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.
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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 http://www.arpegemusic.com/editoriaux.htm ) 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: www.arpegemusic.com/download/excomp-105.piz Click on this link with the right mouse button and select "Save target as..." then save it for instance on the desktop.
- Start Pizzicato Professional 3.3 (or the Professional demo version), then open the above document (File menu, Open...). If you have created your own examples, you can use them preferably.
- In the Windows menu, select the Conductor item and double-click on the score represented by a long colored rectangle. If needed, resize it so as to see the upper staves together with the upper left part of the conductor view (with the libraries). The score appears as follows:
- In the Pizzicato library, open the folder Music libraries then the folder Melodies. You have now:
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.
- Open the folder Notes - Organized random sequences (by clicking on the small "+" located just in front of it). Then open the folder entitled Without sequence repetitions - 1 octave. Then open the icon 12 notes.
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).
- Drag the first of these sequences (4/78/109/33) and drop it on the first beat of the first measure of the score. You will notice that while you drag it, Pizzicato displays in red the measure and exact beat numbers on which the sequence will be dropped. You get:
These notes are not in harmony with the chords, which is normal at this time. We will activate the automatic arranger for this staff.
- In the Windows menu, select Instruments. Click on the reversed triangle in the upper left corner of the window that appears and select Midi parameters. Then, for lines 2, 3 and 4, check the check box of the Fixed column (if it is not yet checked) then close that window. This is to avoid that the other staves also be modified by the arranger.
- In the Windows menu, select Chords progressions. Check the Arrange the score according to the chords box, as well as the Recompute all box. In the Harmony used menu, select Closest note to the chords. Then click OK.
- The "C" check box available in the score window toolbar means Computed. When checked, Pizzicato shows you its "computed" (arranged) version of this note sequence. It is based on the original notes, slightly modified to fit to the chords. Click this check box and you will see the following:
All notes are green, which means that they are all part of the current chords.
- Try now to drag and drop other melodic sequences in that staff. The arrangement is each time executed automatically. By checking/unchecking the "C" check box, you can display the original or arranged version. You can also listen to them.
We will now combine this with rhythmic sequences.
- Close the 12 notes icon by clicking on the small "-" sign in front of it. Open the icon entitled Rhythms - Random sequences located below it. Open the sub-folder entitled 3 measures 4/4, then the Binary icon, then the 12 notes icon.
- Drag the third item (6/6/3/1/5/1/1/3/3/7) and drop it on the beginning of the first measure of the score. Here is an example of what you can get, according to the last note sequence dropped:
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:
- You can explore the various folders seen above, and you will notice that they are quite numerous. There are literally millions of possibilities.
- At any moment, you can play the score or modify the notes with the notes and rests tools (Tool menu, Notes and rests, in the Tools menu).
- You can do the same with the chords progressions and accompaniments that you have created according to the last articles (you did create them, didn't you?).
- You can drag and drop note and rhythm sequences at any location on the first staff, at the beginning of any measure or even in the middle of a measure. In that case, Pizzicato keeps the previous rhythms and notes and fill in the measures from there, according to what you drag in it.
- You can extend this principle to any staff of any score, even if you did not create accompaniments. This opens the door to free music composition. You should however establish a chord progression, so as to establish harmony between staves. You can create such chord progressions with the information given in the previous articles, even if you know nothing about harmony.
- Once your melody is ready, you can remove the original versions and the effect of the arranger, by calling the Edit menu, Fix parametered measures item. The arranger link will disappear and your melody will no more be modified.
We will see next month a third method to create melodies. Until then, have a nice time and be creative!
Designer of Pizzicato.
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.
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.
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:
Select the "MIDI Setup..." in the "Options" menu. Double-click the output port (to the right) and check the various possible choices of the "Associated driver" menu, selecting the first one, validating and then clicking on the little white square just left to the output port rectangle: you should hear some notes. If the first choice does not work, try the other ones.
Check if the loudspeakers are well connected to the PC/Mac computer and if power is switched on.
Check in the sound volume control in Windows (Start, Programs, Accessories, Entertainment, Volume Control) if there is enough volume assigned to the output named "MIDI Synth". On the Mac, check also the volume level in the sound control panel.
- If you work with a MIDI compatible synthesizer or piano connected to the PC, check that the cable labeled OUT is well connected to the MIDI IN plug of your musical device and vice versa. If needed, try the opposite (according to the convention used by your MIDI cable or interface).
- Check that the synthesizer is well powered, that its sound volume is non zero and that it is in the MIDI reception mode (some synthesizers need to have the MIDI reception mode activated, see the synthesizer user manual).
In the Score window, click on the "..." button of the tool bar and be sure that the "Wait keyboard action" is not checked.
In the Options menu, select "MIDI Play Options...", be sure that the menu entitled "Synchronization input port" is set on "-----", otherwise Pizzicato waits for the tempo from an external device and plays only the first note if there is no tempo information coming in.
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:
- The score view to display the score,
- The keyboard window to visualize how to play the notes,
- The recorder window to set the tempo and to activate the metronome,
- The instruments view to determine the sound to use,
- Musical libraries to generate exercises and accompaniments.
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.
- The keyboard learning exercises will be done each time with the following steps:
- You lay out the Pizzicato screen so as to see the score, the keyboard and the recorder. You select the sound to play.
- Using the musical libraries, you select notes and rhythms for a given difficulty level. Pizzicato generates the corresponding exercises.
- 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...
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!