This is issue #103 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.
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To make the practice of counterpoint more easy for all, I have prepared a table of musical intervals. I suggest we examine it in details.
The data exposed in the last article is really fundamental for the technique of counterpoint. The principle is to combine two or more independent melodic lines so that the resulting effect is more interesting and agreable to the ear. If needed, you can review the last article here:
At this step, the main points are:
- At any moment, the intervals formed by the two melodies are perfect consonances (unison, fifth and octave) or imperfect consonances (third and sixth).
- The two melodies evolve by direct motion, contrary motion or oblique motion, except when arriving on a perfect consonance, in which case the direct motion is forbidden.
The second point is relatively easy to observe. For the direct motion, both melodies go up or down together. For the contrary motion, their directions are opposite. For the oblique motion, one melody holds the same note while the other goes up or down.
The first point can be more difficult to master for beginners or musicians not accustomed to recognizing an interval at the first glance. This makes the process of finding possible notes for a second melody more difficult.
The following table has the purpose to make this research more easy, so that one can concentrate on the design of the melody.
If you perfectly master interval recognition, it will be useless to you. But if more than a quarter of a second happens between the time that you see two notes and the moment you realize "this is a third", then this table may have some interest to help you reduce this "interval recognition" reaction time.
This is similar to the motions you make to drive a car. Until you do not master them thoroughly, as an automatic process, without the need to think about it, it may be difficult to drive in a city, as an important part of your attention is taken by the basic actions needed to drive the car. Only practice can help you to improve the situation.
The table is structured as follows:
- Each measure contains the useful intervals based on a given note. For instance, measure 1 shows the intervals based on the C note.
- Green notes are notes that form a perfect consonance with the black note of the staff below it.
- Blue notes are notes that form an imperfect consonance with the black note of the staff below it.
- The numbers between the notes of the intervals are the interval value (3 = third, 5 = fifth, 6 = sixth, 8 = octave)
- The table is limited to the two octaves of the G clef, but it would be easy to extend it or transpose it to a larger range of notes.
How to use this table?
Let's take an example and add a second voice to the following melody:
For the first note, we prefer a perfect consonance. As the note of the melody is C, we consult measure 1 of the table and select a green note, for instance the upper G note.
For the next notes, we favor imperfect consonances and contrary motions. Starting from:
we examine the possibilities of the table, based on the F note (number 2), which is detailed in measure 4 in the table:
To get a contrary motion as well as an imperfect consonance (blue note), we can select the D note, making a sixth with the F note:
The third note of the melody is G. To find possible notes, have a look at measure 5 of the table. By choosing a contrary motion (the D note must go down) and an imperfect consonance (blue note), we can choose the B note. By continuing the same process and by making choices (listen to the results and select which one you prefer according to your own appreciation), we can for instance get the following:
Listen to the example...
As this melody is likely to continue, the last note does not necessarily end on a perfect consonance, which would be more conclusive for the end of a melodic phrase.
When adding a second voice to a melody, the purpose is to make it more interesting and more rich to the ear. For this, we try to make the two melodic lines independent, by using the following means:
- Favor imperfect consonances. An analysis of harmonics present in such intervals will show that there is more richness and interactions in them than in perfect consonances. Perfect consonances are more in agreement with themselves and limit the independence of the voices. They are more conclusive and are more used at the beginning or end of the melody, or during a temporary rest point or stable point of the melodic line.
- Favor contrary motions. Two voices that go together exactly paralleling each other have of course a high degree of dependence. By using contrary motions (and sometimes here and there direct or oblique motions), we can create melodies with independent curves and the musical content is more interesting.
The technique explained up to here is called the first species of counterpoint. We work with two voices and one note of the melody corresponds to one note of the counterpoint. The other species will introduce more than one note for each melody note, so that some rhythmic independence will also take place between the two voices.
I suggest you realize some personal examples, by inventing a melody and adding a counterpoint to it by following the rules described. It is regular practice only that will help you to compose and arrange melodies.
Designer of Pizzicato
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 www.music-composing.com
email: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone 303-252-1270
and applications of Pizzicato...
Discover the various aspects and applications of Pizzicato
Pizzicato can synchronize a rhythm generator or an external synthetizer via the MIDI cable. What is synchronization? It is the ability to force two or more music devices to play together at exactly the same tempo. Imagine that you have a Pizzicato score with chords and a melody, but that you would like to use the rhythmic patterns of an electronic organ. If you start the score and the organ at the same time, you will hear an increasing time shift, as the speeds will never be exactly the same. The solution to that is MIDI synchronization. The MIDI standard includes special messages to "force" one of the devices to follow the tempo of the other.
Pizzicato can follow the organ or be conducted by it. If you want Pizzicato to conduct the organ, you need to go in the "Recorder" window and click the "Options" button (in version 3, go in the Options menu, Midi Play options...). To the right of the "Synchro output port" item, select the MIDI port connected to the organ. Click OK. From there on, Pizzicato will send the START and STOP informations and the synchronization messages to the organ. Be sure to configure the organ so that it will receive these messages. When you start the score, the organ will follow.
If you want the organ to conduct Pizzicato, go in the same options dialog and select the MIDI port connected to the organ, to the right of the "Synchro input port" item, then click OK. From there on, Pizzicato will play when you start the organ accompaniment. Be aware, using this option, that Pizzicato will not be able to play by itself any more (the "START" button and the space bar will have no effect). To disable this synchronization feature, simply select the "Synchro input port" item to "None".
advices for Pizzicato...
