Dear Musicians,

This is issue #77 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, 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 -
Visit our site:

Copyright 2009, Arpege Sprl, all rights reserved. 

Notice : This letter is sent personally to email address ##3 given willingly by you while filling a form on our site, by writing to us or as a member of the press. You may unsubscribe at any time. Click here to unsubscribe.

Read all previous editorials on page

I am pleased to announce to you that Pizzicato 3.4 is now available. An intensive work on this version is the cause of the missing neswletters of January and February. Version 3.4 brings several new major functions, making Pizzicato more user friendly and more powerful, always to facilite music creation and music composition.

In February, we also presented this new release for the first time in the United States, in San Antonio, at the TMEA Clinic/Convention (Texas Music Educators Association). The strongest points of Pizzicato is of course the music composition tools, which a lot of visitors discovered with surprise as creative and complementary to traditional music notation software. We will review here the most innovative tools of version 3.4.

The global view

The first innovation of version 3.4 is called the global view. If you followed the evolution of the last Pizzicato releases, you noticed the creation of various new tools: the graphic note editor, the effects view (allowing to draw a crescendo or any other effect), the chord progression tool, as well as other new tools. These various functions are each available in their own window, which makes a lot of different windows to manage.

The global view solves this problem and brings a direct and user friendly access to the most powerful Pizzicato tools, all in one single window. When you get accustomed to this new view, you will use it more and more. It allows note entry and editing on the staff but also in graphic view, with effect curves, with access to the staff names and characteristics, to the main elements of the instruments view, chords progression, scales, audio files and much more. This global view includes memory configurations to customize the environment as you like it.

This global view is included in the main score view. The earlier Beginner and Professional versions included a linear mode in addition to the page layout view. These versions now include a third mode: the global mode.

In this mode, you can select the visible staves, the effect curves, the graphic editing of notes, the selection of the audio instruments, the chords progression and the scales in a very intuitive way, displaying all that information in a single window without the need to open various different windows to work some part of your composition.

The idea is to assemble the most important tools in one single window. Moreover, you can save configurations and call them back with one mouse click. For example, you can select to work only the strings of an orchestral score. Then you can adjust the volume balances, the tempo variations… Then the percussion section, the brass section, the selection of audio instruments, chords… You can jump from one configuration to another and this accelerates the composition process by giving you access to the right tool at the right moment. See the lesson on the global view at page:

Create your own sounds

This opens the door to sound creation. A modular software synthesizer is now included in Pizzicato. With it, you can create synthesized sounds, read and play samples and handle the sound itself. You can build a sound by starting from scratch or by using the provided sound examples. See the lesson on the modular synthesizer here:

With Pizzicato, you can import sounds directly as SoundFont files, that you can search for and download on the Internet. This gives you thousands of free sounds that you can assign to the score staves in your compositions. The sound quality provided by Pizzicato thus becomes independent of the sound card and its integrated synthesizer. See the lesson on the virtual instruments at

A window for spectral analysis has been added to the audio editor. You can analyze the frequencies of a sound and its harmonics. You can then modify the spectrum graphically and synthesize it back to an audio signal. With it you can experiment sound creation, in combination with the modular synthesizer. See the lesson on spectral analysis at

An orchestral sound library

You often asked us how to improve the sound quality of the Pizzicato music scores. Until now, Pizzicato was only using MIDI to play the score and the sound quality was in fact the same as the quality of the sound card synthesizer.

Pizzicato now includes a high quality sound library that you can use for playback. It includes 1.2 Gigabytes of recorded sound samples. It is the Papelmedia library ( ) which is provided with Pizzicato 3.4. We indeed concluded a partnership with the author of this sound library of very good quality so that all Pizzicato users can benefit from it. You can listen to various demonstration sound files at page:

This also means that you can now create an audio WAVE file directly from Pizzicato, without using Windows and the often poor quality of the sound card synthesizer. The audio file directly integrates the Papelmedia library quality or any SoundFont sample which you can find on the Internet. The audio file can be created with all staves or you can create a stereo file for each staff, for example to work it later in a studio, remix it or add effects. See the lesson about audio file creation at

The graphic note entry tool

A new way to enter music is to specify the duration of a note graphically on the staff. With this tool, you can also modify the pitch, the stem,… with only the mouse and no keyboard shortcut needed to change the tool on the palette. Another tool helps you intuitively draw the notes of chords on one or more staves, on the basis of existing chord symbols. To remove a note or a rest, you can drag it outside of the measure, which is quite easy to do. See the lesson on graphic note entry at page:

The graphic music vectors

Maybe you tried to use the music vectors as they were presented in version 3.3. And maybe you gave up because the descriptive language of these vectors was rather unfamiliar, too mathematical and far from an intuitive music language. But here is a tool that will reconcile you with the music vectors because they are now fully graphic and intuitive.

