This is issue #67 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.
We wish you a happy new year 2008
Lets make it a musical year!
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You are many who would like to use Pizzicato with rich sounds. In its present version, Pizzicato concentrates itself on music composition tools and music notation. Sounds are completely dependent upon your sound card synthesizer and/or MIDI devices connected to your computer. It is however possible to use Pizzicato with many quality software synthesizers. This month article will explain how to proceed on Windows and give you some ideas of equivalent solutions on Macintosh.
In audio synthesis and samplers, many software synthesizers use the VSTi system. The VST technology ("Virtual Studio Technology") has been developed by Steinberg, the creator of the famous CuBase software. With this technology, modules coming from different programmers may cooperate on the same machine, at MIDI and audio level. A VSTi is an instrument that works under the VST system. It can be used by software using that system.
Pizzicato cannot accept VSTi instruments directly, but Steinberg has created a utility software that gives access to VSTi instruments by any MIDI software like Pizzicato. This article is then also applicable to any MIDI software that does not accept VSTi instruments directly. The advantage is that you will find many VSTi on the Internet. Some are free and some must be purchased. Here is how to access to this virtual instruments world.
It starts with the V-Stack software from Steinberg. You may buy it on the Steinberg site at http://www.steinberg.net/29_1.html On the right, you can add the PC version to the basket. The price is around $60. You will then receive the download link and validation key. Follow the installation instruction. Please note that there is also a free software, named "VST Host". I did not test it, but you can find it on page http://www.techno-id.com/vst_plug-ins.htm#vsthost
Once this software has been installed, the next step is to be able to connect it to Pizzicato (or any other MIDI software). To do that, you can use the free MIDI YOKE software. You can download it at http://www.midiox.com/index.htm?http://www.midiox.com/myoke.htm Click the "download" link for Windows 2000/XP. Save the proposed file, for instance on your desktop. Then double-click the file and follow the instruction. When the installation is completed, restart your computer.
If you work on Mac OS X, the same principle may apply, but MIDI YOKE does not exist on Mac OS X. You should find another utility program that can connect and dispatch MIDI between applications. We did not try it on Mac, but there is a utility called "MIDI Patchbay 1.0" that seems to give the same services than MIDI YOKE. You can download it on the author's site : http://pete.yandell.com/software/
The next step is to find, download and install VSTi instruments, free or to buy. I suggest you to use the "Free VST instruments" expression in Google. You will find many links. The way to install a VSTi is to drag the ".DLL" file (and some other files as needed) into the V-Stack plug-ins folder, which is by default "C:\Program Files\Steinberg\V-STack\Vstplugins".
As an example, let us take the free virtual synthesizer "Superwave P8". You may download it at http://www.kvraudio.com/get/708.html By decompressing the downloaded file, you get the "SUPERWAVEP8.dll" file that you can drag into "C:\Program Files\Steinberg\V-STack\Vstplugins".
You can then start V-Stack (Start, Programs, Steinberg V-Stack, V-Stack). You will find several windows. The window with the "VST Instruments" title contains 16 lines, each displaying by default "No VST Instrument". Click on the first line and the VST instruments list will display the installed instruments so that you can select one of them. If you have installed the "Superwave P8" synthesizer, select the corresponding line. The following appears:
The principle will be the same for all VST instruments. Here are the main parameters :
- The small blue button in the top left corner is used to disable/enable this instrument. By default it is active.
- The small button just below is used to access the full parameters of the VST synthesizer. You can often modify the sounds, select effects,... It depends entirely on the VST instrument itself.
- The menu entitled "Not connected" is used to define the MIDI port from which this instrument will be controlled. If you installed MIDI YOKE, you can select "In From MIDI YOKE : 1". If you have a MIDI interface with a musical keyboard, you can select that interface and you will then be able to play directly on that keyboard and hear the virtual synthesizer. If you have several virtual instruments, you can assign them to different MIDI YOKE inputs.
- The 4 text boxes below are used to specify the lower and higher notes used by the synthesizer, and transposition values in semi-tones and octaves.
- The line entitled "HPF Strings" shows the sound selected on that synthesizer. By clicking on this line, you get a menu of all possible sounds so that you can select one of them. You can also use the two small arrows to the right, to browse through the various sounds.
- The "MIDI Channel" choice determines which MIDI channel(s) can be used by the instrument. By default, all channels will react, but you can select only one channel.
So, this explains how to download, install, select and configure virtual instruments. The advantage of V-Stack is that you can save a full prepared configuration with the File, Save or Save as... menu. You can later open a prepared configuration in File, Open... by using the name you used to save it.
If you have a MIDI interface with a musical keyboard, you can then directly use it to play these virtual instruments. Let us see now how to configure Pizzicato so that staves can be played on the instruments installed in V-Stack.
The principle to understand is that MIDI YOKE is a sort of MIDI "tunnel" that enables Pizzicato to send MIDI data (notes from the score) to V-Stack, which will then play the notes on the virtual instruments. I suggest you to write down your configuration on paper. You can for instance use 3 SUPERWAVEP8 instruments by assigning them to MIDI YOKE 1, and respectively to MIDI channels 1, 2 and 3. Then, according to the other instruments you download and install, add them and assign them to MIDI channels 4, 5, etc. Select the sounds and save your configuration.
In Pizzicato, the principle is quite simple. At the MIDI level, select Options, MIDI Setup... and double-click the output port and select "Out to MIDI Yoke 1" as the associated driver. You can use the "MODEL-1" synthesizer name. If you have Pizzicato Pro, you can add other output ports so that the number of possibilities increases.
