Dear Musicians,

This is issue #99 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 ++32 -
Support ++ 32 -
Fax ++32 -
Visit our site:

Copyright 2012, Arpege Sprl, all rights reserved. 


Read all previous editorials on page

We invite you to the Frankfurt musikmesse, from Wednesday 21 to Saturday 24 of March 2012. We will be present in Hall 3.1, stand F-15.

During these days, you can meet Zlatoje Pajcic, expert on the composition tools, Marco Aragona, inventor and producer of the Music Typing Keyboard, as well as myself, designer of Pizzicato.

On Wednesday and Thursday, you can speak with Andrew Ullmann, our UK and Ireland partner. On Thursday, you can talk to Ricardo García Laguía, our Spanish and South America partner. We will also welcome our Poland and Rusia partner, Lech Drzazga.

If you do not know this music fair, it is something you should visit at least once in your life. You will find there all musical instruments, sheet music and audio material, as well as services related to music. There are also many demonstrations, seminars and concerts around the fair. The three first days are reserved for music professionals and Saturday is a public day. For more information, see the following official site of the fair:

We will be pleased to meet you there !


Let us keep working on the tutorial composition started in our letter number 96. If you missed the beginning, you can check the archives here:

At this step, the composition is built on 3 small sequences, each one being an independent sound layer:

You can download the document here:

When you open the document, it will display the following (in the Windows menu, Conductor view...):

You can listen to it here : Listen to the example...

We will build a percussion staff. This example will help you in the future to create a percussion staff with any combination of instruments, whether a standard drum set or a set of specific percussion instruments, as in this example.

How can you add percussion instruments to a composition?

There are two ways to add percussion instruments.

The first one consists of dragging individual instruments from the library into the composition. This library is available in configuration 3 of the document manager (left part of the Pizzicato screen). By clicking the blue button "3" in the upper part, and by opening the tree, you can reach the individual percussion instruments like this:

By clicking on the name of an instrument and by dragging the mouse, you can drop the instrument in the score group or on the musical desktop. A new block of one measure is created, with that instrument on a one line staff. You can then add measures and write the rhythm you want it to play. But you can also directly drag the instrument in an existing score, below a staff. The percussion staff is then added to the score, with the same number of measures, below the existing staff.

This method is practical for adding several percussion instruments, each one being displayed on its own staff, which make the process of entering music more easy, as you can write one rhythmic voice for each instrument independently. This would be the case of an orchestral score with a bass drum, a snare drum and a triangle for instance.

The second method is more general and let you build one staff with several percussion instruments, with a custom setup of notes on the staff. For the example, we will take a staff with 4 lines, with bass drum, tambourin, triangle and a bell tree.

Add two measures to the score, with a double-click on the measure or with a right-click while selecting two times the Measures and staves, Add a measure after... menu item.

In the notes and rest palette, select the quarter note and fill in the score with two notes:

Adjust the size of the score group named My composition and drag in it the new percussion staff (which appears as an orange block of 3 measures on the musical desktop) ,so as to obtain:

Listen to the result. According to your synthesizer or sound card, you will probably need to adjust the volumes to balance the instruments.

How to adjust volumes in a group of scores?

A fast way to reach the volume and velocity controls of a score is to click on the second icon that appears at the beginning of the block:

Which displays the Instruments window in its volume and controller configuration:

How to view the global score and export it to an audio file?

When you assemble various music scores into a group of scores, you have a global view of the musical structure and you can move and modify it quite easily. Once it is finished (or temporarily, to see the result), you can easily create the score that displays all instruments together.

Click and drag the small green square appearing in the upper left part of the score group. Drag it below or to the right of the score group, outside of the score group. Pizzicato creates a new block and if you double-click it, you can see the full score. You can then use the File, Export, Export to audio... menu item to create an audio file of the composition (please note that the demonstration version does not include the sound library). You can also work out the page layout and print it. Here is what the sound result is with the sound library of Pizzicato:

Listen to the example...


Even if our composition did not progress much on the musical point of view, we have seen in details how to add any set of percussion instruments to a score, which will be quite useful to you for your compositions. Also, the principles of assembling a composition as a group of scores and the creation of the global score and its audio file may be quite useful. I hope you will be able to use this while working with Pizzicato.

We will continue to develop the musical content of this composition in our next newsletter. To better understand the principles of this lesson, you can also check the following page about the music desktop and the score groups:

Dominique Vandenneucker
Designer of Pizzicato.

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

Pizzicato in United Kingdom

You can always contact Andrew Ullmann at Pizzicato Music limited, for any information you need on Pizzicato and the way to use it.

