|Instruction manual - Pizzicato 3.6.2||EN284 - Revision of 2013/05/29|
What is alternative notation? [Light] [Beginner] [Professional] [Notation] [Composition Light] [Composition Pro] [Drums and Percussion] [Guitar] [Choir] [Keyboard] [Soloist]
Beside what we commonly call "Standard Music Notation" or "Traditional Music Notation", there are several other ways to represent music on a sheet of paper. This lesson explains how you can write it with Pizzicato Alternative Notation.
Music notation has itself evolved through time to arrive today at a quite precise set of symbols that are agreed upon so that music can be put into a written form understood by everyone. This does not mean that the current system is the best system. Indeed, several notation systems have evolved outside the mainstream of the standard notation system. As early as 1743, Jean-Jacques Rousseau presented a music notation system that was more logical and easy to use. This system has found its most common use today in China where it is called Jianpu or numbered notation and is based on seven numbers.
However, this principle can be taken one step further. The purpose is to represent the 12 notes (C, C#, D, D#, E, F, F#, G, G#, A, A# and B) that correspond to one octave of the music keyboard (7 white keys and 5 black keys) in a different way than the standard notation, so as to make it more easy to learn, play and/or transpose.
Pizzicato Alternative Notation offers various combinations of symbols to reach that purpose, as HMN (Hamburg Music Notation) and Jianpu (a Chinese notation system). You can also design other representations by defining the symbols and behaviour for the 12 notes.
Here is an example showing how the standard notes are written into HMN and Jianpu:
One of the advantages is that a melody will avoid the difficulty of the key signature when transposed. Transposition is done simply by adding a fixed value to the melody. In Jianpu, number "1" refers to the tonic of the scale and so a melody is the same series of numbers in all tonalities.
To learn more about alternative music notation systems, you can visit the site of "The Music Notation Project" :
or more specifically, as used by pizzicato alternative notation:
An explanation of the Jianpu system can be found here:
Displaying alternative notation in Pizzicato [Light] [Beginner] [Professional] [Notation] [Composition Light] [Composition Pro] [Drums and Percussion] [Guitar] [Choir] [Keyboard] [Soloist]
The Alternative Notation module of Pizzicato is not part of the standard versions of Pizzicato. It can be purchased separately and will then work with Pizzicato Choir, Light, Keyboard, Beginner, Notation or Professional. The type of score that can be created and edited is dependent of the Pizzicato version.
By default, the Alternative Notation module can be purchased as itself, with no other versions of Pizzicato. In that case, the features of Pizzicato are those of the Light version (combined with the Alternative Notation features).
If you already have Pizzicato, you can simply buy the Alternative Notation module. You then receive an additional license/serial number. Go in the Options menu and select Program version/Upgrades... Then click License registration and enter the license/serial numbers and validate. The Alternative Notation module is then activated.
If you don't have Pizzicato, you can buy the basic Alternative Notation module as a stand alone program and it will offer the same possibilities as Pizzicato Light.
You can also buy a bundle of one of the above Pizzicato versions with the Alternative Notation module. The new features will be applicable within the possibilities of the Pizzicato version you choose.
The following sections of this lesson are written for users who do not know how to use Pizzicato at all, so that they can start editing sheet music in alternative notation without the need to read and study many of the other lessons of the Pizzicato user's manual. The main subjects are explained with the purpose of working with the alternative notation only. However, you will find below references to various lessons of the Pizzicato user's manual, so that you can learn more about a specific subject.
For Pizzicato users, here is a short summary on how you can access the features of the Alternative Notation module. If you don't know Pizzicato at all and simply want to edit music using the alternative notation module, skip the following and go to the next section.
- The Alternative Notation display is only accessible in the page mode (not in linear or global mode).
- Right-click the background of a page (not inside a measure) and select the menu item Type of notation... By default, it is set on Standard notation. You can display any existing score with alternative notation by selecting Alternative notation or Alternative and standard notation. The second choice will display the alternative notation on one page and the standard notation on the next page, which enables you to edit and see the display in both notation systems.
- A new palette is available in the Tools menu, Alternative notation. Its keyboard shortcut is CTRL+SHIFT+W, which can be used to open or close it. When open, the shortcuts of this new palette (as explained below) have the priority over any other Pizzicato shortcuts. This palette is used to enter the music directly in alternative notation. The details of the various tools of this palette are explained below.
- The Options... button found in the palette (or in the page contextual menu) opens a dialog box giving the details of the alternative notation systems available. You can customize them for experimental work. See below the section on how to define the alternative notation options.
- If you open the keyboard window (Windows menu, Piano keyboard item), each key will be displayed in the color assigned to the current alternative notation system, as well as their corresponding symbol. You can enter the notes using this keyboard.
