Instruction manual - Pizzicato 3.6.2 EN440 - Revision of 2013/05/29





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Real time recording (2)

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Tracks and staves [Light] [Beginner] [Professional] [Notation] [Composition Light] [Composition Pro] [Drums and Percussion] [Guitar] [Choir] [Keyboard] [Soloist]

When you place notes on the staff, they are associated to the measures and are memorized into these measures, in the form of a graphic data structure. In other words, Pizzicato memorizes the vertical and horizontal positions of notes and rests related to the beginning of the measure, it memorizes the widths of measures, the spacing between staves, etc. This set of digital information is used by Pizzicato to draw the score on the screen or printer. When Pizzicato plays the score, it computes the notes to be sent and their respective durations.

On the other hand, for each staff of the score, Pizzicato keeps a storage section called a MIDI track. A track can be viewed as a long band which unrolls into time and on which MIDI information is placed, representing a piece of music without musical notation. Let us take a very simple score which contains 2 music notes. This piece could be represented by the 4 following information:

  • Press key number 60 of the musical keyboard with a force of 100
  • 1 second later, release key number 60 of the musical keyboard
  • 1 second later, press key number 65 of the musical keyboard with a force of 100
  • 2 seconds later, release key number 65 of the musical keyboard

Each note of the musical keyboard is located with a number (central C of the keyboard is key number 60). Those four information are sufficient to represent this little two notes musical score. A whole symphony could be represented this way and would contain thousands of lines like those above. This format is not very practical for a performer, but the computer can easily treat this kind of information. In a MIDI track, a melody is stored in a similar way.

When you play notes on the keyboard and Pizzicato memorizes them, the notes are initially stored in the MIDI track of the concerned staff, under the above format. Then, starting from this table, Pizzicato calculates the musical notation. This operation is called the transcription and is done automatically. For the above example, the equivalent score would be:

The notes path is thus:

  • They are played on the musical keyboard and are transmitted through MIDI to Pizzicato,
  • Pizzicato stores these notes in the MIDI track, as they reach the computer,
  • At the end of the play, Pizzicato takes all track notes and transcribes them in musical notation
  • The notes are erased from the track, but exist now in the form of musical notation.

It is possible to avoid the last two steps, so as to keep the notes in the tracks without transforming them into musical notation. It lets you execute intermediate operations on these notes, before transcribing them. Now let us study the various aspects of the tracks transcription and contents.

Transcription [Light] [Beginner] [Professional] [Notation] [Composition Light] [Composition Pro] [Drums and Percussion] [Guitar] [Choir] [Keyboard] [Soloist]

The tracks contents are visible in the sequencer view and in the piano roll view.

  • Open the Ex051 example. It is a prepared example which contains 3 staves whose tracks were recorded in real time, but without transcribing the notes in musical notation. The staves are thus empty but by opening the piano roll view, you can observe the notes located in the 3 tracks, represented by 3 different colours on the screen:

  • In the same way, by opening the sequencer view, you observe the tracks contents:

The score has 4 measures. The operation which transforms the information contained in a track into musical notation is called transcription. To transcribe one or more measures, select them with the selection tool and choose the Transcribe item from the Edit menu. You can also execute this operation from the sequencer view.

In the score view, with the selection tool, select 4 measures of the bass staff:

  • Select the Transcribe item from the Edit menu. The bass staff becomes:

It now displays the content of the track in the form of notes. The track data were converted into musical notation.

  • Select the first two staves. There is another way to access transcription. Click in the score with the right mouse button. A menu appears. Select the Transcribe item. The score becomes:

We used here the standard options of transcription. A dialog box is used to modify the way the transcription is done. In the Options menu, select the Transcription item The following dialog box appears:

Let us go through the options.

  • Automatically transcribe: this option is checked by default. Pizzicato will do the transcription as soon as you record one or more measures in real time. If you do not wish an automatic transcription of notes, uncheck this box.
  • Delete measure previous content: by default, when you record a track, Pizzicato first deletes the previous content of the measures and the track before adding the new recorded notes. By disabling this option, it is possible to cumulate several records on the same track.
  • Justify measures: this option specifies to Pizzicato that it must justify the transcribed measures. The beams, the stem direction and spacing are calculated automatically.
  • Automatic: when active, Pizzicato automatically adapts the transcription precision compared to the played measures. It will not use a value lower than the specified minimal value below.
  • Detect triplets: this option forces Pizzicato to try to detect if triplets are played. It must be activated if the musical passages you play contain triplets. If you have difficulties to play precisely, it is better to disable this option.
  • Minimal value: it determines the smallest possible rhythmic value that you will play. It is the precision limit with which Pizzicato will write your score. In the example, it is the 16th note that had been preselected. In a new document, it is usually the 16th note that is preselected, because it is a value which will give good results in general. If your play is not very precise and if you play eighth notes, it is better to take the eighth note as a basis. If you wish a very precise value, you can take the 32nd or the 64th note. In this case, your performance must be very precise. The experiment will show you that this value is a compromise depending on the musical contents played as well as on your performance precision.
  • Minimum rest: specifies the precision used to write the rests. The value specified will be the minimal value of a rest written after a note. For instance if you play a dotted 8th note with a 16th rest and if the8th rest is the minimal value, the rhythm will be written as a quarter note.
  • Upper split point: by checking this box, you can determine a note pitch limit above which the notes will be transcribed in the upper staff (if there is one available). This pitch can be specified using the slider or may be played on the keyboard after clicking on the Listen... button.
  • Lower split point: by checking this box, you can determine a note pitch limit below which the notes will be transcribed in the lower staff (if there is one available). You can specify it in the same way than the upper split point. This option is very useful to transcribe a piano score played with two hands.
  • Adapt clef: by activating this option, Pizzicato will select the key (treble or bass clef) which is the most adapted to the notes you play.
  • Accidentals context: this option determines the way Pizzicato will transcribe the accidentals. If you play the black key between C and D, this note can be C sharp or D flat and this option will help Pizzicato to select. The 5 multiple choices located below define the context of the accidentals for the C scale. They each correspond to a black key of the musical keyboard. Three contexts can be separately defined: Neutral, Major and Minor. We have seen in the key signature lesson that you can select a major, minor or neutral mode when you add a key signature in the score. This choice specifies to Pizzicato which one of the 3 contexts it must use to find the accidentals. By default, it uses the neutral mode if no key signature is specified.

