Instruction manual - Pizzicato 3.6.2 EN950 - Revision of 2013/05/29




Composition Light

Composition Pro

Drums and Percussion





Back to the Pizzicato main site

The audio/Midi/Score window

Subjects covered:

The purpose of the audio/midi/score window [Beginner] [Professional] [Notation] [Composition Light] [Composition Pro] [Drums and Percussion] [Guitar] [Choir] [Keyboard] [Soloist]

The audio/midi/score window helps you to convert an audio file into a score and also helps you to transcribe a MIDI file or a free MIDI record (without metronome) to get a more precise result in music notation.

You can reach this window in multiple ways, according to the type of operation you want to perform.

To convert an existing audio WAV file into a score, you can:

To record an audio file from a microphone and convert it into a score, or to play the MIDI keyboard freely without metronome and work out the score of it:

To convert a free MIDI file recorded without metronome, an additional option is available in the import MIDI file dialog box, entitled Manual adjustment. By checking this option, the MIDI file is open in the audio/midi/score window (but without the audio panel), which provides a more advanced tool to adjust the conversion into a score. The ways to open a MIDI file are multiple:

This window offers you two different features that must be well understood and distinguished.

When you start from an audio WAV file (whether it already exists or you record it from a microphone), the first part of the work is to locate the notes played in that file.

Locating notes played in an audio file is a quite delicate task for a computer program. You must often help the software to make certain decisions and adjust the parameters of the conversion. It is sometimes needed to correct one note or adjust its exact duration. You can for instance specify where the notes start, which increases the general precision of the conversion. At this time, Pizzicato can handle a monodic melody (one note at a time) correctly. Even if Pizzicato has a polyphonic recognition tool, this tool is only helping you to transcribe, as an important part of the work must be done by you. We will see one example of it in this lesson.

The second part of the work is to transcribe the notes found into a score, by taking into account the duration, rhythm and measures used, so that the score looks readable and logical. Here also, this window offers you a set of tools to define the measures and beats, but the splitting into several voices and staves as well.

To explain the features of this window, we will take several practical examples.

Audio conversion - Example 1 - Guitar [Beginner] [Professional] [Notation] [Composition Light] [Composition Pro] [Drums and Percussion] [Guitar] [Choir] [Keyboard] [Soloist]

Let us start with a simple melody on the guitar.

This window has the following areas (from top to bottom):

Here is a description of the various controls of the tool bar:

You can define either a second voice in the same staff or another staff. You can have up to 8 combinations on up to 3 staves to transcribe the notes from an audio file or from a track of a MIDI file. A color can be used for each, so as to make the work more easy in the MIDI area.

We will examine an example of the two ways to handle an audio/Midi conversion.

Three notes have a wrong section in them (up one octave), at the time references 3, 7 and 11 (in seconds). Notice that the program displays the transition found, by red circles in the transition area and by corresponding vertical lines in the audio area. To improve the result, you can edit the transitions. Most of the time, the program will find more transitions than it should, so the most obvious correction is to delete the transitions that do not correspond to a note. To do that, simply double-click inside the circle of a transition.

which removes the unwanted note in the MIDI area.

To edit transitions, you can:

The next phase is to transcribe the notes into music notation in a way that is readable and logic. For the moment, we did not pay any attention to it and the staff displays the following in the score area:

The music seems confused, even if all notes and durations are present. This is because the notes are not synchronized (aligned) with measures and beats. This is where the measures and beats area takes its interest. It is located between the MIDI area and the score area. The starting points of the measures are displayed as blue rectangles (that also display the time signature) and the beats are displayed as blue circles. Here are the operation you can do in this area:

Here is how to adjust the score in a few clicks, based on the quarter note:

The first measure is now readable as four quarter notes, even if the intermediate beats are not exactly positioned (this is caused by the imprecision of the recording or conversion). If the notation was wrong because of that, you could simply move the beats to align to the MIDI notes.

Once the result is fine, you can click on the Validate... button and save it by giving it a name. Pizzicato opens it in the score editor and the audio/Midi/score conversion is finished.

Audio conversion - Example 2 - Guitar [Beginner] [Professional] [Notation] [Composition Light] [Composition Pro] [Drums and Percussion] [Guitar] [Choir] [Keyboard] [Soloist]

The second method to convert an audio file is to start working on the transitions and only then convert to MIDI. The fact of specifying the transition helps the program as it can then consider that there is one one between each transition. Let us take another small guitar melody to demonstrate this method.

According to the audio record and the instrument, one or the other method will be better. Make some tests and use the more efficient one.