Frequently asked questions about Pizzicato
Selecting the measures to play
In linear mode, Pizzicato will begin to play the score at the first visible measure. Thus you can easily determine the starting measure with the horizontal scroll bar. In page mode, the first visible measure is the first measure of the current page. If you want for example to listen several times to a precise passage, select the cursor tool and place it in the first measure to play. The playing will begin there. You can also select the measure with the selection tool and the play will begin at the selection. To repeat a passage several times, check the "Loop on x measures" and insert the numbers of measures you want to hear several times in the score tool bar. The passage will be played and played again until you click STOP. In the dialog box appearing when clicking on the "..." button in the score tool bar, you will find another possibility to specify the first and last measure to play.
Using the keyboard window
The Pizzicato keyboard window visualizes the notes played in the score. You can reach it via the "Piano keyboard" item of the "Windows" menu. If you listen to a 2 staves score for example, you will see that only the notes of the first staff are displayed on the screen. The keyboard "captures" the notes coming from one MIDI channel only, by default the one of the first staff or the staff where the MIDI cursor was placed the last time. To see the notes of another staff, activate the MIDI cursor (shortcut 'r') and place it on the other staff (by clicking on this staff).
To observe the notes of 2 staves at the same time, you need to assign the same MIDI channel to the staves you want to observe. To do that, open the instruments window and disable the "AC" box for the concerned instruments. Select then the same value in the "MC" (MIDI Channel) column for the concerned staves. You will then see the notes of these staves displayed at the same time on the keyboard.
If the notes are too low (lower than the G clef lower C), the notes will not be displayed. You can change the keyboard octave by going in the "Options" menu, "Keyboard" item. In the dialog box which appears, you can determine the first octave. By default, its value is 3. Select 2 or 1 to see more octaves.
This window can be used for example to visualize the notes played on the keyboard to learn piano. Hear the piece play slowly and try to reproduce the same keys on a MIDI keyboard for example.
Notice that since Pizzicato 3.3, a guitar fretboard window is also available for the same kind of application.
MIDI input setup
Pizzicato lets you connect a MIDI keyboard to your computer to enter notes easily. By default after installation, there is not necessarily a selected MIDI input. To record notes directly from a MIDI connected keyboard:
Go in the "Options" menu and select "MIDI Setup...".
Double-click the MIDI input port to the left. In the dialog box that appears, select the line that contains the "MIDI" term inside the "Associated driver" menu. The exact expression varies with the sound card or MIDI interface you use (for example "SB MIDI Input", "MIDI Input", "USB MIDI IN",...).
Check that the MIDI plug named "IN" is well connected to the "OUT" plug of your synthesizer and vice versa. Also check that the notation convention used by the manufacturer of your MIDI interface is the right one. If not, you may need to connect the "IN" plug to the "IN" connector of your synthesizer and the "OUT" to the "OUT". It depends on the manufacturer, so check in your sound card or interface user manual.
To test the MIDI connection:
Press the "Esc" keyboard key, then the 'r' key (lowercase 'R').
A blinking cursor must appear on the score.
Hold down a key of your MIDI keyboard and press '3' on your computer numeric keypad. If a note appears on the screen, then the setup is correct. If a rest appears, there is a MIDI input setup problem. If you have several MIDI input choices, try another one. If not, your sound card is probably not setup correctly for MIDI input in Windows (warning, your sound card can work well for MIDI output and audio but not for MIDI input, because the driver is different).
If the MIDI input does not work properly on MAC, try to disconnect the MIDI cable of the keyboard (but NOT the USB connector, which must stay connected) from the interface while you start Pizzicato. Connect it again when Pizzicato is started. If the keyboard sends any MIDI signal while Pizzicato starts, the MIDI of the Mac may not be properly initialized.
If the test is OK, you are ready to record in real time and see the notes appear on the screen.To know how, simply read the two lessons about real time recording in the Help menu or on our website on page www.arpegemusic.com/manual36/EN430.htm
To enter notes step by step with the MIDI keyboard, see the following lesson: www.arpegemusic.com/manual36/EN250.htm
Musical basics and access to the Pizzicato music course
We have seen that half notes, quarter notes and all shorter rhythmic values have a stem. This vertical line starts from the right side of the note head and moves upwards, at least in the examples seen so far. Its length does not influence the note and is purely a question of convention, readability and aesthetics of the graphical layout. According to the note head position on the staff, the stem can be oriented downwards. In this case, it starts from the left side of the note:
Generally, one acts so that the stem exceeds the staff the least possible while having on average the length given in this example. When the note is placed on the third line or lower, the stem is directed upwards. When the note is placed higher than the third line, the stem is directed downwards:
This is not a mandatory rule, because it does not at all influence the performance of the note. The same principle is valid for the eighth notes. When you draw rhythmic values with hooks, they also change orientation, but they stay on the right side of the stem. The hooks always point in the direction of the note. Here is an illustration:
...To read the full lesson, see the lesson on music notation aspects (1) on our site...
The commercial page...
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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 www.arpegemusic.com/earmaster.htm
You can buy EarMaster at https://arpegemusique.com/acheteren.php
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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 www.arpegemusic.com/clients3.htm. 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!