Dear Musicians,

This is issue #96 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 2011, Arpege Sprl, all rights reserved. 


Read all previous editorials on page

We are happy to announce that Pizzicato is now distributed in the United Kingdom by Andrew Ullman, under the company name Pizzicato Music Limited. Have a look at the new website here:

See further the article of Andrew. Welcome in the Pizzicato international team, Andrew!


Most music can be analyzed in terms of evolving, structured and coordinated sound layers.

This is quite a simplistic definition of music, isn't it? However, this viewpoint opens the door to a practical approach of music composition. Let us see how.

A sound layer may be defined as a musical unit that the ear can easily follow and that the auditor may consider as a musical thread on which he can put his attention, amongst all the other sounds present. It is not necessarily one instrument, but it could be so.

In a piece of rock, jazz or entertainment music, the bass is a sound layer. Drums could result in one or more sound layers, according to the complexity of the rhythmic. A piano could play several sound layers. In a symphonic orchestra, the strings could be only one sound layer, even with dozens of instruments.

Evolving: a sound layer can appear, transform itself, then disappear and appear again, temporarily or finally. It contributes to arouse and maintain the auditor's interest for the music.

Structured: a sound layer has its own structure, based on rhythm, melody, harmony and/or instruments.

Coordinated: so that the combined effect of the sound layers are coherent, the sound layers must be well coordinated together. This coordination between the different sound layers create the unity and the harmony of a piece of music. Without it, the whole would simply be a bunch of random sound impressions.

Application to music composition

How can you apply this to compose your own music?

The analysis of a Mozart symphony in terms of sound layers could be quite interesting. We would find many subtle sound layers, well structured with great coordination. The final quality of the music depends on the quality of the sound layers as well as on their adequate assembling.

The advantage of the approach based on sound layers is that it helps to introduce the form of the music in a didactic way. The form of the music is the way the various components of the music are assembled in a time sequence.

Often, when starting to compose music, a melody is found, then we try to add chords and accompaniments. We get several sound layers in a block. How to move this into a longer composition? The breakdown into sound layers can help you on this. Locate each sound layer, listen to them separately, find variations (so that the sound layer can evolve), reorganize the sequence, combine them differently,...

A sound layer may be composed of one or more music staves. Handling or experimenting sound layers on a paper with a pencil and an eraser is neither practical nor intuitive.

Pizzicato Professional has an ideal tool for this: the conductor view and score groups. The principle is that you can create independent scores for each sound layer, each time specifying instruments, music content and all needed effects (nuances,...). Then you can assemble these scores in a group and organize the sequences and combinations.

Practical example

This is an example on how to create a new music composition, based on sound layers. You can create this example in Pizzicato Professional, Composition Pro or Composition Light. You can also work with the Pizzicato demo versions (Professional, Compo Pro or Compo Light), even if in that case, you will not be able to save it.

You can rearrange the window sizes as needed.

For this example, we will create very simple sound layers, but the principle is the same for longer and more sophisticated sound layers.

You can also adjust the velocity of each note, to create a more expressive melody. For this type of work, the global view is perfect. It is accessible in the tool bar of the score window, in the menu that now displays Linear. Select Global in this menu. Just below the score, you can observe a group of 5 similar icons:

The first is used to view and edit the velocity (force) of each note. Click on this icon and you get an additional area that displays for each note a blue line. The height of this line is proportional to the velocity of the note. You can draw a line horizontally with the mouse in that area (click and drag the mouse) to modify the height of each note.

Listen to the example...

To organize the sound layers of your composition, discipline yourself to name them adequately. For instance, for this first marimba sound layer, let us call it Layer 1 - Marimba A-1. This is done by a right-click on the red score in the conductor view.

It is the first sound layer, using the marimba as instrument. The letters A, B, C,... may indicate several different melodies. Numbers 1, 2, 3,... may indicate a variation or transposition of the same melody. Decide the convention you want to use, but stick to it. It will help you to organize your composition.

