Dear Musicians,

This is issue #43 of the Pizzicato musical newsletter. It is intended to help you to better know and use Pizzicato. You will find in it various articles about Pizzicato, its use and aspects, but also references to the music course and links to other music related sites.

You may send us any information to publish about music (performances, festivals, exhibitions, CD publications, music training sessions, Internet links,...). You may also tell us any difficulty you have with Pizzicato so that we can explain the solutions in the next issue. This letter is for you.

We hope you will enjoy reading it.


Dominique Vandenneucker,

29, rue de l'Enseignement

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Our last leading articles presented ideas and main lines to compose music. As promised, we will approach this month a more practical aspect of music composition, with practical and progressive examples.

As we already know, there are many possible approaches to compose music. We will use here several methods, according to our imagination. These are didactic examples and not an imposed method. Everyone is indeed free to create his own music composition method. Perhaps sometimes these examples will seem "arbitrary" to you. They are! Let us not forget that to compose is to create. Creating, in music, is choosing according to your tastes. The taste is essentially arbitrary: you like it or you do not like it. You may of course thereafter add "logical reasons", but above all there is a personal decision to like it or not to like it. The techniques used allow creating music more easily, according to your tastes. The technique remains secondary to the decision to like or not to like a musical piece.

To help you better understand these examples, we advise you to build them as explained, with Pizzicato Professional 3. We build the examples so that you can also use Pizzicato Professional 3 in the demo version. Due to the fact that the demonstration version does not let you save your examples, we will provide you with the Pizzicato documents of the intermediate steps of the examples, so that you can open them with the demonstration version and work them according to our indications.

Similarly, if you feel lost because of the musical notation (we will avoid complexities, but it is necessary to write the notes!), we advise you to read the main music lessons, available on our website starting at page They will explain you the basic of musical notation, notes, rhythms...

Whatever method is used to compose, ultimately and in most cases, the final result contains a melody, chords, rhythms and instruments which play them all. We thus have at least 4 possible methods: starting with a melody, starting with chords, starting with rhythms or starting with a selection of instruments. These 4 elements are of course interdependent. Thus, a melody also contains rhythms and can be based on one or more chords.

You may use the principle that a music composition starts from a stable point, goes away from it and then comes back to the stable point. This forms a complete sequence. By "stable point", I mean a musical structure which can be seen as an equilibrium and which does not invite to deviate from it or to be modified. To compare this with a novel or a film, the beginning of a story may expose a everyday standard situation (the investigator making his routine work, the family living in peace, holyday starting normally,...). Then something happens and disturbs this. The continuing of the story will interest insofar as it has the purpose to solve the problem, to go back to the original situation or to another balanced situation in which the problem has been solved. All this happening then creates movement and interest to know what will occur. It is the same for a musical work.

The point is thus to create a state of balance, to disturb it and to restore it. As simple as it may appear, this model applies to a great number of works and is very rich in possibilities. Let us call that the "musical interest sequence". Starting from an equilibrium, the interest is waked up by a disturbance and the interest follows the path to solve this disturbance and to go back to the stable situation.

Let us apply this in the search for a melody. What example could we take as a stable melody ? The simplest case would be a melody with only one note. Download the following file: and then open it with Pizzicato Professional 3 (demonstration or licence). You get the following score:

Listen to this example by pressing on the yellow arrow located in the toolbar of the score, in Pizzicato. A flute plays the "C" note, with a chord played by string instruments. You have 3 measures (separated by vertical bar lines). The ties specifie that the notes must be held from one measure to the other. This simply lengthens the notes, so that they last longer.

By listening to these measures, you will be able to notice that they give an impression of stability. It is a simple and continuous musical structure. If you listen to it for some time, you will find it monotonous: interest is lacking because once you have examined it thoroughly, nothing happens anymore of any interest to you. Let us notice that we are here in the C Major scale. The "C" note is then regarded as the stable point, balanced, or as the goal to reach.

How could we disturb this balance and then to go back to it? Quite simply: by using other notes and going back to the most stable note of the C Major scale : "C". The simplest form of this is the full scale. Download and listen to the file which contains the following:

By listening to it, you will be able to locate 3 parts. The first is a "C" note which is held. It is the stable point of the previous example, even if it is shorter here. The second part is composed by the notes D, E, F, G. It disturbs the previous balance. The G note is the second most natural and imposing note in the C Major scale. The melody stops a few beats on it. It could be considered as an intermediate stable point. Then two notes bring us back to C, end point of the scale. The musical interest sequence is finished when coming back to the original note (even if an octave higher).

There are of course many ways to disturbe the balance and go back to it, simply on the basis of the melody. That can be done in one measure or with several measures, with or without intermediate stable points. You will find in the file three examples, the first being:

Listen and analyze for yourself the point of original balance, the disturbance, the intermediate stable points and the return to balance. This same document also contains two incomplete examples. Do the exercise of completing them, by following the principles explained here on the musical interest sequence. Use therefor the note encoding tools of Pizzicato, as explained in the lesson

Next month, we will examine the basic chords found in the C Major scale, so as to help you better manage the stable points of this scale and to create melodies and chords progressions.

