Dear Musicians,

This is issue #106 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

It is with pleasure that I announce the publication of Pizzicato 3.6.1, an intermediate release proposing new features.

First, Pizzicato can now insert notes and rests with an automatic shifting of the content of several measures. This can be used for instance to create or design a melody without the need to specify the rhythmic values at the same time as pitches. You can enter all the notes and then, while listening, you can change their rhythmic values (with a right-click on the note, Change to, quarter note,...). The following notes are then shifted accordingly in the next measures.

This can go up to a shift of one quarter note or less, over a whole score, for instance if the music starts with an upbeat and has been encoded by starting on the upbeat. You can easily correct this. This problem is sometimes found while importing a MIDI file that has been encoded incorrectly.

Then, Pizzicato can automatically place articulations (accents, staccato,...) on a selection of notes. If the music must be played with accents or staccato, you can select the measures (or also make a partial selection of notes) and apply one or more articulations. The function that places the symbols has also been improved so as to save you some time when you enter the music.

Stems and beams lookout has been reviewed so as to better fit standard notation practise, resulting in more aesthetic score that are more readable.

A new playback mode is available, enabling to hear the sound result of a given point in the score. By clicking in the score with that tool, Pizzicato plays all instruments present at that point. It is useful to hear a chord or an instrumental combination. If the playback of the score is compared to a video, then this mode is like a stop-frame that enables to see (hear) what really happens at that point. Moreover, if you move the mouse while holding the mouse button, you hear the transitions between chords and you can go backwards to make tests. This can be very useful while composing and arranging. This function comes partly from the original idea of the Music-Touch software, developed some years ago by a collaboration of Jacques Ladyjensky and Arpege Music.

Pizzicato 3.6.1 also imports musicXML 3.0 files as well as compressed musicXML (with extension .mxl).

You will find here below (Aspects and applications, Tips and advices) more explanations about these functions.

As a reminder, if your license number is greater than 19000, this upgrade is free. You can download it as a fast upgrade here:

If you did not yet upgrade to Pizzicato 3.6 with a license number over 19000, you can do it now for free. If you lost the instruction on how to do that, simply send me an email and I will send you again the full instruction email.

I wish you a nice discovering of this new 3.6.1 version!


Let us continue the discovery of the basics of counterpoint. This month, we look how to assign two notes to one note, but this time with syncopation, i.e. accross the bar lines.

The fourth species of Counterpoint

We are still working with two voices, for two melodies played simultaneously. In this combination, we will associate two notes for each note of the original melody. Here is a practical example:

Listen to the example...

As you can see, the change of notes is made alternatively in one voice and then in the other voice. When one melody changes, the other stays constant.

The resulting of this rhythm shifting is that for each whole note (lower staff), there are two notes in the other staff, producing two intervals in the measure. The second note is then identical and tied to the first note of the next measure.

These interval may be consonant, as it is the case in the third measure, with a fifth and a sixth.

Or the first interval may be dissonant, with the condition that the second interval be consonant, as in the case of the second measure above, where the seventh (dissonant) moves into a sixth (consonant).

The concept of resolution

This species of counterpoint easily introduces the concept of resolution of a dissonant interval into a consonant interval. The principle may be explained like a tension, a less harmonious element, which transforms itself into a more harmonious element.

Notice the use of the words less and more. It is always a question of relative musical impressions. Some sound combinations are apt to create the impression of calm, serenity, order, peace,... Other combinations induce tension, nerve, anger, disorder, chaos,... You can define a scale containing these impressions, from total chaos to total peace and serenity. The dissonance produces tension and the ear intuitively expects this tension to be solved.

At any moment of a piece of music, a combination of notes is present somewhere on that chaos/serenity scale. The movement and the path followed by the music on that scale will give it interest. It is like in a movie. There are moments of tension, action, interspersed with moments of calm and relaxation. The interest is awakened by the motion and the changing of atmospheres.

The specific moment when one goes from a more chaotic combination into a more serene combination (with an increase of the degree of order) is called a resolution.

