Dear Musicians,

This is issue #57 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 letter announces the release of Pizzicato 3.2 and a new set of functions to help you compose music. You have probably noticed that in the editorials of this newsletter, we often speak about music composition or any subject connected to it. We really intend to help you understand music and be able to compose music! So we are proud to release this new version, because you will definitely enjoy it if you want to create music, even if you never composed anything yet.

The history of the Pizzicato music composition tools began end 1995 with the release of Pizzicato 1.0. The software was mainly a score editor with MIDI features. The advanced users could also find in it a music building block construction set, called the music libraries. It had potential in it, but was quite difficult to use and so very few users discovered its potential value to create music. But it was there, in 1995!

Around the year 2000, Pizzicato 2 was published. The music libraries had not evolved a lot, because we had to add more standard music notation and MIDI tools to be able to achieve the compositional goals of Pizzicato. Some improvements were made by including the chords progression tool to influence the music construction set, but it was a minor change.

With the publication of release 3.0 in March 2005, we added a new set of tools to compose. The conductor view (acting as a musical desktop), a library of instruments with their specifications, the virtual keyboard (multi instruments programmable keyboard), the Smart Link function (a kind of a music combinatory device where notes, rhythms and chords may be combined from various sources to produce music), and a set of individual instrumental patterns, so that you can compose music by assembling and playing them together on the musical desktop. It was a major release as regards to music composition tools.

The next major release for music composition tools is now Pizzicato 3.2. It is also a free update for users who already possess Pizzicato 3.0 or 3.1. You can download it at For users of Pizzicato 1 or 2, you may order an update at

What's new in Pizzicato 3.2? This time, we can really call it an "intuitive music composition" tool, because you do not need to be involved in the complexities of using the music libraries. Advanced users may still program smart links and other kind of musical objects, but beginners may use the music materials contained in the libraries in a very easy and straightforward way, without knowledge of music theory.

Very soon, you will be able to watch tutorial videos on our site, showing you in a very practical way what we mean by intuitive composition. Basically, the idea is that you should be able to compose music even if you do not know about music theory, chord structure, harmony,... There is really just one condition to achieve this: you must be willing to do it! Then Pizzicato will help you to do it.

The full explanation of the composition tools of Pizzicato are contained in a set of 10 tutorials, starting on page

Here is a short presentation of the new tools included in Pizzicato 3.2.

We invite your to update to Pizzicato 3.2 right now and enjoy its new tools and compose your own music!

We take this opportunity to wish you a merry Christmas and a happy and musical New year 2007. The year 2007 will definitely be a year with new major breakthroughs in the Pizzicato music composition tools.

Dominique Vandenneucker
Designer of Pizzicato.

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

Creating a page for free music writing

Here is how to create a full page of staves to write notes freely, without time signature limitation (professional version). We will take the example of an 8 staves page.

With the creation assistant, create an 8 measures score. Click OK twice (including one for the page layout). You have now a page which has 2 staves of 4 measures.

With the layout tool ('D' shortcut while placing the mouse on the first staff), select one measure per system (for this system and the following ones) and 8 systems per page (for this page). Click OK. You will now have 8 staves of 1 measure each.

To remove the left and right measure bars, use the measure and repeat tool ('R' shortcut while placing the mouse on the first measure). For the left and right bars, select "Invisible". Select from measure 1 to measure 8 and click OK. There is no measure bar any more.

If you want to suppress the number "1" in front of the staves, open the instruments window and remove the text (Name and abbreviation), then close the window.

To remove the "C" time signature and free the measures, select all the measures (Edit, Select All) and go in Edit, Measures parameters. Check "Time signature: hidden", and also "Measure length : free on the basis of a quarter note". Click OK.

You are ready to introduce your notes. If you want the MIDI functions to work correctly, it is better to keep the automatic justification active. If you do not care about the playing and only search a graphic result, disable the automatic justification and you will be able to write everything you want on the measures.

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

Create scores larger than the A4 paper format

You can create scores larger than the A4/US Letter 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/US Letter pages to print 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 of course to use an A3 printer, but it is more expensive.

Distances between the staves

The distance between the staves of a system can be manually adjusted with the measures and staves tool. You just need to drag the staff below and it will follow your movement. To have an equal distance for all the systems, it is better to work in linear mode (Beginner and Professional versions). The distance between the staves in the linear view is the reference while computing a new page layout. By moving the staves closer together in linear mode, when you will calculate the page layout again, all the systems will take the same distances as in linear mode and you will not have to move each system manually.

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

Composing music (3)

The chord is the common element so that the various instruments play together in a harmonious way. We will learn in more details how they are created and how you can sequence them. This lesson does not claim to teach harmony but constitutes a set of principles you can use to understand and create chords progressions.

What is a chord?

We can define a chord in a general way as a context of notes (2, 3, 4 or even more) heard simultaneously. The relations existing between these notes is what characterizes the sound colour of a chord (see the lesson on Composing music (1)).

By using this definition, any group of notes can be a chord. Nevertheless, if a chord must be harmonious, the notes in it must have related elements, otherwise the chord will sound like an aggregate of dispersed notes rather than a harmonious set of notes.

The common element must be found in how notes are transmitted from the instrument to your ears. We have seen that the sound is made of an air vibration. By playing two notes simultaneously, we thus have two different vibrations propagated to the auditor and interfering one with the other. By playing for example two C notes separated by an octave, the vibrations have a ratio of 2. By playing for example a C note and a G note, the vibrations are in a 3/2 ratio. C and E have approximately a 5/4 ratio, etc.

In addition, by listening to various chords and groups of notes, one can notice that some give a very harmonious impression while others are more unpleasant or more dissonant. Is there a rule to measure this degree of harmony? Yes, it is the degree of the mathematical relationship complexity between the sounds of a chord which determines the dissonance degree of this chord. In other words, the notes in a ratio of 2 will appear more "in agreement" that notes in a 15/13 ratio. This rule is empirical and is just a basic guide. The preferences of the composer, in connection with what he wants to express, will determine if he wants to use such or such chord in his composition, the concepts of harmony or discordance being themselves rather subjective.

Tonality and chords

You can conceive the musical keyboard as a series of 12 keys (7 white and 5 blacks) repeated several times. Music composition then consists in simply determining which notes will be played and how they will be linked in time. By taking the problem in this manner, the number of possibilities is so enormous that the beginner will be completely lost and will compose nothing at all. Thus let us use the principle of "divide to reign better" and divide the notes in contexts called Tonalities...

...To read the full lesson, see the lesson Music composition (3) on our site...

The commercial page...

With the publication of Pizzicato 3.1, 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!