Please note that you can also enter the music by using the standard Pizzicato tools as explained elsewhere in the Pizzicato manual. Pizzicato can display automatically the corresponding alternative notation version of any existing score, whether for a solo instrument or for a full orchestra (which is in fact something interesting to watch !). So you can for instance import an existing MIDI file or MusicXML file (according to the Pizzicato version you have) and display it automatically in HMN, Jianpu or other cypher based notation systems and print them or export them to PDF.
If you open the example file named BACH2-1 (located in the Music sub-directory of the sub-folder DataEN, or simply in the document manager configuration 2 (blue buttons at the top left part of the screen), you can display it as follows:
So let's start now from the beginning, with the purpose of entering the music by using the alternative notation method.
Creating a new score [Light] [Beginner] [Professional] [Notation] [Composition Light] [Composition Pro] [Drums and Percussion] [Guitar] [Choir] [Keyboard] [Soloist]
To work with the alternative notation module, you need to open the corresponding palette. Go in the Tools menu and select the Alternative notation... item or use its shortcut which is CTRL+SHIFT+W (you can open and close it with the same keyboard shortcut). The following palette is then displayed:
When you start Pizzicato, a basic template of one page is automatically displayed with empty measures. You can use this template to enter the music, but if it does not fit the layout you want, you can simply click the New score... button in the above palette. The following dialog appears:
In this dialog, you can specify:
- Document name - This is the name of the file as it will be saved.
- Title - The title will be displayed at the top of the first page.
- Composer - Will be displayed to the right, lower than the title.
- Copyright - Will be displayed in small letters at the bottom of the page.
- Margins - You can define the margins to use while adjusting the systems inside the page.
- Printing scale ( % ) - This factor will influence the final size of the music content on the printed page. Please note that Pizzicato Light will only accept 100 % and Pizzicato Beginner only 85 or 100 %. In the other versions, you can use any scale factor you want to.
- Number of instruments - Select here the number of simultaneous instruments playing together.
- Time signature - Select the most common time signatures available, or choose Other... to call a dialog box that lets you define your own time signature.
- Key signature - Select the key signature of the scale you want to use. It is based on the numbers used in the alternative notation system currently in use.
If you fill it in as follows:
and if you click on Create the score, you will get the following page (you may need to increase the size of the window or to decrease the zoom factor to see it all at once):
When you create a new score, Pizzicato will automatically display the page in both alternative and standard notation.
You can use the right mouse button to click in the background of the score (not inside a measure) and select the Type of notation item. You have then 3 choices:
- Standard notation
- Alternative notation
- Alternative and standard notation
So you can decide how you display the music. In the default mode (both), you can interact in both display systems. Note that the content of the music is the same. Editing of the music in one display will automatically adapt the other display.
Some Pizzicato versions can work with multiple scores open. In this case, you can simply close the previous score before creating a new one, as otherwise the screen will be shared by the various scores currently open.
In the rest of this lesson we will focus on the way to enter music with the alternative notation palette. You will find in the Pizzicato user's manual the other methods of entering notes by going in the Help menu and selecting one of the lessons of the Writing scores section.
Entering the music [Light] [Beginner] [Professional] [Notation] [Composition Light] [Composition Pro] [Drums and Percussion] [Guitar] [Choir] [Keyboard] [Soloist]
You can use the zoom to increase the size of the music and have a better precision while looking at the score. You will find the "+" and "-" zoom buttons in the main tool bar above the score, on the left part.
To enter the notes directly in alternative notation, select one of the rhythmic values on the palette, for instance the quarter note:
When one of the rhythmic icons is selected, you will see the current entry point displayed in the score, as a blinking vertical line:
To enter the notes you can simply click on one of the 12 symbols of the second line of the palette:
- Click for instance on various note icons and you will get something like this :
As you enter the notes, the blinking cursor progresses to the right and jumps to the next measure when the current measure is full.
Here are the actions that you can use while entering and editing the music in alternative notation. While going through the list, use them each time to see how they work in practice.
- To enter a new note, you can use the shortcuts of the 12 notes. By default, it is the HMN alternative notation system that is used. The shortcuts of the notes are from "1" to "9", "A", "B" and "0" (zero).
- The left and right arrows of the keyboard can be used to move the blinking cursor, so as to access the part of the score you want to edit.
- The TAB key can be used to jump to the beginning of the next measure. SHIFT + TAB goes to the beginning of the previous measure.
- In the case of more than one instrument playing (two or more staves attached for playing together), you can use the up and down arrows of the keyboard to jump to the next (previous) staff.
- To move the cursor to another place, you can also simply click inside a measure and the cursor will immediately move to the location of the next note that can be entered in this measure.
- The back space key is used to delete the note that is just left to the cursor. Exactly as you use it to delete the previous letter when you enter text, you use it to delete the last note entered.
