Instruction manual - Pizzicato 3.6.2 EN570 - Revision of 2013/05/29


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Composition libraries (1)

Subjects covered:

What are the composition libraries ? [Professional] [Composition Light] [Composition Pro]

The principle of the composition libraries is probably the main innovation introduced by Pizzicato. It is a musical building set. It offers you a tool for composition assistance. It enables the beginner to approach composition and the professional to accelerate his work, to test and discover new musical combinations easily.

This lesson and the five next lessons present the composition help system as it was developped for Pizzicato 1 and 2. Pizzicato version 3 introduces another set of tools related to music composition, that are more easy to use and more intuitive. You can discover them in the composition help lessons.

To follow these lessons correctly, check that the windows management mode is will set to Free, in the Windows, Windows management menu item. These old library system is indeed not well adapted to the new document and windows manager. Also open the example files directly from the File, Open... menu item and not through the document manager. They can be found in the DataEN / Examples folder.

The idea is very simple. It consists in breaking up music into basic elements and combining them in a construction that may become very sophisticated.

It is always possible to break up a piece of music into a set of elements belonging to the 4 following categories:

The rhythmic aspect specifies how the events proceed in time and one compared to the other. In the score writing, they are represented by rhythmic values (quarter notes, eighth notes…).

The notes creates the melodies and the chords of a piece. In musical notation, notes are located by their vertical position on the staff.

Sounds are represented by the instruments playing the notes and rhythms. The choice of instruments or synthetic sounds influences the sound result of the musical work.

Finally, a whole series of indications may be written on the score in order to specify how the piece must be played: nuances, accents, tempo variations, as well as all effects which can modify sound (reverberation, balance, glissando, performance, durations of notes…). We will group all this under performance. These indications can be written explicitly on the score or sometimes implicitly added by the musician in order to add his personal feeling to the music.

When composing with Pizzicato, the first two aspects (notes and rhythms) can be dealt with by the composition libraries.

Sounds are selected with the instruments view and the performance is modified by the various symbols available in the Tools palettes and by the various MIDI parameters of the instruments view. The conductor of this set of tools is of course you, the composer!

The composition libraries offer you a tool to combine the basic notes and rhythms and build a musical score. By selecting the instruments and adding performance symbols, you can really compose a musical work. This lesson and the following will mainly insist on the combinations of rhythms and notes, these elements forming the basic structure of a musical score.

Elements of the composition libraries [Professional] [Composition Light] [Composition Pro]

Four basic elements have been chosen to combine rhythms and notes. These elements are the rhythm, the melody, the theme and the chord. These elements form the construction blocks of the composition libraries. Here is a precise definition:

  • The rhythm

It is a succession of conventional rhythmic values (quarter note, eighth notes…) to play (for the notes) or not to play (for the rests) one after the other. The rhythm may contain only one rhythmic value or several of identical or different values. The sum of the durations of each value represents the total duration of the rhythm. In the definition of a rhythm, notes pitches are not taken into account. Here some examples of rhythms:

1 quarter note + 1 quarter rest = a 2 quarter notes duration:

1 quarter note + 2 eighth notes + 1 quarter note + 4 16th notes = a 4 quarter notes duration:

1 16th note + 1 eighth note + 1 16th note + 1 quarter rest = a 2 quarter notes duration:

1 half note + 1 dotted quarter note + 2 16th notes + 1 eighth rest + 1 dotted eighth note = a 21 16th notes duration:

  • The melody

It is a succession of notes to play one after the other. The melody can contain only one note or a several notes. Each note is represented by its pitch on the staff, possibly modified by an accidental. In the definition of a melody, the rhythmic values is not taken into account. Here are some examples of melodies:

One note melody (A):

8 notes melody (C, D, E, F, G, F, E, D):

3 notes melody (C, E, B flat):

