This is issue #73 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.
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A corrective update for Pizzicato 3.3 has just been published on our site. You can download it in the Customer Services section, Free updates. It corrects a series of problems that have been observed since the publication of Pizzicato 3.3. It is of course a free update for registered 3.3 users. This is version 3.3.1.
The last two articles explained how to create a personal chord progression and how to easily build a rhythmic accompaniment on it. These two steps form a possible path to compose music.
We will now take the result of our preceding article to explore the various ways in which a melody can be composed based on a chord progression and accompaniment. Possibilities are numerous, but they all follow a basic rule.
Melody is characterized by the note pitches and by the way notes are assembled in time (rhythmic aspect). As we have here already an existing accompaniment together with chords, the freedom for the melody is no more infinite. It must stay in harmony with the existing accompaniment, regarding note pitches and rhythms as well.
In this article and the following, we will examine four practical methods that you can use to create a personal melody. We will examine them one by one, but when you will have learned them all, you will be able to combine them together:
- Work directly with the notes and rests tools, being guided by the colors of notes according to the current harmony
- Combine the Pizzicato libraries of elementary rhythmic patterns and elementary melodic phrases
- Use thousands of music vectors that can be applied on a chord progression
- Direct improvisation on the music keyboard, while listening to the music in loop
You can download the score example of last month (Reggae with 8 chords) at www.arpegemusic.com/download/excomp-103.piz Click on this link with the right mouse button and select "Save target as..." then select the desktop and save it.
- Start Pizzicato 3.3 (or the demo version), then open the above document(File menu, Open...). If you have created your own examples (as we suggested you to do), you can use them here in the place of the above file.
- In the Windows menu, select the Conductor view, which must then display the prepared example:
In each case, you need to add a staff for the soloist instrument. We will work on the score extracted from the above arrangement and add a staff.
- Click on the small green square (in the upper left part of the arrangement) and drag it below the big blue rectangle representing the arrangement. A score appears in the form of a rectangle.
- Double-click on this rectangle and then use the Edit menu, Fix parametered measures, so that Pizzicato will fix the notes according to the chords.
- Go in the Options menu, Graphic options... and right to the title Use of colors, select the choice entitled Color by scale/chord. Then click OK.
- If the accompaniment notes do not still appear in color, go in the Windows menu and select the Chord progression item. Then close that window (this forces Pizzicato to update the colors of notes according to chords and scales).
- Resize the score window so that you can see and use the Pizzicato library located in the left upper half of the conductor view.
- In this library, open Instruments and templates, then Synthetic sounds, then Miscellaneous. Drag the instrument icon named Brightness to the score and drop it above the upper staff. The score should now look like this:
Method 1 - Notes and rests tools, guided by colors
- The idea is to place the notes with their rhythmic values, directly by using the tools of Pizzicato that you will find in the Tools menu, Notes and rests. This is a free method and it will need some initiatives from your part.
- If you do not master the basic tools to write notes and rests, I suggest you to watch the two videos entitled Introduction of notes and rests (1) and (2). In 15 minutes, you will learn how to do it. The videos are available freely on www.arpegemusic.com/videos.htm
- The color of notes is the guide here. As you place notes on the staff, Pizzicato will display notes in green (notes from the current chord, they will always sound good), in orange (notes from the current scale, useful for transition, passage notes) or in red (notes alien to the current harmony, use them for transition, mainly with short durations).
- These colors are only a guide. They are not an absolute rule. The final criterion is whether you like it or not, when the score is played.
- You can place notes, listen to the result, move them (simply drag and drop notes higher or lower on the staff), listen again, modify the rhythm, up to the moment when you are satisfied with it.
- Vary the rhythm, create full phrases separated by rests. At the rhythmic level, you can be guided by the accompaniment. Some notes may just follow the accompaniment rhythm. At other times, add notes when the accompaniment does not start a note. This will either reinforce of complement the existing accompaniment.
Here is an example of what it could be for the first few measures:
Listen to the file...
- Don't be discouraged at the beginning. If you do not feel any inspiration at the beginning, just start filling in quarter notes at random in the first measures. Then listen, and for each note, move it up or down, trying to have the more green notes as possible and each time listening to it to reach something you like.
- Create a melodic phrase, simply by deciding that its duration will be for instance 2 measures. At the end of the phrase, use a longer note or a rest.
- You do not need to start the phrase on the first beat. For instance, start with a quarter rest or an eighth rest and continue with notes.
- To keep some cohesion in the score, copy your first phrase and paste it to create your second phrase. Keep for instance the same rhythmic values and modify the notes. Or keep the notes and modify the rhythms. You can lengthen a note or double one (for instance change a quarter note to a dotted eighth note + 16th note).
