Dear Musicians,

This is issue #72 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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Last month, we examined how to create chords progressions, how to sequence chords in an intuitive way. If you did the suggested practical exercises, you should now have 10 chords progressions of your own creation. If you did not receive our previous letter, you can read it and do the exercises from the archives page:

There are a lot of ways to start a music composition. Creating a chord progression is a possible route. We will now examine the possible paths once you have a chord progression.

If you did the exercises with the demonstration version of Pizzicato Professional 3.3, you have not been able to save them. In this case, you can download the following file, that includes the chords progression that we had given as an example in our previous article. Right-click this link and select "Save target as.…" then choose to save that document to the desktop:

At this point, we have two main possibilities to build our composition:

  1. We can use an existing accompaniment style by adding this prepared style to our chords progression. Then we can create a melody on the basis of this structured accompaniment.
  2. If we wish more creativity and originality, we can gradually add several simple instrumental accompaniments, melody lines, percussion rhythmic patterns.

We will start by exploring the first method, which has the advantage of being faster and producing an immediate result. The example that we will treat will also help to better understand how to add musical scores to a chord progression and you will be able to use these principles when using the second method.

The prepared styles of Pizzicato are located in the upper left tree structure of the conductor window. To reach it:

We will now drag these variations into the harmonic space. The principle is to drag one of these scores under the existing chords. The scores (variations of a style) will then be played in Pizzicato by adapting the notes to the chords.

It is a method to extend the playing of the score. As this score only includes one real measure (the two others are exact copies), Pizzicato displays the others with a light color, so as to distinguish them.

At any moment, you can double-click the rectangle of the score, in order to display the notes of all the instruments which make up this style. You can even freely modify them if you want, by using the tools of the score editor (notes, rests…).

We will complete our small composition:

The break is in fact an alternative style, used to break the monotony of the rhythm, often just at the end of a section or verse, before beginning a new one. The end is an alternative of the style intended to conclude the music composition.

The way in which we laid out the rhythmic patterns, the break and the end are in fact quite free. The example given here is very short, but during the development of a much longer piece of music, you can build these blocks very freely. You can remove them (small box "X" on the score), move them around (simply drag them) and even modify the chords progression according to the evolution of your composition (for example to lengthen the duration of a chord from 1 to 2 measures).

It is a form of building set. You can even combine several styles and sequence them.

Once the structure of the composition is finished, you can get the full score, with the notes and the chords, in the following way:

We will use this example next month to examine the various methods to create a melody on this accompaniment and its chords.

You will find more information about these aspects of Pizzicato at page as well as in the other lessons concerning the music composition tools.

I suggest you to do an arrangement for the 10 chords progressions you had prepared last month, by using the same principle as above. You can explore the various styles.

Be creative!

Dominique Vandenneucker
Designer of Pizzicato.

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

Splitting the right and left hands for the piano

When transcribing a MIDI file or a real time keyboard performance, Pizzicato can split up the left and right hands on two different staves in G and F clefs.

To record in real time the two hands at the same time, do the following:

If you start from a MIDI file (already recorded), do the following:

In both cases, do not forget to disable the split option again, otherwise you will have a bad surprise the next time you will make a one staff transcription...

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

Selecting the measures to play

In linear mode, Pizzicato will begin to play the score at the first visible measure. Thus you can easily determine the starting measure with the horizontal scroll bar. In page mode, the first visible measure is the first measure of the current page. If you want for example to listen several times to a precise passage, select the cursor tool and place it in the first measure to play. The playing will begin there. You can also select the measure with the selection tool and the play will begin at the selection. To repeat a passage several times, check the "Loop on x measures" and insert the numbers of measures you want to hear several times in the score tool bar. The passage will be played and played again until you click STOP. In the dialog box appearing when clicking on the "..." button in the score tool bar, you will find another possibility to specify the first and last measure to play.

MIDI Synchronization

Pizzicato can synchronize a rhythm generator or an external synthesizer via the MIDI cable. What is synchronization? It is the ability to force two or more music devices to play together at exactly the same tempo. Imagine that you have a Pizzicato score with chords and a melody, but that you would like to use the rhythmic patterns of an electronic organ. If you start the score and the organ at the same time, you will hear an increasing time shift, as the speeds will never be exactly the same. The solution to that is MIDI synchronization. The MIDI standard includes special messages to "force" one of the devices to follow the tempo of the other.

Pizzicato can follow the organ or be conducted by it. If you want Pizzicato to conduct the organ, you need to go in the "Recorder" window and click the "Options" button (in version 3, go in the Options menu, Midi Play options...). To the right of the "Synchro output port" item, select the MIDI port connected to the organ. Click OK. From there on, Pizzicato will send the START and STOP information and the synchronization messages to the organ. Be sure to configure the organ so that it will receive these messages. When you start the score, the organ will follow.

If you want the organ to conduct Pizzicato, go in the same options dialog and select the MIDI port connected to the organ, to the right of the "Synchro input port" item, then click OK. From there on, Pizzicato will play when you start the organ accompaniment. Be aware, using this option, that Pizzicato will not be able to play by itself any more (the "START" button and the space bar will have no effect). To disable this synchronization feature, simply select the "Synchro input port" item to "None".

One line staves

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.

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


Why add symbols?

The note pitches and the rhythmic values placed in the measures indicate to the performer the note sequence he must play. A piece of music played exactly as written will seem mechanical, without life or expression.

When a composer creates a musical work, he writes of course notes and rhythms, but he will try to transcribe on the score the way notes must be played, with what expression, with what feeling the piece must be performed.

He will add various symbols on the score to describe and transmit as precisely as possible the sound effect he wants to achieve on the auditor.

When a musician will play this score, he will take all symbols into account to understand what the composer wanted to express so as to play the score in the correct state of mind.

There is a whole series of symbols influencing the way the performer will play a score. We will learn the most common symbols..


Nuances specify the sound volume the performer must respect to play the notes. Here is the complete series, forming a progression of increasingly strong sound volumes:

The P comes from Italian Piano meaning softly. The F comes from Forte and means strongly and the M comes from Mezzo and means half or medium.

Start Pizzicato and open the Ex031.piz example. It contains the following measures. Listen to them to understand the resulting sound effect :

...To read the full lesson, see the lesson about symbols on our site...

Music on the Web...
Links related to music

The commercial page...

With the publication of Pizzicato 3.3, 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!