Dear Musicians,

This is issue #49 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 2006, Arpege Sprl, all rights reserved. 

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This month we have published a corrective update of Pizzicato. This is version We suggest you to download it before doing the following exercises.

Last month, we have learned how to create a rhythmic pattern by combining several little rhythmic cells found in the Pizzicato musical libraries. We will now combine it with a chord progression, so as to build a more complete accompaniment. As you probably know, you may create those exercises by downloading the (free) Pizzicato Professional 3 demo music software, on page

We will start using the document created last month. You may download it at (we have changed it slightly since last time) and open it with the Pizzicato Professional 3 software (in demo version if you did not buy it). Open the conductor view (Windows menu, Conductor...). By clicking on the yellow triangle (in the tool bar), you hear the rhythm playing in loop.

In a previous letter (see letter #46 in the archives ), we had created a chord progression. We will use it now. You may download this document at and also open the conductor view. In the bottom left part of that window, you will find a bloc named "Score group". Click on the "+" just in front of it and drag the bloc named "Strings" and place it just to the right of our main rhythmic block. Then close the last open document. Your screen should now display:

To influence the rhythmic pattern with the chord progression, we will now drag it inside the score group named "My composition". To do that, slightly move the various internal blocks downward, so as to make room in the upper part. Indeed, the chord progression must be placed above any score it must influence. With the mouse, move the blocks so as to display:

Drag now the chord progression (blue score) inside "My composition", at the top of it. Adjust it to the left. When releasing the mouse, the block "My composition" will be automatically resized so as to contain the 8 measures of the chord progression. You see:

If you now play it (yellow triangle and clicking first on the background of the block, so as to make it the current score to play, which is showed by its name in red), you will hear one measure of rhythm followed by 7 measures of silence and the rhythm will loop back to the beginning.

Let us start by extending the bass (brown block). Click with the right mouse button (alt-click on Mac) on this block and select to add 5 measures, then add one measure twice so that this block will occupy the width of the full composition (8 measures). Double-click the first brown block to display its score. Use the "s" (letter "S") shortcut keyboard and click on the first measure to select this measure:

While holding down the CTRL key, click and drag this measure on the next measure and release. Fill in "7" in the dialog that appears and validate. This has copied the content of the first measure into the 7 other measures.

This gives you a bass playing on 8 measures, but the problem is that those 8 measures are all played in C (original cell). We must now adapt it to the chords of the chord progression. Do the following:

There are several templates of smart links. The one we have used here lets you change a bass line so that it follows the fundamental note of the current chord progression (which is present above it, in the same group of scores). Your score becomes:

Close the score window, click in the dark blue background and listen to it (with the yellow triangle). You will hear the bass transformed to use the main note of each chord present in the light blue score. Note that if your score was 250 measures long, the operation would not have been more difficult.

Do the same for the guitar score (orange) and the marimba score (red), but select the "Arranged copy based on chords" line in the smart link selection. This template does not fixate itself on the main note but is more mobile and uses all the chord notes. It is better adapted to a chord or arpeggio accompaniment. Listen to the result.

In that version, the percussion instruments only play during the first measure. As these instruments are independent of the chords, it is quite easy to extend their playing. With the mouse, you just need to click and drag to the right the little square present at the right bottom side of a score. For instance, click and drag the square of the "Maracas" score and move it almost to the right edge of the composition block. As you move to the right, Pizzicato adds the same block many times, with a light color. This score stays a score of one measure (you will see that if you double-click a score), but it will be played as many times as you extended it. Do the same with the "Tambourine 3" score and now listen to the result.

In an accompaniment, all instruments do not need to play all the time. You may for instance decide that only the maracas and tambourine will play during the first 4 measures and that the other instruments will be added in the 4 next measures. To do that, just move the three red blocks so that their beginning starts on measure 5. To move them, just click inside them (but not in the little square) and move the mouse. Then extend them as above so that they continue to play in the last 3 measures, by clicking and dragging the little square. You get:

Note that you may do all this while listening by the score playing in loop. The above example is quite simple, but you may improve it. You can play with the following items:

To better understand the various aspects of these composition tools, see the Pizzicato lessons, starting at page

The document made here may be downloaded at

The simple principles exposed in the last newsletters, once mastered and combined, will let you create numerous personal accompaniments. Do not forget that you may also create new rhythmic patterns by selecting "New score" with the right mouse (alt-click on Mac) which creates a one measure score in which you can use the Pizzicato tools to add notes and rests. They are not limited to the Pizzicato libraries.

Next month, we will work on the melody aspect of composition. How to create a melody based on existing chords, how to increase it and to develop it. For the moment, I suggest you to create some accompaniments by following the above method. Have a nice time!

Dominique Vandenneucker
Designer of Pizzicato.

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

Printing your scores on A3 paper format

Most A3 printer let you manage various paper formats and let you print two A4 pages on one A3 page, or 4 A5 pages on one A3,... You can then print a full A3 page, back and cover containing 4 pages of printed music. For Pizzicato, this is transparent. Just create your score in the normal standard format and select the correct options so that your A3 printer may print your score on a A3 format, back and cover. To create an A3 score (for instance a conductor score), select the right A3 paper format in Pizzicato and the page will let you create a full A3 page score that will print normally on your A3 printer.

