Dear Musicians,

This is issue #104 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

A corrective upgrade 3.6.0 Rev 7 is available on the site at


Let us continue the discovery of the basics of counterpoint. The idea is to help you write two melodies that go nicely together, so that you can compose your own music or arrange existing melodies, for the choir or for any set of instruments.

Counterpoint and rock?

Counterpoint, harmony, music theory are terms that are often frowned upon by a part of the rock and modern musicians. But do you know that it can help them to have more creativity in their compositions? You will see an example right in this article...

Remember that the basic principles of why a music sounds nice are universal and independent of the style of the music. It is obvious that classical music uses counterpoint and harmony more extensively than rock or techno music, but if a rock music sounds really good, you can be sure that these basic principles of music have been applied, counterpoint and harmony, whether it was by chance, inspiration or technique. Often, inspiration is closely related to technique, specifically for groups that have a large long term success. In other words, if you compose rock or techno music, the basics of counterpoint and harmony will help you a lot to increase the originality of your music and will give you an additional key for a better success as compared to your competitors...

The approach that we provide here is not strict counterpoint (the one you need for official school examinations), but a more practical application, that you can use for any style of music where at least two melodic lines appear, even if only the main melody and bass line.

Read our previous newsletters to start at the beginning. You can find them here:

Second species of Counterpoint

Up to now, the examples showed one note associated with one note of the original melody. In the second species of counterpoint, we will associate two notes to each note of the original melody. When you compose yourself the melody and the countermelody, you can of course alternate these techniques from one measure to the other. The principle here is that you can associate two notes to one note.

Here are the corresponding rules:

Let us remember that dissonant intervals are all intervals except the fifth, octave, third and sixth (the second, the fourth and the seventh are considered dissonant intervals).

In the context of two notes for one, we consider that the first note is a downbeat (strong beat) and that the second note is an upbeat (weak beat). In the original book of Johan Joseph Fux, Gradus Ad Parnassum, they are the first and second part of a full measure.

In our more relaxed context of work, we can consider that the first note is the main note and the second note is a sort of attached note, of secondary importance, but that contributes to make the melody more interesting (and harmony too, as it creates more varied intervals and suggests chords).

Let us examine this with an example:

In the first measure, for each note of the bass, we have two notes in the melody. C at the bass makes a fifth with G of the melody. E at the bass forms an octave with E at the melody (third note).

The second note of the melody is F, which forms a fourth with C at the bass. The fourth is a dissonant interval, accepted by the above rule as it goes from G to E in the melody as a conjunct motion (made up of seconds only).

The fourth note is D, forming a seventh (dissonant interval) with E at the bass. It is a passing tone to C in the next measure.

This conjunct motion obligation is no more needed if the intermediate note also forms a consonant interval with the bass, as for instance here:

All intervals are consonant. For the rest, the rules explained previously continue to apply.

One remark though, regarding the intervals formed by two main notes (skipping the secondary note interval). If the secondary note does not move more than a third, the ear will keep the impression of the succession of the two main intervals and if the second interval is reached by direct motion on a perfect consonance (fifth or octave), it may sound badly and should be avoided. It is as if the rules also apply between two main intervals.

Here is a small sequence based on the above principles:

Listen to the example...

If you are attentive, you will notice that on the fifth measure, the music comes to an octave (F / F) by direct motion, which is in principle forbidden. In this case, if you listen, the effect is not particularly wrong. Do never forget that rules are there to help you, not to prevent you writing music. So the playback of the music is always superior in judgement and if you like the effect produced, then get rid of the rule.

This type of exercise gives you a structure on which you can then elaborate your composition. How do you transform the above sequence into a rock style of music? With some imagination, we can have for instance:

Listen to the example...

The steps of transformation were the following:

With what you learned here, you can create melodies and create a bass or countermelody and vice versa. By composition both melodies together, you can alternate in the two melodies, according to your inspiration:

You can use other rhythmic values. All this gives you more rhythmic freedom and so more independence of the two melodies, which is the essence of counterpoint itself.

I invite you to work in it. Start Pizzicato (even in the evaluation mode; look at the basic videos for entering the notes). Select two instruments that you like and just start... Add one or two notes, work out the other voice notes following the rules above, write them, play them, modify them,... continue to progress like that. With regular practice, you will be stunned to see what you can compose!

Dominique Vandenneucker
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

email: Phone 303-252-1270

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

Scan a score and modify it in Pizzicato

Do you have printed music you would like to hear, transpose or modify, without the need to encode it manually?

With Pizzicato Professional or Notation, it is possible to combine Pizzicato with the SharpEye software, a powerful optical music recognition software. Here is a short guide for you.

  1. If you do not yet have Pizzicato, download the demonstration version of Pizzicato 3, on page and install it by double-clicking the downloaded file.
  2. Download SharpEye at and install it by double-clicking the downloaded file.
  3. With your scanner, scan a one page printed music score as a first try. Scan it in black and white and in Tiff or Bmp file format.
  4. Start SharpEye (Start, Programs, Visiv, SharpEye 2).
  5. Select item "Open image..." from the "File" menu and select the image file saved at step 3 here above.
  6. Select item "Read" from the "Read" menu. The conversion starts. A percentage shows the progression in the lower part of the main window. Wait until the score appears in the main window.
  7. Select item "MusicXML... Save" from the "File" menu and give a name to your score (with the XML extension).
  8. Start Pizzicato (Start, Program, Pizzicato 3, Pizzicato). At startup, select the Professional demonstration mode.
  9. In the "File" menu, select item "Import a MusicXML file..." and select the XML file saved at step 7 here above.
  10. Validate the dialog that appears and your music score is displayed. You may listen to it using the button with the little yellow triangle, in the tool bar.

