|Instruction manual - Pizzicato 3.6.2||EN250 - Revision of 2013/05/29|
Entering notes with a music keyboard
Watch also the following video:
The keyboard window [Light] [Beginner] [Professional] [Notation] [Composition Light] [Composition Pro] [Drums and Percussion] [Guitar] [Choir] [Keyboard] [Soloist]
In this lesson, we will learn how to introduce notes using the MIDI keyboard and computer keyboard. It is a fast and precise method to enter the notes in a measure.
Pizzicato lets you introduce notes with a Midi keyboard connected to your computer. If you have a sound card but no Midi keyboard, Pizzicato offers you a keyboard drawn inside a window, whose keys can be activated either by the mouse or by specific computer keyboard shortcuts.
If you are a guitarist, you can use the Guitar Fretboard window (Windows menu) exactly as the piano keyboard window explained in this lesson.
- Start Pizzicato. In the Windows menu, select the Piano keyboard item. The following window appears, even if it does not have exactly the same size as bellow:
It can be moved on your screen. You can change its size when you click and drag one of the borders. When you close this keyboard window with the closing box, its size and position are memorized and when you open it again, it takes again its last size and position.
- Click on one of the keys of this keyboard. When the mouse button is pushed, the corresponding sound is heard. A small square also appears on the key to show that it is playing:
You can slide the mouse by holding the button down. The notes on which you slide will be played.
When you open a musical document and ask Pizzicato to play it, the keyboard window will at every moment show the notes playing in the score. We will use this didactic aspect to learn the musical keyboard.
The two lines of keys located above the keyboard space bar of the computer are used as shortcuts to activate the notes of the keyboard window. Here is the table showing the equivalence. The white keys are represented in the first line of keys, between the two SHIFT keys. The black keys are represented by the second line of keys, when there is one black key on the musical keyboard. Here is a comparative drawing:
It is the position of the keys on your computer keyboard that is important. According to the country, your keyboard may be different. Some computer keyboard keys are used at the same time as a shortcut for the musical keyboard and also for a tool located in a palette. It is for example the case of the lower case letter 'c'. It acts to activate the F key and also to change a clef on a staff. One thus needs some way to differentiate the use of these keys with double function. The basic rule is as follows:
When the cursor of the mouse is located inside the keyboard window, all shortcuts are used by the musical keyboard.
In the case of a double keyboard shortcut, you can thus select between the keyboard and the tool by placing the mouse inside the keyboard window or outside it.
Try now these shortcuts to understand the equivalence between the two keyboards. Depending on the keyboard manufacturer, you can simultaneously press several keys. Each time a key is activated, it is indicated by the small coloured square.
If you press at the same time one of the SHIFT keys, all the notes will be played an octave higher on the keyboard, letting you cover about two octaves and a half with the keyboard shortcuts.
- In the Options menu, select the Keyboard item The following dialog box appears:
The menu located right to the word Octave lets you to determine the first keyboard C pitch. The first menu lets you assign another note than a C as the first note. If you change it, it will not affect the graphic aspect of the keyboard, but the keyboard will be transposed, because the first key (normally C) will correspond to another note.
By checking the option Fixed width of the keys, the keyboard keys will always have the width indicated in the following text box. If it is not checked, the width of the keys will be adapted to the size of the window so as to keep the usual proportions found on a musical keyboard.
The next menu lets you select the type of computer keyboard you have. From one country to another, the keys are laid out differently and the shortcuts are thus also different. If your shortcuts do not function as indicated above, test another choice in this menu. The last two choices of this menu lets you create personal configurations. You can program them yourself. If your computer keyboard does not exactly correspond to the progression of the keys or if you want to assign other keyboard shortcuts to the notes, here is the procedure to program your shortcuts:
- On the computer keyboard, press the CTRL and SHIFT keys and by using the mouse, click on the key of the keyboard window you want to assign a shortcut to. Then release the keys of the computer keyboard. A small square starts to blink on the key. It shows you that Pizzicato is waiting for the keyboard shortcut of this key.
- Press the computer key (possibly with SHIFT) you want to correspond with the blinking note. At this time the key stops blinking. It will answer to this new shortcut from now on. If you want to un-program a key so that it does not answer to a shorcut anymore, do the preceding steps and when the key blink, use the ESC key of the keyboard.
- Do the preceding steps with all the keys you want to program.
How you can introduce notes with the keyboard? [Light] [Beginner] [Professional] [Notation] [Composition Light] [Composition Pro] [Drums and Percussion] [Guitar] [Choir] [Keyboard] [Soloist]
It is thanks to the Midi cursor that you will be able to directly combine the keyboard shortcuts and the notes played on the musical keyboard.
For the rest of this lesson, we will consider that the musical keyboard is a real musical keyboard, connected by a MIDI cable to your computer. Most of what follows also applies if you simply use the keyboard window with its shortcuts.
In the Main palette, select the tool. It is the Midi cursor tool. As soon as it is selected, a cursor blinks in the first measure at the beginning of the score:
It shows the location where notes and rests will be placed. The keyboard shortcut of this tool is the lower case letter 'r'. It is one of the rare tools that is not exclusive, it can stay selected whereas you select another tool. To disable the Midi cursor, you just need to use the same shortcut 'r' again or to click on its icon.
When you use the Esc shortcut to select the cursor (the arrow ), the Midi cursor tool is automatically disabled.
