Music Software Newsletter
Newsletter #111 - 20 October 2013 - Music Software for Everyone
Dear Musicians,

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

We are happy to announce the release of our special conditions for music education.

By trying to make music available to everyone, Pizzicato has developed many aspects of music education.

Whether for music theory, music notation, music reading or creative music composition, Pizzicato has developed itself into a large field of experimentation, like a music laboratory where you can combine many tools taken from a multi use toolbox.

We wish you a nice reading of this newsletter.


Dominique Vandenneucker
Designer of Pizzicato

All Pizzicato Music Software

Table of Content

Toward a unitary music theory?...

Tips and advices on Pizzicato...

Music Course for Beginners - MIDI...

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

Pizzicato Music Software Education Pricing

We are proud to announce special prices and conditions for students, teachers and education institutions.

Students and teachers may purchase Pizzicato Professional, Pizzicato Notation and Pizzicato Composition Pro with a substantial discount on the normal price, either as a package (with DVD and printed manual) or as a downloaded version.  The discount goes up to almost 50 %.  See the details here:

Individual licenses for students and teachers...

For part time music schools (evening and weekend), we propose a flat rate package with the following:

  • 5 Pizzicato Professional licenses, to be shared by the school and the teachers
  • Each student receives two software, that he can install on his personal computers:
    • Harmony and counterpoint
    • One of the specialized Pizzicato versions (Keyboard, Choir, Soloist, Guitar or Drums)

The school may then distribute these two software to each one of the students, present and future.

This is a real opportunity to make music software more available and used in the music education field.  The purpose is to increase the creativity of the students and to motivate them to work at home.

Reading and singing the notes of a sheet music may be much more attracting to the students if he can practise it also at home between the courses with his computer as a guide.  Teachers will themselves benefit from it, as students will be even more motivated.  The software becomes an assistant to the teacher and the student.

You can find the details of this flat rate package here:

Flat rate packages for part time music schools...

For full time music schools, site licenses are available to enable the school, the teachers and the students to install Pizzicato Professional, Notation or Composition Pro on their computers.  There are also packages of multiple licenses with decreasing prices.  You will find the details here:

Multiple licenses and site licenses...

You can always contact us for more information.

Toward a unitary music theory?

What is the basic common denominator of all music styles? Why do we like some types of music and not others?

Since about twenty years, these questions guide me toward a fundamental research in music. The subject is not new and Pythagoras already determined that the most harmonious intervals were related to simple mathematical ratios (for instance, a perfect fifth is formed by a ratio of 3 vibrations to 2).

If the structure of the harmonics of a sound and the scale intervals are explained in almost every music theory or harmony course under the sun, these mathematical considerations are quickly forgotten by the student for the rest of his curriculum.

But would these concepts of relative proportions have something else to unveil? I strongly believe so. There must be a small number of basic natural laws that could explain and unite the various elements found in harmony, counterpoint, rhythm and orchestration for any music style, whether tonal, atonal, micro-tonal, ethnic, techno or acousmatic.

Such a theory must provide a more subtle and finer analysis of music than is possible today and bring a much better understanding of the musical phenomenon. I called it unitary music theory.

It is one of my goals in life. Even if I am still far from the final results, I have accumulated some interesting elements and I would like to share them with you. I am also open to – and even searching for – any collaboration in this vast and exciting field of research.

The ultimate goal is a practical theory, not a pure academic knowledge. It happens in the frame of the development of a music composition software that would be really intuitive, where the user would not need to be enclosed in a notation system or learn elaborate music theories when his only purpose was to express himself/herself as an artist. Too many theoretical barriers still exist today and musical creativity should be available to anyone.

Presently, I do not have a structured document explaining the existing state of this music theory, but only a set of principles discovered or collected throughout the years.

If the unitary music theory could assemble of set of coherent and applicable principles, a new generation of music software would arise. Presently, most music software (including the one I develop since 20 years, Pizzicato) are mainly sophisticated score, MIDI and audio editors. Some offer more advanced features to manipulate more complex musical structures (Band-In-A-Box, Pizzicato,...) but this is much limited by a missing basic understanding of what music really is. Programmers can not do better than what the current theories can explain.

