Dear Musicians,

This is issue #74 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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Following our last article, we will examine the second method to create melodies based on an existing accompaniment and chords progression. The previous articles (you can consult them on the archive page at ) have explained how to create a chord progression and associate an accompaniment of your choice.

Method 2 - Using the melodic and rhythmic sequences of the Pizzicato music libraries

The principle is very simple. Pizzicato contains several small prepared note sequences and several prepared rhythmic sequences.

A note sequence is simply a series of notes forming a melodic phrase but without the rhythmic aspect. It says what notes are played and in which order, but without the information about the duration of the notes.

Conversely, a rhythmic sequence contains a series of rhythmic values (quarter notes, 8th notes,...) but without specification regarding the note pitch on the music staff.

By combining a rhythm sequence with a note sequences, you get a possible melody. Pizzicato draws the resulting melody on the staff, by associating the first note of the note sequence with the first rhythm of the rhythm sequence, then by taking the second note and the second rhythm and so on up to the moment when there is no rhythm or note left.

To illustrate this principle, the following note sequence (where notes are in fact displayed as quarter notes):

combined with the following rhythm (where all pitches are displayed the same):

will give the following melodic line, combining the notes and rhythms of the two above staves:

Notice that the bar lines are not considered as a limit. Notes and rhythms are assigned one after the other, with no attention to the bar lines.

As Pizzicato has thousands of these melodic and rhythmic schemes, it is possible to create tens of millions of various combinations, with which you can explore several melodic ideas.

Now for the example we want to treat, we already have an existing harmony expressed as a series of chords, so this multitude of melodic phrases will not sound correctly with these chords. In fact, most of them will not be adequate to the chords.

To circumvent this problem, Pizzicato has an automatic arrangement function that can arrange a melody on existing chords. Each note of the melody is slightly modified (up or down) by Pizzicato so that they become in harmony with the chords.

The purpose of this method is to find various melodic ideas. A limited use of this technique - however valid in itself - would be to accept the melodies proposed by Pizzicato as such. The idea is more to explore, discover new horizons, test, try several choices and modify yourself some notes here and there, as explained in the previous article.

Let us see how to apply this.

You can use the example score of last month (Reggae with 8 chords) available at: Click on this link with the right mouse button and select "Save target as..." then save it for instance on the desktop.

The document entitled Notes - Organized random sequences contains sequences of organized notes, forming small musical phrases. We will use it for your examples. The document Rhythms - Random sequences contains several rhythmic sequences.

Each sequence is represented as number sequences (which are in fact a reference to the elementary sequence combinations from which they are issued, but this has no importance in practice).

These notes are not in harmony with the chords, which is normal at this time. We will activate the automatic arranger for this staff.

All notes are green, which means that they are all part of the current chords.

We will now combine this with rhythmic sequences.

You can then combine rhythms and melodies as explained above and Pizzicato will arrange them, will make them fit to the chords. Here is what I suggest you to do:

We will see next month a third method to create melodies. Until then, have a nice time and be creative!

Dominique Vandenneucker
Designer of Pizzicato.

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

Creating a page for free music writing

Here is how to create a full page of staves to write notes freely, without time signature limitation (professional version). We will take the example of an 8 staves page.

With the creation assistant, create an 8 measures score. Click OK twice (including one for the page layout). You have now a page which has 2 staves of 4 measures.

With the layout tool ('D' shortcut while placing the mouse on the first staff), select one measure per system (for this system and the following ones) and 8 systems per page (for this page). Click OK. You will now have 8 staves of 1 measure each.

To remove the left and right measure bars, use the measure and repeat tool ('R' shortcut while placing the mouse on the first measure). For the left and right bars, select "Invisible". Select from measure 1 to measure 8 and click OK. There is no measure bar any more.

If you want to suppress the number "1" in front of the staves, open the instruments window and remove the text (Name and abbreviation), then close the window.

To remove the "C" time signature and free the measures, select all the measures (Edit, Select All) and go in Edit, Measures parameters. Check "Time signature: hidden", and also "Measure length : free on the basis of a quarter note". Click OK.

You are ready to introduce your notes. If you want the MIDI functions to work correctly, it is better to keep the automatic justification active. If you do not care about the playing and only search a graphic result, disable the automatic justification and you will be able to write everything you want on the measures.

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

Distance between the staves

The distance between the staves of a system can be manually adjusted with the measures and staves tool. You just need to drag the staff below and it will follow your movement. To have an equal distance for all the systems, it is better to work in linear mode (Beginner and Professional versions). The distance between the staves in the linear view is the reference while computing a new page layout. By moving the staves closer together in linear mode, when you will calculate the page layout again, all the systems will take the same distances as in linear mode and you will not have to move each system manually.

Beams management

With Pizzicato Beginner or Professional, you can customize the way in which Pizzicato beams the eighth notes and shorter notes. See the "Justification" item in the "Options" menu. By default, the "Beams creation" box is checked and the text box to the right is empty. Pizzicato groups the quarter notes by pairs in a 4/4 measure, by groups of 3 in a 6/8 measure,...

The text box can contain a set of numbers used to structure the number of beats beamed in a measure. By writing for example "2+1+1" for a 4/4 measure, Pizzicato will group the first two beats, then the third and then the fourth. If there are 8 quarter notes, you will get groups of 4, 2 and 2 eighth notes. Another example, "3+6+1+1+1" in a 12/8 measure will produce, if the measure contains 12 eighth notes, the following groups: 3, 6, 1, 1, 1 eighth notes.

If you do not want to beam the notes automatically, you can disable the "Beam creation" box. In this case, Pizzicato will not group notes, but you can force a beam manually by placing a note while holding down the CTRL (Control) key. Notice that you can also use this function when you create beams automatically so that you can force a beam into existence. To remove a beam, use the appropriate tool in the main palette (the icon with 2 separated eighth notes) and the beam will disappear.

The manual modifications are saved with the notes. At any moment, you can click a note with the right button of the mouse (option-click on Mac) and reach the note edition dialog box, which shows if a beam is automatic, forced or inhibited.

No sound (version 3)?

If you do not hear sound when a music score is played, check the following points:

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

How to learn the keyboard with Pizzicato?

To learn how to play a musical score with the keyboard, we will use the following aspects of Pizzicato:

You must well understand the handling of the first four aspects. For the musical libraries, we advise you to read the composition libraries (1) lesson to have at least an outline of what they are. If later you wish to personalize the exercises and really understand what happens in this lesson, we highly advise you to read all lessons about musical composition libraries.

You must also understand the content of the main music lessons, in particular the lessons speaking about notes, rhythms and the musical keyboard layout.

  1. The keyboard learning exercises will be done each time with the following steps:
  2. You lay out the Pizzicato screen so as to see the score, the keyboard and the recorder. You select the sound to play.
  3. Using the musical libraries, you select notes and rhythms for a given difficulty level. Pizzicato generates the corresponding exercises.
  4. You ask Pizzicato to play the exercise in order to see and hear the correct way to play it.

You play it at the same time than Pizzicato, by observing the score and the keyboard window and by listening and observe if your version is the same as the Pizzicato version. You correct your performance by comparing and adjusting. Once this exercise is under control, you come back to point (2) with another exercise.

The regular practice of these steps will increase your ability to play a musical score. The rest of this lesson will explain you each step in detail...

...To read the full lesson, see the lesson about learning the musical keyboard 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!