  • The theme

Like the melody, it is a succession of notes to play one after the other. But this time a rhythmic value is associated with each note and there can be rests between notes. It is a combination of a rhythm and a melody. This association forms a fixed construction block. The association between notes and rhythms is unique and will always be done in the same manner. The theme may comprise only one note or several notes. Each note is represented by its rhythmic value and its pitch on the staff, possibly modified by an accidental. Here are some examples of themes:

7 notes theme:

5 notes and 2 rests theme:

  • The chord

It is a set of notes played at the same time. The definition of a chord may contain one or several notes. Each note is represented by its pitch on the staff, possibly modified by an accidental. The various notes are written one above the other to indicate that they are played simultaneously. No rhythmic value is associated with the definition of a chord. The lower note is regarded as the root note of the chord. Here are two examples of chords:

4 notes chord (G 7):

6 notes chord (C Major):

Composing with the libraries [Professional] [Composition Light] [Composition Pro]

Pizzicato lets you create elements of the 4 types above to form composition libraries. They then contain the basic blocks to create a piece of music. Several composition libraries are provided as examples. You can find them in the DataEN / Music directory.

To compose with libraries, the first step is thus to have or to build a library with a certain number of rhythms, melodies, themes and chords. On the screen, these 4 elements are visible in the main view, in the form of icons. The type of element represented by the icon is indicated by the first letter: R for the rhythm, M for the melody, T for the theme and C for the chord.

  • Start Pizzicato and close the default document. Check that the windows management mode is set on Free in the Windows, Windows management menu item. Then open the Ex062 document in the DataEN / Examples directory, through the File, Open... menu item. The main view appears as follows:

You will find two elements of each type. With each element, there is an associated name drawn under the icon, in order to recognize them.

  • To see the contents of an element, double-click its icon. Open for example the Melody 1 icon. The element is displayed in a new score view:

As we will see in the next lesson, melodies are represented with all notes in quarter notes values.

  • Close this melody and open rhythm 1. You get:

  • Do the same with the other elements to see what they contain. Close the library elements and open the Score 1 in the left corner of the main view. The piece contains only one measure. In this measure, we will combine Rhythm 1 and Melody 1. Each one of them contains 6 values.
  • We will first drag the rhythmic element into the measure of the score. Click on Rhythm 1 and drag it in the direction of the measure. A rectangle of the same size follows your movement. Continue to drag up to the moment when the arrow of the mouse cursor is inside the measure:

  • At this time, release the mouse. The measure is redrawn and contains one whole rest. When you add an element in a measure, Pizzicato calculates the contents of this measure, compared to the elements which are already there. We will see further that you need at least one element with rhythmic values and one element with notes to give a visible combination.
  • Do the same with Melody 1: drag it into the measure. At this time, Pizzicato calculates the measure. As there are now rhythmic values and notes, they are combined with each other and the measure becomes:

  • The first note of Melody 1 (C) has been combined with the first rhythmic value of Rhythm 1 (quarter note). The second note of Melody 1 (E) was combined with the second rhythmic value of Rhythm 1 (16th note) and so on for each note and rhythm.
  • Select the Measure Attributes... in the Edit menu. The following dialog box appears:

  • It is used to specify how the score measures are displayed in the score view. Up to now, we have always worked with the first option, displaying the notes contained in the measure. Click now on the third choice, View attached libraries. Click OK and the measure is redrawn as follows:

You see the two elements that we have dragged in the measure. They are represented by small blocks with the type letter (R, M, C or T) followed by the name of the element. This display option lets you quickly visualize the library elements associated to the measures.

  • Call again the above dialog box and click on the second choice, Graphical view of the notes. Click OK and the measure is redrawn to display the notes in the form of small lines with different heights, in a similar way to the piano roll view:

In the above dialog, notice the Only for selected measures check box. When it is not checked, the measure display option is valid for the full score. If you select (with the selection tool) a set of measures and then check this box, only the selected measures will be affected by the operation. This lets you for example display one staff with the notes and another with the library contents.

We will see in the next lessons how to create new elements and to combine them together in a lot of possibilities.

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