Audio conversion - Example 3 - Flute [Beginner] [Professional] [Notation] [Composition Light] [Composition Pro] [Drums and Percussion] [Guitar] [Choir] [Keyboard] [Soloist]

If you want to directly record an audio file and convert it, you can do it by clicking on the record button located in the score window of Pizzicato. The audio/Midi/score window opens. Click then on the button located in the audio area (which is empty at the beginning). The audio record dialog opens to display:

Here is how it works:

Here is an example of a flute audio record. It is example Ex096.wav that you can open as explained in the previous examples:

Let us explain another method, more natural, that you can use to specify the transitions of the above signal. The idea is that you can record them in real time by clicking with the mouse. Listen to the melody many times. In the case you record the melody yourself it will be more easy, as you know the melody because you played it yourself. Then the procedure is the follow (you can do it several times until you are satisfied with it):

An important remark must be done. Windows very often has a latency time for the audio sound card of a PC. This delay happens between the moment when Pizzicato sends the audio samples to Windows and the moment they are really played by the sound card. Because of this, even if you click right when you hear the note, the transition will necessarily be displayed a little bit after the real note in the audio area. On Mac, the latency time is very small and so does not really interfere. This delay also explains why you hear the audio and MIDI with a slight delay when you play them together. There are two methods to handle this problem.

The first is to shift all transitions slightly to the left so that they are aligned with most of the audio notes. You can do that by dragging a transition while holding down the CTRL key. If you hold the SHIFT key, only the current and following transitions will be moved.

The other method is to determine this delay by experience and compensate for it in the Options, Midi play options... dialog box, with the slider displaying MIDI delay in milliseconds (correction for audio).

In this case, the time signature is 2/4 (you could also transcribe it in 4/4) and the melody starts on an eighth note upbeat. So you must place a measure at the beginning and the next measure must start on the second note.

Notice that you can also record the MIDI from a MIDI keyboard directly in real time. You must use the button located in the MIDI area to start recording. Then you can use the tools to fit the recording into nice music notation on the staff.

Audio conversion - Example 4 - Piano [Beginner] [Professional] [Notation] [Composition Light] [Composition Pro] [Drums and Percussion] [Guitar] [Choir] [Keyboard] [Soloist]

Let us take another example, to illustrate the possible correction in the MIDI area.

The MIDI area provides tools for the following operations, that will influence the resulting score in the score area (make some tests in the above example):

After removing the unnecessary transitions and adjusting the measures and beats, the transcription of this melody will look like this:

Audio conversion - Example 5 - Polyphony [Beginner] [Professional] [Notation] [Composition Light] [Composition Pro] [Drums and Percussion] [Guitar] [Choir] [Keyboard] [Soloist]

Here is a more delicate example, where Pizzicato can help you, but where an important part of the work must be done to transcribe a score correctly. We hope to improve this function in the future so that the manual part of the work will be reduced progressively.

Importing a MIDI file [Beginner] [Professional] [Notation] [Composition Light] [Composition Pro] [Drums and Percussion] [Guitar] [Choir] [Keyboard] [Soloist]

The basic principle to import and edit MIDI files is similar to what has been explained here, except that there is no audio area.

Let us use this example to show how you can separate voices. We will split the three notes of the chords into three separate staves.

Selection of an audio or MIDI section [Beginner] [Professional] [Notation] [Composition Light] [Composition Pro] [Drums and Percussion] [Guitar] [Choir] [Keyboard] [Soloist]

In the MIDI and audio areas, you can also select an horizontal section. This is done by clicking and dragging. The selection is displayed with a light green background, in the audio area as well as in the MIDI area. The conversion operations as well as the playback and recording of audio, MIDI, transitions, measures and beats, will only be done inside that selection. To cancel the selection, simply click in the area.

When a selection is present, contextual menus are available with a right click:

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

Clicking the Options... button opens the following dialog box:

You will find here the various parameters that define the way an audio/Midi conversion is done. Some parameters may be quite complex to explain and are related to signal processing and to the harmonics of a note. We won't get too technical about it. Here is an explanation of the main parameters.

The upper part of the dialog is used to save different configurations of parameters. At the beginning, only one configuration exists, named Default values. You can duplicate it with the Duplicate button and then rename it. You can create several configurations and go from one to the other easily, at least for users who want to experiment with these parameters. In most cases, the first configuration will work properly. The Delete button deletes the current configuration and the Default values button is used to restore the default values of the parameters in the current configuration. The Label text box is where you can rename the configuration. Configurations are automatically saved when you close the dialog. The current configuration is displayed by the Setup menu and it will be used for the conversions.

A portion of the analysis work is related to detecting the presence of repeated notes or of the end of a note. The following parameters are used for that:

By clicking on OK, the parameters are saved and the current configuration will be used for the next conversions.

The Convert button also saves the parameters and starts a new conversion.

The Cancel button restores the parameter configurations that were used before opening this dialog box.

Back to the Pizzicato main site




Composition Light

Composition Pro

Drums and Percussion