This is the main procedure. As the recognition level of musical symbols is not always perfect depending of the score complexity, there will be some little corrections to do. But usually, the time saved in encoding the score is considerable.

For more information:

As Pizzicato Professional 3 may be used in demonstration mode and as SharpEye may be used freely for one month, you may then try their combination before buying.

You can also proceed with MIDI files for the transfer, instead of musicXML, and you can then use it with all versions of Pizzicato (except Light).

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

Distance / Rhythm ratio

In the lower part of the justification options (Options menu, Justification... item), you will find a slider used to specify the Distance/rhythm ratio.

It is used to adjust the relationship between the distance allotted to two successive rhythmic values (quarter note and eighth note, eighth note and 16th note,…). A value of 100 % allots the same space to each rhythmic value:

All notes are then spaced in the same way. A value of 200 % doubles the space for 2 successive rhythmic values. The above measure would become:

In page mode, there can be a small difference, as Pizzicato must compress or enlarge the measures to fit them inside the printing margins and this happens after the correct computation of the spacing.

Automatically assign the sounds of the orchestral Papelmedia library

When you use the basic instruments as they are presented in the upper left tree of the conductor view (Basic instruments node), these instruments are in fact directly used in MIDI, either on the sound card synthesizer or by the Microsoft (or QuickTime on Mac) software synthesizer.

You may directly drag and drop these instruments on the score to use them in your compositions.

If you drag one of these instruments in the score while holding down the SHIFT key, Pizzicato will automatically assign the corresponding virtual instrument from the orchestral Papelmedia library. You can then benefit from the sound quality of this library. It is the same as dragging the instruments from the folder entitled Virtual instruments / Papelmedia".

See also

Courtesy key and time signatures

In Pizzicato, the Automatisms… item in the Options menu presents two options entitled Courtesy key signature and Courtesy time signature. What is the use of these options?

In a score, the time signature and the key signature sometimes change during the piece. When it occurs at the end of a staff, and to avoid the surprise of the player when his eyes "jump" to the next line, the new key (or time) signature is displayed at the end of the staff, on an extension of the lines after the last bar line, to alert the player about this change. This key (or time) signature is called a courtesy key or time signature.

Pizzicato activates these options by default, which is useful in a score.

It can also be useful to disable them when a score includes several short independent pieces, whose key and time signatures do not have continuity between them. In this case, there is no need to display a courtesy time or key signature.

To force Pizzicato to display the key or time signature at the beginning of the next staff, you can use the measure parameters function (professional version only):

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


When several notes are played together, these notes form what is called a chord. The notes can be played by different instruments or by the same instrument, like the piano, the guitar or the organ. The chords enrich music and let you express various impressions and atmospheres. They amplify the melodies and accompany the rhythmic patterns by giving them new sound colors.

When the notes of a chord are played with the same rhythmic value, these notes are attached on the same stem. Here are for example two chords of 3 notes each with a quarter note duration:

The total duration of the chord is a quarter note, because the 3 notes are played at the same time. With Pizzicato, open the Ex015.piz file located in the Examples folder. It contains examples of chords with various rhythmic values:

Listen to the result. In this example, all notes belonging to a chord start and finish together. With regard to the whole note (second measure), as they do not have a stem by definition, they are only superimposed to form the chord (this principle is also valid for the double whole note, which is an eight beats note and does not have a stem).

When a chord has a note placed between two lines and a note placed on one of these two lines, the convention is to place one of the two notes on the other side of the stem; this improves the score readability. Without that, the two notes would be partly one above the other. Here are some examples with one or more notes placed on the other side of the stem...

...To read the full lesson, see the lesson on music notation aspects (2) 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

Bandloot - Manage the band money together as a band

You already know that we care about your ear training skills - now we also care about your band! We are thrilled to introduce you to our brand new release:

What is BandLoot? is a website where bands can manage their band money together, as a band, in complete transparency and very easily. What more? It's completely free!

BandLoot enables you to:

Why use BandLoot?

Money issues have always been a tedious aspect of being in a band. From remembering to pay back small amounts to your band mates, to chipping in on time to pay for the rehearsal room, money issues in a band are always one too many... Enters BandLoot, a free web app made by EarMaster that will help you get a grip on your band money!

The story behind BandLoot

BandLoot was originally an internal project for our own needs, as we are all active musicians at the EarMaster office. After conducting a survey on, we have found out that 60% of all 2000 responding bands have had money issues, and that 5% even split up because of that. Musicians should not have to turn into accountants to make things work. This was enough motivation for us to share BandLoot with you and make it available for free.

"Anyone can easily learn how to track money using BandLoot thanks to its
user friendly design
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"[BandLoot] is a great place to start out especially for tracking basic
expenses and shared financial responsiblities.
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BandLoot is currently available in ENGLISH, GERMAN, FRENCH, ITALIAN, SPANISH and DANISH.

You can create a free BandLoot account today and invite your band mates on

Pizzicato on Facebook

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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!