Music Software Newsletter
Newsletter #109 - 1 June 2013 - Music Software for Everyone
Dear Musicians,

Here is our next newsletter about the Pizzicato music software and its applications.

This month, we have the pleasure to announce the release of Pizzicato 3.6.2, with two brand new software modules.

First, Harmony and Counterpoint, a software that will let you compose music using the basic rules of classical harmony and counterpoint, applicable in fact to any music style.

Second, Alternative Notation, a software with which you can explore the alternative music notation systems based on numbers.

We wish you to enjoy reading this letter.


Dominique Vandenneucker
Designer of Pizzicato

All Pizzicato Music Software

Table of Content

Two new releases...

Tips and advices on Pizzicato...

Music Course for Beginners - Time signature...

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

Publication of a new release of Pizzicato 3.6.2

Harmony and Counterpoint

It was a long time since we last published a new intuitive music composition tool. We were preparing this one since quite some time.

Our recent articles on counterpoint may have attracted your attention, as we were putting quite some focus on that. We will of course continue the tutorials on practical counterpoint in the next few months, but they will take another dimension, as with this new Harmony and counterpoint module, you will be able to do the exercises much easier and the program will offer you a unique way to compose melodies and accompaniments more intuitively.

The Harmony and Counterpoint is natively included in the following versions 3.6.2 of Pizzicato:

  • Pizzicato Composition Light
  • Pizzicato Composition Pro
  • Pizzicato Professional

It can be purchased separately, in which case it includes Pizzicato Light (in fact a little more flexible version than Pizzicato Light).

The Harmony and Counterpoint software can also be used in combination with the following versions of Pizzicato, extending the score limitations and other features available within the program:

  • Pizzicato Choir (targeted for choir music with 4 staves, unlimited measures and pages)
  • Pizzicato Keyboard (targeted for piano, organ and synthesizer music, up to 4 staves)
  • Pizzicato Guitar (up to 4 tablatures and/or staves)
  • Pizzicato Beginner (general purpose music notation program, up to 16 staves)
  • Pizzicato Notation (up to full orchestral scores)

Here is a short presentation of this module.

  • Harmony and counterpoint for hundreds of years have been the basics of music composition. Jazz, rock and entertainment music are also based on these principles.
  • Even modern electronic music styles often use the basic schemes of harmony. With this software, you will be able to create solid and rich harmonic and melodic structures that will give a new dimension to your music compositions.
  • Applied to a choir, this software will help you to harmonize a melody interactively and to create the melodic lines for each part. You will be able to produce custom arrangements of your songs. You will be surprised at the easyness with which you will produce nice sounding arrangements.

  • Starting from your melody (or importing a melody from a MIDI file for instance), the software will propose note by note, or groups of notes at a time, the possible combinations for the other voices. At any time, you select the combination that best fits your inspiration, by listening to it. Using this method, you will easily create a final arrangement that respects the rules of harmony and that corresponds to your musical inspiration.
  • Select the sounds of instruments from a quality sound library, according to the style of the music you want to compose.
  • Print your composition or export it as a PDF file, a MIDI file, a MusicXML file or directly into an audio WAV file. You can also work your composition further into any software appropriate to your musical style.
  • Once the harmonic structure is established, create rhythmic variations, for instance to make the bass more percussive or to add motion and interest to the other voices.

  • The rules of harmony help you to work with fifth chords, sixth chords, sixth and fourth chords, dominant seventh as well as the other types of seventh. The rules of counterpoint can be used for 2, 3 or 4 voices counterpoint.
  • An ideal companion to a harmony or counterpoint course, this software will help you write exercises in an interactive way. It will also detect the most common errors (parallel fifths and octaves, incomplete chords, dissonant intervals, notes exceeding the range of a voice,...).

  • You will find a detailed description of this module here :


Alternative Music Notation

Developed with the collaboration of Christian Pörksen, specialist in alternative music notation systems, the Alternative Notation module helps you explore non conventional musical notation systems based on numbers.

The HMN-Jianpu (HMN = Hamburg Music Notation) is implemented through the use of 12 symbols (digits and letters), making it easier to learn, to read and to transpose.

The traditional Jianpu system can also be used, as well as a few others that can be customized.

The software lets you display any existing score already written in standard notation. You can enter the music directly in HMN-Jianpu, in Jianpu and in customized configurations. It displays the music in both standard and ciphered based notation, next to each other.

The Alternative Notation module of Pizzicato is not part of the standard versions of Pizzicato. It can be purchased separately and will then work with Pizzicato Choir, Light, Keyboard, Beginner, Notation or Professional. The type of score that can be created and edited is dependent of the Pizzicato version.

By default, the Alternative Notation module can be purchased as itself, with no other versions of Pizzicato. In that case, the features of Pizzicato are those of the Light version (combined with the Alternative Notation features).

If you already have Pizzicato, you can simply buy the Alternative Notation module. You then receive an additional license/serial number. Go in the Options menu and select Program version/Upgrades... Then click License registration and enter the license/serial numbers and validate. The Alternative Notation module is then activated.