Located in Leeds, Andrew is the official distributor of Pizzicato in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland.

You can visit the UK site and buy Pizzicato products directly at

email: Phone 0113 2018850

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

The Pizzicato Document Manager

In the left part of the score or conductor window, you can see the document manager.

This part of the window can be displayed or hidden, by using the small "D" checkbox that is visible in the tool bar of the window. It means "Document manager". Click on that checkbox. You can now only see the score. Click again on it and the document manager is shown again. By hidding the document manager, you can have more screen space to see the score you are working on.

The document manager is an important part of Pizzicato. With it, you can manage and organize your musical documents, without the need to use the standard Windows or Mac open and save dialogs.

The blue buttons shown on top of it are the various configurations. According to the Pizzicato version you have, there may be more than two configurations, but these two configurations are common to all versions.

Configuration "1" is the default document folder, named My scores. It contains all the documents you create.

When you start Pizzicato, a new document is created and is automatically named with the date and time. If you do not modify this document and exit Pizzicato, this document will be automatically deleted by Pizzicato, but if you modify the score, it will be saved and kept in the My scores folder.

A Pizzicato document is represented by a green icon. The document contains by default one score, named Score 1.

You can rename the document as well as the score, by clicking on the icon with the right mouse button and selecting the menu entitled "Change name..." which brings a small dialog to fill in the new name you want to give it.

Click now on the blue button of configuration "2". It contains 3 folders. By clicking on a "+" icon, you can display what is in the folder. For instance, click on the "+" in front of the Examples folder. You see the list of all the examples that are used throughout the Pizzicato lessons.

To open an example, click on the "+" in front of it and it will show one or more score icon. Double click on that score icon name and the score will appear in the main part of the window.

When you right-click on a folder, for instance the Examples folder, you can ask Pizzicato to open all the documents of that folder and show their score icons, by selecting the menu entitled Open documents and folders.

If you now drag the mouse over the score icons (just drag, not click), you will see that Pizzicato displays the content of that score in a new, temporary window. You can browse many score just like that and see what is in it. Moreover, if you click it and keep the mouse inside the icon, you can hear the score play.

You can learn much more about this document manager, in the lesson dedicated to it. For instance, you can add other folders and organize them on your hard disk. See the lesson entitled The document manager.

You can of course still use the open dialogs of Windows and Mac. They are available in the File menu, Open... item.

If you want to delete a Pizzicato document, right click on its green icon and select the Delete menu item. Pizzicato will ask to confirm and delete the file.

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

Empty document manager ?

If the document manager does not display the documents, the main Pizzicato folder has probably been moved or modified. Go in the Options menu, Restore preferences... then click the Document management check box and click OK. The default paths will be corrected.

Upbeats and uncomplete measures

Often, the first measure of a score contains less beats than the others. The music starts for instance on the last beat of the first measure and this is called an Upbeat. This measure is usually written as such, without filling the measure with rests. A 4/4 measure that would only contain one quarter note should be played and displayed as a one beat measure. There are other cases, for instance when repeat signs are crossing a measure boundary, where a measure should be displayed and played with a different number of beats than the natural content of that measure.

Pizzicato Professional gives a full control over the measure parameters, but with Pizzicato Beginner and Professional, an easy function can be used to handle that situation. Here is how to create an incomplete measure:

Fill in the notes or rests in the measure

With the right mouse button (ALT+click on Mac), select the Measures and staves menu item, then choose Incomplete measure or upbeat.

This measure will then be played correctly.

If you go again in the above menu for that measure, you will see that the Incomplete measure or upbeat menu item is now checked, which means that this measure has an incomplete duration. To reset the measure to its real duration, just use that menu again.

Rhythmic voices

Pizzicato can manage 8 rhythmic voices. By default, a small menu shows "1-8" in the upper left corner of the window, which lets Pizzicato manage the voices distribution of the notes you encode. Let us analyze different cases.

When the measure only contains one voice, Pizzicato automatically assigns all the notes to the first voice. If you try to add more beats than the measure can accept, a second rhythmic voice is created (the additional notes are written from the beginning of the measure). When you have a single voice measure which presents a complex rhythm, it can be useful to force Pizzicato to keep all the notes in the first voice. To do that, select the small "1-8" menu into "1".

If the measure contains several voices, you can keep the "1-8" option and encode voice by voice. This is important: fill in first a whole rhythmic voice (and thus the measure) before encoding the next one. If you try to encode a second voice before you achieve the first one, Pizzicato could consider that you continue the first voice because it is not complete.