Let us create another sound layer. Drag the Guitar - Nylon instrument (from the Guitar folder) in the conductor view. Display the score and add one measure. Rename it Layer 2 - Guitar - A-1. For its content, we will use one of the Pizzicato composition tools, the smart link. This tool creates a melody from an existing melody. This automatically gives a similarity between the two melodies, which contributes to the Structured and Coordinated attributes of the sound layers.

The background colour shows that this melody is now linked to the first melody. If you modify the first melody and update the smart links (Edit menu, Update smart links), this inverted melody will also be updated. You can make it independent, by selecting Edit, Fix smart links, which will remove the background colour and make the melody independent from the first. Listen to the result:

Listen to the example...

We have now two sound layers in the conductor view. At this point, they are independent. You can click on one of them in the conductor view (its name is then displayed in red) and use the yellow triangle to play this score. Let us see how to assemble them with a score group.

By clicking inside the score group, its name becomes red and you can play it with the yellow rectangle. You hear the two scores in sequence.

Look at the two blocks representing the scores. In their right lower corner, a small square is visible. You can drag it enough to the right, horizontally, so as to extend the playback of that score, to get for instance:

This score will be played twice. This function is practical to multiply the playback of a given score. Listen to the result:

Listen to the example...

This short example explains the basic way to organize a composition based on sound layers. We will continue to develop this example in the next newsletter.

Until then, I suggest you to create a small personal composition by using these principles.

Dominique Vandenneucker
Designer of Pizzicato.

Pizzicato in United Kingdom

Hello and Welcome to Pizzicato Music’s first newsletter for United Kingdom. I suppose the first thing to do is introduce myself, the company and association with Arpege Music, the authors and creators of Pizzicato music software.

My name is Andrew Ullmann and my company (small, but perfectly formed) is called Pizzicato Music Limited. We are based in Leeds, in the county of West Yorkshire in England. For those who don’t know where Leeds is, it’s about 200 miles (about 350km) north of London. Our postcode is LS14 1AH. The Business Centre used to be a hairdresser called Golden Hands, and from time to time, we have ladies coming to our door to make an appointment for a shampoo and set! The Business Centre is home to Pizzicato Music as well as my other company called Ullmann International Ltd which is a textile agency...we act as intermediaries between yarn and cloth producers and the UK customers.

People ask me why I have diversified from my core business of 27 years to venture into music software. The answer is simple... it’s where my heart lies. Although I am a commercial marketer and salesman, I have a technical and musical background. After school I started my first career as a technical operator at the world-famous British Broadcasting Corporation at Broadcasting House in London. In future newsletters, I may pass on some 33-year-old gossip, but that’s for another time. After the BBC, I worked at Two Counties Radio in Bournemouth on the south coast. There, I wrote and produced radio commercials, sold airtime, and worked in the technical department and multi-track studio. Having spent 11 years as a “techie” it was time for a change. I started a company selling technical textiles for the hotel and leisure market. Why and how I did this is another long story, for another time.

Eventually, my textile business morphed and expanded into importing musical instruments for the educational sector. As I said, my first love is music, and I can bluff my way on guitar, piano and drums. I don’t profess to be a good player, but I can do a bit more than busk! In the course of business, I attended the International Music Trade Fair at the Frankfurt Messe in April this year. Whilst looking around for new products and ideas, I met the Arpege team, and immediately realised the amazing opportunity to offer this great software product to the UK music market.