The fear that a software could one day compose music as well or even better than a human being is in fact a false problem. Simply because a software is itself created by human beings. If one day a software seems to compose a symphony of the quality of Beethoven, then you would simply need to applause the team who created the software, as they would have injected their creativity and expression through the software. You could say that a software becomes a musical instrument. If a pianist uses his instrument to find chords and create a melody, you would never declare that the piano composed the music, would you? It is basically the same with a software. It is a tool for expression and needs in all case the human being. So yes, I totally agree that the computer will never replace human creativity and it is not at all the purpose here.

I am aware that many passionate researchers are trying to investigate this field and that they have discovered here and there some very interesting elements. On my side, what I try to do is to assemble a small set of principles that could be directly applied to compose music, to learn how to compose and to reach a real understanding of what music is. Only practical principles are searched for.

This being said, here is the first point where the unitary music theory starts. We need to build the structure of music, so we must first establish what kind of commodity we are dealing with. The basic ingredient of music is obviously time. If time would stop, there would be no music anymore.

In physics, time is a continuous dimension between the infinitely short and the infinitely long. But in the context of music we can distinguish three different bands, each one associated to a specific form of human perception.

The most obvious is rhythm. Rhythm is mainly perceived as a time interval between two or more sound events. A slight variation of the time interval will be easily perceived as a tempo change or a playback done just before or just after the exact expected time. The more natural way to approach rhythm is body motion. Even without any knowledge about music, anybody is able to move his/her foot to follow or express rhythm. The perceived sound events are close enough in time so that the auditor does not need to use his memory.

The next time scale is the form, the time structure of a music composition, also related to memory. If we increase the time interval between two events (by decreasing the tempo for instance), the direct perception of rhythm is progressively lost and transforms itself into a short term memory. The association between the duration and the body motion becomes less clear and the level of precision decreases also. Indeed, try to play a piece of music at a tempo of “one quarter note per minute” without the help of a metronome or chronometer and you will see that the precision level is more difficult to establish.

If the type of perception is different between rhythm and form, there is however no sudden discontinuity between the two and the physical rhythm perception smoothly transforms into the awareness that a similar sound event has been heard some time ago (from a few seconds to a few hours). The transition is continuous and does not cause any confusion to the auditor.

It is not the same for the transition to the third time band in which we are interested. If we increase the tempo, there is a point where the body can no more follow physically (try to beat the measure at a tempo of a quarter note equal 800...). By increasing the tempo, the body looses control. And when we reach about 25 or 30 vibrations per second (a tempo of 1500 to 1800), the body does not perceive the vibration physically but it is the ear that takes the relay, as we get into the lower band of sound perception. When the time interval still reduces, we cover the whole band of sound perception from about 25 to 20,000 vibrations per second (the A reference note is 440 vibrations per second).

As we can see here, the transition between rhythm perception and sound perception is made through a confusing band where the body can no more follow the rhythm and where the produced vibration is still too low to be perceived as sound by the ear. This phenomenon will be important to take into account, as it influences the subjective side of music perception. To my knowledge, it is the only logical and natural explanation to the well known observation of the critical band of frequency, established by many researchers to try to understand the phenomenon of dissonance.

It is important to notice that the whole time band covered (approximatively from 50 microseconds to several hours) corresponds to a unique physical phenomenon: a time duration. The separation in three different time bands does not come from the nature of time itself but well from the human perception of time. Here is the first step between an objective and a subjective criteria.

With this time division established in sound, rhythm and form, we can then easily classify the standard music elements. Harmony, melody, timber and sound quality go into the sound section while rhythm and form naturally go in the two others.

If you have ideas or comments on this subject, I would be happy to hear about them!

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

Creating a cut measure

It is sometimes useful to split a long measure in two parts at the end of a staff and the beginning of the next staff. You can do this easily with Pizzicato by doing the following (example of a 4/4 measure to split into 3 beats+1beat):

  • Insert first an empty measure after that measure and duplicate the measure content in this empty measure. You get the same measure twice. With the layout tool, arrange the staff so that the first measure is at the end of the staff and the second measure at the beginning of the next staff.

  • In the first measure, remove the last beat content

  • In the second measure, remove the first three beats content

  • Select the first measure and call the "Measures parameters..." in the Edit Menu

  • Check the "Measure duration" box and set this length to "Fix" by 3 quarter notes. Click OK.

  • Select the second measure and call the same dialog box

  • Check the "Measure duration" and set it to "Fix" by 1 quarter note. Check the "Measure numbering" box and select "Uncounted measure". This prevents Pizzicato to count this measure twice. You can also give it a fix number, equal to the one of the preceding measure, but then do not forget that this number will not increment itselft automatically in case of a measure insertion. Click OK.

