Instruction manual - Pizzicato 3.6.2 EN920 - Revision of 2013/05/29

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The audio editor

Subjects covered:


Accessing the audio editor [Light] [Beginner] [Professional] [Notation] [Composition Light] [Composition Pro] [Drums and Percussion] [Guitar] [Choir] [Keyboard] [Soloist]

The Pizzicato audio editor window is a tool used to modify an audio file. Once you have added an audio track to a score, you may then edit the audio track with the audio editor.

You may also open and edit an audio file that is independant of a score by using the Open an audio file... item of the File menu.

With the Pizzicato versions with only one audio track, you may open the audio editor through the Associated audio track... item of the Windows menu. A dialog appears and when you click OK (providing you have specified an audio file), the audio editor appears. With Pizzicato Professional and Composition, you must go in the conductor view (Windows menu, Conductor... item) and double-click on the audio track you want to edit. The audio tracks associated to a score may be shown by clicking on the little icon on the left bottom of the rectangle representing the score:

In both cases, the audio editor window appears:

If you do not have an audio wave file to use while exploring this window, we suggest that you create an audio file from one of your Pizzicato scores, as explained in the previous lesson. In this lesson we have taken the audio file generated from the Pizzicato example 44, as we did in the previous lesson. This lesson will explain all aspects of this window.

The various parts of the audio window [Light] [Beginner] [Professional] [Notation] [Composition Light] [Composition Pro] [Drums and Percussion] [Guitar] [Choir] [Keyboard] [Soloist]

The central part displays the sound wave itself. In this example, the file is stereo, so there are two sound waves displayed. The upper wave (in blue) is the left channel and the lower wave (in red) is the right channel. Please note that the display and background colors you see on your screen may be different, according to the graphic options chosen, but this does not affect the functionalities of the window areas.

Just above the sound waves, there is a graphic area that displays the time scale. By default, the scale is expressed in seconds, with 6 digits after the comma to specify a precision of one microsecond. You may change this scale to display the number of samples or a reference to the measures and beats of the score, with the popup menu that appears in the right part of the toolbar:

When the window is opened, the full range of the wave is displayed. In this example the audio file has a duration of about 7 seconds in full CD quality (44100 samples per seconds) which means that there are about 300000 sample values displayed in one row. This is why the sound wave appears as a "thick block" and not as a nice curve moving up and down as we showed in the lesson on music notation.

The bottom part of the window shows information regarding the location over which you move the mouse inside the wave display area. The values displayed are respectively:

Above the horizontal scroll bar, there is an area that always shows the full audio file, in three colored bands:

The middle band shows a small representation of the sound wave. The yellow graph on a dark gray background shows what part of the file is visible in the main area of the window. When the window is first opened, this is the full file. Let us see how you may zoom into the file and display any part of it.

A small gray line appears where you clicked, showing now in the main area the detailed graph of the sound wave, for instance:

Specifying the file area to play [Light] [Beginner] [Professional] [Notation] [Composition Light] [Composition Pro] [Drums and Percussion] [Guitar] [Choir] [Keyboard] [Soloist]

The lower band of that area (in green) specifies what part of the file will be played when you click on the yellow triangle in the icons under the title bar. By default it is the full file.

Notice that the corresponding green area is also displayed in the scale area. You may use the same process as above to select the playing area in the scale area. In both cases, you may also extend the green area by clicking on one of its border and by dragging it. Another way is to click outside the green area while holding down the SHIFT key of the computer keyboard. The green area is then extended up to that location. This is also valid to extend the gray area.

Selecting the working area [Light] [Beginner] [Professional] [Notation] [Composition Light] [Composition Pro] [Drums and Percussion] [Guitar] [Choir] [Keyboard] [Soloist]

When you want to modify the file, you must specify which part of the file you want to work on. This part is called the selection. Here is how to specify a selection in the file.

