Dear Musicians,

This is issue #48 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. Our best musical wishes for 2006!


Dominique Vandenneucker,

29, rue de l'Enseignement

Phone/Fax ++32 -
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Copyright 2006, Arpege Sprl, all rights reserved. 

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In the last months, we have presented various aspects of music composition, as chords progressions, rhythms and the sequence of musical interest. We will now create together an example that will combine these elements into a little accompaniment based on a chord progression.

This example may be created with the Pizzicato Professional 3 demonstration version that you may freely download on our site. The basic principles explained shortly here may be studied fully starting on page

Let us start with a rhythmic pattern. Start Pizzicato and open the conductor view (Windows menu, Conductor...). This window is like a desktop. It may contain scores and we will add a score group that may contain several scores playing together. In the main part of the window, click with the right button (Option-click on Mac) and select the item 'New group of scores'. Name it for instance 'My composition'. This little blue rectangle may contain several scores so that they may be played together to create an accompaniment made of several instruments.

We have seen that a rhythmic pattern may be composed with Pizzicato by combining existing separate instruments. Variations are numerous and by experimenting it yourself, you will be able to create sophisticated and unique rhythmic patterns. Here is an example of such a rhythmic pattern (completely arbitrary, we must say it). Do the following steps:

Check that each score is well left-aligned otherwise the rhythm will not be smooth. You may slightly move the blocks by dragging them if necessary. You must now hear a maracas pattern added to the bass drum pattern. Do the same with the following elements, adding them under the last score, resizing the blue rectangle if needed:

This is now the basic percussion rhythmic pattern. We will now add melodic instruments to it: a bass, a guitar and some arpeggios. The same principles apply. Add the following element inside the blue rectangle (resize it if needed):

A bass has been added to the pattern. You may select another bass instrument sound. While holding down the CTRL key (which forces Pizzicato to replace the sound and not to add a new sound) drag the following element ON the bass score (brown rectangle):

The playing is modified: the sound of the bass is now different, even if the notes are the same.

In a similar way:

In a few clicks, you have selected a rhythmic in a personal way, choosing among basic instruments. The possible combinations are practically unlimited.

This example only contain one measure and is based on the C Major chord (this chord is the default chord on which rhythms are prepared). It is a first step. You may download the Pizzicato document which contains this example:

Next month, we will take the same example and complete it so as to understand how to add a chord progression so that the melodic parts (bass, guitar and marimba) will play notes in harmony with the chords.

For the moment, I suggest you to create other rhythms like we did here, following your imagination and exploring the Pizzicato libraries. Start each time with a new document. Here are some advises to help you in doing so:

Have a nice time and be creative!

Dominique Vandenneucker
Designer of Pizzicato.

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

Generating arpeggios with the music composition tools

This function is only available in the Professional version, but you may use the program in demo mode so as to do the following. To use the demo mode, go in the Options menu, "Program versions/Updates..." and select the "Pizzicato professional (demonstration version)" choice and validate it. Don't forget to go back in the original mode after using it, if you bought a license.

The idea is to create a regular accompaniment, based for instance on arpeggios, and to make it follow a chord progression. Here is a didactic example:

You may vary the theme, the rhythms, the chords, the duration as you want. This is one of the numerous aspects of computer assisted music composition offered by Pizzicato Professional. To know more about this, see the page

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

Corrective update for Pizzicato 3.0.5

A free corrective update of Pizzicato 3 is available. It is version 3.0.5 from January, 10th 2006, 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 updates on a regular basis so as to satisfy the users of Pizzicato.
You may download it on page Warning: this update 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.

Accessing help in Windows with Pizzicato 3

Sometimes it happens that the help menu giving access to the Pizzicato user manual does not work. First try to close Pizzicato and to delete the file named "HelpPrefs.dat" in the main Pizzicato 3 folder. Then start Pizzicato again. If it still does not work, you may directly launch the help application by double-clicking it inside the Pizzicato 3 folder. Its name is "PizHelp.exe". You may also create a shortcut to this file on the desktop to reach it easily.

Adding pages and systems?

Pizzicato is based on the measure being a basic working bloc. Staves are built with measures. Systems are built with staves and pages are built with systems. To add a system or a page to your composition, you just need to add the correct number of measures with the measures and staves tool. Double-click for instance the last measure of your score and with the arrow tool being selected. A dialog box appears and let you add measures. Add for instance 20 measures and a new page will be created with new systems containing the new measures. Warning: the Light and shareware versions do not have that tool.

Vertical Tuplets alignement

By default, Pizzicato lets you position triplets and other tuplets at the correct vertical position. The tie or bracket must be manually adjusted. While modifying page setup or justifying or transposing, the adjustment may no more be optimal.

Pizzicato lets you automatically adjust Tuplets vertically. In the Options menu, select Justification. Check the box entitled "Automatic vertical adjustment of Tuplets" and validate. This option is valid for the open document and is independent for each document.

If you wish to activate this option for every new document you create, modify it in the starting templates (Pizzicato Beginner or Pro) found in the Pizzicato\Templates\Templates directory (version 2) or Pizzicato 3.0\DataEN\Templates\Templates (version 3).

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

Using time signature

We have learned that the measure is a way to divide the duration of a musical work into smaller parts. We gave many examples, speaking about a 4/4 measure, without specifying what these two numbers mean.

Those numbers are called the time signature. They determine the total duration of the rhythms that can fit inside a measure. The first number (the numerator of the time signature) indicates the number of beats the measure is divided in. The second number (the denominator of the time signature) indicates the contents of each beat.

The beat is a division of the measure. In our preceding examples, we often spoke about a beat as being equivalent to the quarter note duration. This is only valid when the denominator of the time signature is equal to 4 (it is by the way the more common case).

The possible values for the denominator are 1,2,4,8,16 or 32. This value determines the content of one beat in the measure. Here is the equivalence table:

1 Whole note
2 Half note
4 Quarter note
8 Eighth note
16 Sixteenth note
32 32nd note

The bold values are the most common. The numerator of the time signature determines how much of these beats will fit in one measure. In the examples of the preceding lessons, the 4/4 thus represents a measure made up of 4 quarter notes. In the same way, 6/8 is a measure made up of 6 eighth notes, 2/2 is a measure made up of 2 half notes, etc.

The time signature used is indicated in the first measure, in the middle of the staff, just after the clef and the possible key signature. This indication is valid for all following measures. It is possible to change the time signature in the middle of a music work or even each measure if needed. In this case, the new time signature is displayed and stays valid until the next change... read the full text, see the lesson about the time signature on our site...

The commercial page...

With the publication of Pizzicato 3.0, a series of updates 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!