Instruction manual - Pizzicato 3.6.2 EN829 - Revision of 2013/05/29


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Composition tools - The music vectors

Subjects covered:

What is a music vector? [Professional] [Composition Light] [Composition Pro]

The music vector is an experimental tool to help you to create melodies and multiple melodic parts in a very intuitive way. You do not even need to be able to read music notation to use these vectors.

You can add one or several music vectors in the measures of a score and they will act like music generators. They will generate notes and rhythms that you can see in the measures and hear when Pizzicato plays the score.

A music vector contains in itself the potential of creating notes and rhythms according to several specifications that you decide.

The music vectors must be combined with chords and scales progressions. Scales and chords have been described in a previous lesson. You could say that the raw melodic structure is created by the vectors and that it is then arranged according to the chords and scales.

A music vector gives the global direction and shape of a melodic part. It is then refined by Pizzicato to fit the scales and chords progression of your choice. The result is a powerful way to experiment with music composition.

These vectors can be used as they are or you can create new original vectors and use them. The Pizzicato libraries contain thousands of these vectors and you can start using them without even knowing what their structure are in details. Using them is very simple. Creating them is a bit more complex but so much powerful for music experimentation and intuitive composition. So let us start with practical examples explaining how to use them.

Practical examples [Professional] [Composition Light] [Composition Pro]

To create music with vectors, you need the following:

Let us start with a very simple case, to illustrate the principle.

The music vectors are displayed with icons like this: .

This vector contains a melodic shape that is similar to a full cycle of a sinuso´dal wave (up, top, down, bottom, up again). This is a raw shape and it does not fit with any chord or scale. It has not been refined with harmonic materials.

You will notice that the vector icon is now associated to that measure.

Most sets of vectors are grouped by 50 different rhythmic patterns, numbered from 001 to 050. You will notice that the general shape of the two vectors are quite similar but the rhythmic content is quite different. We will now add a chord progression so that the melody will follow a more harmonious path.

The shortcut CTRL (or Cmd) + R is needed to force Pizzicato to recompute the vectors so that they are adapted to the chords. Using this shortcut recomputes all the vectors of a score.

The melody has been adapted to the closest notes of the chords and scales. This is the basic principle of vectors combined with chords and scales. Remember that you can assign scales to the chords, as explained in the lesson on scales and chords.

Here is another example.

Using the vectors is just a question of dragging and dropping icons in the score. It is very simple. There are numerous possibilities, even when you do not create your own vectors. You should now experiment this by yourself using the various chords progressions, vectors and instruments templates that you can find in the libraries.

The structure of a music vector [Professional] [Composition Pro]

A music vector is made out of one or more melodic parts. A melodic part corresponds usually to a melody. A vector may contain several melodies that are assigned to a series of staves, as in the example shown above for the orchestral score.

A melodic part consists of:

A rhythmic part may contain one or more Rhythmic harmonics.

We can represent a general music vector as follows:

We will now explain each one of these elements in details. To do that, we will first create a new, empty vector.

The left part represents the tree of the structure of the vector. This vector is presently empty, there are no melodic parts in it. The only icon shown displays the vector itself. This node of the tree is selected in blue.

The right part of the dialog displays the parameters of the selected node, which are here the parameters of the vector itself. Here is a description of each element.

The selected line contains the name of the vector, the basic note and a summary of the main parameters.

The melodic part [Professional] [Composition Pro]

A vector may have one or more melodic part. A melodic part is like a melody. It produces one melodic voice, one note at a time, with specific rhythmic values. You can add melodic parts to a vector.

Here is a description of these parameters.

The melodic wave [Professional] [Composition Pro]

A melodic part may contain one or more melodic waves. A melodic wave is a simple wave form. It gives a specific shape to the melodic line. All melodic waves combine themselves to create the melodic part curve.

On the right part, the dialog displays the parameters of the melodic wave:

Here is a description of these parameters.

  • Constant: The curve is just an horizontal line, always the same note:

  • Sine wave:

  • Square:

  • Triangle:

  • Up:

  • Down:

  • Pulse:

  • Free: you can draw a custom curve manually, freely (see below).
  • Random: the curve is just random noise and notes are picked up randomly.

The Update button forces Pizzicato to compute the measure, so that you can see the notes generated by your free curve. For instance, it could be:

The pen icon is used to freely draw into that window and create a free curve. The next icon is used to draw a line (click, drag the line and release the mouse).

The rhythmic aspect [Professional] [Composition Pro]

A melodic part has always one rhythmic part. The rhythmic part determines what rhythmic values will be assigned to the notes generated by that melodic part.

The right part of the dialog now displays the rhythmic part parameters:

Here is a description of these parameters.

