Music Software Newsletter
Newsletter #108 - 6 April 2013 - Music Software for Everyone
Dear Musicians,

Here is our next newsletter about the Pizzicato music software and its applications. Notice that the editorials, even if they apply to the use of Pizzicato, are aimed toward any musician who wants to learn how to compose and produce his own music.

While developing Pizzicato, we wish to buikd a creative musical environment in which you can write your music and start composing more intuitively.

You will find in it articles about applications of Pizzicato for your musical activities for writing, layout, printing of music scores, but also to help and stimulate your music creativity.

We wish you to enjoy reading this letter.


Dominique Vandenneucker
Designer of Pizzicato

All Pizzicato Music Software

Table of Content

Learning Counterpoint with Pizzicato - Composing for 3 voices...

Tips and advices on Pizzicato...

Music Course for Beginners - braces...

Which Pizzicato version would fit your needs ... ?

Video of the month
1 minute
Discover two innovative features of Pizzicato

Pizzicato video

Watch the video!

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

Learning Counterpoint with Pizzicato

In our previews articles, we have described counterpoint with two voices, that is, the techniques to combine two melodies so that they sound well.

We make it our priority on practice and we create examples in more modern styles than exercises found in scholar counterpoint studies. I hope the experts do no blame us for this, as we want counterpoint to help everybody. Not only classical musicians but also rockers and lovers of techno music as well. The basics of music apply to all music styles.

In this article, we start in with 3 voices counterpoint. We combine three melodies together in a harmonious way. In practice, these three melodies will be the bass (whether a bass voice, a double bass or an electric guitar bass), a main melody (that part of the music we keep in memory, the main theme, the solo instrument or voice singing) and we add a second accompaniement melody. This additional voice can be a singer or any instrument. It is located between the bass and the main melody.

These three voices may also be used to arrange for instance a set of saxophones that play chords, or for a string ensemble (violin, viola and cello) or in any case where three instruments must sound together in an interesting way.

We explain the basis of counterpoint using the book of Johan Joseph Fux from 1725, Gradus Ad Parnassum, which Mozart, Beethoven and Haydn studied carefully. And even if in that time, they did not know about electric guitar and techno music, these basics principles still apply today in modern music. So let's start right in...

Basic rules

With two voices, we have a unique interval determined by the two notes. A unique interval does not define precisely a chord, which is leaving some space for various chords that can apply to these melodies.

The introduction of a third voice that is different from the other two, immediately determines the chord more precisely, by forming a triad, that is, a superposition of two thirds like in C, E, G for instance.

Our first rule will be:

  • The two upper voices will form a consonance with the bass.

This implies that we can use the third, the fifth, the sixth or the octave, which produces the following possible configurations (based here on the C note at the bass) :


Listen to the example...

This gives us 10 possible configurations for the notes (without including the additional octaves that are still possible). Note that the above examples are not supposed to follow each other, they are individual examples of note configurations.

The examples of measures 7 and 8 do not have thirds, which makes these chords less rich then the others. Let us say that in some cases, they may be useful.

Our second rule will favor the use of certain intervals while constructing the melodies:

  • As much as possible, we use the full triad with the third and fifth. In the purpose of improving the melodic line, we can also use the sixth instead of the fifth, or the octave, or both.

This rule is thus more free and subjective. The ideal would be to use the full triad (measures 1 and 2 above), but the quality of the melody is more important and enables us to also use the sixth and the octave.

Two other rules also influence the conduct of voices.

  • We avoid as much as possible a motion of the three voices in the same direction.
  • The rule that prevents a direct motion arriving on a perfect consonance is applicable between any two voices.

We should then avoid the 3 voices going up or down together. This configuration creates too much dependence between the voices. The purpose of counterpoint is to make each voice independent and personal, somehow opposing the other voices, while still making a harmonious whole. We work toward voice independence.

Two voices arrving with a direct motion on a perfect consonance has a tendency to sound poorly, particularly if the previous chord had a more interesting combination of harmony. This is the main reason why we avoid it, as it creates too steep a break in interest. Here is an example:


Listen to the example...

As already often mentioned, these rules are there to help you and not to command you. When a musical effect pleases you and creates the desired effect, use it without any doubt, whether it follows the rules or not. The rules are there to show you the way, but are not a purpose by themselves.

Practical example with three voices

As for the two voices counterpoint, we start with the first species, that is, each voice has the same note duration.

Exemple à trois voix

Listen to the example...

The example could sure be improved, but it contains some interesting progressions, even if it goes beyond scholar counterpoint. Here is how it could be arranged, using a more specialized style.

Exemple de contrepoint fleuri

Listen to the example...

The transformation was made as follows:

  • Going from 4/4 to 3/4, while adapting the rhythm to avoid the same constant duration
  • Selecting instruments: the electric bass, the clavichord and drums
  • Adding arpeggios based on the chords present
  • Tempo acceleration
  • Adding of a drums pattern.