I’ve been writing music on my PC for years, ever since I bought my 49-key midi keyboard from Evolution Audio at least 12 years ago....and I still use Evolution Audio Pro... which I first loaded under Windows 95! Of course, I bought the industry-standard Cubase, but I have always found it hard work, and have spent more time fighting the software instead of writing music. My favourite programme brings instant success...Band in a Box. Brilliant for a quick-fix, but doesn’t let me use my musical feelings and’s too automated. So, that’s why Pizzicato is so good. It is intuitive, fun, musical, not expensive, flexible and loads of fun. It’s really powerful too, and gives you the tools to express yourself freely. I found the tutorials brilliant and the on-line manuals crammed full of detail. Of course, I have the Professional version of Pizzicato and there’s nothing I can think of that’s missing. If there’s something that YOU can think of, drop me a line and I’ll pass it on to Mr Pizzicato, the man with all the talent, Dominique Vandenneucker of Arpege Music, who wrote the programme, and the music theory course. One of the best attributes of Pizzicato is that there’s 11 products in the range, so you can buy just what you need...why pay more?

Have a look at the website, , register, log in and see which software pack suits you.

See you in the next newsletter.


Pizzicato in US and Canada

You can always contact Blair Ashby, at Broadlands Media, 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

Creating a chord progression in the style of…

With Pizzicato Professional, you can create an harmonic space from an existing score and its chords.

If the chord symbols are present in the score, proceed as follows:

If the score does not have the chord symbols, you can ask Pizzicato to find them from the notes. For that, use the chords analysis function as explained here:

If you have a chord sequence written on paper and want to use it in a composition with an harmonic space, create an empty score, encode the chords with the chords progression window and then proceed as explained above to get the corresponding harmonic space.

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

Copy/Paste/Drag and drop

The selection tool ("s" shortcut) lets you select one or more measures. By clicking on a measure, it appears white on black. To select several measures, select the first one. Then hold down the SHIFT key and click on the last measure to select. All the measures between the first and the last are selected.

You can then copy these measures ("Edit" menu, "Copy" item) to paste them at another location of the score ("Edit" menu, "Paste" item). You can also drag them, by clicking and dragging the first selected measure to another measure. The destination measure must be visible on the screen. When you release the mouse, the whole block is copied to the destination measure. It is the equivalent of a copy/paste.

You can also drag a set of selected measures to the main view or conductor view (Pizzicato Professional). The result is a new score which contains the selected measures and staves.

Volume or velocity crescendo ?

Nuance symbols influence the note velocities. Contrary to the volume, which can be changed while the note is playing (crescendo on a tied note for example), the velocity parameter does only influence the note attack. Once the attack is played, the velocity of this note cannot be changed anymore.

The main symbols palette includes two types of crescendo. The standard crescendo is using velocity, but it has no influence on a tied note, as explained above.There is no problem to use this with a series of 16th notes for instance. The velocity will progressively increase for each note.

If you want to create a progressive crescendo on held notes, you have to use the volume crescendo (on the palette it is drawn in blue, with a little "v" letter for Volume). This one will progressively modify the volume and the crescendo will be heard correctly.

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.

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

Composing music (2)

We will first learn how to use an accompaniment style. We will then study how a style is structured and how you can modify it or create a new style.

Using the accompaniment styles

Pizzicato contains 20 documents with musical libraries oriented towards styles of light music. They are available in the File menu , Open template… item in the Accompaniments sub-category. As an example for this lesson, we will work with the Rumba style. Open this document. Its main view appears as follows:

This structure is the same for all styles. Only the instruments and the library contents are different. The basic idea of an accompaniment style is as follows: each instrument of the group plays the rhythmic and melodic structures repeated in a regular way (on 1 or 2 measures or more). At every instant, the notes played by all instruments are coordinated by a chord progression which is the same for each instrument. This common chord progression leads all instruments in an harmonious way.

Let us take the simplest case to start. A chord progression is provided as an example for each style. By holding the Control key , double-click on the Example score. The sequencer view opens...

...To read the full lesson, see the lesson Music composition (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 on Facebook

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Pizzicato upgrades

A corrective update of Pizzicato 3.5.4 is now available for download on page:

If you already have Pizzicato 3.5, you can download the fast upgrade 3.5.4 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!