- For a longer piece of music, you can repeat the same melody again. But when you compose the chords and accompaniment, you should prepare already the structure of the piece so that it has sequences like verse/chorus for instance.
This first method helps you to start working. You can use the chords progressions and personal accompaniments that you have created with the previous articles and create melodies for each of them. Restart them again if the end result is not what you expected. Even great composers sometimes need to throw something away and restart it again. The idea is that they do not discourage themselves and they just go on. So do the same. Have a nice time!
Designer of Pizzicato.
and applications of Pizzicato...
Discover the various aspects and applications of Pizzicato
Create scores larger than the A4 paper format
You can create scores larger than the A4/US Letter format with Pizzicato Professional. You need to fix the size of your paper. If you do not possess a printer which lets you print in the full size format you need, you can ask Pizzicato to print the different A4/US Letter pages to print your full page. Then you must assemble the pages together. You may in this way create a 1 meter large score if you want!
Let us take the example of an A3 score (twice the size of the A4, standard paper format). The easiest way will be to print two A4 sheets in the "landscape" mode. Here is how to proceed:
When you make your page layout (File Menu, Page layout), go in the Print Setup dialog and set your printer in landscape mode. Click OK.
Then, to the right of the Printer Setup button, fill in Width= 296 and Heigth= 418. Click OK.
Enable the margins (with the ":" keyboard shortcut). A green border encloses your score (the A3 format ) and you also see a red frame, which represents the A4 page which would be printed if you would choose to print now.
After completing the score, print all pages. You will have the upper parts of the A3 pages.
Call the layout dialog box again. In the right part of the dialog box, 2 text boxes let you to specify horizontal and/or vertical offsets. These values will move the real printing frame of the page, and thus the printer will be able to print another part of the page. Fill in the vertical offset to a value of 210 for example (or less, according to the way staves are disposed in the middle of the pages). Print your score and you will get the lower parts of the A3 pages.
The first A3 score that you will print will help you to evaluate the distances and after that it will be easier. The easiest way to proceed is of course to use an A3 printer, but it is more expensive.
advices for Pizzicato...
Frequently asked questions about Pizzicato
Accessing the Pizzicato 3 Help Menu on Windows
Sometimes, the Pizzicato Help menu does not work as expected. First, try to quit Pizzicato and remove the "HelpPrefs.dat" file, in the Pizzicato 3 main directory. Then start Pizzicato again. If the Help menu is still not working, you can directly start the "PizHelp" application, inside the main Pizzicato program directory. You can also create a shortcut to it on the desktop to reach it more easily.
French or international note/chord names
You may select the way notes are named. Go in the Options menu, Chords library... item. You will find in the upper right part of that dialog a selection to name the notes "Do, Ré, Mi,..." or "C, D, E,...". Select your choice and click OK. The chords will then be displayed accordingly, for all documents.
How to make jazz play more natural? (Beginner and Professional versions)
In jazz, it is common to play a series of 8th notes by delaying slightly each off-beat note. It gives the effect of a triplet made of a quarter note and an 8th note. To create this effect, you can of course encode the notes in triplets, but you can also use the "Swing" function. Here is how to do it:
Write your notes as 8th notes
Select the measures where you want to put the swing effect
In the "Edit" menu, select the "Data modification" item...
In the left part, click the "Swing" choice [-100 to +100 %]
In the right part, click the "Fix the value to" choice and fill in the text box for example with value 100
Click on OK
Listen to the result and you will hear that the notes are shifted. You can moderate the effect by choosing for example a value of 50. A negative value will produce the reverse effect. A -100 value on two 8th notes will correspond to a triplet made of an 8th note and a quarter note.
Musical basics and access to the Pizzicato music course
Bar lines and repeats
The various bar lines
The bar lines seen until now are vertical lines delimiting the measures on the staff.
To terminate a score, a thin bar followed by a thick one is placed on the last measure:
To separate several distinct parts of a score, a double thin bar may be used:
It is often used during a key signature change or between the various sections or movements of a score.
In some types of music (especially contemporary), one does not separate the staves in measures. The staff is seen as a support for notes, but the concept of time slicing in equal durations is no more used. Performance is often much freer or follows other criteria specified by the composer.
It is common to play several times some sections of a music score, such as for example a chorus or a theme which is played twice. One could simply write the concerned measures twice, but it would be a loss of space and useless work.
Let us take the simplest case. A given number of measures must be played twice. To specify that, a special bar line is placed on the left of the first measure of the passage and on the right of the last measure of it. They are repeat bar lines. Here is a practical example:
The measures from 2 to 5 (i.e. the measures located between the two repeat markings) must be played twice. The musician who reads this score will thus play the measures in the following order:
...To read the full lesson, see the lesson about bar lines and repeat on our site...
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!