The number of ways that this transformation can be done are practically infinite. The main factors you can influence are the instruments, the rhythmic variations, the tempo, the combination of instruments, the drum patterns..

Since the beginning of our articles about counterpoint, we start with a counterpoint exercise, followed by a method to transform such an exercise into a more specific composition. It goes without saying that the method can be followed in various directions. It is sometimes more motivating to start working on a rhythmic setup, then work on the counterpoint that will be used with it. You should start with the items that most inspire you at the time you compose.

For instance, after doing the above exercise, it is possible to create a new sequence in the same style, by modifying the original counterpoint. You can start working either directly in the arrangement or in the original counterpoint. Let us remark that it is a bit more difficult to see the orignal counterpoint with its rules in the final arrangement than in its barest form in the original counterpoint exercise. It is a question of habit and work. And music composition will always require work from the composer. The computer is only there to help you. You are the composer. So act and compose without waiting further !

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

Splitting the right and left hands for the piano

When transcribing a MIDI file or a real time keyboard performance, Pizzicato can split up the left and right hands on two different staves in G and F clefs. To record in real time the two hands at the same time, do the following:

  • First, prepare the two staves (F clef and G clef).
  • Place the MIDI recording cursor on the upper staff.
  • Go in the "Options" menu, "Transcription..." item. The "Transcriptions options" dialog box appears.
  • Check the box "Lower split point" and select the note that will separate the two hands. By default this note is the central C (value 60). A value of 61 will be C#, 62 will be D,... The "Listen..." button lets you play a note directly on the musical keyboard: click "Listen...", then press a music keyboard key. Click OK to confirm the choice.
  • Record in real time your performance on the keyboard, with the help of the metronome and the recorder window.
  • When you stop, your performance is transcribed using the two staves (left and right hand).

If you start from a MIDI file (already recorded), do the following:

  • Import your file and transcribe all staves except the piano staff that you want to transcribe with two hands.
  • Under the piano staff (not transcribed), add an empty F clef staff.
  • In the "Options" menu, select the "Transcription..." item and make the same changes as explained above.
  • Select the upper piano staff only and select "Edit", "Transcribe". The piano staff is transcribed and the lower notes are transcribed on the bottom staff, which represents the left hand.

In both cases, do not forget to disable the split option again, otherwise you will have a bad surprise the next time you will make a one staff transcription...

Slurs and ties

Pizzicato has 2 types of ties. The first one is the tie (notes and rests tool palette) used to tie two notes together, having the same pitch and showing that the note is held and only played once. To introduce a tie, select the tie tool (quarter note with a tie on the right) and click on the first of the 2 notes. The tie is automatically calculated by Pizzicato. Using the same tool, you can change its direction and erase it (by clicking again on the first note). The shortcut key is the "=" keyboard key, that you can use while pointing the note with the mouse (without clicking).

The slur is a different type of tie. Its purpose is to group 2 or more notes. It can include two or more notes of the same or different pitches. If the notes have the same pitch, the second note will be played, as opposed to the tie. The slur symbol is in the main symbol palette, in form of a curve, up or down. When the tool is selected, simply click on the first note of the group. The slur appears in a standard size. You can than display the control points with the marks tool (shortcut ":") to adapt the size, the form of the curve and the slur position. The slur can be created on several measures if necessary.

In both cases, Pizzicato plays the effect of the tie/slur. For slurs, by default Pizzicato links the notes at 100 %, which means that the stop of a note exactly corresponds to the beginning of the following note. This default value is fixed by a parameter of the instruments view, separately for each instrument. In the "Various effects" configuration, the "Dur." (Duration) column is place by default to 100 %. When you add a slur, you force Pizzicato to play notes to 100% of their duration. If you maintain the value by default in the instrument window, you will not hear the difference with the notes which are not linked. To get a contrast, fix the default value for example to 75%. All the notes which are not bound will be played with a very little staccato and the notes bound with a slur will play at 100%.

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

Braces and groups of staves

We have seen that staves playing together are connected by a vertical line on the left border:

This set of staves played simultaneously is called a system.

It is also common to connect the bar lines belonging to the same instrument group, such as for example the woodwinds, the brasses or the strings of an orchestra. Here are for example some instruments of an orchestra. The bar lines are connected by instrument families:

The groups of staves are delimited by a bracket including all the instruments of the same family. In this way, instruments are easier to locate, especially when the orchestra score has twenty-five or thirty instruments as it is sometimes the case.

...to read the full text, see the lesson on the aspects of music notation, on our site...

With Pizzicato Composition Light:

  • Discover intuitive music composition

  • Music composition for everyone

  • Music course to help you compose your music

  • Only about $49 !


Pizzicato Composition 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

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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