With this new composition tool, you can draw the shape of a melody, move the melody, transform it and assign rhythms directly on the staff.

This tool literally makes it possible to draw a melody in an intuitive way, on the basis of notes, chords and prepared scales. Everyone can now express himself/herself with music. The music notation simply follows the graphic movement of your hand and you can then hear your melody in real notes. See the lesson on the graphic vectors at

Installing Pizzicato 3.4

Version 3.4 is installed in an independent directory. For your information, when you buy a version of Pizzicato, you have the right to two free updates. It means that the users who bought Pizzicato 3.2 or 3.3 can download Pizzicato 3.4 for free.

The criterion is the licence number. All users whose license number is greater or equal to 12794 can update for free by going to the free update section on our website and download version 3.4. See page Install it and validate it with the original license/serial numbers.

Notice that the licenses sold during the last weeks already have a number greater or equal to 19000, meaning that these versions are already 3.4 versions, so that their users will be able to download Pizzicato 3.5 and 3.6 for free in 2010 and 2011.

The users having an older version (3.1, 3.0 or version 2) may buy an update at a reduced price, by filling in the update order form on our website:

You can also download the version 3.4 demo, but you should know that the demo version does not include the Papelmedia sound library, only available in the licensed versions (Light, Beginner, Professional).

On the update page, you can download two different Pizzicato 3.4 versions, according to whether or not you want to use the full sound library. The size of the files are much different. The version without the sound library is +/- 35 MB whereas the version with the full sound library is 860 MB to download. This last file may need one or two hours to download with a standard ASDL connection. Be patient in the next weeks, because we can expect a great number of downloads following this release of version 3.4. If you have an access problem while downloading, just try it at another time.

We continue to improve the software according to the requests you sent to us. These requests are filed in a list and we regularly search this list according to the general interest of the users. In the months to come, improved versions (which are always free) will be regularly available so you can benefit from all corrections and improvements. Thus, if one of the requests or corrections which you asked for is not yet in Pizzicato 3.4, it is just a question of time. We work on it!

We wish you a happy discovery of Pizzicato 3.4. In the following neswletters, we will study practical applications of these new tools so that you can compose and create your own music even better.

Dominique Vandenneucker
Designer of Pizzicato.

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

Methodology to create a score

To create a score, here is an effective method to get a correct page-setting and avoid making certain symbol adjustment operations twice. You can adapt it according to your needs. If you often use the same kind of score, you can create a template where several of these operations are already done and start from there.

  1. Start from the score template called "One linear measure", located in "Templates ==> Templates". Work in linear mode (popup menu in the tool bar of the score view).
  2. Add the number of measures and staves as needed.
  3. Fill in the instrument view, specifically the instrument names and select the sonorities to be played.
  4. Fill in the characteristics of the instruments (double click in front of the staves), specifically the measure numbers, the braces…
  5. Always in linear mode, introduce the contents of the measures: notes, rests, accents, symbols but not the symbols which extend over several measures (slurs over several measures, crescendo…). Use the automatic justification for the notes encoding ("J" check box in the tool bar of the score). If the measures have several voices, use the voice menu if those are too complex (popup menu on the left of the score tool bar). Add comments in text blocks, but only those related to the measures.
  6. Place the chord symbols if there are any as well as the lyrics.
  7. Select all measures of the score (Edit menu, Select all) then justify all (Edit menu, Justify). The measure widths are adapted to the content of the measures. You can specify a scale factor to modify the density of the score. It is accessible via the Option menu, Justification.
  8. Set the spaces between staves in an optimal way. This spacing will be used for all pages, therefore check if it is appropriate to all measures of the score.
  9. Switch to the page mode. If the page setup dialog does not appear, call it with the Page setup item in the File menu. Select the print scale (Pro version only), adjust the margins and disable the measures per system and systems per page check boxes. Pizzicato will optimize by taking the measure width into account. Check the "Calculate" box and validate.
  10. Review the pages and adjust the number of measures per system and systems per page as necessary by using the layout tool. Arrange so that the score is well distributed on all pages and that no a half empty page stays at the end.
  11. Once this is done, you can review measures and adjust symbols and add the symbols relating to several measures (large slurs, crescendo…). Add the title, the page numbers and any useful comment which must be fixed on a page. You can then print your score.