Click OK. Open the Ex052 document. The track associated with the first staff contains a recording done in real time for the two hands of the piano. Listen to this track with the space bar. We will transcribe it in musical notation.

  • Call the transcription dialog box in the Options menu. Activate the Lower split point option and ensure that the note value is 60. This value corresponds to the low C in treble clef. The lower notes will be transcribed on the lower staff. Click OK. Select the measures of the first staff, by clicking in front of staff one with the selection tool and select the Transcribe item from the Edit menu. The first measures becomes:

Add a key signature with 2 sharps. You get:

As we have seen, the transcription allows to calculate the musical notation starting from the information contained in the tracks. After this operation, the notes are erased from the tracks. The opposite operation is also possible. Select all measures and in the Edit menu, select the Score to track item. All notes disappear, but if you make the score play, it is played as before. Pizzicato simply removed the musical notation and placed the notes in the associated MIDI track.

Close this document without saving.

Quantization [Light] [Beginner] [Professional] [Notation] [Composition Light] [Composition Pro] [Drums and Percussion] [Guitar] [Choir] [Keyboard] [Soloist]

The quantization is an operation which consists in adjusting the position and the duration of notes played, in order to align them together and with the beats of the measure.

When you add 4 quarter notes in a 4/4 measure, Pizzicato will play them exactly. Each note start will be placed exactly on the beginning of the beat and each note duration will be exactly 1 beat of the measure. The graph in the piano view will looks like this:

Each line is precisely aligned with the beats. When a person plays this melody on a keyboard, the precision reached is never comparable with the above diagram, especially for a beginner, and the diagram will rather look like this:

Quantization lets you go from this diagram to the previous one. It corrects the spacing and brings the notes back to the beginning of the nearest beat.

It is a double-edged weapon and you must not misuse it. A musician who performs a musical work will voluntarily create light differences in his manner of playing the notes. It is one of his tools to personalize the performance and to express what he feels. If after recording his performance in real time you quantize the play, you will remove this expression and the piece will appear much more mechanical and artificial.

If you make your first steps on the musical keyboard and want to introduce melodies or battery rhythms in real time, the quantization will be useful because it lets you correct your precision errors.

The basic rule is thus to use the quantization to remove shiftings caused by errors. When the shifting belongs to the musical work, you must not touch them, otherwise you will remove a part of the score beauty.

When working with percussion rhythms, quantization will be very useful, because this kind of instrument must often have a rather important rhythmic precision.

Let us see now in practice how to use quantization.

  • Open the Ex053 document. Open the piano roll view and move the vertical scroll bar to view the following area:

  • Activate the metronome. Listen to the first measures. You will notice that the notes do not always start exactly with the beats. The performance is relatively imprecise. In the score view, select all measures and select the Quantize item from the Edit menu. The following dialog box appears:

Three types of operations are possible. Here are their descriptions.

  • Quantize note start

This operation move the note start by bringing it to the nearest quantization value. The note total duration does not change. The end of the note is moved in the same manner as the note start. In the piano roll, it corresponds to a horizontal shift of a line.

The quantization value determines the precision used. If you use a quarter note value, each note will be moved to start exactly at the beginning of the nearest quarter note which can be placed in the measure. With a 4/4 measure, the notes will thus be brought back on the first, the second, the third or the fourth beat. By selecting an eighth note, the notes will be adjusted to the nearest half-beat. There will thus be 8 possibilities, because a 4/4 measure contains 8 eighth notes. If you use a 16th note for the quantization value, you will have 16 possibilities, and so on.

We thus see that the influence of the quantization is weaker as its value gets lower. By selecting the 128th note as quantization value, the notes could be moved only from a half-128th note and the effect will be almost impossible to hear. If you place a whole note as quantization value, all notes will be brought back to the beginning of the current measure or the following one, and the effect will be terrible.