The corresponding main area also becomes black, showing the part that is selected:

There is a check box to the right of the toolbar which, when checked, automatically sets the playing area (green) equivalent to the selection whenever you modify the selection:

P=S means Play equal Selection.

Modifying the selected area [Light] [Beginner] [Professional] [Notation] [Composition Light] [Composition Pro] [Drums and Percussion] [Guitar] [Choir] [Keyboard] [Soloist]

Once you have specified a selection, you may apply several modifications to that portion of the file. Most modifications are available through the use of a menu that appears when you click with the right mouse button on the main display area:

Here is a description of the various actions you can do with a selection.

The left frame lets you select the operation you want to perform on the selection. According to the operation, there are other items that appear in the dialog, as we will see here. When you click on the OK button, the effect is applied to the selection. The file duration is not modified with those operations.

An echo of a sound is the same sound delayed and heard again with less amplitude. This happens for instance when you are in a large hall or under a large bridge or if you speak loudly in front of a distant wall or a mountain: you hear your voice back with some little delay. The delay is as long as the distance that separates you from the wall or mountain. It is the time needed for the sound to go from you to the wall and back to you again after the reflection against the wall. This operation may be added here to the content of the selection. You may specify the delay in milliseconds (1000 milliseconds is one second), the number of successive sound reflections as well as the amplitude applied to the successive reflections. A check box is provided to alternate the echoes on both sound channels, giving the impression that the sound bounds between left and right.

This operation will add a simple note of music to the selection. The original content of the selection is still there, but a note has been added to it. The note duration will be the full size of the selection. The pitch (frequency) of the note may vary between two pitches expressed in Hz (Hertz means here sound vibrations per second). Those pitches may also be specified with the popup menus of the note names and octave numbers. Changing these popup values will compute the corresponding pitch in the text box above them. The timber (wave form) of the note may be selected between 6 simple wave forms: the sine wave (which is the purest timber available: it contains no other harmonic frequencies than the main one), the triangular wave, the saw tooth wave, the square wave, the pulse wave in 25% and 10% (which is the length of the sound pulse inside a sound cycle). Each one gives a particular sound sensation that you should try for yourself. A more technical parameter is the phase of the added sound which may vary between 0 (no delay) and 360 (a full cycle of the wave). The volume sliders also apply so that you may vary the starting and ending amplitude of the note for both channels.

With this operation, the selection will be stretched in time. The file duration will then be modified. The stretching factor may vary from a starting to an ending value. A value greater than 100 % will extend the duration of the sound, while also lowering its frequencies. A value less than 100 % will shorten the sound while also increasing its frequencies. Applying this effect to a voice will for instance make it quite different. This may be used to create special effects, for instance a piece of music playing on an old phonograph and your finger pushing on it to slow it down. Or the effect of rewinding a record very fast. Just try it for yourself.

This operation does not affect the sound but merely helps you to adjust an existing selection precisely. For instance, if you want to concatenate two audio parts, you may select the first as explained before and copy it to another place. But if you want a precise result, without a 'click' sound in the transition between the two audio parts, you should specify the selection very accurately, so that the wave goes smoothly from one audio part to the other. This is mainly done by being sure that the last sample value of the first audio part is quite similar than the first sample value of the second audio part. Otherwise there will be a discontinuity that will result in a 'click' effect.

With this dialog, you have the possibility to adjust the starting and ending points of the selection:

Moreover, you may ask Pizzicato to adjust that selection:

This is useful if you work with sound waves that you want to multiply for instance to make a note sound longer without touching its frequency. You may select a part of the wave and then apply the up zero crossing adjustment so that the selection is ready to be pasted a lot of times in sequence without any discontinuities.

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

Here are some ways to better determine which part of the file you want to see.

When you specify the gray area as explained above, the length of that area determines the zoom that is used to display the audio information in the main area. You may also directly determine the zoom values, with the following toolbar items:

The first popup menu tells how much pixels will represent how much samples of the second popup menu. Remember that a pixel is the smallest graphical area that can be displayed on a computer screen. In the above case, there will be 5000 samples displayed on a screen width of 7 pixels.