This method contains the main steps. Adapt it to your needs.

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

Adding pages or systems?

Pizzicato is based on the measure as the main working block. Staves are made of measures. Systems are made of staves and pages are made of systems. To add a system or a page at the end of the score, just add the correct number of measures with the measures and staves tool. Double-click for example the last measure of the score with the arrow tool selected. A dialog box appears and let you add measures. Add for example 20 measures and a new page with new systems will be created. Warning: Pizzicato Light does not include this function.

Aligning lyrics

When lyrics are written under the notes, you can align their positions. Using the tool that moves the lyrics, you must know how the SHIFT and CTRL keys modify it:

In this way you can adapt the position of the lyrics, for example when a note goes too low. It is better to move the lyrics when they have all been encoded, otherwise you will desynchronize the positions and it will be more difficult to align them after. Do not forget that you can use 8 independent text lines,that you can align independently. Every move of a line implies that all the lines below it will also move in the same way.

In Pizzicato 3, you also have a specific function. Select the measures and go in the Edit menu, Adjust lyrics... A dialog lets you readjust all the lyrics positions.

How do you extend the line associated to a repeat sign over several staves?

As Pizzicato does not automatically handle symbols over several measures yet, the answer is to create a symbol "bracket with 1" that does not contain the second vertical line and also a bracket without the first vertical line. Here is how to do it with Pizzicato Professional.

1. Duplicate the "bracket + 1" symbol, by simply drag it inside its tool palette (graphic symbol palette)
2. Double-click the symbol you get and click on "Create/modify..."
3. In the dialog that appears, click on the right vertical line and once it is selected, delete it with the delete key (the key to delete the last character)
4. Close this window and click on "OK"
5. Do the same with the simple upper bracket, in the same tool palette, by removing the left vertical line

You may then place the new "bracket with 1" on the measures of the first staff and use the second duplicated symbol to continue the repeat line on the next staff.

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

Composing music (3)

The chord is the common element so that the various instruments play together in a harmonious way. We will learn in more details how they are created and how you can sequence them. This lesson does not claim to teach harmony but constitutes a set of principles you can use to understand and create chords progressions.

What is a chord?

We can define a chord in a general way as a context of notes (2, 3, 4 or even more) heard simultaneously. The relations existing between these notes is what characterizes the sound colour of a chord (see the lesson on Composing music (1)).

By using this definition, any group of notes can be a chord. Nevertheless, if a chord must be harmonious, the notes in it must have related elements, otherwise the chord will sound like an aggregate of dispersed notes rather than a harmonious set of notes.

The common element must be found in how notes are transmitted from the instrument to your ears. We have seen that the sound is made of an air vibration. By playing two notes simultaneously, we thus have two different vibrations propagated to the auditor and interfering one with the other. By playing for example two C notes separated by an octave, the vibrations have a ratio of 2. By playing for example a C note and a G note, the vibrations are in a 3/2 ratio. C and E have approximately a 5/4 ratio, etc.

In addition, by listening to various chords and groups of notes, one can notice that some give a very harmonious impression while others are more unpleasant or more dissonant. Is there a rule to measure this degree of harmony? Yes, it is the degree of the mathematical relationship complexity between the sounds of a chord which determines the dissonance degree of this chord. In other words, the notes in a ratio of 2 will appear more "in agreement" that notes in a 15/13 ratio. This rule is empirical and is just a basic guide. The preferences of the composer, in connection with what he wants to express, will determine if he wants to use such or such chord in his composition, the concepts of harmony or discordance being themselves rather subjective.

Tonality and chords

You can conceive the musical keyboard as a series of 12 keys (7 white and 5 blacks) repeated several times. Music composition then consists in simply determining which notes will be played and how they will be linked in time. By taking the problem in this manner, the number of possibilities is so enormous that the beginner will be completely lost and will compose nothing at all. Thus let us use the principle of "divide to reign better" and divide the notes in contexts called Tonalities...

...To read the full lesson, see the lesson Music composition (3) on our site...

The commercial page...

With the publication of Pizzicato 3.4, a series of updates are available for Mac OS X and Windows, according to the version you presently have.

If you bought Pizzicato 3.2 or 3.3, you may download Pizzicato 3.4 for free. The reference is the licence number. All users whose license number is greater or equal to 12794 can update for free by going to the free update section on our website and download version 3.4. See page Install it and validate it with your original license/serial numbers.

Otherwise, to know the prices and possibilities, see the update order form 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!