  • Click on the Harmonic(1) node to select it:

The right part of the dialog now displays the parameter of that rhythmic harmonic:

Here is a description of these parameters, which define a single rhythmic harmonic. The final rhythm is the combination of all rhythmic harmonics. By harmonic, we mean something that is periodic and has a cycle, a duration, after which the rhythm is there again.

  • The Frequency parameter defines how many rhythmic values will be included in one rhythmic cycle. If the period is one 4/4 measure and the frequency is "1", this rhythmic harmonic will generate one note per measure.
  • The Velocity parameter will determine the MIDI note velocity of this harmonic, between 1 and 127. It influences the sound amplitude of that note in the resulting melody.
  • The Delay value is the duration after which the note will be played, relative to the beginning of the cycle. It is defined in quarter notes and units. In a 4/4 period, with a frequency "1" (one note per period), if the Delay is set to 2 quarter notes, the note will be played on the third beat of the 4/4 measure.
  • The Duration value determines the duration of the generated note, in quarter notes and units. In a 4/4 period, with a frequency "1" (one note per period), a duration value of 3 quarter notes would create a dotted half note every 4/4 period.

There can be several rhytmic harmonics that combine to make any kind of rhythm. To add a new rhythmic harmonic, right-click on the Rhythmic part and select the New rhythmic harmonic item.

If you have an existing rhythm pattern, written in one or more measures, there is an easy way to translate it into a rhythmic part. Select these measures and copy them (Edit menu, Copy item). Then click the Paste button that is located just above the Rhythm construction mode menu, in the Rhythmic part parameters. Pizzicato remove the existing rhythmic harmonics and creates a set of new hamonics that will generate the same rhythm when applied as a vector.

The principle of rhythmic fragmentation is to divide the main cycle (by default it is a 4/4 measure) into four sections and to create all possible combinations of these sections. In the default case where the cycle is a 4/4 measure, no fragmentation would be a whole note. This is fragmentation number "0". A total fragmentation would be four quarter notes. The first slider specifies the fragmentation you want. "0" means no fragmentation (one whole note) and "32" means total fragmentation (four quarter notes). Intermediate values explore all possible fragmentations of a whole note. This is the first level of fragmentation.

The second level of fragmentation takes each duration generated by the first level of fragmentation and does exactly the same with that duration. For instance, if you define 32 for both first and second levels, the first level gives you four quarter notes and the second level divides each quarter note into four sections, so that we get a measure with sixteen 16th notes.

The levels three and four apply the same principle and the note durations are less and less. Usually, with a one measure cycle, we can use the first two levels. When the cycle is longer, you can use more then two levels. However, you may do as you want if you want to experiment various special melodies.

The velocity wave [Professional] [Composition Pro]

One or more Velocity waves may be added to a melodic part. These waves will in fact influence the MIDI velocity of the generated notes.

These parameters are exactly the same as the melodic wave, but the result here is to influence the MIDI velocity (sound amplitude) of the notes and not their pitches.

As you can add several velocity waves, their combination (addition) will produce a curve that will determine the velocity of each note in the melodic part.

Additional examples [Professional] [Composition Pro]

The above descriptive theory may seem a bit abstract, so we will give a practical example of how you can experiment with music vectors.

The purpose is to see the score that will display the resulting notes as you construct the vector structure. The graphic editor window will also display the notes visually and you will notice that the raw curve of the vector will also be displayed, which is interesting to watch as you design a melodic curve.

The graphic view should now display (you may need to scroll or adjust the scale of that view):

The melodic curve follows an up and down shape and the rhythm is 16 notes per period (the period being 2 measures). There are two periods. The amplitude being set to 50 %, we get approximately half an octave up and down from the central point. The central point is C3 by default.

As there is no scale or chord associated with the measure, the notes are selected as close as possible to the melody shape but they do not sound quite melodic.

At any time you can listen to the score. You may even set the loop to 4 measures and hear it in loop. You can then have a direct feedback of the parameters modifications.

You can also combine more curves together. For instance, let us make a vector that has a period of two beats but that goes slightly up on a four measure duration.

There are numerous possibilities to create music vectors and combine them together and with scales and chords. Just try for yourself. Take each parameter and change it just to see and hear the effect.

You can also use and edit the existing vector library that goes with Pizzicato. You can explore them to see how they have been constructed and copy them to modify them. You can do that on a multi-instrument score and place different vectors in various instruments and measures and create music composition just like this.

Here are a few tips that you can use while working with vectors:

The music vectors library [Professional] [Composition Light] [Composition Pro]

The music composition libraries of Pizzicato contains thousands of predefined music vectors. They are available in the Music vectors folder. Remember that to use a vector, the only thing to do is to drag and drop it to a measure in any score. It will then generate the notes in that score, according to its specifications. The library is classified as follows:

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