Dear Musicians,

This is issue #46 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 -
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Let us continue to explore music composition. We have seen last month how you can select chords progressions, based on a template contained in the following document

Let us now approach the tools of Pizzicato Professional which will help you to apply those musical principles more practically. You can use the free demonstration of the Pizzicato Professional software to work out the following examples. You may download the demo on page

We will start by explaining how to easily create a chord progression. Download and open the following document:

In the Windows menu, select the Conductor... item. The upper right part of the screen displays a long rectangle, representing a score of 8 measures:

You may associate a chord progression with a score. Click on this blue rectangle, with the left button (on Mac, Option-click) and select the Chord progression... item. A window appears, in which you can add chords. We will introduce the chords progression seen last month, that is, C, F, G, C, A min, D min, G, C. Do the following:

As you may observe, it is quite easy to add chords. If you want to learn more about the functions of this window (to delete, move or lengthen chords), see page

The Pizzicato musical libraries contain 20 prepared styles. We will now apply a bossa-nova style on this chords progression. Be ready for the following actions, because they will let you listen to any chords progression quite easily and rapidly. Here is how to do it:

The document containing the above result may be downloaded at

You may now experiment by changing the various possibilities. There are 20 styles. Each style has 4 variations and also one score containing a chords progression. You may also modify the chords progression, as seen before, or simply create a new one. You may combine various rhythmic patterns one after the other or even together (place them one above the other). The chords progression must always be at the top, otherwise it will not influence the rhythms.

Do not forget - each time you modify or move the scores around - to call the Edit, Compute parametered measures menu, so that Pizzicato adapts the scores to the chords progression.

To learn more about this window, you may read the following page:

Here, we have only been using prepared rhythms. It is a simple way to easily tackle the problem. Next month, we will see how to create a rhythmic pattern from scratch. You will then have tools to become more creative on rhythms and instrument selection. Meanwhile, I strongly suggest you to make several examples similar to what we did here. Just create a new score group and drag a chords progression in it as well as rhythmic patterns from the Pizzicato library. Have a nice time!

Dominique Vandenneucker
Designer of Pizzicato.

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

Piano scores: cross staff beaming

When you write piano scores, it is common to use the two staves (bass and treble clef) to write the playing of a musical phrase. On a more technical level, it means that the same rhythmic voice (which is up to now entirely on one staff) can be split into two staves. Here are examples:

In these measures, the fact of using the two staves facilitates the reading of the notes in the two clefs. The lower notes would not have been easily readable in the treble clef staff. But these measures only contain one rhythmic voice in the way Pizzicato defines it.

The principle you must understand to write this type of measure with Pizzicato is that the notes always belong to one of the two staves. Here we have chosen the upper staff for the notes, but you could have chosen the lower staff. It is better to select the staff containing most of the notes as the main one.

Once the note is written in a staff, it is easy to drag it into the other staff, but this dragging is only graphic: the note continues to belong to its original staff. This implies that the justification of the rhythmic voice remains related to the content of the original measure.

To learn more about this, see page

Percussion scores

There are several tools to write percussions scores in Pizzicato Professional.
First, you may select the number of lines in a staff. Often, percussion instruments in an orchestra are written on a one line staff. To do that:
Then you may change the clef, by choosing the percussion clef. Its symbol is a vertical rectangle. You can place it with the clef tool.
If the other staves of the score have a key signature, you need to remove the key signature of the percussion staves. You may call the key signature dialog box, set the key to C and check the box entitled "Only for this staff".
Note heads are sometimes modified to write percussion, so as to differentiate instruments easier. Cymbal is often drawn with a cross head. The note head tool may be used for that, either for one note at a time or by applying it to several measures (Edit menu, Change notes head...).
The last step is only important if you need to hear the percussion with the correct instruments. Often, in a synthesizer or sound card, percussions are assigned to each key of the keyboard. For instance snare drum, bass drum, cymbal,... each have an equivalent key of the keyboard to play it. GM standard (General Midi) assigns in this way a percussion "map", defining which instrument corresponds to C, to C#,... This mapping is maybe practical on a music keyboard, but if you write your percussion part on a staff, the score becomes quite difficult to read because instruments seem to be scattered through the full range of the staff in a random way (example : a bass drum with 5 ledger lines below, an instrument with an Eb note very high,...).
Pizzicato has a tool that lets you reassign each percussion instrument to a specific staff line. You may then decide the convention you use to write percussions. You may for instance assign low C to the bass drum, high C to the snare drum,... you decide. To modify the percussion map, do the following:
You may then write your notes as you want and Pizzicato will play the percussion accordingly.
These tools let you easily write most scores for percussion, as well for printing as for listening.

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 3.0.4 from November, 17th 2005, for Mac OS X and Windows. 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 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.

Installing a Pizzicato upgrade on Mac OS X or Windows

When you need to install a Pizzicato upgrade on Mac OS X, be careful not to modify the default selections of the installer. The most common error is to select the destination to "/Applications/Pizzicato 3". Indeed, the installer will automatically add "Pizzicato 3" to the end, so that you will finally have "/Applications/Pizzicato 3/Pizzicato 3". If the previous installation was correct, the new files will not be installed correctly and Pizzicato will not function. Keep the proposed path "/Application" and all will be well.
On Mac as well as on Windows, do not delete or move files or folders from Pizzicato, unless you know exactly what you do because here also Pizzicato may no more run correctly. The most common symptom of a bad installation is that Pizzicato quits just after a few minutes.
Note that an upgrade always implies that a previous full installation exists, otherwise it will not work properly.
If you are not sure about having installed the program correctly, just reinstall it all over again.

Personal code number

It is sometimes necessary to reinstall Pizzicato, for instance after formatting your hard drive, installing Windows or if you change your computer. The procedure is the same as you did the first time.
Upon the first launch of the program, Pizzicato asks you to fill in your license and serial numbers as well as your name. In the next dialog, Pizzicato gives you an identification number (in the upper left corner) that is specific to your new installation and that is different from the serial number. You just need to send us this number and you will receive the personal code by email.
To do that, please use the form on the Pizzicato site, at page You do not need to fill in your postal address, but only the first part of the form with the number and email address. You will receive your code very soon.

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

Using clefs

Octaves numbering

As previously explained, a clef is used as a reference mark to write notes on the staff. Until now, we always used the treble clef to locate the notes:

The number to the right of each note name shows the number of the octave. Because there is only 7 different note names, octaves are numbered to differentiate amongst octaves. Remember that an octave is an interval between two notes having the same name and thus comprising 6 other notes between them.

The 8 notes here above cover the extent of an octave. This octave bears number 3. The next octave starts with the C located in the third line space and bears number 4. You can easily write the notes of octave 4 in treble clef (the last C already belongs to octave 5):

Using the bass clef

The bass clef lets you write lower notes covering octaves 1 and 2. Here is the bass clef and the notes of octaves 1 and 2: read the full text, see the lesson about using clefs on our site...

The commercial page...

With the publication of Pizzicato 3.0, a series of upgrades are available for Mac OS X and Windows, 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!