Dear Musicians,

This is issue #100 of the Pizzicato musical newsletter. It is intended to help you to better know and use Pizzicato. You will find in it various articles about Pizzicato, its use and aspects, but also references to the music course and links to other music related sites.

You may send us any information to publish about music (performances, festivals, exhibitions, music training sessions, Internet links,...). You may also tell us any difficulty you have with Pizzicato so that we can explain the solutions in the next issue. This letter is for you.

We hope you will enjoy reading it.


Dominique Vandenneucker,

29, rue de l'Enseignement

Phone ++32 -
Support ++ 32 -
Fax ++32 -
Visit our site:

Copyright 2012, Arpege Sprl, all rights reserved. 


Read all previous editorials on page

We had started a tutorial composition in our letter number 96 and we reviewed various aspects of music composition and of the use of Pizzicato.

In this article and the next one, we will finish the structure of this composition, by using the various techniques explained up to here. We will not detail these steps again, so if you need more information, please refer to the previous articles, that you can access here:

Let us take the composition document as it was at the end of the last article. You can download it here:

This document can be edited with the demo version of Pizzicato, so that you can test the software with the example. If you have a Pizzicato version that does not have the composition tools, you can switch in Professional demo mode in the Options, Working mode menu. Once you have finished, don't forget to switch back in the license mode, with the same menu.

Here is how the global view looks like. This view lets you assemble and play several scores, each one with a specific music content:

In this example, we use one score per sound layer, which helps to construct a composition in a progressive way and to easily reorganize its various elements.

Here is a way to develop this composition into a more complete structure.

1 - Duplicate a section and transposing it

To duplicate a score, click on its third icon in the series of five that are visible in the upper let part of the scores:

Listen to the result.

2 - Using aliases of a score

The copies made above are independent of the original score. You transposed them and the original scores stayed in the first tonality.

It is sometimes useful to play the same sequence several times in the composition, at various moments. In that case, you can use an alias, which is a copy that stays linked to its original score. If you modify one of the copies or the original score, they are all modified.

To create an alias of a score, click on its fourth icon (the small "+" with a yellow background). The name of the new score is displayed in italic to notice the fact that it is an alias.

If you open and modify one of the aliases, they will be all modified.

3 - adding a variation

Notice that this new theme is in fact a variation with eighth notes of the content of the first theme, but when you listen to it, it brings something new while keeping a similarity with what precedes.

We can now create a similar variation for "Layer 2 - Guitar A-1".

Its content will be the same as "Layer 1 - Marimba B-1", but played backwards. Here is how to do it using the smart link of Pizzicato (for more details, see ):

This last operation made the measures independent of the original score. Without it, any change made in the original score will influence and update the inverted melody. This can be used as an advantage to test various themes and their variations.

4 - Transpose the variation

We can now transpose the two variations as we did it above.

As for layer 3, create aliases of the two versions (A-1 and A-2) and place them in sequence and aligned with scores of layer 3. You should now have:

Listen to the whole result. Here is an example, using the sound library of Pizzicato:

Listen to the example

You can also create two additional aliases of Layer 4 Percussion and place them at the beginning of measures 20 and 28.

In the next article, we will finish this example. You can download the file as it is now here:

Dominique Vandenneucker
Designer of Pizzicato.

Pizzicato in United Kingdom

You can always contact Andrew Ullmann at Pizzicato Music limited, for any information you need on Pizzicato and the way to use it.

Located in Leeds, Andrew is the official distributor of Pizzicato in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland.

You can visit the UK site and buy Pizzicato products directly at

email: Phone 0113 2018850

Pizzicato in US and Canada

You can always contact Blair Ashby, at Broadlands Media, Inc. for any information you need on Pizzicato and the way to use it.

Located in Denver, Colorado, Blair is the official representative of Pizzicato for the United States and English speaking Canada.

You can visit the site and buy Pizzicato directly at

email: Phone 303-252-1270

Aspects and applications of Pizzicato...
Discover the various aspects and applications of Pizzicato

Creating systems with different number of staves

Pizzicato Professional and Pizzicato Notation have a function to optimize the staves displayed for an orchestral score. This means that when only a few instruments are playing in the orchestra, the other staves are not displayed in the conductor score, which takes much less space in the page layout. This function may be used to create a page with systems that do not have the same number of staves. Here is how you do it.

Tips and advices for Pizzicato...
Frequently asked questions about Pizzicato

Freely aligning staves and systems on a page

By default, Pizzicato automatically aligns the right and left borders of every staff on the internal margins of the pages. To disable this function, go in the "File" menu. Select the "Page layout" item and disable the "Justify systems on page, horizontally" check box, then click OK. You can the freely move the systems on the page, Pizzicato will not systematically align them right or left.

Volume control : limits imposed by MIDI channels

The MIDI communication system between the computer and an external synthesizer or a sound card may transmit messages called "Controllers". There are 128 controllers and the most known one is controller 7 which determines the volume. On a MIDI cable, there can be 16 independent channels, so that 16 sound generators may have different volumes. For a given channel, Pizzicato can send a volume value that you select (between 0 and 127). If 2 staves use the same MIDI channel, the volume message sent on one will affect the other one in the same way because the staves notes are played with the same MIDI channel. With the automatic management of the MIDI channels by Pizzicato, this situation can happen only in 2 cases, because Pizzicato always tries to use a different channel for each staff.

