Dear Musicians,

This is issue #83 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. 


Read all previous editorials on page

We are happy to announce that we have now a Pizzicato office for US and Canada. It is owned by Blair Ashby and located in Denver, Colorado. Please read the full article below, in the next section.


Let us continue with our analysis of music, with the purpose of finding new ways to approach music composition.

In our previous articles, we have reduced the structural parts of music to six basic elements: Rhythm, Melody, Harmony, Sound, Effects and Form. Then we have started analyzing Rhythm with our first musical viewpoint, which is orderliness.

Let us remember our practical definition of it:

The orderliness of a system is increased by the presence of similarities and decreased by the presence of differences, amongst its component parts.

By listening to some examples, we found out that orderliness is a relative quantity and also that each person has his own degree of tolerance, within which music is agreeable to him, and outside which music gets too difficult to understand and so, is rejected.

How can we use this to compose music?

Well, nature has some basic rules that you can find in many fields of experiences. One of them, very important in music, will help us in analyzing music.

The phenomenon of harmonics

Very early in music history, a link was established between music and mathematics.

The phenomenon of harmonics is basically simple to understand. It is based on the following natural sequence of integer numbers:

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, ...

The idea is that a quantity of 2 has some similarity with a quantity of one. It is exactly the double. Anyone can easily divide a cake in two equal parts. You can then see the full cake and see the two halves and say it has some order in it. The two parts are equal and nicely fit into one full cake. This is harmonic 2 of the cake situation :-)

But if you are married and have one child, you should think about harmonic 3 and cut the cake into 3 equal parts, which is in practice more difficult to divide so that nobody gets a smaller part than the other two.

Now, harmonic 4 is much easier to relate to harmonic 1 (which is the full cake), as you can first divide it in two and then divide each part also in two. In other words, you first create harmonic 2. Then you consider each part as a whole and create harmonic 2 for each one separately. There is a double relationship there, as harmonic 4 of the full cake is equal to harmonic 2 of half a cake.

Using harmonic 5 is much more difficult, as you may not rely on lower harmonics. 5 has nothing in common with 4, nor 3, nor 2. You must create the harmonic 5 from the full cake (harmonic 1).

Harmonic 6 can be constructed in two ways. You first divide the cake in 2 parts (harmonic 2) and then you cut each part into 3 (harmonic 3 of harmonic 2). Or, you divide the cake in 3 (harmonic 3) then you divide each part in 2 (harmonic 2 of harmonic 3). It is the same as saying that 6 = 2 x 3 = 3 x 2.

Harmonic 7 is even more difficult. It has no relationship to either 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6. So again, you must estimate it with no other reference than the full cake (harmonic 1). You may help yourself by thinking 'it is a bit less than 6 equal parts', or 'a bit more than 8 equal parts'.

For harmonic 8, it is again quite easy, as 8 = 2 x 2 x 2. So you can divide it into 2, then again into 2 then again into 2. This means that it is harmonic 2 of harmonic 2 of harmonic 2 of the full cake.

When you follow this process and want to divide the cake into other numbers of parts, you will see that each time you can break the harmonic into multiples, it is easier, and when you have a number that does not divide itself into smaller numbers, it is more difficult.

Perception of harmonics - Orderliness

What do we mean by 'easier' or 'more difficult', when cutting a cake into different parts?

It is the relative easiness by which we recognize and perceive the equal divisions of one unit.

Read that line again, as you might underestimate what you can do with it in music.

Divisions by two are the most natural and easy of all. The world is full of them. Look at how most building windows are designed with two equal parts, how tables, furniture, houses are designed and decorated with this duality in mind. You can find it in architecture, sculpture, painting, drawing,...

As an example, you can easily observe that in the following pattern, there is one green box for every two yellow boxes:

You do not need to think a long time or start to count the various boxes. It just appears so obviously that it seems natural to you. You see in it as an ordered schema. The degree of order is quite high and you perceive it instantly.

