Dear Musicians,

This is issue #88 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

ARPEGE will be on holidays between 1 and 18 July
We will anyhow answer your emails and orders during this period as
soon as possible.
Have a nice holiday!

Phone/Fax ++32 -
Visit our site:

Copyright 2010, Arpege Sprl, all rights reserved. 


Read all previous editorials on page

The PDF versions of the user manuals of Pizzicato 3.5 are now available for download on page:


Here is some additional information about Pizzicato Composition Light and Pizzicato Composition Pro.

These versions were developed to give you the intuitive composition tools, i.e. to help you compose music more intuitively. For instance, there are tools to analyze and find chords on a given melody, to explore harmony, to combine rhythmic and melodic phrases, to create secondary voices, to add rhythmic accompaniments, etc.

Even if these two Composition versions use the standard music notation symbols, they will not let you layout the music on a sheet of paper nor print it.

The result of the composition is a MIDI file, a WAV file (that you can use to burn a CD) or a musicXML file.

A musicXML file is used to export the score to a music notation program like Finale, Sibelius, Notion, that you can use to layout and print the score.

You can also combine one of the Composition versions with Pizzicato Beginner or with one of the specific versions (Keyboard, Choir,...) so as to work the page layout and print the score according to the specific version.

The full solution, offering all notation and printing features and all the intuitive composition tools, is only available in Pizzicato Professional.


A corrective update of Pizzicato 3.5.1 is now available for download on page:

If you already have Pizzicato 3.5, you can download the fast upgrade 3.5.1 in the second part of the above page.

You will find in it an improved version of the music font. The font has been reviewed by our Italian partner, Marco Aragona. The shape of the notes as well as a few other symbols have been improved graphically.

As the music font is already installed on your computer, it will not be updated automatically. If you want to install the new font, you can find it in the folder Programs / Pizzicato 3.5 / PI_____.ttf (Windows) or Applications / Pizzicato 3.5 / Pizzicato.ttf (Mac). Install it by replacing the old one.


Last time, we examined how to add musical interest to a melody with the use of rhythmic harmonics. But what about using them in the structure of an accompaniment, a quatuor, a rock band or a symphonic orchestra?

If all instruments in a band would always play the same rhythm, polyphonic music would be rather monotonous.

The introduction of one or more instruments (or voices) to accompany a melody may be done in various ways, but the common point is to diversify and add interest to the existing melody.

You can vary the instrument sound, act on the melodic diversity or on the rhythmic diversity and of course the three may be combined.

1 - The sound of the instruments

A simple melody can be made much more expressive just by changing the sound of the instrument that plays it. Here is an example, first with a simple sound, then a more real instrument, then a ensemble.

Listen: timbre banal...

Listen: Saxophone...

Listen: ensemble...

Singing a melody with lyrics will of course make the sound more rich and the melody more interesting, as well as some effects like reverberation. Listen to this Plain-chant example:

You can always increase the expression of a melody by combining several instruments to play it.

2 - Melodic diversity

The other instruments will play different notes than the main melody. The fact that more than one note is played at the same time introduces the concept of chords, as experience shows that only a limited number of note combinations have a nice effect together. The study of the nice combinations of notes, their context and sequencing is the subject of a full development since the beginning of polyphonic music. It is called harmony.

The simple fact of playing different melodies, even with the same rhythm for all instruments, adds inevitably a new dimension to music. Here is an example of the above simple melody for several instruments, with the same rhythm:

Listen: melodic diversity...

3 - Rhythmic diversity

If we add also new rhythmic content, another dimension is created. By listening, we perceive that various elements happen together in the time dimension. Here is an example, still with the above small melody:

Listen: rhythmic diversity...

So that rhythmic diversity gives a coherent accompaniment, the voices must have a rhythmic relationship with the main melody and also between themselves.

This is verified when the voices have simple harmonic relations between themselves. In the above example, the main melody is based on quarter notes and slightly varies around the quarter note, using occasionally eighth notes and half notes. If we take the measure duration as a reference (4 quarter notes), the quarter note is harmonic 4 of the measure duration.

The second voice is base on the half note, which is harmonic 2 of the measure.

Voices 3 and 4 are based on the full measure, the whole note, which is harmonic 1 of the measure. Harmonic 2 is also used occasionally (two half notes).

Voice 5 uses eighth notes, which are harmonic 8 of the measure or harmonic 2 of the main melody.

Rhythmic layers

A rhythmic layer is made out of one or more instruments that seem to form a unit to the ear.

In the above example, the instruments are all present at the same time. A way to make an atmosphere evolve is by sequencing various rhythmic layers at different points in time. The auditor's attention is then each time renewed and the interest for the music is continued.

At any time, something happens in the music and the auditor may follow the various rhythmic layers. Listen for instance to the following example:

This is typical to film music, as it must follow the corresponding atmospheres of the film. Listen to it by noticing when the various elements of rhythmic layers appear, how they evolve and when they disappear. A the most intense moments, you will find many rhythmic layers, often based on fast rhythmic elements, with higher rhythmic harmonics.

