arpeggiation in a keyboard piece:
In American English, we might refer to such a sound as a “rolled chord.” And for me, this is closely related to an opera singer reaching up, through a long rolled Italian “r,” to achieve a sustained high note, and continue the word with an extended vowel…