A division by three is also quite natural, although a little more "odd" than by two. You can however perceive it quite easily that the following pattern is organized by three:

When you increase the number of divisions, this instantaneousness of perception decreases fast. Look at the following pattern:

There is less chance that you perceive at once the presence of 7 yellow boxes per green box. You have to count the boxes and then you can know the relationship between the yellow and the green boxes. Notice that you can train yourself to recognize such patterns faster, without counting.

Now, as we have a larger number, it becomes very difficult to establish the relationship between the boxes without counting them one by one:

This pattern has 21 yellow boxes for each green box.

Now, is there any relationship between that and the concept of orderliness? Are we speaking about the same thing?

You can notice that each one of the above patterns give some impression of orderliness. As we defined it above, orderliness is increased by the presence of similarities. In all the above figures, the yellow boxes are all similar to each other. The green boxes are all similar to each other. This increases the orderliness.

Now, the fact that a series of yellow boxes are displayed next to a series of green boxes decreases orderliness, as it introduces differences. However, this difference is decreased by the fact that they are well aligned next to each other and that both are colored boxes. If the green boxes were drawn as circles, the differences would be more important.

Someone looking at these pictures - but also at any art form - will try to establish and perceive similarities as best as he can, within his own frame of reference and knowledge.

Looking at the above pictures, the next natural concept that appears is 'there is so much yellow boxes for every green box'. In the first two pictures, the ratio of 2 and 3 appears quite obvious. For ratios of 7 and 21, it is much less obvious, but the fact that they are all the same width still keeps some orderliness there.

A person with a very limited tolerance band of order may appreciate the two first patterns and reject the other two. As one's tolerance band of order increases, one can appreciate the last picture, even without having determined the exact ratio between the two lines of boxes. He just assumes there is a relationship and he is satisfied with that. Seeing the picture, he knows that there must be an exact ratio in there, but he does not care to measure it exactly.

By establishing a ratio, or by assuming there is one, he has found and established the relationship between the two different lines of boxes. He is then more satisfied with his observation. He can make the picture have more meaning for him; he can understand the picture better, so he can appreciate it better.

Well, seems like we are coming closer to something related to the experience of art, aren't we?

At this point, we could advance the following theory:

The appreciation of art is proportional to the degree of order you can perceive in it, to the meaning you can assign to it and to how much you can understand of it.

We all know that appreciation of art is quite subjective, so this observation fits well with the above proposition, as it depends on how the person will perceive the orderliness of a piece of art.

Cakes and graphic patterns are fine, but what about music?

Maybe you thought I was digressing here with cakes and graphics... How do we apply this to music?

Harmonics apply broadly to music. Any instrument produces a sound that is a combination of harmonics of its main pitch, that is, a multiple of the frequency of the note by 2, 3, 4,... From these ratios of numbers, we can deduce chords, cadences, scales and much more. We will come back to this when studying harmony, melody and sounds. This application of harmonics is used in many music courses.

However, there is a second application of harmonics in music, but it is not so often explained or studied in terms of harmonics. It is however a direct application of the above explanation to the construction of a rhythmic pattern.

Each of the above pictures could be translated into a simple rhythmic pattern. The widths of the boxes become the duration between beats and the colors become different instrument sounds. Here are examples. In each case, you first have a percussion rhythmic pattern with two instruments, then an example with melodic instruments.

Listen to the example...

Listen to the example...

Listen to the example...

Listen to the example...

Can you establish the relationship between a picture and its corresponding example?

Now that you see how it relates to music, I would suggest you read this article again from the beginning, while keeping in mind what it means in music.

Please note that this applies as well to jazz music, hard rock or classical music, as we only speak about two or more rhythmic patterns playing together.

Next month, we will continue to examine harmonics as they apply to rhythm and how to create a rhythmic pattern with specific degrees of orderliness, how you can increase orderliness and how you can decrease it, vary it,...

Dominique Vandenneucker
Designer of Pizzicato

Pizzicato in US and Canada


My name is Blair Ashby and I own Aunyx Productions, Inc.,  a music and audio production company in Denver, Colorado. 

