Dear Musicians,

This is issue #68 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 -
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Here is some more information about our last article regarding the use of VSTi in combination with Pizzicato. This information was given by a few users.

First a series of links to sites where you can download VST virtual instruments:

Here is a site where you can download another VST program like V-Stack or VST Host. It is free and with it you can load VST instruments and connect them to Pizzicato as explained in the last article. It is "Cantabile Light", on page

It is also possible to buy libraries of very realistic orchestral sounds. You can find them on the Internet. Here are a few pages. As they are all compatible with VST, you can use them with Pizzicato as explained:

Note that these libraries are often very demanding regarding computer resources (speed and memory).


We will now continue our articles on music composition. We have explained a general method to construct a melody with notes and we have also analyzed some aspects of rhythms. Here is a way to combine them.

First, we have envisioned the melody as being constructed by a first note, several intermediate notes and a final note. These notes are important notes that have enough consonance to be heard for some length of time. They are stable points. They are connected by one or several transition notes that have a more temporary character. They are a way to go from one main note to the other.

On the other hand, we know that time is structured into measures, often of the same duration, that form a repeating structure of beats that are important and beats that are less important.

We will quite naturally associate the main notes to beats that are stronger and transition notes to "weak" beats. This is of course only a guide and you keep the freedom to do otherwise if you find a better combination. The agreeable character of a melody is the top-level criteria to justify the melody itself.

Let us take an example in a 4/4 measure. In increasing importance, we have the first beat, the third beat (as it divides the measure into two equal parts) then the second and the fourth beats. The eighth beats (syncopation) are less marked.

We will use a previous example, with the following main notes:


We do not have a time structure, these notes are only a set of 5 consecutive notes. As they are all part of the C Major chord, we will consider them as the stable notes of the melody and we will associate them to the strong beats of a 4/4 measure, on beats 1 and 3. Here is an example, accompanied by a percussion pattern to better feel the rhythm and the strong beats:


The melody now takes a rhythmic form, with a time structure.

We have seen various methods to select transition notes. For rhythms, we have now selected (quite arbitrarily) whole and half notes that correspond to strong beats of the measure.

By adding transition notes, we must assign rhythmic values to them. As the strong beats have been placed and that they are not "elastic with time", if we want to add other notes, we must modify the duration (rhythmic value) of the main notes. The important point is that the main notes must stay on the strong beats, as it is the start point of a note that produces the most important time impact of the note.

A 4/4 measure contains exactly 4 beats, which is one whole note or two half notes, or 4 quarter notes or 8 eighth notes, or any other combination. If you want to better understand the time content of a measure, just read the lesson on page

The process becomes a mathematical problem. The measure must contain the correct number of beats (4 here). We can divide a whole note into many different rhythmic variations. The decomposition depends upon the number of transition notes we want to have between two given main notes. Here are a few possible divisions of the whole note:


In these 6 examples, we add respectively 2, 2, 3, 3, 4 and 4 notes to the melody. We can do the same kind of exercices to divide an half note, for instance:


We must now combine the selection of transition notes with the rhythmic decomposition of the main notes. The number of possibilities becomes very high. By selecting the transition notes as explained before, we must choose the decomposition that corresponds to the number of added transition notes. If we take the following transition notes:


we must then divide the first whole note into 4 notes, the second into two notes, the first half note into 4 notes and the second half note into 3 notes. The last whole note may stay as it is. One example would be:


You will understand that there are numerous possibilities. You have here a systematic method to help you structure a melody and make various choices. It is not an automatic composition system that composes for you, it is a tool that you can use. You are the driver. The method exposed here can be summarized as follows:

  1. Select the first and the last note
  2. Select a series of intermediate notes, according to the length of the melody you want to create
  3. Between each main note, select transition notes, following the given patterns or your own patterns
  4. Assign the main notes on a rhythmic structure, based on strong beats
  5. Select or imagine rhythmic decompositions that contain the same number of rhythms as the number of transition notes
  6. Write the melody, based on the main notes, the transition notes and the rhythmic decomposition.

You can work that together with a percussion pattern, as it helps you to feel the rhythm and can stimulate inspiration.

You have a method and with Pizzicato you can assemble the melody on a staff. So use it!

Dominique Vandenneucker
Designer of Pizzicato.

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

Using the computer keyboard to enter the notes

The computer keyboard can be used to encode notes, when the keyboard window is displayed on the screen. It is nevertheless limited for chord encoding and some chords are not possible using only the keyboard shortcuts. In fact, it depends on the computer keyboard type. Computer keyboards are not made to press a lot of keys at the same time (you can get 2, 3, maybe 4 keys, according to your keyboard technology). It is one of the limitations of the computer keyboard and Pizzicato cannot do anything about that for chords.

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

One line staff

In Professional Pizzicato, you can create a one line staff, for percussion instruments for example, by double-clicking in front of a staff (with the cursor arrow or with the measures and staves tool). In the dialog box that appears, select "1" in the "Staff lines number" menu. You can also create special staves (for example 3 spaced lines) by selecting the "***" item of this menu. A new dialog box appears and you can select which lines of the 16 possible lines will be displayed for that staff. By selecting one line every two, you can create special staves for percussion. Click on OK, then again OK.

Aligning a system on a page

When you make a page layout, Pizzicato estimates the number of measures a system can contain. When there is not enough space to the right, Pizzicato enlarges the measures of the system, so that the last measure aligns itself on the right border. When this space is too big and that there is no more measures to place in the system, Pizzicato does not automatically force it to the right, estimating that the measure would be too big. If you want to align it anyway, simply enlarge one of the measures, until Pizzicato sees that the exceeding space of the last measure is small enough to automatically adapt it.

Pizzicato 3 and Windows Vista

So that Pizzicato 3 works fine with Windows Vista, do the following after installing the program (but before starting Pizzicato):

In case Windows asks for confirmation in the above steps, you can confirm.

If you have launched Pizzicato before activating that compatibility mode, there is a risk that the program will not work thereafter. In that case, or in any case of problem, do the following:

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

Using time signature

We have learned that the measure is a way to divide the duration of a musical work into smaller parts. We gave many examples, speaking about a 4/4 measure, without specifying what these two numbers mean.

Those numbers are called the time signature. They determine the total duration of the rhythms that can fit inside a measure. The first number (the numerator of the time signature) indicates the number of beats the measure is divided in. The second number (the denominator of the time signature) indicates the contents of each beat.

The beat is a division of the measure. In our preceding examples, we often spoke about a beat as being equivalent to the quarter note duration. This is only valid when the denominator of the time signature is equal to 4 (it is by the way the more common case).

The possible values for the denominator are 1,2,4,8,16 or 32. This value determines the content of one beat in the measure. Here is the equivalence table:

1 Whole note
2 Half note
4 Quarter note
8 Eighth note
16 Sixteenth note
32 32nd note

The bold values are the most common. The numerator of the time signature determines how much of these beats will fit in one measure. In the examples of the preceding lessons, the 4/4 thus represents a measure made up of 4 quarter notes. In the same way, 6/8 is a measure made up of 6 eighth notes, 2/2 is a measure made up of 2 half notes, etc.

The time signature used is indicated in the first measure, in the middle of the staff, just after the clef and the possible key signature. This indication is valid for all following measures. It is possible to change the time signature in the middle of a music work or even each measure if needed. In this case, the new time signature is displayed and stays valid until the next change... read the full text, see the lesson about the time signature on our site...

Music on the Web...
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 for free on our site, in the "Customer services" section, under the Free Upgrade page.

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!