The tension is often added by using faster rhythmic elements but also simultaneous rhythmic layers where harmonics combine themselves or oppose against each other. The calm moments are created by slower harmonics and more regular relationships between the harmonics used.

You will find several rhythmic layers in most music. For example, in piano music, the left and right hands are often responsible for two different rhythmic layers. In other styles than above, listen to the following examples and try to notice the various rhythmic layers used by the composers.

Practical application

As simple as they may look to you, the above observations apply directly to music composing. I suggest to you a practical application as follows.

Do these exercises by concentrating mainly on the rhythmic aspects, which is the point stressed in our last articles. You can for instance create a score with various instruments, all based on the C Maj chord (C - E - G) and work on different rhythmic layers on an orchestral score with the same notes over and over, by varying the rhythm, the layout and the instrument combinations.

Take the holyday opportunity to make some music!

Dominique Vandenneucker
Designer of Pizzicato.

Pizzicato in US and Canada

You can always contact Blair Ashby, at Aunyx Productions, Inc. for any information you need on Pizzicato and the way to use it.

Located in Denver, Colorado, Blair is the official representative of Pizzicato for the United States and English speaking Canada.

You can visit the site and buy Pizzicato directly at

email: Phone 303-252-1270

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

How can you play the written chords?

With Pizzicato, you can write chords symbols on the score. To hear these chords, they must be transcribed on a staff, which is quite easy to achieve. Add a new staff that will receive the notes of the chords. Then select this empty staff and go the the "Edit" menu, "Chords...", "Convert chords into notes...". A dialog appears, giving you several options on the notes that will be used, rhythms... Type F1 (or the Mac Help key) to have a full explanation of these options or consult the user manual in the help menu, in the lesson regarding the chords symbols. When you click on OK, the notes appear on the staff. Note that you can also create a bass line on another staff. Use the same dialog and within the usable notes, select only the bass, in a low range (C-1 to G-2 for instance).

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

Distance / Rhythm ratio

In the lower part of the justification options (Options menu, Justification... item), you will find a slider used to specify the Distance/rhythm ratio.

It is used to adjust the relationship between the distance allotted to two successive rhythmic values (quarter note and eighth note, eighth note and 16th note,…). A value of 100 % allots the same space to each rhythmic value:

All notes are then spaced in the same way. A value of 200 % doubles the space for 2 successive rhythmic values. The above measure would become:

In page mode, there can be a small difference, as Pizzicato must compress or enlarge the measures to fit them inside the printing margins and this happens after the correct computation of the spacing.

Shortcuts for begin and end of the score

Pizzicato 3.5 has now two shortcut keys that were often asked, to go to the beginning and the end of the score. The shortcut keys are respectively 'b' (begin) and 'e' (end).

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

Using time signature

We have learned that the measure is a way to divide the duration of a musical work into smaller parts. We gave many examples, speaking about a 4/4 measure, without specifying what these two numbers mean.

Those numbers are called the time signature. They determine the total duration of the rhythms that can fit inside a measure. The first number (the numerator of the time signature) indicates the number of beats the measure is divided in. The second number (the denominator of the time signature) indicates the contents of each beat.

The beat is a division of the measure. In our preceding examples, we often spoke about a beat as being equivalent to the quarter note duration. This is only valid when the denominator of the time signature is equal to 4 (it is by the way the more common case).

The possible values for the denominator are 1,2,4,8,16 or 32. This value determines the content of one beat in the measure. Here is the equivalence table:

1 Whole note
2 Half note
4 Quarter note
8 Eighth note
16 Sixteenth note
32 32nd note

The bold values are the most common. The numerator of the time signature determines how much of these beats will fit in one measure. In the examples of the preceding lessons, the 4/4 thus represents a measure made up of 4 quarter notes. In the same way, 6/8 is a measure made up of 6 eighth notes, 2/2 is a measure made up of 2 half notes, etc.

The time signature used is indicated in the first measure, in the middle of the staff, just after the clef and the possible key signature. This indication is valid for all following measures. It is possible to change the time signature in the middle of a music work or even each measure if needed. In this case, the new time signature is displayed and stays valid until the next change... read the full text, see the lesson about the time signature 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

A corrective update of Pizzicato 3.5.1 is now available for download on page:

If you already have Pizzicato 3.5, you can download the fast upgrade 3.5.1 in the second part of the above page.

If you have an older version of Pizzicato, a series of upgrades are available for Mac OS X and Windows, according to the version you presently have.

If you bought Pizzicato 3.3 or 3.4, you may download Pizzicato 3.5 for free. The reference is the license number. All users whose license number is greater or equal to 15589 can update for free by going to the free update section on our website and download version 3.5. 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!