Music Software Newsletter
Newsletter #107 - 14 February 2013 - Music Software for Everyone
Dear Musicians,

So here comes our first newsletter of 2013, in a new design that we hope will be more easy to read and consult.

You will find here articles on the applications of Pizzicato for your musical activities like notation, page layout, printing, but also to help you in developing your music creativity.

Composing or arranging your own music is indeed a major step in music learning and too many musicians, sometimes even professionals, have difficulties with this step. But it is also a wonderful step to increase one's own music creativity.

Pizzicato offers you intuitive tools to discover music composition.

Now you can do it, with Pizzicato. Step by step. We are here to help you.

We wish you to enjoy reading this letter.


Dominique Vandenneucker
Designer of Pizzicato

All Pizzicato Music Software

Table of Content

Learning Counterpoint with Pizzicato...

Tips and advices on Pizzicato...

Music Course for Beginners Using clefs...

Internet music page of the month : music symbols...

Which Pizzicato version would fit your needs ... ?

Discover in 10 minutes why Pizzicato is so different than other music software:

Pizzicato video

Watch the video!

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Visit our site : http://www.arpegemusic.com
Copyright 2013, Arpege Sprl, all rights reserved

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email : info@arpegemusic.com

Read all previous articles on page http://www.arpegemusic.com/editoriaux.htm

Learning Counterpoint with Pizzicato

This series of articles invites you to study the basics of counterpoint, which consist of the ability to combine two or more melodic lines together.

In our previous articles, we have seen four different species of counterpoint applied to combine two melodies together. The fifth species is called florid counterpoint and combines the four other species together in the same piece of music.

Because our approach is not strictly scholar counterpoint and is aimed at practical composition, we had already started to combine several species in a single example. As a reminder, we follow the basics of counterpoint as described by Johann Joseph Fux in his book from 1725, Gradum Ad Parnassum, that Mozart, Beethoven and Haydn studied with interest.

Let's take the opportunity with florid counterpoint, to make a summary of the species already explained and to create another example with two melodies, that will then be adapted into a specific music style.

We will only make a practical summary of the rules already explained. We strongly advise you to read the previous articles and examine the associated examples, from our letters 102 to 106, so that you can better assimilate the information.

Basic rules

We work with two voices, two melodies that are played together.

We classify intervals between the notes of the two melodies as follows:

  • Perfect consonances (1 - unison, 5 - fifth, 8 - octave) or any added octaves
  • Imperfect consonances (3 - third, 6 - sixth) or any added octaves
  • Dissonances (2 - second, 4 - fourth, false fifth or augmented fourth, 7 - seventh) or any added octaves

The melodies evolve in three different ways:

  • Direct motion: both melodies follow the same direction, up or down
  • Contrary motion: the melodies go in opposite directions (one goes up and the other goes down)
  • Oblique motion: one voice stays level and the other goes up or down

The principles to combine two melodies together are the following:

  • We use consonant intervals (perfect or imperfect)
  • All motions are possible, except a direct motion when it arrives on a perfect consonance
  • We favour imperfect consonances, with the exception of the first and last notes of the melodies where we always use a perfect consonance.
  • We avoid using a false fifth or augmented fourth in the melody (horizontally).

First species of counterpoint

For each note of one melody, there is one corresponding note in the other melody.

Second species of counterpoint

For each note of one melody, there are two corresponding notes in the other melody.

The first note must be consonant.

The second note may form a dissonant interval, providing that it is a transition note forming a conjunct motion between two consonances.

Third species of counterpoint

For each note of one melody, we associate 4 notes in the other melody. Three cases are possible:

  • The second and fourth notes may be dissonant if they form a conjunct motion between two consonances
  • The third note may be dissonant if all other are consonant and have a conjunct motion
  • The second note may be dissonant, even with a skip of a third to the next note, if all other are consonant

Fourth species of counterpoint

Each melody changes its note when the other stays the same. There are two notes in one melody for each note of the other melody. There are two possibilities:

  • Both intervals are consonant
  • The first interval is dissonant and the second is consonant

The resolution of the dissonance is done by going down to the closest consonant note available.

Fifth species of counterpoint, "florid"

Here we can combine the four other species together. In strict scholar counterpoint, the first voice has fixed durations, for instance whole notes. This voice is fixed and the student must create the other voice by combining the 4 other species.

