Instruction manual - Pizzicato 3.6.2 EN820 - Revision of 2013/05/29



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Composition tools - Instruments

Subjects covered:

Watch also the following video:


Instruments [Professional] [Notation] [Composition Light] [Composition Pro]

The combination of rhythms, notes and chords will eventually be played by instruments, so it is useful to be able to manage and select instruments easily in a score. Up to now, this was done by using the instruments view, combined with the selection of a synthesizer driver. This is still in use, but with the conductor view, a series of functionalities have been added to ease the process of selecting instruments and creating new scores.

This is called a tree. It starts from the upper item entitled Libraries which contains here one document named Instruments and templates and two folders named Music libraries and My library. The document is open and contains several sub-folders and one item named Template 1 measure 4/4. It is a hierarchical musical object structure. In this lesson, we will explore the document entitled Instruments and templates.

This dialog defines all the specifications related to this instrument. Let us see this in details.

The upper keyboard is used to specify the original General MIDI note, i.e. the note that must be sent to the synthesizer in order to hear that instrument. The second keyboard is used to specify the note pitch that will be used on the staff when the note is written in music notation. If the note may be played using any written note, then no note specification must be defined in the second keyboard. This is done by clicking on the keyboard while holding down the SHIFT and CTRL key. The name is specified as well as the standard note head that should be used for this instrument. You may add/delete percussion instrument specifications with the Add and Delete button. They are added in the left list. Click on one of them to set its specifications.

You should know that this instrument library is not part of the document you have opened. It is saved in a specific document, inside the Pizzicato, DataEN, Libraries sub-folder. If you make any change in this library, it is automatically saved by Pizzicato. If at any time you want to go back to the original library, just reinstall the program, without uninstalling it. The original library will come back.

You should now explore the various instruments found in these folders, to orient yourself where to find what instrument. If you open instruments to see how they are defined, close the dialog with Cancel so that you will not modify the original library.

Using the instruments [Professional] [Notation] [Composition Light] [Composition Pro]

For Pizzicato Notation, which does not contain the conductor view, the only way to use instruments is to drag them inside a score. For Pizzicato Professional and Composition, you can also drag them on the conductor view. Both cases are treated here.

There are several ways to use the instruments in combination with the conductor view. This section will explain how to do it.

If you open this score, you have:

The score contains one measure, with the name and correct clef, the number of staves and lines,... If you explore its associated instrument view settings, you will see that they have been initialized with the specifications of the instrument as seen before. This is an easy way to create a score with a given instrument and to add it to the musical desktop.

The rectangle is now displaying two colors. In fact a score rectangle will display horizontal areas with the colors of the instruments it contains. The score is now:

and the conductor view displays:

The sub-folders found there contain a set of hierarchical folders that define instrument sections and ensembles. The idea is that a folder that contains instruments and/or other sub-folders may be dragged on the musical desktop to create a score template with all those instruments. For instance, open the Synphonic Orchestras and drag and drop the sub-folder named Bolero (Ravel). Open the score and you will see the full orchestral score template, ready to be used. You will notice that the brackets are placed for instruments that are found in sub-folders of the dragged folder. This operation (drag and drop of a folder) may be done on an existing score rectangle on the musical desktop but not inside an open score view.

We suggest you to explore the various sub-folders inside Sections and ensembles. They contain several templates that can be used to build your scores and compositions.

Managing the musical objects [Professional] [Composition Light] [Composition Pro]

By musical objects, we mean instruments, folders, documents, virtual keyboards and other musical objects that will be explained in the following lessons. These various elements may be present inside a folder.

We have seen that a document may contain a hierarchical structure of musical objects. This structure is not static: you may modify it and add new musical objects. This structure is in fact located inside the Pizzicato, DataEN, Libraries sub-folder. This folder contains sub-folders and Pizzicato documents that are automatically added to the tree when you start Pizzicato. A modification done in this structure is automatically saved in the appropriate document located inside the Libraries directory. This is also explained in the document manager.

Compared to the previous versions of Pizzicato that did not contain the document manager, version 3.5 may use several configurations in the document manager. You can find all the documents of the library in configuration 3, Libraries. But generally, configurations 3, 4 and 5 display more specific areas of the libraries, which makes it easier to navigate through the library, because you do not need to search through the same tree for many different interesting locations. Here are the specifications of configurations 3, 4 and 5:

You may add configurations and/or modify the original configurations. See the document manager on how to do it.

By adding a new document in a folder, you may add a new node in the tree. We will do this in order for you to have the possibility to organize and modify a structure without touching to the original library. Here is how to do it.

The Tests document may now be used to make some experiences without disturbing the original library.

You will find one score in the Tests document as there is at least one score in a document. Now, in addition to one or more scores, a document may contain a structure of musical objects, the same kind as the structure we have seen so far. So you may also add musical objects in the documents you open. By default, a document does not contain any musical object.

This tree behaves exactly as explained here above. The musical objects that you create in it will be saved with the document. It is an easy way to transfer musical objects to somebody else if you want to exchange them. The same will hold true for the musical libraries, as we will explain in a further lesson.

This dialog lets you select a synthesizer driver. From this driver, Pizzicato will extract all instruments and will create a structure with one folder for each instrument familly. It will also extract the percussion instruments. If your synthesizer is included in this list, you may then import it so you can use its instruments exactly as we have explained in this lesson. Select for instance the GS synthesizer, which corresponds to several Roland synthesizers. Click on Select synthesizer. Open the new GS - Instruments folder by clicking on its "+" sign. The tree becomes:

  1. If you drag an object from one document to another document (which means that the source and target folders are not in the same Pizzicato document), the object and its content are copied to the destination folder (the original object is left untouched).
  2. If you drag an object inside a document, the object and its content is simply transfered to the target folder.
  3. If you drag an object inside a document while holding down the CTRL key, the object and its content are duplicated. You have an exact and independent copy of the original objects.
  4. If you drag an object inside a document while holding down the SHIFT key, aliases of the object and its content are created. The reference is copied to the target folder as a link to the original objects. In this case, the real object is unique and references to it may be placed anywhere in the musical objects. An object that has more than one reference to it is marked with a "+" just before its name (this "+" must not to be mistaken with the "+" in front of a folder).

The first choice is None which means that all instruments of the folder will be assigned to no particular synthesizer. The other choices depend on your MIDI setup. It is the list of all MIDI output ports. When you call this menu, Pizzicato will assign this MIDI port to the instrument you clicked, or to all instruments that can be found inside the folder you clicked.

If you have several synthesizers, you may use this function to assign its MIDI output port to a folder containing its instruments. In this way, when you drag the instruments, they will be assigned the correct synthesizer in the instruments view of the score. This function will also try to match the sound of the target synthesizer with the original sound included in the instrument. For this to work, the General Midi equivalences must be present in the synthesizer driver, which is not the case for every driver.

The instrument colors [Professional] [Notation] [Composition Light] [Composition Pro]

The color system used for instruments is that a color has been assigned to each instrument family. Inside a family, the same color is used with a scale of brightness from dark (lower pitch) to very bright (higher pitch). This system is only an approximation and does not establish an exact matching between a sound pitch and a color. It is an arbitrary scale and is only used as a clue to know which instruments are present in a score when observed in the conductor view. The family colors are :

  Guitar, picked strings and piano
  Woodwind and blown instruments
  Organ, synthetic sounds and effects

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