Music Software Newsletter
Newsletter #113 - 10 May 2014 - Music Software for Everyone
Dear Musicians,

So here is the next Pizzicato newsletter.

To improve a software, if is often necessary to plan changes on a long term basis, in addition to more specific modifications and improvements.

The world of tablets, the evolution of Mac OS and Windows, the user interface design: these aspects need a long term strategy and cannot be added to a program like we add a specific feature to it.

Since end 2013, Arpege has started the implementation of such a strategy and we presently are actively busy to develop a new musical software library, that will be implemented progressively into Pizzicato, following its development.

For the users, this means a more modern and agreable interface, a music graphic rendering that is closer to ideal music notation standard, score readers for tablets, as well as other useful aspects.

It is a an improvement of the building blocks on which Pizzicato is built.  We take care as best as we can of the remarks you sent to us since all these years.  We are working hard on this !


Dominique Vandenneucker
Designer of Pizzicato

All Pizzicato Music Software

Table of Content

How to predict the success of a piece of music for a given public ?...

Tips and advices on Pizzicato...

Music Course for Beginners - 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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Read all previous articles on page http://www.arpegemusic.com/editoriaux.htm

How to predict the success of a piece of music for a given public?

This question can easily interest composers, editors, concert organizers and many others as well.

If classical music theories help to compose better and explain some of the music composition principles, the most important problem is the lack of an efficient and effective link between the objective descriptions of music components and the subjective feelings that are experienced while the public listens to music.

The objective side is the rhythm, the melody, the chords, the instruments.  There are many courses and theories for these various aspects.  One can study and pass the examinations successfully.  And one can also use them exactly to the letter and produce a run-of-the-mill composition with no particular success in the public.

The subjective side is the impression experienced by the public.  And it is the only criteria for the final success of a musical composition.

How can we build a more logical and predictable link between the two?

At Arpege Music, we follow a track of investigation in this area.  We follow it since many years in the frame of the preparation of a futur music software to make music composition more available and intuitive for all and our fundamental research is focused on a practical purpose.

Following our previous articles on the unitary music theory (see in the archives of our letters by clicking here), how could we predict to some degree if a piece of music will or will not have success for a given public?

We have established the fact that the auditor reacts to the musical objects he perceives, by at least six different ways:

  1. Recognize
  2. Compare
  3. Establish proportions
  4. Predict
  5. Be surprised
  6. Associate to his past

The main hypothesis of the unitary music theory is that the auditor, while listening to music, will attempt as best as he can, to succeed in these six activities.  To the degree that he succeeds in them sufficiently, he will like and appreciate the music.

But he also needs a challenge.  If he succeeds to easily, if the music structure is too simple for him, his interest will be reduced.  On the other side, if the musical structure gives him too much difficulties to succeed enough in these activities, the music will seem too closed and non understandable and to this degree, he will not like the music.

We enter here in the wide area of human abilities.  When starting a given activity, some people may abandon quickly if some difficulty appears.  Others can be more motivated in the presence of difficulties.  This is much variable but for a given person, we can advance the hypothesis that it is a rather constant quantity, even if it can be modified by education in the given field (by studying music, you can increase your abilities in understanding music).

Each person will have, for each of the above activities, a specific tolerance band in which she will appreciate what she hears.  All music that globally produces too easy or too little success in these activities will automatically be excluded of her musical preferences.

Let us note that these six reactions are not necessarily processed analytically and consciously by the auditor who experiences the music.  These reaction are mainly and simply "experienced" and felt by the auditor.  They are for us a way to describe objectively what is experienced subjectively.  They form a bridge between the objective sides of sound and the subjective feelings of music listening.  Let's examine each reaction in more details.

1 - Recognize

The perception unit (the auditor) tries to recognize what it has already heard.  This is valid for each time scale (sound vibration, rhythm and form).  He can recognize a violin sound or any other instrument sound if he has already listened to it before. For electronic music with original sounds, he can recognize a new instance of a sound that was played a few seconds before, or from another composition of the same composer.  The reaction of recognition depends on his memory of musical objects.

We could describe this as the fact that when the auditor hears a music objects, he tries to recognize it inside his own "musical data base" of the sounds he has already experienced.  If he succeeds, he has the feeling of security; he is not lost, he has a known reference of it.

This is not limited to instrument sounds but is applicable to a timbre, a melodic line, a rhythmic cell, an harmony setup or any combination of these elements.

The ability to recognize musical elements is based on memory and is influenced by the musical culture of the auditor, but is also applicable in the microcosm of a given piece of music.

2 - Compare

The auditor tries to compare the music objects that he perceives.  If he can not recognize them exactly, he can establish similarities between two or more musical elements.

He can compare two musical elements in proximity (the theme of a canon) or compare them with musical elements of his past (his musical data base) as for instance the similarity of a melody he heard before.

