|Instruction manual - Pizzicato 3.6.2||EN567 - Revision of 2013/05/29|
The musical effects view
Watch also the following video:
Musical effects [Light] [Beginner] [Professional] [Notation] [Composition Light] [Composition Pro] [Drums and Percussion] [Guitar] [Choir] [Keyboard] [Soloist]
Pizzicato lets you color the score playing by various musical effects transmitted to the sound card or to the synthetizer in the form of MIDI messages. The main musical effects are :
- Velocity: it is the hitting force of the notes on a musical keyboard. The velocity directly influences the strenghth of the note. The nuance symbols use the velocity to produce a Piano or Forte for instance. Be aware that a synthetizer may also slightly influence the sound according to the velocity. A piano key hit very softly and amplified by loudspeakers would indeed not have the same sound color that a key hit forcefully, even if the two sounds finally reach you with the same force. The velocity is thus successfully used by good synthetizers to increase the realism of a sound. Notice that the velocity only acts when a note is hit. Once the note has been started, you can no more influence velocity. The velocity information is part of the MIDI message that plays the note. By using a crescendo in velocity, it will work well on a series of double eighth notes, but if you execute a crescendo in velocity on a whole note, the effect will not be heard because as soon as the whole note starts, the velocity can no more be changed during its 4 beats.
- Volume : it is the amplification level of the generated sound. It acts as if you change the volume button of your HI-FI system. This adjustment can be done separately for each instrument, as most of the other adjustments. As opposed to velocity, volume can be adjusted at any time. You can thus execute a volume crescendo on continuous notes without problem (whole notes for instance). The sound force resulting from a note is thus a combination of velocity and volume. You should keep that in mind at any time.
- Tempo: it determines the speed at which measures are played. It can be modified at any time, but it acts on all staves at the same time.
- Duration: it is a parameter introduced by Pizzicato because it is not directly expressed by a MIDI message. In Pizzicato, it is a parameter which influences the playing of notes written in the score. A value of 100 % implies that the note is played with its standard duration (quarter note, eighth note...). A value of 50% reduces the standard duration to half of its normal value. With it, you can create a detached play or a Staccato passage.
- The start: in a similar way, this parameter lets you slightly shift the start time of all notes, to create a delay or a light advance of an instrument compared to the others.
- The MIDI controllers: they are numerous and they each activate a specific effect on the playing. Volume is a MIDI controller. The other main MIDI controllers are the balance (stereophonic position in space), the modulation (a vibrato added on a note), the reverberation level, the chorus level, the piano pedal, the portamento (type of glissando).
- The pitch bend : an effect used to modify the pitch of the note around its normal pitch. It can be used to create realistic Glissando, quarter tones, special effects...
In Pizzicato, there are two sources for these effects and it is important to differentiate them well.
The first source of musical effects are the settings of the instrument view and the set of symbols placed on the score. By fixing for example volumes of the instruments in the instruments view, you determine the starting volume of the score. Then, if you place symbols of crescendo and decrescendo to influence the volume (blue symbols) in the staves, Pizzicato changes the volume following your directives. The MIDI messages are generated by Pizzicato when Pizzicato prepares the measure play and finds symbols influencing the volume. If you modify a crescendo, these MIDI effects are removed and automatically computed again.
The second source of musical effects are the MIDI tracks associated with measures. Each measure has a MIDI track containing the MIDI information associated to the measure, informations which are sent to the synthetizer during the playing of this measure. The effects produced by the data modification function are actually added to these MIDI tracks. It is the same when you import a MIDI file and that this file contains MIDI effects. These effects are imported in the measures track. It acts in the same way when you record the notes in real time.
These two sources of effects are independent and thus cumulate during the playing. According to your preferences, you can use both. But sometimes it is useful to be able to select explicitly the effects source and disable the other. For example, the velocity of the notes introduced with the keyboard in real time are stored in the MIDI tracks. If you add nuances, Pizzicato has several possibilities to play the music score: does it have to respect your original performance, to use the nuances which it finds in the score or to combine both ? Pizzicato Version 2 suggested a combined solution (which is always possible). Version 3 allows to disable/activate the play of the various effects for a given score. To specify the effects to play, click in the "..." button of a score, near the recorder. In the dialog box that appears, click the Effect play... button. The following dialog box appears :
For each musical effect, you can enable or disable the MIDI source and/or the symbols source. Four buttons let you check all boxes or none. Then you can validate by clicking on OK. These choices apply to all the staves in the score.
The musical effects view [Light] [Beginner] [Professional] [Notation] [Composition Light] [Composition Pro] [Drums and Percussion] [Guitar] [Choir] [Keyboard] [Soloist]
A special view has been designed to visualize and modify these effects: the musical effects view.
