Dear Musicians,

This is issue #65 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,

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In our previous article, we had established that a melody is a set of sequenced notes, played in a given rhythm, with a beginning and an end in time. It is a musical unit. How is it possible to imagine, create and structure melodies? This article will give you some basic techniques on that subject.

A melody necessarily has a first and a last note. It is a path, a route going from one note to another note, passing through intermediate notes. Let us take an example: a melody starting on a C and ending on the upper C (one octave higher). We have the starting and ending points:


Going at once from the first to the last note is obviously too simple. If one of the goals of a melody is to end on a conclusive note, we must not neglect the interest developed by the way it gets there. It is like planning a trip with the goal of exploring as many lands and places as possible. A direct highway drive would not satisfy that goal. So we look on the map and select secondary routes, interesting sites and places,... Let us see how to proceed on the musical map.

For a trip, you would first determine some key places where you would like to stop for some time. These places will be intermediate notes on which the melody will temporarily stop before going further. These choices will be arbitrary or oriented around any musical theory. You could for instance decide that these notes will be part of a same chord. If you take here a C Major chord (C, E and G), you could for instance select the intermediate notes as follows (here also the choice is arbitrary, even if amongst the chord notes):


But you could also not limit the intermediate notes at all and use for instance:


Freedom is here applicable. Let us only say that, as music is "organized noise", the advantage of setting rules is that we introduce order in the created structure and so we reach more easily an organized structure than a disorganized structure. The use of rules also helps to limit the number of possible choices to explore, which can help you to decide faster on any of the choices you have. These rules are not necessarily very esoteric. You could for instance take the rule of using only the notes place on a line of the staff, or between the lines,... You decide the rule you use. It is also up to you to decide the number of intermediate notes to use, according to the length of the melody you want to develop.

At this point, we have the basic plan: the start point, the intermediate notes and the destination note. These are the main notes of the melody. Please note that the destination note may be the same note than the starting note. We leave the note, go on a trip and then we go back to the same note. The next step consists of linking these notes together. What do we mean by "linking"? We want to find one or more notes that will form a transition between two main notes. These transition notes may also be called passage notes. They are often shorter than the main notes.

To "move" inside a melody, there is at least two ways to proceed. The first method is to use what we call consecutive notes. The notes lying between the two main notes are simply used one after the other. In our first example, we get the following (the main notes have been set to half notes and the transition notes as quarter notes, shorter):


The second method is more general and use intervals where we skip one out of two, three,... notes and where we may combine all intervals freely. Here is an example with two such uses of intervals:


Another technique consists of reaching in one or more intervals, a note that is further than the one we want to reach, and then back up to this last one with consecutive notes. Here is an example where this technique is used three times:


Another technique consists of "bouncing" or "oscillating" around the note to reach, similarly to a pendulum that oscillates more or less and then reaches its balanced position (keep in mind that the main notes are half notes and the transition notes are quarter notes):


You can also avoid using a transition note and just play two main notes one after the other, without transition. You could also imagine other techniques. When you listen to a version of your melody while you design it, if you find that a transition note has a good effect and could last longer, you may transform it into a main note and adjust its duration. You can then reorganize your melody around that new main note by using the techniques presented here to reach it.

All these techniques may be combined freely. They help you structure your imagination and they have the advantage to be a systematic method to research a melody. This research will however always be guided by your own musical taste, by you as a unique musical creator.

I suggest that you practice that melodic creation method:

Pizzicato Professional 3 (even in trial version) lets you experiment with this technique as follows:

These operations give you a full page of free measures in which you can place quarter notes and half notes with no measure constraints. The notes will be scattered on the full size of the page and you can insert notes very easily in between so as to use the techniques explained here. The space bar lets you hear the result at any time.

There is an important aspect not present in this article: rhythm. We have used half and quarter notes to separate the main notes and the transition notes, but rhythm could be much better than that. We will treat that aspect in our next article. Until then, try to design some melodies!

Dominique Vandenneucker
Designer of Pizzicato.

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

The new conductor view of Pizzicato 3

One of the new features of Pizzicato Professional 3 is the conductor view. It has been designed to be your musical desktop. As you may have multiple scores in a musical document, you will find here a tool to organize, control and play them easily in various combinations. You may open it in the Windows menu, Conductor view...

This window is divided into three main areas:

With the conductor view, you may select and play a score with the recorder buttons. But you may also group several scores and play them together. In this way, you may assemble a full orchestral score by creating little musical sequences and by arranging them together, duplicating or smart linking them (transposing, inverting your melody,...)

In combination with the prepared instruments and rhythms libraries, this view is quite practical to create rhythmic patterns visually.

See the full lesson on using the conductor view on page and compose your rhythms and arrangements.

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

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 too, 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 width of a measure

With Pizzicato Beginner and Pro, you can modify the width of a measure by using the measures and staves tool or the arrow tool, by clicking just to the left of the right measure bar and by moving the mouse. When you release, the measure is redrawn. Its content is automatically adapted (widened or tightened).

If you do not wish its contents adapted, you can do the same operation while holding down the CTRL (Control) key on the keyboard. The measure width is modified but its contents do not move.

If the measure is the last of a system on a page, the measure bar is automatically aligned on the right margin and thus it does not work. You can bypass this limit by disabling the option "Adjust systems horizontally on the page" in the page setup dialog (File menu).

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


Despite the various rhythmic values explained and the possibility to lengthen them with a dot or a tie, some rhythmic values are still impossible to write. For instance, how could you write notes during one third of a quarter note? Impossible, because all rhythmic values are based on multiples of two.

The irregular groups, also called tuplets, are groups of notes not being a multiple of a standard rhythmic value. Let us start with the simplest, the triplet.

The triplet is a group of 3 identical rhythmic values that must be played within the duration of 2 rhythmic values. Let us take an example with eighth notes. An eighth note has a duration of half a beat. Three eighth notes have a duration of one and a half beat. An eighth note triplet is a group of 3 eighth notes accelerated to fit within the duration of 2 standard eighth notes, that is to say, one beat. Here is how it is represented:

The three eighth notes are grouped by a curve (or a hook) with figure "3". It means 3 instead of 2. The three notes are played more quickly than their normal duration. The total duration of the three notes is equivalent to one quarter note. You can put four such groups in a 4/4 measure.

Here is an example with a quarter note triplet:

The three quarter notes must be played within the normal duration of 2 quarter notes. The group thus uses 2 beats of the measure. Open the Ex020.piz file and listen to it. It contains examples of quarter note triplets and eighth notes triplets:

Triplets let you divide durations into three equal parts such as the eighth note triplet which divides the quarter note into three parts. Notice that you can place different rhythmic values in a triplet, as in the following examples...

...To read the full lesson, see the lesson on Tuplets 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.

For users of Pizzicato 3, there is a free upgrade available: Pizzicato 3.2.3 will soon be available for free on our site, in the "Customer services" section, under the Free Upgrade page. Check that page in the following days.

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!