Create scores larger than the A4 paper format

You can create scores larger than the A4 format with Pizzicato Professional. You need to fix the size of your paper. If you do not possess a printer which lets you print in the full size format you need, you can ask Pizzicato to print the different A4 pages which constitute your full page. Then you must assemble the pages together. You may in this way create a 1 meter large score if you want!
Let us take the example of an A3 score (twice the size of the A4, standard paper format). The easiest way will be to print two A4 sheets in the "landscape" mode. Here is how to proceed:
The first A3 score that you will print will help you to evaluate the distances and after that it will be easier. The easiest way to proceed is to use an A3 printer, but it is more expensive.

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

Corrective update for Pizzicato

A free corrective update of Pizzicato 3 is available. It is version from February, 16th 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.

Encoding notes with the MIDI cursor and the keyboard

A practical method to encode the notes without having to think about the density of the measure (1 whole note or 16 16th notes in a measure), is to proceed in the linear mode (only possible in the Beginner and Pro versions), and to enable the "Adapt measure width" option in the justification options (Options menu, Justification). By doing this, Pizzicato will adjust the width of the current measure after each entry. A sufficient space will then exist at any time to enter the notes. Once the score is fully written, you may go to the page mode and adjust the page layout as you want. This avoids the case of a dense measure where the MIDI cursor has some difficulty to position itself because of a lack of space.

Adding the fingering marks

On an organ or piano score, it is frequent to display the fingering. They are marked as little numbers (one for each finger). The purpose is to help the beginner to manage his/her fingers better. The thumb is 1 and the little finger 5. Pizzicato has a tool palette to add the fingering. In the "Tools" menu, open the "Fingering/rehearsal" palette. It includes the 5 numbers. Select one of them on the palette and click on one note head of your score. The number appears above or under the note. By clicking and moving this number on the score, you can move it vertically to adjust its position.

Pizzicato Professional lets you adjust them horizontally also, because you may modify the original symbols. Follow this process for the 5 numbers:

You will then be able to adjust the fingerings vertically and horizontally.

The other symbols of this palette are rehearsal marks used to indicate a part of the score. They help to divide the score and number the different parts. A black frame surrounds them and you can move them in the score

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

Key signatures

The major scale of C

The notes series from C to C is called the major scale of C. Each note of the scale is called a degree of the scale. The degrees are numbered from 1 to 7 in Roman numerals (i.e. I to VII). The last note being the same as the first (C), it is also called "degree I". Here is the major scale of C with its degrees:

As we have seen, each one of these notes corresponds to a white key of the keyboard. When a black key separates two notes, there is one tone between these two notes and if there is no black key between them, there is one half tone. The following table shows the degrees of the scale with the tones and half tones which separate them:

This succession of values (1,1,1/2,1,1,1,1/2) characterizes the major scale. In this example, the first note is C and it is thus the major scale of C.


This scale defines a context of notes called the tonality of C major. A musical excerpt written in C major uses only the notes of the C major scale, i.e. the 7 notes here above, avoiding the black keys located between them.

The principle of tonality is thus to limit the usable notes at a given moment in the musical discourse and in the same time intensifying the influence of other notes. The most significant degree in a scale is the first degree. In our case, it is the C note. The musical discourse will use this note as a point of reference.

The most significant degrees in a tonality are degrees I, IV and V. The musical sentences will be built by taking these degrees as a foundation. They will often be found on the strong beats of the measures. The musical sentences will have a tendency to move towards the first degree of the scale.

We will see that 12 different tonalities can be defined and used. Tonal music is based on using a context of notes on which melodies and chords are built. During a piece of music, the context may change to another tonality. This transition from one tonality to another is called a modulation.

In theory, in a tonal music work, it is possible to determine which tonality is present at any place of the score. Practically, this tonality system is a theoretical system used to explain how composers use the notes which are at their disposal to compose. This system is very helpful to orient a composer through his first steps, but it should not be regarded as a strict rule which one cannot transgress.

All the rules you will find in music are most of the time deduced from the observation of what sounds well in the musical works. The new composer will find in it a lot of interesting advices that can be used by him as a guide to develop his taste and musical inspiration. The error would then be to regard these rules as absolute laws and not as simple advices. When inspiration or taste indicates you another path to follow, skip the composition rules !

Let us go back to tonalities. The essence of classical music is based on the use of tonality. Most modern variety music (rock, jazz, disco, blues, funky…) are also based on tonality. Most music consumed by our modern society is thus tonal music.

There are of course music styles that completely escape from tonality and develop different composition systems. Contemporary music creates new approaches of music, of sound and of its notation. It is interesting to note that most contemporary music composers are people who have a good knowledge of the tonal system, its possibilities and limits. It could then be considered as an evolution of music towards other sound horizons. The point is to communicate this music in such a manner that it will be perceived and understood by most people. It will be the only success test of a music: does it communicate something which can be understood?

Let us see now how other scales and tonalities are defined.

...To read the full lesson, see the lesson about key signatures 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!