- Open the Ex079 example. The score displays:
- Start by listening to the score. You will notice that Pizzicato executes the various symbols. Open the musical effects view, via the Windows, Musical effects... menu (shortcut : CTRL+E or apple+E on Mac). The following window appears:
This view lets you visualize and modify the way in which a musical effect evolves in a staff. If needed, you can open several views in order to visualize several effects or staves at the same time.
- The H- and H+ buttons let you adjust the value of the horizontal zoom. Click for example on H+ and you get:
- If you modify the size of the window, the central zone increases or decreases, which lets you change the vertical display zoom. The first menu of the toolbar lets you select the staff for which an effect is visualized. Here it is staff number one that is selected. The three following tools allow you to change the effects, we will study them further.
- The two following buttons, and are active by default.. The first one, when it is active, lets you visualize and modify the musical effect related to the MIDI tracks. The second one, when it is active, lets you visualize and modify the musical effect associated to the score symbols. Disable for example the second , you get:
This score does not contain effects in the MIDI track but effects produced by the symbols.
- The following six buttons let you select the viewed effect among volume, velocity, tempo, duration, modulation (vibrato) and reverberation. The next menu contains the list of all effects and thus allows you to select the others. Click on the Tem button and reactivate the button. You now view the variation of tempo produced by the Accel ... and Rit... score symbols:
The M and S check boxes let you enable or disable the playing of the current effect coming from the measures track (M) and/or the effects coming from the score symbols (S). The "..." button opens the same dialog box previously seen to enable/disable each effect action from the tracks or from the symbols.
The main part of the window contains the following areas:
- Just below the toolbar, a band shows the measure numbers.
- The central band displays the evolution of the selected musical effect. The continuous color band shows that the effect is maintained at a value and the vertical coloured lines indicate the specific moments where the value of the effect is modified and sent to the synthetizer during the play.
- The lower band contains an horizontal line to represent each note played in this staff. It gives an idea of the melodic line played in the staff, in order to establish the link with the effect curve and to adjust it more easily.
Modifying the symbol effects [Light] [Beginner] [Professional] [Notation] [Composition Light] [Composition Pro] [Drums and Percussion] [Guitar] [Choir] [Keyboard] [Soloist]
This view lets to visually adjust the effect produced by a score symbol.
- Display the velocity of staff 3:
- This staff contains 3 symbols: a nuance (Piano), a crescendo and a decrescendo. A small red square corresponds to each symbol and shows the value specified by the symbol. You can move these small red squares vertically with the mouse in order to modify this effect and you can directly observe the impact on the effect. The first symbol is at the beginning of the first measure. It determines the starting velocity. Then, the crescendo increases the velocity, starting from the value specified by the first nuance symbol. Finally, the decrescendo decreases the velocity, starting from the value reached at the end of the previous crescendo. The symbols are thus interdependent. As an example, we will increase the contrast by playing the notes less strong at the beginning, then increasing and decreasing more. Lower the first red square to get:
- You will notice that the whole effect has been decreased. It is normal because the two following symbols have an action relative to the value that exists at their beginning. Set the second red square higher and lower the third to get:
The curves are automatically adapted. In the case of velocity, the vertical lines show the theoretical curve, because the velocity is only sent in MIDI at the time when a note starts.
Creating free musical effects [Light] [Beginner] [Professional] [Notation] [Composition Light] [Composition Pro] [Drums and Percussion] [Guitar] [Choir] [Keyboard] [Soloist]
The effects view lets you also view and add effects in the tracks associated to measures. Three tools are available.
- Click on , representing a straight line, and display the volume of the first staff:
- This tool lets you draw a straight line progression by using the mouse. In the first measure, click and hold the mouse button in the left lower part and drag the mouse to draw a straight line while going up and to the right. When you release the mouse button, the progression of the effect is created:
- In the effect selection menu, select the Pitch bend and display staff 2. There is no effect in it yet. Activate the pencil tool and trace a curve with the mouse to get:
Listen to the effect obtained on the chords in the third measure. The pitch bend produces an effect of glissando during the chord. For the pitch bend, the central value is actually the normal frequency of the note. By going up or down around the central pitch, the frequency of the played notes follows the movement in a continuous way.
- The third tool is the eraser . It lets you remove the effects placed in a MIDI track. Click on this tool. Click and drag the mouse through the central part of the curve drawn here above and you get for example:
During the erased area, the value of the pitch bend remains the same, because it is not modified by a vertical line. This value is represented by the clear color rectangular block. If you do a zoom on the dark area, you will notice that it is made of very tight vertical lines. For the pitch bend, the MIDI values sent are indeed tight, because the effect of glissando must be as regular as possible to avoid the stepping effect which would occur in the form of frequency discontinuities.
The few examples given here cover the main part of the functionalities of this view. By combining the various effects with the symbols and with the drawing tools, you can practically execute all the sound effects provided by your synthetizer or sound card and obtain a very living and dynamic score performance.