Dear Musicians,

This is issue #90 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 2010, Arpege Sprl, all rights reserved. 


Read all previous editorials on page

We are happy to announce the release of an intermediate version of Pizzicato 3.5.2 for Windows and Mac.

Corrections have been made and it now can export a score directly to a PDF file. You can also use the ASIO driver to better manage the latency time of many Windows sound cards. The latency time is that nasty delay between the moment you hit a music keyboard key and the moment you hear the note, when using the Papelmedia orchestral library of Pizzicato.

You can download it in the second part of page

This version also introduces a new method to develop Pizzicato.

On one hand, we have decided to add new features to Pizzicato on a more regular basis, instead of releasing them all at once every year. You will then see versions 3.5.3, 3.5.4,... before 3.6. Each time with new functions. This will make Pizzicato evolve more smoothly.

On the other hand, you will find on our site a page where you can influence the next features that will be developed in Pizzicato. See page

We have listed on that page several functions that have been asked several times by users. You can now vote for the features you feel are the most important for you. Before starting to develop a new function, we will consult that page and take the feature that is the most popular.

You can of course continue to suggest new features by email. As soon as a feature is suggested by a few users, we will add it to this page, so that all users can vote for it.


Practical music composition exercise

Let us continue our practical exercise from last month. We have examined various aspects to build the composition. We are trying to make that composition short and to express the following sequence of emotions: calm - increasing tension - release - back to calm.

We can now select various musical options.

As we want something calm at the beginning and at the end, let us fix the tempo to 60 per quarter note.

We will use a 4/4 measures, quite common.

With a tempo of 60 per quarter note, this means one quarter note per second. We want a piece of music shorter than 45 seconds, so we can use 11 measures of 4 quarter notes, which is 44 seconds.

We will use the piano, a string ensemble and a slight percussion rhythm.

The measures will be structured as follows:

We have here the first elements to create the score that will receive the notes.

Creating the score with Pizzicato

With this example, we will take the opportunity to show you the global view of Pizzicato. Even if this view is available since March 2009, it is still not well known by users. It offers a lot of features in one window, that otherwise would need opening and using many other windows. It contains the most important tools of Pizzicato, assembled in one window.

If you have the evaluation version of Pizzicato (you can download it on our site), start it and select the Professional version in evaluation mode. The only limitation is that you won't be able to use the orchestral sound library (which is not available in the evaluation version).

According to your Pizzicato licence, the following example may not be feasible (for example with the Light version). You can then use Pizzicato in Professional demonstration mode by selecting the Options menu, then the article Working mode and selecting the Professional mode.

This template contains one measure, in 4/4 (C is a standard way of writing 4/4). Add 10 measures so as to have a total of 11:

Switch to global mode. To do that, use the small menu that now displays Linear in the tool bar under the main menu, below the title bar of the window. Click on it and select Global. The global view appears. It is similar to the linear view, but has one more tool bar and also one tool bar for each staff.

We can now add the instruments: piano, strings and percussion.

The screen should now display as follows:

If you have a Pizzicato licence, you can now enable the Papelmedia orchestral library, which is of better quallity than most sound card synthesizer. To do that, select the Assign virtual instruments to staves in the Edit menu.

Adjust the tempo to 60 by clicking on the "..." button next to the recorder buttons. A slider can be moved to set the tempo. Then close that window.

We will now delineate the emotion areas. Click on the "Abc" button in the tool bar (third blue button above the score). A double area appears, one showing the measure numbers and the other displaying a gray lane where you can put markers.

To add a marker:

The upper part of the screen should now display (you can use the "+" and "-" buttons to zoom in and out):

If you want to download this template, you can do it through the following link (right click it and select to save the target as...):

I suggest that you now start working by yourself... Try to fill in each section for each instrument. Use the notes and rests tool palette. Read the last newsletter again (see the archives) and try to create something you like. Try several times and don't be discouraged.

Send us the result as a PIZ file. We will publish each version received in our next newsletter!

Next month, we will give you a detailed example of this exercise. Since then, be creative!

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

Percussion maps

With Pizzicato Professional, Notation, Drums and Percussion and Composition Pro, you may assign each note to a specific line of the staff. It is useful to write and listen to percussion instruments in a logical way. On a lot of synthesizers, percussion instruments are assigned according the General Midi standard. Due to the fact that there are very many instruments in that standard, a percussion score written this way is very difficult to read. The different percussion notation conventions need to assign an instrument to a given staff line. For example, you decide that the treble clef low D corresponds to the bass drum, that the second line (G) is the snare drum,...

To create such a percussion "map", open the "Instruments" view and select the "MIDI Parameters" configuration. Check the "Pr" box of that staff (Percussion). You have then a table which lets you select a percussion instrument for each note of the staff. See the lesson about the instruments view for more information about its use.

Notice that this function is simply a new attribution of the notes heard in comparison with the notes height on the staff. You can use it to create amazing effects, for example a table inverting the keyboard notes, so that when writing notes higher on the staff makes them lower in pitch. Try then to listen to a Mozart sonata...

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

How can you stop the Octava (8va) effect?

When you place the octava symbol (upper or lower), its influence is to transpose one octave starting at the symbol position. If you want to limit its effect to a fixed duration (and not for the rest of the score), modify the options of this symbol. In the score, click this symbol while holding down the CTRL key. Click the "Full editor" button. Check the "Local change" box to the right of the dialog. On the left of the dialog, you will find 3 text boxes which let to determine the duration of the effect, in number of measures, beats and units (480 units for a quarter note). Click OK. The transposition effect will last as long as you specified it.

Copying lyrics from one line to another

With the Professional, Notation, Beginner and Choir versions, you can use the lyrics fast encoding window to copy identical lyrics lines. First, encode the first line. Then select the whole text ("*" symbols stands for notes without lyrics) and copy it. After you click "Apply", go for example on line 2 (menu in the upper part of the window) and paste the lyrics in the text area. The same copy/paste can be made from your text editor, if you already have the lyrics in text format. You will just have to separate the syllables with "-" and everything will be all right.

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


The purpose of MIDI

MIDI means Musical Instrument Digital Interface. Its purpose is to transmit the actions executed with a musical keyboard in a digital form.

It is a universally adopted language to exchange musical information between synthesizers and computers.

When you hit a note on a musical keyboard, the keyboard immediately sends a message to its MIDI output. This message communicates for example that the C-3 note has just been pressed. When you release the note, another message is instantaneously sent to express that the C-3 note is released.

If a pedal is connected to your synthesizer, the fact of pressing or releasing this pedal also sends a MIDI message expressing this action. Similarly, when you move a lever located on your keyboard, it also generates MIDI messages.

In other words, each action executed by the performer on his keyboard is translated and instantaneously sent as a MIDI message to the devices connected to it by a cable.

These standard MIDI messages only contain numbers which characterize the type and the content of the message. Those numbers are instructions which command a synthesizer what to play and how to play it. It is not a sound which goes through a MIDI cable, but only a set of instructions used to control a musical synthesizer.

When the computer wants to play a score on a synthesizer, it simply sends the necessary MIDI instructions to it, and the synthesizer produces the sounds, not the computer. The computer simply replaces the performer.

Therefore, the sound quality depends only of the synthesizer which executes the MIDI commands. MIDI does not have a "sound quality". A MIDI message simply gives the order "Play this note!" and the synthesizer executes it with its capabilities.

...To read the full lesson, see the lesson about MIDI 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

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Pizzicato upgrades

A corrective update of Pizzicato 3.5.2 is now available for download on page:

If you already have Pizzicato 3.5, you can download the fast upgrade 3.5.2 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!