To select the sound associated to a staff, open the instruments view (Windows menu, Instruments). Disable the "AC" (Automatic Channel) and select the "MC" (MIDI Channel) corresponding to the instrument you want to hear from V-Stack (in our example, channel 1 for the first "SUPERWAVEP8", channel 2 for the second,...). In the "Synth." column, select MODEL-1 (it may be that after selecting "MODEL-1" in the MIDI setup, you should quit and restart Pizzicato so that it appears correctly in the instruments view). According to the VST instrument, it may or may not receive the program change information to select the sound (the equivalent of the sound popup menu explained above in V-Stack). The "Family" and "Instrument" columns of the instruments view will then let you change the sound of the VST instrument. You will then need to find the correspondence.
This procedure may seem a bit complicated for beginners. Once it is well understood, it can help you to run all this together with success. I suggest you to experiment it by yourself and send us your questions and remarks. Our next article will then answer them and will give you some interesting links for instruments (you can also send us your instrument selection).
With these information, you can now start experimenting rich sounds using Pizzicato. Download some virtual instruments and explore them!
Designer of Pizzicato.
and applications of Pizzicato...
Discover the various aspects and applications of Pizzicato
Creative use of an external MIDI keyboard
One of the new features of Pizzicato Professional 3 is the virtual keyboard. Its purpose is to extend the playing possibilities of a single musical keyboard and let you play several instruments on one keyboard. This principle is frequent in a lot of synthesizers and it is often called "performance". It is a set of sounds programmed on the keyboard that can be used to play.
A virtual keyboard is a musical object that can contain several instruments. It gets its data from a musical keyboard connected to a MIDI input port. If you do not have a musical keyboard connected to your computer, you can nevertheless use a virtual keyboard but in a more limited way because using the mouse is not easy to play on a keyboard drawn on the screen.
The virtual keyboards let you setup a MIDI musical keyboard connected to the computer to play various prepared instruments. You can for example play chords that are then held while you play a bass whose notes are doubled by a vibraphone 3 octaves higher for example. Another area lets you play a melody, doubled by an oboe. All of this while having some keys reserved for percussions. The whole set is played from one keyboard only, as you program it.
To prepare and use a virtual keyboard with Pizzicato 3 (even in demonstration mode), see the page http://www.arpegemusic.com/manual30/EN830.htm
advices for Pizzicato...
Frequently asked questions about Pizzicato
Another music font?
Pizzicato Professional lets you use other music fonts to print notes, clefs, accidentals and other signs. By default, the font named "Pizzicato" is copied when you install Pizzicato on your computer. If you possess other music software, you can select the fonts associated to some of them (for example "Anastasia" for the "Encore" software, "Petrucci" for Finale). You need to go in the "Options menu", "Global options" item. Please note that Pizzicato does not include these fonts (they belong to other programs), but only lets you use them if they are already installed on your computer.
You can also use the "Fughetta" shareware font, which can be downloaded at www.efn.org/~bch/AboutFonts.html
Once it is downloaded, select it in the "Global options" dialog box and Pizzicato will use it to draw notes, silences, clefs, ... If you like this font, we suggest you to pay the license (30 $). See how on the author's website.
Note that the graphics and MIDI symbols will not be modified (nuances,...), because they are linked to the Pizzicato font. You can of course create or duplicate tools and modify the name of the font used.
Transposing a score
When you write a score for a specific tonality, Major C for example, you can transpose it to another tonality in one operation.
Select the key signatures tool. Modify the key signature in D for example (2 sharps) and check the "Transpose the notes" box, which is disabled by default. When you click OK, the score is transposed into the new tonality.
If you select measures and choose the "Transpose..." item in the "Edit" menu, the key signature is not affected. Accidentals modified by the transposition are added to the notes. If you want them to appear in the key signature, you must also modify the key signature with the key signatures tool (but this time without checking "Transpose the notes").
How to transcribe the accidentals correctly?
With Pizzicato, you can to import a MIDI file and view the score. In some cases, a MIDI file may not contain the key signature indication and Pizzicato sets no key signature. Such a file can contain a lot of accidentals and become difficult to read. In the case of a MIDI file written in Major B (5 sharps) but which does not include the key signature indication, the sharps will be written as accidentals to the notes. To avoid that, you can apply the following process:
Import the file a first time and transcribe the score
According to the accidentals you find in the score, deduce what should be the key signature
Import the file a second time, but with no note transcription.
Add the key signature with the key signatures tool
Transcribe the file, by Edit, Select all and Edit, transcribe. Pizzicato takes care of the key signature and adapts the notes to this tonality.
Musical basics and access to the Pizzicato music course
Braces and groups of staves
We have seen that staves playing together are connected by a vertical line on the left border:
This set of staves played simultaneously is called a system.
It is also common to connect the bar lines belonging to the same instrument group, such as for example the woodwinds, the brasses or the strings of an orchestra. Here are for example some instruments of an orchestra. The bar lines are connected by instrument families:
The groups of staves are delimited by a bracket including all the instruments of the same family. In this way, instruments are easier to locate, especially when the orchestra score has twenty-five or thirty instruments as it is sometimes the case.
...to read the full text, see the lesson about the characteristics of music notation on our site...
Links related to music
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.
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and to bring people to more musical creativity
Use Pizzicato and make music!