You may select other values in the popup menus or use the "-" and "+" buttons to go step by step. Try some values and see how it looks like on the screen.

When you click in the gray area without dragging, the zoom value is automatically set to 1/1, which means one sample per graphic pixel.

Another zoom is available in the left part of the toolbar:

This value may be increased up to 6400 % and lets you increase the vertical scale of sample representation. For instance, at 100 % you may see a soft sound like this:

Zooming to 1000 %, the wave will be displayed with more details:

When using a vertical zoom, the full range of the samples will be higher than the vertical size of the panel that displays the wave. To move up or down, use the vertical scrollbar to the right of the window.

At any time, by holding down the CTRL key, you may click and drag inside the wave display area and the mouse cursor takes the form of a hand and lets you move the wave left and right (and also up and down if the vertical zoom is greater than 100). This is an easy way to move in the wave slowly, so as to examine it.

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

When using the contextual menu of the wave display area (right-click or Alt-click on Mac), a menu is displayed with the operation that may be applied to files:

Here is what you can do with this menu.

You may select the audio quality that will be used in that file. Then another dialog appears:

You may specify the duration of the file, either in samples, in seconds or to reach the end of a measure number of the current score. When you validate, the audio window displays the new file.

Note that this file is a new one. The previous audio file displayed was associated to the current score and stays associated with it, but this new file has not been automatically added to the score. If you want that file to play with the score, you must explicitly associate it to the score, as explained in the lesson about audio tracks.

Recording an audio file [Light] [Beginner] [Professional] [Notation] [Composition Light] [Composition Pro] [Drums and Percussion] [Guitar] [Choir] [Keyboard] [Soloist]

We have seen in a previous lesson how to create an audio wave file from any Pizzicato score. You may also record a new audio sequence and insert it into the existing file. You must first specify a selection and then the icon is used to open the audio real time recording dialog. When you click this icon, you get the following dialog:

The sound source used for the recording is not selected in Pizzicato but in the Windows record volume control panel or in the Mac Sound panel in the System Preferences. To know how to select a source, see the lesson on exporting a score into a wave file. If you want to record your voice or an acoustic instrument through a microphone, you should then select the microphone and connect your microphone to the computer sound card.

Notice that the score with which the original sound file is associated will be played while recording. This is useful for instance if you want to sing on a musical accompaniment that you made in the score. In that case, you should use a headphone to hear the music and sing in the microphone, so that the microphone does not also record the music you hear (which is useless because the music is already in the score and it would create a bad interference). The same principle is valid if you record an acoustic instrument.

Once you have selected the operation you want to do, click on OK and Pizzicato executes the action.

Modifying the wave directly [Light] [Beginner] [Professional] [Notation] [Composition Light] [Composition Pro] [Drums and Percussion] [Guitar] [Choir] [Keyboard] [Soloist]

You may modify the wave directly with the three following tools, available in the toolbar:

With this tool, you may correct any irregularity you find in an audio file (a "scratch" from an old phonograph record,...).

Miscellaneous options of the editor [Light] [Beginner] [Professional] [Notation] [Composition Light] [Composition Pro] [Drums and Percussion] [Guitar] [Choir] [Keyboard] [Soloist]

You can open the option dialog with the contextual menu when you right click (alt-click on Mac) in the main wave display area. Select the Options... item and the following dialog appears:

You may select the number of undoable operations, between 2 and 15. You may also customize the various colors used when displaying the waves.

In the left part of the toolbar, you will find the following items:

Note that to see the difference, the display zoom must be less or equal to 5 samples per pixels.


Back to the Pizzicato main site

Light

Beginner

Professional

Notation

Composition Light

Composition Pro

Drums and Percussion

Guitar

Choir

Keyboard

Soloist