You can also force Pizzicato to work by voice. In this case, modify the "1-8" menu into "1" to work on the first voice, into "2" to work on the second voice,... While placing this menu for example to "2", the notes which do not belong to the second voice appear in gray and the new notes are added to the second voice.

This principle is the same for the incomplete voices. Let us take for example a measure that contains 4 quarter notes as the first voice. If you want to add a second voice including a quarter note on the first and the fourth beats, you will have to place 2 rests between these notes to complete your rhythmic voice. Or you can check the "Incomplete voices analysis" box of the"Options" menu ("Justification..." item). This option lets Pizzicato analyze a second voice in relation to a first voice. For example, if your measure includes 4 quarter notes and if you place an additional quarter note above the third one, Pizzicato will understand that this additional note must be played as a second voice on the third beat, even if this second voice is not complete.

You can verify or analyze the way in which Pizzicato assigns the voices in the "Option" menu, "Graphism..." item. To assign a colour to each voice, select the "Voice color" item in the note color popup menu. Pizzicato will display each voice in a different color.

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

Music notation

What is music?

Music is the art of organizing sounds to make them express a message, an impression, a state of heart, an atmosphere, an emotion, feelings… It is a communication which emanates from the composer or performer and goes to the auditor.

Music is primarily transmitted by sound. All sound characteristics can thus be exploited to enrich musical communication.

Sound is an air vibration perceived by the ear. When the pianist hits a piano key, the movement creates a shock between a small hammer and a metallic string. This string vibrates and resounds in the piano. While doing so, it carries the air with it and this vibration of the air propagates all around. When this vibration reaches your ear, you get the sound feeling that you know.

The propagation of the sound is similar to the undulations that you see on the surface of a calm water when you throw a stone in it.

Characteristics of a sound

A sound vibration has various characteristics we can perceive. The first characteristic is the sound pitch. On a physical viewpoint, it is the number of vibrations executed by the air in one second. The more vibrations there is, the more the sound appears high-pitched to you. Schematically, you can compare a low-pitched sound and a high-pitched sound in the following way [...]

The second characteristic is the amplitude (loudness) or the force of the sound. The larger the vibration, the more a sound appears loud to you. Here is an illustration [...]

A third characteristic of the sound is its duration. For how long does the air vibrate? This duration is measured in seconds.

The last characteristic is the timbre of the sound. It lets you distinguish the type of instrument playing. You can easily distinguish a melody played by a piano from a melody played by a flute. Even if the melody is the same in both cases, you can at once recognize the piano or the flute. Physically, this difference comes from the shape of the vibration. For example, here are two sounds having the same pitch and the same force but they are characterized by the timbre, i.e. the shape of the vibration [...]

When you will have learned how to open a document with Pizzicato, we will listen to examples of these four sound characteristics: pitch, duration, amplitude and timbre.

Music notation

Music being a sound, the most obvious way to transmit it is to listen to it. It is indeed the most satisfactory manner to communicate music.

The most direct communication would imply the simultaneous presence of the performer and the auditor, like in a concert. The atmosphere in a concert cannot indeed be compared with listening to a disc or radio transmission. There is in this case something more than simply the sound.

Techniques currently available make it possible to collect sounds and to store them in various forms like discs, cassettes and CDs. The advantage is to be able to reproduce the music at will, to distribute it and communicate it on a large scale. These techniques transmit the final sound result of the execution of a piece of music.

When you want to transmit a musical work to somebody so that he can perceive the musical message and appreciate its beauty, a cassette or a disc will be adequate. If you want to communicate to him the contents of a musical work so that he can play it himself, the sound support only is not very practical and becomes insufficient in most cases. If it is possible for a well trained person to listen to a melody and play it back by memory, this ability is not general and remains limited to relatively simple cases. It becomes very difficult to realize as soon as the work becomes a little complicated and when you think of a one hour piano concerto with orchestra, it becomes almost impossible.

Music notation offers a more practical solution to transmit music to somebody so that he can himself play it. Its purpose is to be able to represent the contents of a musical work in a written form. In this manner, you can communicate in a precise way anything that occurs during the execution of a piece of music.

...To read the full lesson and see the illustrations, see the lesson on Music notation 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

Join us on Facebook by clicking here.

Pizzicato upgrades

The upgrade to Pizzicato 3.6 is available for download on page:

We regularly release corrective fast upgrades on the same page.

If you have an old 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 3.4 or 3.5, you may download Pizzicato 3.6 for free. The reference is the license number. All users whose license number is greater or equal to 19000 can upgrade for free by going to the upgrade section on our website and download version 3.6. See page Install it and validate it with your original license/serial numbers.

Otherwise, to know the prices and possibilities, see the upgrade 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!