As we cannot always to up the scale, at some point we need to go down, so as to be able to go up again. At these moments, some or lots of chaos is willingly introduced, and we are then able again to progressively come back to a more serene atmosphere.

What you should thoroughly understand is that the process consisting of going up and down on that scale is in itself generating musical pleasure and interest. So it is quite useful to master and organize the movement in a musical composition.

You understand now that consonant intervals are more higher on this scale and dissonant intervals are lower on it, with various degrees.

This species of counterpoint may be seen as a one note per note counterpoint, but where one of the melodies moves with a delay, which generates a new sound impression during the transition. If we rewrite the above example by shifting the melodies back into synchronization, we get a simple counterpoint with only consonant intervals:

Listen to the example...

In other words, by starting from a simple counterpoint and by shifting one melody, we get a counterpoint that is richer and with suspended notes. However, we need to check for the resolution rules that follow below, as they will not all be satisfied by simply shifting any simple counterpoint, but it gives you a method to try to make a counterpoint more interesting.

The rules of resolution for the fourth species counterpoint

In this type of counterpoint, the dissonant note is resolved to the closest lower down that forms a consonant interval. In the second measure of the above example, we have an E that forms a seventh (dissonant) with the F of the lower staff. The closest lower note to E making a consonant interval with F is D, which makes a sixth.

Two cases must be analysed. If the moving note is in the upper part (as the above example), this note goes down while the other note stays the same. So in each case, the resulting consonant interval is smaller than the dissonant interval. We get the following table for the resolution:

Starting dissonant interval Resolution consonant interval
2 - second 1 - unison
4 - fourth 3 - third
7 - seventh 6 - sixth
9 - ninth or second 8 - octave

We can always add one or more octaves between the notes. For instance, the ninth interval is simply the second interval with one added octave. Even if they do not sound exactly the same, these two intervals share similarities on the sound impression they produce.

In the other case, if the moving note is in the lower part and as this note goes down for the resolution, this means that the resolution interval is greater than the dissonant interval and we get the following table:

Starting dissonant interval Resolution consonant interval
2 - second 3 - third
4 - fourth 5 - fifth
9 - ninth or second 10 - tenth of third

The use of the seventh to the octave is not optimum. It does not produce the resolution feeling expected and somehow sounds "empty". It could be said that a resolution may not be too brutal, in the sense that the auditor expects some interest in the resulting motion. In the case of a movie, if a police motion picture would establish a crime scenario in a few minutes that would seem completely impossible to solve, and then would present the full perfect solution in the next 30 seconds, the spectator would probably be disappointed. He would at least expect some progressive, longer and interesting path from the problem to the solution. The same principle applies in music composition.

Practical example

Here is an example that combines the above principles with more freedom. Let us remember that each species of couterpoint is a specific type of exercise and by putting it all together we reach a freely progressing composition. The separation into several types of exercises helps to drill yourself with each kind of difficulty.

Listen to the example...

Here are the passages that concern the species explained above:

For the rest, the rules already explained are applicable.

As seen previously, this gives you a melodic structure. You can then arrange it into your preferred style. Here is an example in a less classical mode, once again demonstrating that counterpoint is far from being limited to classical music.

listen to the example...

The transformation was done as follows:

The next newsletter will be sent end of December/beginning of January, so I already wish you the best possible New Year celebrations!

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

Inserting notes with automatic shifting over several measures

Since Pizzicato 3.6.1, a special insert mode lets you insert notes and rests in a melody that covers several measures.

Until now, you could insert notes and rest in an incomplete measures and Pizzicato would shift the content up to the next bar line. For instance, if you insert a quarter note before two eighth notes, these two notes will be shifted.

The new insert mode is activated by the tool that you can find in the main palette. Its shortcut is letter "q". By selecting it, the background of the measures becomes slightly blue, to show the active insert area of the score.

By default, this area covers the whole score. If you insert a note in the first measure, for instance a quarter note, the whole content of that measure as well as the rest of the score, will be shifted by one quarter note. This can imply a change of rhythmic values, as the shifting is done through the bar lines. In a 4/4 measure with two half notes, if you insert a quarter note at the beginning, the first half note is shifted, but the second is split into two tied quarter notes, with the second quarter note being moved in the next measure (which content will be shifted in the same way). At the end of the insert area, the content may be truncated if it overflows the area duration.