The Dotted box specifies a dotted value such as for example a dotted quarter note (useful in 6/8 measures for example). By checking the 3 for 2 box, the rhythmic value is considered as a triplet.

  • Quantize note duration

Independently of the note start position, you may also quantize the note duration to bring them back to multiples of the quantization value. The principle is the same, but only the length of the line representing the note is modified. The start of the note is not affected.

  • Delete notes with a duration less than:

This operation corrects the unexpected notes. While playing on the keyboard, you accidentally slide on a note which was unexpected. These notes are often very short, because the reflexes of the performer will stop this note as soon as possible. By using this option, Pizzicato simply removes all notes having a duration lower than the specified duration.

The first operation is checked. Check also the second one and click on Quantize. Go back to the piano roll to visualize the effects of these operations. The measures are now displayed as follows:

Compare this drawing with the one before quantization. The notes are now all aligned with quarters of beats because the value of the selected quantization was the 16th note. By going back in the score view, listen to the sound difference.

  • Execute the operation again by selecting the eighth note as quantization value for both operations. Listen to the sound result. This time the piece is strongly modified. You must never use a quantization value higher than the smallest rhythmic value of the score, otherwise you completely modify the result. You can easily understand this by comparing the graph displayed with the eighth note quantization value:

Recording multiple voices - Correcting the notes [Light] [Beginner] [Professional] [Notation] [Composition Light] [Composition Pro] [Drums and Percussion] [Guitar] [Choir] [Keyboard] [Soloist]

You can also directly work in the score to record in real time.

  • Close the preceding document and create a new one. Select the Midi cursor tool . In the recorder, activate the metronome.
  • Place the Midi cursor on the first staff, first measure. The cursor blink:

  • Use the recording shortcut which is the Return key. The metronome counts one measure and the recording starts. Play for example only quarter notes (one note per beat). Pizzicato automatically stops at the end of the score or when you press on the space bar, and the musical notation transcription is automatically done, to get for example:

  • You can then start the operation again with the lower staff. Place the MIDI cursor in the first measure of the second staff and record quarter notes to obtain for example:

It is possible to record several voices on the same staff. We will combine the rhythmic voices menu with the transcription options.

  • In the Options menu, select the Transcription item. Disable the Delete previous measure content box, and click OK.
  • In the rhythmic voices menu, located in the upper left corner of the score view, select item 2:
  • Place the MIDI cursor in the first staff, first measure and record quarter notes as above. By selecting again the 1-8 choice for the voices menu, you obtain for example:

You can execute that with voices 1 to 8. In practice, beyond three voices, the notation becomes complex and more difficult to read. Notice that if you play chords, those are considered by Pizzicato as only one rhythmic voice if each note of the chord has the same duration.

When you play notes on the keyboard and when Pizzicato transcribes them in musical notation, it nevertheless memorizes the exact way in which you played them. In other words, your performance imprecision (desired or not) is associated to the notes, so that Pizzicato can play them again as you originally played them. You can reach these performance parameters and modify them.

  • With the right button of the mouse (Option-click on Macintosh), click on one of the notes head. A menu appears. Select the Edit note play… item. The following dialog box appears:

You can also reach it by clicking a note while holding down the SHIFT key. The values will not necessarily be the same on your screen, because they depend on how you played the note.

  • MIDI Velocity: when this box is checked, it means that the note has a velocity associated with it. It is the case when you played it on the keyboard. With the slider located to the right, you can modify this velocity between 1 and 127, which respectively correspond to an almost inaudible note and to a note with maximum force. If you disable this box, the note loses its associated velocity and will be played with the velocity determined in the instrument view or according to MIDI symbols.
  • MIDI duration: when this box is checked, it means that the note has a personalized duration associated with it. You can modify this value, which is expressed as a percentage compared to its exact value. A note twice shorter than its normal value will thus have a 50 % value. 100 % correspond to the value of its musical notation. The slider lets you vary it from 10 to 200 %.
  • MIDI Start: when this box is checked, it means that the note has a personalized start associated to it. You can modify this value, which is expressed as a percentage compared to its exact duration, between -50 and 50%. A 50 % value will correspond to a note which starts too late of a duration equal to its own half duration. A value of 0 % indicates that the note is played exactly compared to its musical notation in the measure.

When you add a note with the mouse, these three boxes are disabled. You can then modify them to create performance effects. In addition, if you play notes on the keyboard, you can modify one or more notes using this dialog box to correct the performance, or simply to disable the three boxes to go back to a note such as it would be played with musical notation.

The Justification frame allows two things:

  • Manual stem direction: when you use the stem tool to reverse a note stem, this action is memorized by Pizzicato as a characteristic of this note. The box is checked if the stem was manually modified. If you want Pizzicato to automatically manage this note stem, disable this box.
  • The multiple choice is by default Automatic beam. It means that Pizzicato manages itself the way in which notes are grouped with beams. The second choice prevents a beam with the preceding note and the third choice forces a beam with the previous note. When you modify the beams with tools, Pizzicato links this information to the note. This dialog box lets you use the automatic mode again.

Other frames are present in this dialog according to the Pizzicato version you have. See the lesson on the contextual menu of a note. Click OK.





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