The comparison may be done on a melody, a timbre, a rhythm, a harmony, a given accent pattern or on any combination of such elements.

3 - Establish proportions

The perception unit tries to establish the proportions between the musical objects she perceives.  This factor is probably the most important in the understanding of the reasons why melodies, chords and chord progressions are appreciated or not.

When we speak about establishing the proportions, we simply mean this: discover how much events of a certain type correspond to how much events of another type.

For instance, in the frame of rhythm, if an instruments plays 2 notes (two eighth notes) while another plays 3 notes (a triplet of eighth notes), we can easily perceive and establish this 2/3 ratio.  There are 2 notes for 3 notes and the cycle happens again and again and we can recognize it as a music structure in itself.

In the frame of sound vibrations, most string or air column instruments are known to generate a series of sound vibrations that are multiples of the original note played.  The sound vibrations (and their multiples) of the notes of a chord produce numerous combinations of proportions, which generate an infinity of moods and subjective atmospheres that can be experienced.

The abilities of a person to establish proportions for all musical aspects will influence considerably her understanding of music and will limit to some degree her acceptance and appreciation of various styles of music.

4 - Predict

While listening to music, the auditor tries to perceive what will happen next.  After listening to a few measures of a rock band, it becomes rather easy to predict, at least to some degree, what will happen in the next measure.

People can dance on music, which at least expects them to predict when the next beats of the measure will happen.

If you could never at any moment predict at least to some degree what will happen in a musical piece, there are much chances that you would not appreciate if at all.  It would be more like a chaotic set of unpredictable and unorganized sounds, which opposes directly to the very basic definition of music as "organized noise".

There are many levels of ability to predict.  The most basic would be to hear what was expected.  This applies to all aspects : melody, rhythm,..

Here is a simple example: you hear a melody that starts to go up progressively.  At least during a few moments, you expect it to continue to go up and then at some point go down again, even if you cannot predict exactly when this will take place.  If this is confirmed by what you hear then you could successfully predict what would happen and this contributes to your understanding of the music.

The highest level of musical prediction would be the competent performer who predicts with certainty the notes that he will play and then plays them exactly as expected.  The beginner performer would do it with less certainty, as he is still learning his intrument.

5 - Be surprised

The perception unit also expects to be surprised by what she perceives.  Strangely, she expects to not being able to predict what will follow at some point.

By being surprised, the auditor learns about the structure of the music he perceives and next time he will be more able to predict it.  It is like playing a game, there are successive phases of trial and errors with the purpose to learn and increase one's ability for the next time.  A game is not fun if you can win it directly and without the least opposition or difficulty.  It is no more a game and most of the interest disappears.

A minimum level of difficulty is then needed in the action of prediction, most probably related to the desire to learn how to better predict the next time and so integrate new elements in one's own musical data base.

Here also, each person will have his own tolerance band for each music aspect and the purpose is to propose the correct level of new and predictable elements for a given public, otherwise they will go outside his tolerance band and he will no more appreciate the music.

6 - Associate to his past

The auditor tries to associate the musical objects to something he has experienced in the past.  He may simply associate the sound that he hears to the physical phenomenon that he has lived or observed personally ( a stick on a drum, a bird singing,...)

But this can go much further and he may recall past events that were associated to the mood of the music he perceives, for instance a style of music from his youth, related to his first love,...  In this case, the music brings him indirectly several emotions (negative or positive) of his past and influences his appreciation of the music.

This factor is the most arbitrary and subjective one for a given person, as it is not really related to an ability but more to the past experiences of the person in his general life.  To this degree, it is much less susceptible to be mathematically quantified.

Perspectives of the unitary music theory

We advance the hypothesis that the combined degree of success of the 6 actions described above will produce the pleasure of musical experience in the auditor and will directly determine his appreciation of the music.

Let's remind again that these actions are not necessarily conscious and analytic from the part of the auditor, but that the reactions described here enables to tackle the problem on an objective point of view in the research.

However, notice that these reactions are not based on airy or illusory concepts. Each reaction corresponds to a real ability and one could easily design exercises to improve each one of them.

It is a model proposed by the unitary music theory so that one can then establish a system to compose more efficiently or to better understand the effects music produces on a given public.

Measure to better control

The next phase of our research consist of quantifying and establishing the various reactions numerically.  For instance, for the first reaction, what are the different elements that can be recognized in music ?  How could we measure them with numbers ? What scale can we establish to measure them ? How could we automatically retrieve the analysis of them and represent them graphically so that we could observe easily their variations or lack of it ?

This phase of the research contains the systematic analysis of all these reactions and their mathematical quantification, for each aspect of music (harmony, sound, melody, form, rhythm, timber, accentuation,...).

It will permit us to build a kind of musical microscope so that we can "see" what we never could really see, in the form of a software that can display the evolution curve of each parameters of a piece of music and their combinations.

