Dear Musicians,

This is issue #44 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

Phone/Fax ++32 -
Visit our site:

Copyright 2005, Arpege Sprl, all rights reserved. 

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We are happy to announce the publication of Pizzicato 3 for Mac OS X. The demonstration version is available on our site, on the demo download part. Please note that Pizzicato 3 does not run on older Mac OS 8 or 9. Pizzicato 2 still exists and runs on Mac OS 8 and 9. We suggest you to download the demo and discover the features of Pizzicato 3.

Let us continue our practical study of music composition, by analyzing chords and melody.

Chords are groups of notes that may be played at the same time with a harmonious effect. In practice, they are often formed by 3 or 4 notes from a scale of which we take one note every two notes. Let us take the example of the C Major scale. This scale is composed of the notes C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C:

To build a 3 or 4 notes chord, you may start from any note and take one note every two notes. Starting from C, you have two chords, respectively with 3 and 4 notes : C, E, G and C, E, G, B, represented as follows:

Notes of a chord are drawn one above the other to show that they must be played at the same time. Similarly, you may start on D and have D,F,A or D,F,A,C. And so on with any starting note.

When a chord is played as an accompaniement, it is therefore natural that a melody using mainly the notes of this chord sounds nice and in harmony with the accompaniement. Download and listen to the file which content is:

In the first system, the melody (first staff) only contains notes pertaining to the chords below (second staff). The result sounds fine. In the next system, the melody uses mainly different notes than found in the chord and the result is much less harmonious, as you may notice it while listening to the score. To hear the score after downloading in Pizzicato, click the yellow arrow in the score window toolbar and the score is played by Pizzicato.

The following document contains an exercise that we suggest you to do. The beginning shows the following:

The exercise is already done for the first note of the scale. The first measure shows the C chord with 3 notes and the second shows the C chord with 4 notes. The melody is built by using the notes of the chord below it. The following measures contain twice each note. The exercise consists of:

Try to build an agreeable melody and give it a melody path that you like. Once the exercise is done as explained, you may do the same and use other rhythmic values, but still using only notes from the chord. To delete the document, select "Edit, Select all" then "Edit, Delete". You may then restart all.

The C scale is the simplest scale, because it corresponds to the white keys of a piano keyboard. On a keyboard, you may notice that black keys exist between some white keys, but not between all of them:

The interval (or "sound distance") between two successive keys (either white or black) is always the same on a standard piano keyboard. If we consider this sound distance as one unit (also called "semi-tone"), it follows that a scale using only the white keys is not structured equally, as there is two semi-tones between the notes:

C and D, D and E, F and G, G and A, A and B

and only one semi-tone between the notes:

E and F, B and C

This uneven structure of the scale implies that the chords built on each note of the scale will not have the same structure because they will contain different intervals. Some intervals will have 3 semi-tones and others will have 4 semi-tones. This is why each chord creates a different sound atmosphere. However, they are not all different, some have the same structure. Within the 3 notes chords, you will find:

The 4+3 notation shows the number of semi-tones between the notes. For example, for the C chord (C, E, G), there is 4 semi-tones between C and E and 3 semi-tones between E and G. One semi-tone corresponds to one note up or down on the keyboard. You may verify this on the above keyboard.

For the 4 notes chords, called 7th chords, you will find the following chords:

If you want to learn more about scales and chords, I suggest you to read the following lessons: (about scales) (about chords, including some music composition exercises)

Next month, we will see how to create chords sequences.

Dominique Vandenneucker
Designer of Pizzicato.

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

Scan a score and modify it in Pizzicato

Do you have printed music you would like to hear, transpose or modify, without the need to encode it manually?