Dominique Vandenneucker
Designer of Pizzicato.

Aspects and applications of Pizzicato...
Discover the various aspects and applications of Pizzicato

How to create an anacrusis?

It sometimes happens that a piece of music starts with a measure that contains for example one beat, used to introduce the first real measure of the piece. If the score has a 4/4 time signature, the first measure must then contain only one beat.

Graphically the result may be obtained by disconnecting the automatic justification for the first measure, by tightening the measure and by dragging the quarter note to the center of the measure. Even if the solution is correct then, if Pizzicato plays this measure it will play the first beat and will wait 3 beats before starting the next measure. To correct this, you can also add three quarter rests (or a dotted half rest) in front of the quarter note. The performance will be correct but graphically these rests are not conventionally displayed. With the Professional version, you can hide those rests, but the graphic distribution leaves a blank in front of the measure... Another solution consists in adding a 1/4 measure before the first measure and to change into a 4/4 measure for the next one, but it is not the usual way in musical notation...

The full solution is available with Pizzicato Professional, with the measure parameters dialog box. This dialog box is available in the Edit menu, when you select measures. It is used to fix the number of beats present in a measure, independently of the time signature indication.

Thus, for the first measure, call this dialog, check the "Measure duration" box and select "Fixed", "1" quarter note. Click on OK. You can tighten the measure and it will justify itself correctly to contain one beat. The graphic result is thus correct and performance will also be correct. Consult the help (F1 key) associated with this dialog because it allows various useful special handlings (free measures, multirest measures...).

How to make the written chords play?

With Pizzicato, you can write chords symbols on the score. To hear those 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 chord. 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 for 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).

Tips and advices for Pizzicato...
ENequently asked questions about Pizzicato

Corrective upgrade for Pizzicato 3

A free corrective upgrade of Pizzicato 3 is now available. It is version It corrects various bugs found that could produce an error in the Pizzicato application. If you find any problem, please let us know, because we will publish corrective upgrades on a regular basis so as to satisfy the users of Pizzicato.

You may download it on page Warning, this upgrade is reserved for people who already have Pizzicato version 3.0 (demo or bought version). If you still have Pizzicato 1 or 2, this upgrade will be useless.

How to copy lines of lyrics?

With Pizzicato Beginner and Professional, you can use the fast lyrics encoding window to copy identical lines of lyrics. Enter the first line. Then select all ("*" represent the notes without words) and copy it. Click "Apply" and then go for instance in line 2 (popup menu in the upper part of the window) and paste the words in the text area. The copy/paste can also be done from your favorite text processing, if you already have the words in it. You just need to separate the syllables by indents and it will be in order.

Copy/Paste/Drag and Drop

The selection tool (keyboard shortcut 's') lets you to select one or more measures in the score. When clicking on a measure, the measure is drawn inverted (white on black). To select several measures, select the first one. Then, while holding down the SHIFT key, click on the last measure to select. All intermediate measures and staves are selected too.

You can then copy these measures ( "Edit", menu "Copy" item) to paste them at another location in the score ( "Edit" menu, "Paste" item). The operation can also be done by a simple drag and drop. Click and hold the mouse button on the first selected measure and drag it towards another measure. This destination measure must be visible onto the screen so you can reach it. When you release the mouse, the whole block is copied starting from the destination measure. It is the equivalent of a copy/paste operation.

You can also drag a block of measures into the main view. The result is a new score which contains the selected measures and staves.

The beginner's corner...
Musical basics and access to the Pizzicato music course


When several notes are played together, these notes form what is called a chord. The notes can be played by different instruments or by the same instrument, like the piano, the guitar or the organ. The chords enrich music and let you express various impressions and atmospheres. They amplify the melodies and accompany the rhythmic patterns by giving them new sound colours.

When the notes of a chord are played with the same rhythmic value, these notes are attached on the same stem. Here are for example two chords of 3 notes each with a quarter note duration :

The total duration of the chord is a quarter note, because the 3 notes are played at the same time. With Pizzicato, open the Ex015.piz file located in the Examples folder. It contains examples of chords with various rhythmic values:

Listen to the result. In this example, all notes belonging to a chord start and finish together. With regard to the whole note (second measure), as they do not have a stem by definition, they are only superimposed to form the chord (this principle is also valid for the double whole note, which is an eight beats note and does not have a stem).

When a chord has a note placed between two lines and a note placed on one of these two lines, the convention is to place one of the two notes on the other side of the stem; this improves the score readability. Without that, the two notes would be partly one above the other. Here are some examples with one or more notes placed on the other side of the stem...

...To read the full lesson, see the lesson on music notation aspects (2) on our site...

The commercial page...

With the publication of Pizzicato 3.0, a series of upgrades are available, according to the version you presently have. To know the prices and possibilities, see the order page on our site:

In the menu "You have", select the version you presently have. The page will be redrawn and will show the possible upgrades and their prices. To buy an upgrade, fill in the form and validate it.

We are at your disposal.

Our purpose is to place music in everybody's hands

and to bring people to more musical creativity

Use Pizzicato and make music!