The first case is for the percussion instruments. The percussions are associated to channel 10 in a lot of synthesizers. If you create 4 percussion staves, they will all be assigned to channel 10 and even if the instrument view shows 4 volume sliders, only the last one will have the desired effect, because its message is sent the last and its volume is thus considered (the first messages are also sent, but immediately modified by the following ones). If you want to assign different amplitudes to the different percussions, you can use another parameter named "Velocity". You can also find it in the instrument view ("Miscellaneous effects" item). The nuances (P, FF, MF,...) placed in the score affect the velocity and are thus independent. You must know that the velocity value is sent for every note played and not globally for all the notes. So, several notes sent on the same MIDI channel may have various velocities.

The second case is when there is more staves in the scores than MIDI channels on your sound card or synthesizer. In this case, Pizzicato is forced to reassign the same MIDI channels to different staves. To avoid that, you can disable the automatic management of the channels and assign them yourself (for example, you can assign staves with an equal volume/instrument to the same MIDI channel and thus keep other channels for the staves needing a specific volume). The ultimate solution is of course to add a new synthesizer or sound card, which adds 16 MIDI channels. Pizzicato Professional 3 may work up to 16 MIDI ports (thus 16 x 16 MIDI channels).

Aligning lyrics

When lyrics are written under the notes, you can align their positions. Using the tool that moves the lyrics, you must know how the SHIFT and CTRL keys modify it:

In this way you can adapt the position of the lyrics, for example when a note goes too low. It is better to move the lyrics when they have all been encoded, otherwise you will desynchronize the positions and it will be more difficult to align them after. Do not forget that you can use 8 independent text lines,that you can align independently. Every move of a line implies that all the lines below it will also move in the same way.

In Pizzicato 3, you also have a specific function. Select the measures and go in the Edit menu, Adjust lyrics... A dialog lets you readjust all the lyrics positions.

The beginner's corner...
Musical basics and access to the Pizzicato music course

Music notation examples

We will examine and listen to some examples of the notation of sound characteristics, so as to illustrate the theory learned in a previous lesson.

Note pitch - example

With Pizzicato, open the Ex001.piz file, located in the Examples folder. The following score appears:

It shows you a staff with 3 measures. The playing instrument is the piano. The sign located at the beginning of the staff is called a clef. We will explain this in the following paragraph. You can observe 9 notes distributed in the 3 measures. From left to right, these notes are placed more and more high on the staff, which corresponds to increasingly high pitch notes. Listen to the sound result by pressing the space bar. One after the other, the 9 notes are played by the computer. A small black triangle follows the play and the notes are coloured in red one after the other.

What is a clef?

The possible pitch range of notes largely exceeds the 9 notes played in the above example. In other words, it is possible to play notes much lower than the note placed on the first line of the staff or much higher than the note placed on the fifth line. As we will see further, it is possible to place additional lines on which to place higher or lower notes. Here are examples:

This technique is nevertheless limited to 3 or 4 additional lines below or above the staff, because using more lines makes the score difficult to read. By placing a clef at the beginning of the staff, the pitch of all notes can be changed. Let us see this in more detail.

We had seen that the sound consists of air vibrations. The higher the sound, the more vibrations there is and the higher the note is placed on the staff.

To locate a note on the staff, it is not enough to say that it is lower or higher than another. It is necessary to establish a precise reference on which everyone can agree. This reference is established by placing a clef at the beginning of the staff. There are several reference systems for notes and each one is marked by a different clef.

The most current clef is the treble clef (or G clef). With this clef, a note placed in the second line spacing corresponds to a sound making the air vibrate 440 times a second...

...To read the full lesson, see the lesson on Music notation examples on our site...

The commercial page...

EarMaster 5 - Interactive Ear Training Software

Have you ever thought about what might be the difference between a good musician and a REALLY good musician?

The answer is very likely to be Ear Training!

Ear training is the process of connecting theory (notes, intervals, chords, etc) with music (the sounds we hear). The more you will exercise to recognize this connection, the more you will appreciate playing music, because you will learn to understand what you play.

For more information, go to

You can buy EarMaster at

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Pizzicato upgrades

The upgrade to Pizzicato 3.6 is available for download on page:

We regularly release corrective fast upgrades on the same page.

If you have an old version of Pizzicato, a series of upgrades are available for Mac OS X and Windows, according to the version you presently have.

If you bought Pizzicato 3.4 or 3.5, you may download Pizzicato 3.6 for free. The reference is the license number. All users whose license number is greater or equal to 19000 can upgrade for free by going to the upgrade section on our website and download version 3.6. See page Install it and validate it with your original license/serial numbers.

Otherwise, to know the prices and possibilities, see the upgrade order form on our site:

In the menu "You have", select the version you presently have. The page will be redrawn and will show the possible upgrades and their prices. To buy an upgrade, fill in the form and validate it.

We are at your disposal.

Our purpose is to place music in everybody's hands

and to bring people to more musical creativity

Use Pizzicato and make music!