If you don't have Pizzicato, you can buy the basic Alternative Notation module as a stand alone program and it will offer the same possibilities as Pizzicato Light.

You can also buy a bundle of one of the above Pizzicato versions with the Alternative Notation module. The new features will be applicable within the possibilities of the Pizzicato version you choose.

Here is a short description of this module.

  • Beside what we commonly call Standard Music Notation, there are several other ways to represent music on a sheet of paper. As early as 1743, Jean-Jacques Rousseau developed a new music notation system that was more logical and easy to use for beginners.
  • With this software, explore various alternative music notation systems, like HMN-Jianpu, Standard Jianpu and a few others.
  • Customize the symbols and colors assigned to the notes, so as to design your own alternative notation system.
  • The purpose is to represent the 12 notes (C, C#, D, D#, E, F, F#, G, G#, A, A# and B) that correspond to one octave of the music keyboard (7 white keys and 5 black keys) with 12 different symbols, so as to make it easier to learn, play and/or transpose.

  • Enter the music directly in alternative notation as well as in standard notation by using the shortcuts for notes and rhythms.
  • Combine with any MIDI keyboard connected to the computer or use the on screen music keyboard.

  • Display both alternative notation and standard notation next to each other.
  • Enter the lyrics, text blocks and other music symbols.

  • Print the music, export it to PDF, MIDI, MusicXML and audio.
  • One of the advantages is that a melody will avoid the difficulty of the key signature when it is transposed.
  • Transposition is done simply by adding a fixed value to the melody.
  • In Jianpu, number "1" refers to the tonic of the scale and a melody is always the same series of numbers in all tonalities.
  • You will find a detailed description of this module here :


Next month, we will go back to our counterpoint tutorials. Since then I wish you a nice discovery of this new Pizzicato version 3.6.2 !

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

Vertical Tuplets alignement

By default, Pizzicato does not automatically adjust the position of triplets and other tuplets vertically. The tie or bracket must be adjusted manually. When modifying the page setup or justifying or transposing, the adjustment may no more be optimal.

You can enable the automatic adjustment of Tuplets, vertically. In the Options menu, select Justification. Check the box entitled "Automatic vertical adjustment of Tuplets" and validate. This option is valid for the open document and is independent for each document.

Modifying the chord font

You can modify the font used for the chord symbols. Select the "Chords library..." item in the "Options" menu. In the dialog box, there is a frame called "Default symbol". Click the "Font..." button and you will be able to modify the font. In the same frame, you can modify the way in which different chords will be justified. "On the left" means that the left border of the chord frame will align itself on the beginning of the beat which marks the chord beginning. "On the right" and "In the center choice" will align the center of the chord frame on the corresponding beat. The vertical position (by default) can also be modified. The "Symbol..." button is used to adjust the chord symbol presentation, but you must keep each element of the symbol or the program will not work properly.

How can you hear the written chords?

With Pizzicato, you can write chords symbols on the score. To hear these chords, they must be transcribed on a staff, which is quite easy to achieve. Add a new staff that will receive the notes of the chords. Then select this empty staff and go the the "Edit" menu, "Chords...", "Convert chords into notes...". A dialog appears, giving you several options on the notes that will be used, rhythms... Type F1 (or the Mac Help key) to have a full explanation of these options or consult the user manual in the help menu, in the lesson regarding the chords symbols. When you click on OK, the notes appear on the staff. Note that you can also create a bass line on another staff. Use the same dialog and within the usable notes, select only the bass, in a low range (C-1 to G-2 for instance).

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 time signature

We have learned that the measure is a way to divide the duration of a musical work into smaller parts. We gave many examples, speaking about a 4/4 measure, without specifying what these two numbers mean.

Those numbers are called the time signature. They determine the total duration of the rhythms that can fit inside a measure. The first number (the numerator of the time signature) indicates the number of beats the measure is divided in. The second number (the denominator of the time signature) indicates the contents of each beat.

The beat is a division of the measure. In our preceding examples, we often spoke about a beat as being equivalent to the quarter note duration. This is only valid when the denominator of the time signature is equal to 4 (it is by the way the more common case).

The possible values for the denominator are 1,2,4,8,16 or 32. This value determines the content of one beat in the measure. Here is the equivalence table:

1 Whole note
2 Half note
4 Quarter note
8 Eighth note
16 Sixteenth note
32 32nd note

The bold values are the most common. The numerator of the time signature determines how much of these beats will fit in one measure. In the examples of the preceding lessons, the 4/4 thus represents a measure made up of 4 quarter notes. In the same way, 6/8 is a measure made up of 6 eighth notes, 2/2 is a measure made up of 2 half notes, etc.

The time signature used is indicated in the first measure, in the middle of the staff, just after the clef and the possible key signature. This indication is valid for all following measures. It is possible to change the time signature in the middle of a music work or even each measure if needed. In this case, the new time signature is displayed and stays valid until the next change...

...to read the full text, see the lesson about the time signature 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

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


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