  • With the "barlines and repeats" tool, make the right barline invisible in the first measure.

  • Do the same with the left barline of the second measure.

  • Justify the two halves of this split measure and the notes will be correctly displayed in the two halves. The MIDI play will also be correctly interpreted.

Beams handling

You can customize the way in which Pizzicato beams the eighth notes and shorter notes. See the "Justification" item in the "Options" menu. By default, the "Beams creation" box is checked and the text box to the right is empty. Pizzicato groups the quarter notes by pairs in a 4/4 measure, by groups of 3 in a 6/8 measure,...

The text box can contain a set of numbers used to structure the number of beats beamed in a measure. By writing for example "2+1+1" for a 4/4 measure, Pizzicato will group the first two beats, then the third and then the fourth. If there are 8 quarter notes, you will get groups of 4, 2 and 2 eighth notes. Another example, "3+6+1+1+1" in a 12/8 measure will produce, if this the measure contains 12 eighth notes, the following groups: 3, 6, 1, 1, 1 eighth notes.

If you do not want to beam the notes automatically, you can disable the "Beam creation" box. In this case, Pizzicato will not group notes, but you can force a beam manually by placing a note while holding down the CTRL (Control) key. Notice that you can also use this function when you create beams automatically so that you can force a beam into existence. To remove a beam, use the appropriate tool in the main palette (the icon with 2 separated eighth notes) and the beam will disappear.

The manual modifications are saved with the notes. At any moment, you can click a note with the right button of the mouse (option-click on Mac) and reach the note edition dialog box, which shows if a beam is automatic, forced or inhibited.

Creating a page for free music notation

Here is how to create a full page of staves to write notes freely, without time signature limitation. We will take the example of an 8 staves page.

With the creation assistant, create an 8 measures score. Click OK twice (including one for the page layout). You have now a page which has 2 staves of 4 measures.

With the layout tool ('D' shortcut while placing the mouse on the first staff), select one measure per system (for this system and the following ones) and 8 systems per page (for this page). Click OK. You will now have 8 staves of 1 measure each.

To remove the left and right measure bars, use the measure and repeat tool ('R' shortcut while placing the mouse on the first measure). For the left and right bars, select "Invisible". Select from measure 1 to measure 8 and click OK. There is no measure bar any more.

If you want to suppress the number "1" in front of the staves, open the instruments window and remove the text (Name and abbreviation), then close the window.

To remove the "C" time signature and free the measures, select all the measures (Edit, Select All) and go in Edit, Measures parameters. Check "Time signature: hidden", and also "Measure length : free on the basis of a quarter note". Click OK.

You are ready to enter the notes. If you want the MIDI functions to work correctly, it is better to keep the automatic justification active. If you do not care about the playing and only search a graphic result, disable the automatic justification and you will be able to write everything you want on the measures.

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.writing-music.com email: info@writing-music.com

Music course for Beginners

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


The purpose of MIDI

MIDI means Musical Instrument Digital Interface. Its purpose is to transmit the actions executed with a musical keyboard in a digital form.

It is a universally adopted language to exchange musical information between synthesizers and computers.

When you hit a note on a musical keyboard, the keyboard immediately sends a message to its MIDI output. This message communicates for example that the C-3 note has just been pressed. When you release the note, another message is instantaneously sent to express that the C-3 note is released.

If a pedal is connected to your synthesizer, the fact of pressing or releasing this pedal also sends a MIDI message expressing this action. Similarly, when you move a lever located on your keyboard, it also generates MIDI messages.

In other words, each action executed by the performer on his keyboard is translated and instantaneously sent as a MIDI message to the devices connected to it by a cable.

These standard MIDI messages only contain numbers which characterize the type and the content of the message. Those numbers are instructions which command a synthesizer what to play and how to play it. It is not a sound which goes through a MIDI cable, but only a set of instructions used to control a musical synthesizer.

When the computer wants to play a score on a synthesizer, it simply sends the necessary MIDI instructions to it, and the synthesizer produces the sounds, not the computer. The computer simply replaces the performer.

Therefore, the sound quality depends only of the synthesizer which executes the MIDI commands. MIDI does not have a "sound quality". A MIDI message simply gives the order "Play this note!" and the synthesizer executes it with its capabilities.

...To read the full lesson, see the lesson about MIDI 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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