Be sure that automatic justification is activated (it is always the case with Pizzicato Light). It is essential if you want to fully use the Midi cursor. As notes and rests will be placed without the mouse, it is necessary that Pizzicato correctly places them with the justification, so that the measure have a nice layout. You can also modify the rhythmic voices popup menu to introduce several voices.
Two methods are possible to introduce the notes on the staff. Let us initially see the most complete one.
To use this method, the cursor tool (the arrow) must be selected on the main palette, together with the Midi cursor.
The principle is to use the Midi keyboard to introduce the pitches of the notes and the numeric keypad of the computer keyboard to introduce the rhythmic values. Remember the shortcuts for the rhythmic values, '3' for the quarter note, '4' for the eighth note, etc. The Midi cursor tool uses the same shortcuts.
- Press and hold down the C key on your Midi keyboard. Type a '3' on the numeric keypad and then release the C note. The C note appears in the measure and the cursor moves to the right:
If you did not use the correct C of the keyboard, it may appear one octave higher or lower. It is not important for the example. If you use the keyboard window, you must press the key using the shortcut. By clicking with the mouse on the keyboard window, it will not work.
- Press and hold down the D key of the keyboard and type twice the '4' shortcut (eighth note). The notes appear in the measure. They are automatically beamed and the cursor moves to the right:
- Press and hold down the E key and type '2' (half note). The note appears in the measure. The measure is now complete, this is why the cursor automatically went to the beginning of the next measure:
- Press and hold down at the same time the three C, E and G keys of the keyboard. Type '3' (quarter note). A chord containing the three notes is added to the measure:
The principle is thus very simple. You press and hold down the notes on the keyboard and you type the rhythmic value on the numeric keypad. You do not need the mouse. One hand is located on the musical keyboard and the other on the numeric keypad. The Midi cursor automatically advances.
- To introduce a rest, you just need to type the rhythmic value without pressing a key on the keyboard. Type '3'. A quarter rest appears in the measure and the cursor moves to the next position:
- To move the Midi cursor, you can use the left and right arrows on the keyboard. They let you go from one element to the next one. Press 6 times the left arrow. Your Midi cursor gradually moves and comes just to the right of the first note:
- The right arrow acts in the other direction. Bring the cursor to the right of the half note by typing 3 times on the right arrow.
- Use the down arrow. The Midi cursor goes down on the staff just below it. By using the up arrow, you go one staff up.
- The tabulator key lets you go to the beginning of the next measure, without going through each element of the measure. By maintaining the SHIFT key and using the tabulator, you place the Midi cursor at the beginning of the previous measure.
- You can also use the mouse to place the Midi cursor. You just need to click in a measure, where you want to place it. Click right to the half note, in the first measure.
- To erase a note, a chord or a rest, place the Midi cursor just to the right of it and use the erase (back) key of the keyboard. Erase the half note. Replace it by two quarter E and F notes, using the musical keyboard and the '3' key:
- Move the Midi cursor back one step to place it in the previous measure, to the right of F note. Use the lower case letter 'i'. The stem of the note preceding the cursor is reversed:
You can thus correct the layout of the stems progressively with the introduction of the notes, by using the stem inversion shortcut tool 'i'.
- Place the Midi cursor to the right of the quarter rest of measure 2. Press the E key and type the '3' key to get a quarter note. Type then a dot or a comma with the keyboard. A dot is added to the quarter note to prolong its duration:
A remark is essential if you use the keyboard window, because the dot and the comma are also shortcuts to activate keys of that window. The following rule applies to indicate the use of the dot, the comma, as well as the '/' and '=' signs which will be used below. If the mouse cursor is inside the keyboard window and that this one is above the score window, the sign will be taken into account to activate the key of the musical keyboard. If not, it will be used as a shortcut for the score view.
- Complete the measure with a D eighth note. Type the '=' sign on the keyboard. A tie appears, starting from D:
- Fill the next measure with 6 eighth notes:
- The "/" sign (division bar) lets you beam or un-beam the two notes preceding the cursor. Type the '/' sign once. The two eights notes separate. Move the Midi cursor back one note and type the '/' sign again. The note beams itself with the preceding note:
This lets you modify the way in which beams are arranged.
You can also use the '9' shortcut to change the last note entry to its enharmonic. This is useful when Pizzicato writes for instance an F# and you want a Gb.
There is another method to use the Midi cursor. For that, select a rhythmic value on the notes and rests palette by using the mouse, the eighth note for example (or using the shortcuts, provided that the Midi cursor tool is not selected yet, otherwise a rest will appear on the score) and then select the Midi cursor. Place it at the beginning of the next measure.
From then on, all the keys you press on the musical keyboard will be placed on the score as soon as you release them. Press and release successively the keys from C to the next C and you will get the following result:
As the eighth note was selected, all the notes are eighths notes. By now using a shortcut from 0 to 8, you can change the selected rhythmic value. Select the quarter note and press some notes on the keyboard. They are written as quarter notes.
You can add a rest if you press a key of the music keyboard while holding down the SHIFT key of the computer keyboard.
This second method differentiates the choice of the rhythmic values and the choice of the pitches. You initially select a rhythmic value and then you introduce the notes with the keyboard, one at a time or as a chord. It is more adapted to a score containing many notes of the same rhythmic values following each other. You can of course use shortcuts i, /, = as well as the dot or comma, as in the first method. The moving modes of the cursor are also the same as well as the effect of the erase key.
Notice that if the Midi cursor is activated and visible on the screen, it determines the first measure that will be played when you use the space bar to listen to the score.