Dear Musicians,

This is issue #62 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

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In our previous article, we have seen that a music composition is characterized by some degree of order and organization amongst its musical elements. This degree of order can be produced by the presence of musical elements that are identical, similar or comparable.

Composing music consists of finding an idea and developing it. To develop it in a coherent way, you can search for elements that are identical, similar or comparable, at the level of rhythms, melodies, chords, effects and sounds. Let us apply this in a systematic way and with practical examples. What follows is a set of methods to develop existing ideas. It does not guarantee that it will express what you want. As these methods are quite general, you are the guide and you are responsible for their application to your musical feelings.

Let us take a simple musical idea:

1 - Listen...

If we break it in melodic parts (notes without rhythm), we get the following notes sequence:

2 - Listen...

If we extract the rhythmic values of the melody, we get the following rhythm, played by a percussion instrument:

3 - Listen...

Chords are structured by sets of notes that sound well together. Often, a melody has notes that suggest one or more chords. If we analyze the chords induced by this melody, we find that the first four notes are part of an A minor chord (A, C and E) and that the end of it contains E, G# and B, making an E chord. At the harmonic level, we then get the following chords progression:

A min - E

4 - Listen...

Music materials 2, 3 and 4 here above are derived from the original melody. We can then use them to develop a music composition and search for elements that are identical, similar or comparable to these elements and that can thereafter be combined.

What do we mean by identical, similar or comparable? Identical means exactly the same. This is for instance the exact repetition of a theme or a rhythm. It is quite common to repeat several times a section of a music composition with no variation at all. As there are several aspects involved (melody, rhythm, chords,...) we can for instance apply "identical" only to the rhythmic aspect, while changing the melody. By keeping the same rhythm (and using your imagination), you could for instance build the following melodies:

5 - Listen...

6 - Listen...

7 - Listen...

The possibilities are obviously innumerous. But each one of them has some similarity that connects it to the original melody. This link may be heavy or light, according to the similarity of the notes you use and of the direction these notes follow in the melody. An interesting analysis consists indeed to look at the general graphical aspect of the melody. The original melody follows this curve:

To help yourself to create melodic variations, you can draw various graphic curves on a paper and then transform them into notes, while keeping the same rhythms. These curves may be similar, have common parts or be completely different. You decide. By drawing a curve:

you can transcribe it into notes in several ways, by using your imagination but also by following the curve as a guide:

8 - Listen...

or for instance by using a larger range of notes:

9 - Listen...

Practical exercise: Draw 5 curves on paper and use them with the same rhythm as above to create 5 different melodies. You can use the free Pizzicato demo to do so and to listen to the result.

Practical exercise: Use Pizzicato (or its free demo) to write a personal melody on a few measures. Then draw its graphical curve on paper. Below it, draw 10 graphical curves that are similar, comparable (with common sections) or totally different. Without changing the original rhythm of your melody, change the notes to get 10 corresponding melodies.

Dominique Vandenneucker
Designer of Pizzicato.

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

Copy/Paste/Drag and drop

The selection tool ("s" shortcut) lets you select one or more measures. By clicking on a measure, it appears white on black. To select several measures, select the first one. Then hold down the SHIFT key and click on the last measure to select. All the measures between the first and the last are selected.

You can then copy these measures ("Edit" menu, "Copy" item) to paste them at another location of the score ("Edit" menu, "Paste" item). You can also drag them, by clicking and dragging the first selected measure to another measure. The destination measure must be visible on the screen. When you release the mouse, the whole block is copied to the destination measure. It is the equivalent of a copy/paste.

You can also drag a set of selected measures to the main view or conductor view (Pizzicato Professional). The result is a new score which contains the selected measures and staves.

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

MIDI Input setup (version 3)

Pizzicato lets you connect a MIDI keyboard to your computer to enter notes easily. By default after installation, there is not necessarily a selected MIDI input. To record notes directly from a MIDI connected keyboard:

To test the MIDI connection:

If the test is OK, you are ready to record in real time and see the notes appear on the screen.To know how, simply read the two lessons about real time recording in the Help menu or on our website on page

To enter notes step by step with the MIDI keyboard, see the following lesson:

Moving a tool

Pizzicato Professional lets you create new tools palettes and new tools. To duplicate, remove or move a tool, you just had to click the tool and while holding down the mouse button, to move it slightly. A dialog box appeared, asking for the type of operation to do. Some users considered that this dialog box was appearing when they only wanted to use a tool. We have then added a additional condition to call this dialog box: you must also hold down the CTRL key to make it appear. This change is effective since the 3.0.3 version.

Pianistic notation: cross staff beaming

In piano scores, it is frequent to use the 2 clefs (G and F) to write the playing of a single musical passage. Technically, this means that the same rhythmic voice (which is normally written on one staff) will be written over 2 staves. Here are some examples:

In these measures, using two staves is done to make it easier to read the notes with the 2 clefs. The lower notes would have been difficult to read in the G clef. But these measures only include one rhythmic voice (as Pizzicato defines the rhythmic voice).

To write this type of measures with Pizzicato, you need to understand that the notes always belong to one of the two staves. Here we have chosen the upper staff to place the notes, but it could have been the lower staff also. It is better to use the staff which contains most of the notes.

Once a note is written in a staff, you can drag it to the other staff, but this is only a graphic effect: the note always belongs to its original staff. It means that the justification of the rhythmic voices is still made on the basis of the content of the original measure.

For more details, please see the page

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

Note stems

We have seen that half notes, quarter notes and all shorter rhythmic values have a stem. This vertical line starts from the right side of the note head and moves upwards, at least in the examples seen so far. Its length does not influence the note and is purely a question of convention, readability and esthetics of the graphical layout. According to the note head position on the staff, the stem can be oriented downwards. In this case, it starts from the left side of the note:

Generally, one acts so that the stem exceeds the staff the least possible while having on average the length given in this example. When the note is placed on the third line or lower, the stem is directed upwards. When the note is placed higher than the third line, the stem is directed downwards:

This is not a mandatory rule, because it does not at all influence the performance of the note. The same principle is valid for the eighth notes. When you draw rhythmic values with hooks, they also change orientation, but they stay on the right side of the stem. The hooks always point in the direction of the note. Here is an illustration:

...To read the full lesson, see the lesson on music notation aspects (1) on our site...

The commercial page...

With the publication of Pizzicato 3.2, 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!