In our practical study there is not necessarily a fixed melody and you may alternate both voices and mix the four species freely.

Example of florid counterpoint

Exemple de contrepoint fleuri

Listen to the example...

As the purpose is to arrange the music in a less neutral style, here is an example of the same counterpoint arranged in a jazz style.

Exemple d'arrangement résultant

Listen to the example...

The transformation was made with a few steps:

  • Selection of instruments: accoustic bass, sax, doubled with vibes
  • Dividing some of the bass notes
  • Tempo acceleration
  • Adding a light rhythmic

We are now done with two voices counterpoint. Notice that even with only two voices, we could manage to have some interesting examples to arrange the music in various styles.

Our next article will start studying 3 voices counterpoint. Adding a third voice will better determine the harmony generated by the voices and we will study the rules that will help you on this matter. Before that, I suggest you to do some personal exercises with the above summary, so that you can master two voices before adding a third one.

Don't forget to send me once in a while the exercises that you create. I always appreciate to see (and listen to) what you compose.

Dominique Vandenneucker
Designer of Pizzicato.

Music Software Newsletter
Tips and Advises on Pizzicato

See also the frequently asked questions on page http://www.arpegemusic.com/clients4.php

Validity of chords

When you place chords on a staff, they apply for all staves (which is musically logical). The symbol displays on the selected staff, but the chords apply to all staves. So, after having placed all the chords on the first staff, you can make them appear on every staff you want. Just select a staff and choose the "Edit" menu , "Chords..." and "Place the chords symbols" item. When you erase a chord on one staff, the rule is that if this chord appears in another staff, the symbol is erased but the chord is still there. When you erase a chord symbol which appears in one staff only, the chord is really erased.

Assigning virtual instruments anywhere in the score

A virtual instrument is a collection of information that a software (here Pizzicato) may use to produce directly the sound of an instrument, without the need of an external synthesizer or the synthesizer of the sound card.

The instrument may be the exact reproduction of a real instrument (violin, flute,...) or may be a purely artificial sound.

The software creates the audio signal directly and sends it to the sound card. This permits the exact reproduction of a sound on any computer, as opposed to the MIDI playback where the sound quality and final result depends on the external music material or the kind of sound card you have.

Pizzicato offers a sound library called Papelmedia (under license) which is installed with any licensed version of Pizzicato.

By selecting the Edit menu, Assign virtual instruments to staves... Pizzicato will assign the virtual instruments corresponding to the instrument selection found in the instruments window. Pizzicato can then play the score by using the Papelmedia sound library. This is possible with all Pizzicato versions.

The virtual instruments are visible on the score if you enable the reference marks tool (its keyboard shortcut is ":"). When Pizzicato assigns a virtual instrument, it is visible at the beginning of the first measure.

With Pizzicato Professional, you can assign virtual instruments anywhere in the score, for instance to change the sound at any point in the score (legato strings, pizzicato strings, slow or fast strings,...). To assign an instrument, you just need to drag it inside the measure, where it should start to play.

You will find the Papelmedia library in the Conductor view. Open it from the Windows menu. In the upper left tree, open respectively the folders Music libraries / Virtual instruments / Papelmedia. You will find several folders sorted by family and types. Just click an instrument and drop it in the destination measure.

You may also import any SoundFont file in the My library folder. Click on this folder with the right mouse button and select Import a SoundFont file... Once imported, you can drag and drop the instruments it contains directly into the measures.

Deleting a note or rest

Since Pizzicato version 3.4, you can delete a note or rest from a measure, just by clicking on it and dragging it out of the measure, to the right or to the left. Click, drag and release the mouse and the note or rest disappears. It is quicker then pointing the note or rest and then using the delete or backspace key.

Order Pizzicato

Order one of the Pizzicato versions today on our secured site by clicking here.

Free upgrades

Buying one version of Pizzicato gives you the right to about 3 years of free upgrades.

If your license number is superior to 19000, you can download the lastest upgrade 3.6.1 Rev 1 for Mac and Windows by clicking here.

Advanced upgrades

At any time, you can upgrade to a more advanced version of Pizzicato, for a special upgrade price. See the upgrade order page by clicking here.

We are looking for...