You can modify the limits of the insert area so that it only contains one or a few measures. Select the insert tool on the palette and then do a CONTROL + left-click in a measure to specify the starting point of the insert mode area and a CONTROL + right-click to specify the end of the area.

To insert notes or rest, simply use the standard notes and rests tools by putting the note or rest between the existing content of the measure.

Here is an example where a quarter note is inserted a the beginning, in an insert mode area of 3 measures. Please note that the last note of the area (a half note) is truncated (to a quarter note) so that it does not overflow the specified area.

The same principle applies also in the following operations:

If the selection tool is active with a selection displayed on the screen, when you enter the insert mode, the insert mode area is made equal to the previous selection of measures.

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

Applying articulations to a selection of notes

With Pizzicato version 3.6.1, you can also automatically apply articulation symbols (accent, staccato,...) on a selection of measures and/or individual selected notes. To use this, you must first select the measures or notes and then select the Apply symbols... item from the Edit menu (or from the contextual right-click menu on the selection) and the following dialog box appears:

Click on one or more of the symbols and validate the dialog box. The symbols are then automatically applied to the notes of the selection.

By default, Pizzicato will continue to check the positionning of articulation symbols, for instance when you justify the measures, change the page layout,... If you want to disable this, you can uncheck the Automatic adjustement of articulations box in the Options, Additional options... dialog box.

Dragging and dropping MIDI files

For the versions of Pizzicato that support the music composition tools, you can drag and drop a MIDI file (from the Windows file explorer or from another music application like Band-In-A-Box), directly into a measure of a staff. The content is then copied from there on into the score. Or you can drop it on the musical desktop of the conductor view to get the full score of it and be able to use it in a score group.

Hearing what is under the mouse

Since Pizzicato 3.6.1, a new plyback tool lets you listen to a precise point in the score (a chord, melodic transition,...), with the Music-Touch playback tool . This tool is located in the main palette and its shortcut is letter "w".

You simply need to click and hold the mouse button down, to hear what is present at the specific point in the score, for all instruments together. If you move the mouse (while still holding the button down), the playback is shifted to that new location. By releasing the mouse button, the playback stops, except if you hold down the CONTROL key, in which case the sound continues to play until the next click.

According to the Pizzicato versions, this tool applies in:

The original idea of playing back by dragging the mouse on the score comes from the Music-Touch software (hence the name of the tool) which was developed in collaboration with Jacques Ladyjensky. Later, the Music-Touch software evolved more into helping beginners to compose music.

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


Despite the various rhythmic values explained and the possibility to lengthen them with a dot or a tie, some rhythmic values are still impossible to write. For instance, how could you write notes during one third of a quarter note? Impossible, because all rhythmic values are based on multiples of two.

The irregular groups, also called tuplets, are groups of notes not being a multiple of a standard rhythmic value. Let us start with the simplest, the triplet.

The triplet is a group of 3 identical rhythmic values that must be played within the duration of 2 rhythmic values. Let us take an example with eighth notes. An eighth note has a duration of half a beat. Three eighth notes have a duration of one and a half beat. An eighth note triplet is a group of 3 eighth notes accelerated to fit within the duration of 2 standard eighth notes, that is to say, one beat. Here is how it is represented:

The three eighth notes are grouped by a curve (or a hook) with figure "3". It means 3 instead of 2. The three notes are played more quickly than their normal duration. The total duration of the three notes is equivalent to one quarter note. You can put four such groups in a 4/4 measure.

Here is an example with a quarter note triplet:

The three quarter notes must be played within the normal duration of 2 quarter notes. The group thus uses 2 beats of the measure. Open the Ex020.piz file and listen to it. It contains examples of quarter note triplets and eighth notes triplets:

Triplets let you divide durations into three equal parts such as the eighth note triplet which divides the quarter note into three parts. Notice that you can place different rhythmic values in a triplet, as in the following examples...

...To read the full lesson, see the lesson on Tuplets on our site...

The commercial page...

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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!