Example: how does the level of rhythmic comparison evolve in a piano sonata of Mozart?  And simply by looking through this musical microscope, we could answer questions like "Why is the second part of my composition so poor compared to the first part ?  How can I improve it ?".

With such a precision microscope, the mysteries of the great composers could at least partly reveal some of their secrets and make music understanding more accessible to all.

Our ultimate goal is indeed to provide music creativity to everyone.  We are ready to collaborate with any company or society that may find an interest in this field.

The next phase for elaboration of the quantification of these criteria and the making of a musical analysis tool is estimated to be a full year of research.  As I also do the development of Pizzicato and its future releases, a partnership with another company could help much to speed up the research for the best of all parties involved and for the public.

Contact me if you are interested by a partnership in that field !

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

Copying and pasting chords

With Pizzicato Professional, you can select chords and copy them to another position. The trick is to use the drag/drop function used in the context of music composition tools. Here is how to do it:

Select the measures that contains the series of chords to copy.

While holding down the SHIFT and CONTROL keys, click and drag the first measure of the selection. You will see that Pizzicato will display in red the measure, beat and unit numbers of destination, while you are moving the mouse in the direction of the destination measure. With this, you can shift the chords by one or more beats.

When you have reached the destination measure, release the mouse button, then release the SHIFT and CONTROL keys. A dialog appears so as to define what aspect of the music needs to be copied. Disable the "Transfer rhythm" option as well as the "Transfer notes" option and check the "Transfer chords" option. Click OK.

The chord series is then copied to the destination.

Automatic note repeat

There is a conventional notation to repeat a note several times without writing them all. It avoids for example to repeat 16 times a 16th note. In that case, you can display 4 quarter notes each one with 4 dots above the note. The 4 dots mean that the same note must be repeated 4 times during the note value (here a quarter note, then 4 16th notes).

With Professional Pizzicato or Notation, you can create such a symbol. Here is how to do it:

· In a the palette of your choice, select "New Tool..." with the right button of the mouse.

· Give it a name, for example "4 16th" and click OK.

· Double-click the created tool (empty place in the palette).

· Click the "Create/Modify..." button.

· Select tool "A" in the vectorial editor and click in the drawing area.

· Fill in 4 dots and click OK.

· Double-click tool "A" and select a bold font. Click OK.

· Resize the gray frame with the cursor arrow tool and adjust the vertical line of the symbol (upper right square box and slide a little to the right).

· Close this window.

· In the positioning option mode (horizontal), select "Relative to the note".

· Check the "Outside the measure" box.

· Check the "MIDI play box" and click on "Define the play..."

· In the type play,select "Notes sequence".

· For the start, select "Attached note".

· Click "Progression / content"

· Do this three times:

Click"Add a note"

In the Start and length boxes, write 120 and 120

· In the 4 text areas of the lower part of the dialog box, fill in respectively 4, 0, 0 and 100

· Click 3 times OK to close all the dialog boxes.

To test the symbol, add 4 quarter notes in a measure and place the symbol above each one. You can adjust the position of these symbols vertically. Listen to the result : you should obtain 16 times a 16th note in the measure.

You can optimize the vertical position of the symbol when you place it (by default position). For that, you must understand how Pizzicato creates symbols. You can learn it at page on the on screen help and on the online help manuals.

Copying lyrics from one line to another

With the Professional, Notation, Choir and Beginner versions, you can use the lyrics fast encoding window to copy identical lyrics lines. First, encode the first line. Then select the whole text ("*" symbols stands for notes without lyrics) and copy it. After you click "Apply", go for example on line 2 (menu in the upper part of the window) and paste the lyrics in the text area. The same copy/paste can be made from your text editor, if you already have the lyrics in text format. You will just have to separate the syllables with "-" and everything will be all right.

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


Why add symbols?

The note pitches and the rhythmic values placed in the measures indicate to the performer the note sequence he must play. A piece of music played exactly as written will seem mechanical, without life or expression.

When a composer creates a musical work, he writes of course notes and rhythms, but he will try to transcribe on the score the way notes must be played, with what expression, with what feeling the piece must be performed.

He will add various symbols on the score to describe and transmit as precisely as possible the sound effect he wants to achieve on the auditor.

When a musician will play this score, he will take all symbols into account to understand what the composer wanted to express so as to play the score in the correct state of mind.

There is a whole series of symbols influencing the way the performer will play a score. We will learn the most common symbols..


Nuances specify the sound volume the performer must respect to play the notes. Here is the complete series, forming a progression of increasingly strong sound volumes:

The P comes from Italian Piano meaning softly. The F comes from Forte and means strongly and the M comes from Mezzo and means half or medium.

Start Pizzicato and open the Ex031.piz example. It contains the following measures. Listen to them to understand the resulting sound effect :

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