With the release of Pizzicato 3 Professional, it is now possible to combine Pizzicato with the SharpEye software, a powerful optical music recognition software. Here is a short guide for you

  1. If you do not yet have Pizzicato, download the demonstration version of Pizzicato 3, on page and install it by double-clicking the downloaded file.
  2. Download SharpEye at and install it by double-clicking the downloaded file.
  3. With your scanner, scan a one page printed music score as a first try. Scan it in black and white and in Tiff or Bmp file format.
  4. Start SharpEye (Start, Programs, Visiv, SharpEye 2).
  5. Select item "Open image..." from the "File" menu and select the image file saved at step 3 here above.
  6. Select item "Read" from the "Read" menu. The conversion starts. A percentage shows the progression in the lower part of the main window. Wait until the score appears in the main window.
  7. In the "Options" menu, select the "NIFF Options..." item, check the "Graphical" choice and validate.
  8. Select item "NIFF... Save" from the "File" menu and give a name to your score (with the NIF extension).
  9. Start Pizzicato (Start, Program, Pizzicato 3, Pizzicato). At startup, select the Professional demonstration mode.
  10. In the "File" menu, select item "Import a NIFF file..." and select the NIF file saved at step 8 here above.
  11. Validate the dialog that appears and your music score is displayed. You may listen to it using the button with the little yellow triangle, in the tool bar.

This is the main procedure. As the recognition level of musical symbols is not always perfect depending of the score complexity, there will be some little corrections to do. But usually, the time saved in encoding the score is considerable.

For more information:

As Pizzicato Professional 3 may be used in demonstration mode and as SharpEye may be used freely for one month, you may then try their combination before buying.

Import a MIDI file and display the music notation

When you import a MIDI file with Pizzicato, the file is not automatically converted into music notation but only placed in the sequencer tracks. However, Pizzicato creates the empty measures for the structure of the score. To see the music notation, do the following:
In the Options menu, you will find a dialog with which you may refine the transcription parameters. You must use it before the transcription occurs if you want to modify them.
However, once transcribed, the all score or only some measures may be transcribed again if you modify the parameters. For instance, if you estimate that the result will be better with the 8th note as the rhythm basis for the full score, but if some measures must have a better rhythmic definition, you may modify the parameters and only transcribe the selected measures.

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

Corrective upgrade for Pizzicato 3

A free corrective upgrade of Pizzicato 3 is 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. The current Mac OS X version is

You may download it on page Warning: this upgrade is provided 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.

Problems installing under Windows XP - Solutions

Pizzicato 2 as well as Pizzicato 3 have sometimes a problem with some versions of Windows XP. This as well in demo as in licensed versions.

The solution is hopefully very simple, but you need to know about it.

If the installer refuses to work, there is on our site a preinstalled version of Pizzicato for XP. Download this version and it will work all right.

If Pizzicato is correctly installed but if Pizzicato often crashed unexpectedly and randomly, you should place Pizzicato in compatibility mode with Windows 98 and the problems will be solved. To do this:
We hope to soon publish a version 3 correction that does no more need this operation.

Specifying the colors of notes

The "Graphic options..." item of the "Options" menu lets you select between three color modes for notes. Under the title "Use of colors", you may choose between:

If you want to freely assign colors (by deciding the color of each note, for instance to emphasize a theme or the function of some notes for a didactic purpose), the only way to do it is the following:

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

The scale and the musical keyboard

We have seen that there are 7 notes named C, D, E, F, G, A, B. The next note is again called C and the sound generated vibrates exactly two times faster than the sound generated by the first C. This interval from the first to the second C is called an octave. In a more general way, an octave is the interval separating a note from the next note bearing the same name, such as for example from G to the next G. Here is an example with C:

[image available on the site]

This series of notes from C to C is called the scale of C. As this diagram is repeated higher and lower, we will limit ourselves to explain the contents of the notes from C to C. The same explanation is valid between two successive C.

These notes correspond to the white keys of a piano or organ keyboard. You can easily locate them by observing that the black keys are laid out by groups of 2 and 3 between the white keys. The C are the keys which are just to the left of a 2 black keys group. Here is an illustration:

[image available on the site]

The white keys located between the 2 C follow the same order as on the staff:

[image available on the site]

The black keys of the keyboard are also notes that can be played. They are located between specific white keys. With 7 white keys and 5 black keys, you thus get 12 different notes. The thirteenth note is again a C and the same diagram is repeated...

...To read the full lesson, see the lesson on music The scale and the accidentals 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!