... collaborators, partners and distributors, in any country, for the development of sales channels of Pizzicato. Write to:


Pizzicato in the 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: info@music-composing.com Phone 303-252-1270

Music course for Beginners

Read the full Pizzicato music course on page http://www.arpegemusic.com/manual36/EN090.htm

Using clefs

Octaves numbering

As previously explained, a clef is used as a reference mark to write notes on the staff. Until now, we always used the treble clef to locate the notes:

The number to the right of each note name shows the number of the octave. Because there is only 7 different note names, octaves are numbered to differentiate amongst octaves. Remember that an octave is an interval between two notes having the same name and thus comprising 6 other notes between them.

The 8 notes here above cover the extent of an octave. This octave bears number 3. The next octave starts with the C located in the third line space and bears number 4. You can easily write the notes of octave 4 in treble clef (the last C already belongs to octave 5):

Using the bass clef

The bass clef lets you write lower notes covering octaves 1 and 2. Here is the bass clef and the notes of octaves 1 and 2:

...to read the full text, see the lesson on using clef on our site...

With Pizzicato Light:

  • Learn music

  • Discover music notation

  • Start playing the keyboard

  • Only about $20 !

Pizzicato Light

Pizzicato Light

With EarMaster Pro 6, improve your music abilities:

  • Interval singing
  • Interval identification
  • Chords identification
  • Rhythmic dictation
  • Reading and playing rhythms
  • Rhythmic imitation and rhythmic precision
  • Melodic dictation

Logiciel Earmaster

Music Internet Page of the Month
Here is a list an explanation of most of the common symbols found in music notation (Wikipedia) :


The Pizzicato Music Software range of products
What version of Pizzicato would fit your needs?

1. Pizzicato Light is an introductory version to learn music, make exercises, write small scores (1 or 2 pages) and use basic MIDI and audio recording features. You can start practicing the music keyboard and make your first steps into music composition. [20 euros as a package, 15 euros as a download]

Note: The reference prices are in euros. To see the price in other
currencies ($US, $CA,...) go to the following page and select the

2. Pizzicato Beginner is a general purpose score editor, that contains most of the tools you need to write, print and listen to music scores for the choir, solo instrument or small orchestras up to 16 instruments playing together. [99 euros as a package, 67 euros as a download]

3. Pizzicato Notation is a full score editor that offers you all the notation features found in any other Pizzicato versions. It contains all the tools you need to write, print and listen to music scores, from the soloist to the full orchestra. [199 euros as a package, 129 euros as a download]

4. Pizzicato Guitar contains all the tools you need to write sheet music for the guitar or other fretted instruments like the banjo, the bass, etc. You can use a tablature or TAB, or a standard staff. A guitar fret board window helps you entering the notes and you can create chord diagrams. [39 euros as a package, 29 euros as a download]

5. Pizzicato Choir helps you write and print nice sheet music for the choir. Learn to sing your voice while Pizzicato plays the other voices. Increase your knowledge of music theory with the full music course included. [39 euros as a package, 29 euros as a download]

6. Pizzicato Soloist contains all the tools you need to write music for a solo instrument. You can print nice solo sheet music, whether for the brass, woodwind, string instruments or any solo instrument written on one staff. [39 euros as a package, 29 euros as a download]

7. Pizzicato Drums and Percussion is specifically designed for music notation of drums and percussion instruments. You can use up to 8 staves, each one with 1 up to 16 lines to which you can assign a percussion or drum instrument. [39 euros as a package, 29 euros as a download]

8. Pizzicato Keyboard contains all the tools you need to write music for keyboard instruments like the piano, the organ or the synthesizer, with up to 4 staves. [39 euros as a package, 29 euros as a download]

9. Pizzicato Composition Light introduces the concept of intuitive music composition for a small budget. This is where you can start exploring music composition like never before, up to 8 instruments. [49 euros as a package, 39 euros as a download]

10. Pizzicato Composition Pro offers you the most advanced tools for intuitive music composition, with no limits to the number of instruments. [149 euros as a package, 99 euros as a download]

Finally, Pizzicato Professional contains every function available in the 10 versions already described. You can use all the features for music notation as well as all the tools for intuitive music composition and combine them in the same software. [299 euros as a package, 195 euros as a download]

Get Pizzicato today and enjoy its features
for your music activities

Order Pizzicato right now by clicking here...


Godelieve Cuylits, clarinetist (Belgium) - "I transpose, reduce scores and help our conductor to write his own arrangements on paper"


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