After searching for several months, in December of 2008 I discovered Pizzicato while looking for a better composition program to help me with my work.  I wanted a program that had complete midi functionality along with tools to help the composition process.  I wanted chord progression implementation for styles and instruments.  I wanted an easier way to visualize the notes than midi bars on a keyboard editor.  I wanted chord suggestion tools and several other aspects to making effective music on a budget or short time line. 

Pizzicato seemed to fit those requirements.  I purchased Pizzicato Professional in early 2009 and for the first time in my 18 years in professional audio I felt like I had found a program written for me.  I immediately started a dialog with Dominique and in July 2009 Dominique formally approached me about representing Pizzicato in the US and Canada.

After three months of planning I am pleased to announce that is now online as the first step in building a Pizzicato presence in the North America.  Over the next few months, I will be adding to the website and beginning to establish relationships with dealers to carry Pizzicato in brick and mortar stores. 

For these goals to succeed, I would like to personally ask you to send me your input on what you would like to see happen with the web site and Pizzicato.  I can't promise you all your input will be followed exactly, but we will try. 

Pizzicato is about helping you compose, notate, print and/or even learn music.  Please tell us how we can serve you and your musical goals better.

I look forward to seeing your emails and, together, making a more musical world. 

Blair Ashby - -

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

The conductor view of Pizzicato

One of the new features of Pizzicato Professional 3 is the conductor view. It has been designed to be your musical desktop. As you may have multiple scores in a musical document, you will find here a tool to organize, control and play them easily in various combinations. You may open it in the Windows menu, Conductor view...

This window is divided into three main areas:

With the conductor view, you may select and play a score with the recorder buttons. But you may also group several scores and play them together. In this way, you may assemble a full orchestral score by creating little musical sequences and by arranging them together, duplicating or smart linking them (transposing, inverting your melody,...)

In combination with the prepared instruments and rhythms libraries, this view is quite practical to create rhythmic patterns visually.

See the full lesson on using the conductor view on page and compose your rhythms and arrangements.

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

No sound (version 3)?

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

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.

Modifying a tempo symbol

The tool palette with tempo symbols contains different quarter note or half note tempo values. These values can be easily personalized. Place a tempo symbol in the score and then click the score while holding down the CTRL key. A dialog box lets you define the tempo value. When you click "OK", the symbol is adapted in the score.

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


When several notes are played together, these notes form what is called a chord. The notes can be played by different instruments or by the same instrument, like the piano, the guitar or the organ. The chords enrich music and let you express various impressions and atmospheres. They amplify the melodies and accompany the rhythmic patterns by giving them new sound colors.

When the notes of a chord are played with the same rhythmic value, these notes are attached on the same stem. Here are for example two chords of 3 notes each with a quarter note duration:

The total duration of the chord is a quarter note, because the 3 notes are played at the same time. With Pizzicato, open the Ex015.piz file located in the Examples folder. It contains examples of chords with various rhythmic values:

Listen to the result. In this example, all notes belonging to a chord start and finish together. With regard to the whole note (second measure), as they do not have a stem by definition, they are only superimposed to form the chord (this principle is also valid for the double whole note, which is an eight beats note and does not have a stem).

When a chord has a note placed between two lines and a note placed on one of these two lines, the convention is to place one of the two notes on the other side of the stem; this improves the score readability. Without that, the two notes would be partly one above the other. Here are some examples with one or more notes placed on the other side of the stem...

...To read the full lesson, see the lesson on music notation aspects (2) on our site...

The commercial page...

EarMaster 5 - Interactive Ear Training Software

Have you ever thought about what might be the difference between a good musician and a REALLY good musician?

The answer is very likely to be Ear Training!

Ear training is the process of connecting theory (notes, intervals, chords, etc) with music (the sounds we hear). The more you will exercise to recognize this connection, the more you will appreciate playing music, because you will learn to understand what you play.

For more information, go to

You can buy EarMaster at

Pizzicato upgrades

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 license 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!