- The Delete key acts similarly as for text. It will delete the note that is to the right of the cursor.
- Using the cursor, you can insert a note before another one. For instance, if you go back to what you wrote before and delete a note, you can simply replace it with another one and the other notes of the measure will shift automatically. However, trying to enter a rhythmic value that would overflow the content of the measure will not work.
Simply click on any of the notes of the keyboard and it will add a note at the position of the blinking cursor. If you have a MIDI keyboard connected to Pizzicato through a MIDI interface, you can also use it to enter the notes directly.
- To change the current rhythmic value, you can either click on the corresponding icon in the palette or use the "+" and "-" keys. The "+" key will shift to longer values (from quarter note to half note) and the "-" key will shift to the shorter values (from quarter note to eighth note).
You will notice that the eighth, 16th,...notes are displayed with horizontal lines showing the same number of beams as in standard notation:
For longer rhythmic values, this notation system uses the "-" sign to show that the duration of the note is extended:
- To change the octave up or down, you can click on the "0" icon that is at the end of the second line of icons. It gives the number of the octave. "0" starts from the lower C note in G clef. By clicking on this icon you have a choice from -4 to +4. You can also use the shortcuts to shift the octave. They are "u" for Up and "d" for Down. Simply type the "u" or "d" key on the keyboard. You will notice that the octave is displayed with dots above or below the note symbols, so as to show that they are one or more octaves up or down. For instance:
- For dotted notes, you can simply enable or disable the corresponding icon on the palette (you can also use the "." key of the keyboard as a shortcut to enable/disable the dot):
The current rhythmic value will automatically be affected by the dot, which is shown exactly as in standard notation (just to the right of the note symbol):
- To enter rests, click on the rest symbol and all the other rhythmic values will be displayed as rest values (and the icon to the right is now displayed as a note). You can use the "r" letter (for Rest) of the keyboard to enable/disable the rest values. The palette displays as follows:
To enter a rest, simply click on one of the note numbers in the above palette or by using a keyboard shortcut of a note. A rest is then added instead of a note. The rests are displayed with their conventional standard notation symbols.
- For rhythmic values lower than the quarter note, the beaming of notes are adapted according to the time signature. You can break a beaming or force it by using the '/' key of the computer keyboard. Doing that will break or force the beaming of the last two notes (the two notes that are located before the blinking cursor).
- You can enter two voices in the same measure, using the alternative notation system. Switch between the two voices with the "V1" (or "V2") icon of the palette, or use the keyboard shortcut "v". You can then enter additional content in the measure and the two voices are displayed at two different levels, as follows:
The content of the two voices will behave independently inside the measure.
- You can also enter chords. The notes are displayed on top of each other. In this case, it is considered as only one rhythmic voice because all the notes of the chord have the same rhythmic value (in the standard notation they are attached to the same stem). To enter the chord mode, use the following icon or its shortcut which is the letter "c":
In the chord mode, the cursor with add the note and not move to the right. Each additional note is added to that chord. To go to the next chord, simply use the right arrow key on the keyboard. This will display as follows:
- To enter a tied note, simply click on the last icon of the first line in the palette. The current note is tied to the next one. This is only for tied notes (with the same pitch). For slurs, see the section about music symbols below.
Lyrics [Light] [Beginner] [Professional] [Notation] [Composition Light] [Composition Pro] [Drums and Percussion] [Guitar] [Choir] [Keyboard] [Soloist]
You can add lyrics to existing notes by selecting the lyrics tool from the alternative notation palette:
The blinking cursor will automatically be positionned under the closest note where the cursor was, for instance:
You can then enter the lyrics as follows:
- Use the normal keyboard to type in the text
- Use the TAB key to go to the next syllable
- Use the "-" sign between the syllables of a word (use it a second time to remove it)
- Use the "_" sign to add an extension to a syllable (use it a second time to remove it)
- Use the left and right arrows of the keyboard to move the current cursor or click on a note symbol directly
- Use the backspace key to delete the last letter of the current syllable
- You can use more than one line of text: use the down / up arrow keys to move from one line to the other
Here is an example of it:
- To adjust the vertical position of the lyrics, you can select the following tool in the main tool palette (Tools menu, Main palette):
Then simply drag and drop the lyrics to adjust their vertical position.
For more advanced use of the lyrics, like choosing the fonts, adjusting extension lines or copying/pasting the full text of the lyrics from another program, you can refer to the lesson about lyrics in the Pizzicato user's manual, in the Help menu:
- Help ==> Writing scores ==> Lyrics...
Adjusting the page layout [Light] [Beginner] [Professional] [Notation] [Composition Light] [Composition Pro] [Drums and Percussion] [Guitar] [Choir] [Keyboard] [Soloist]
The page layout is how you organize the measures and systems inside one or more pages ( a system is a set of one or more staves played together).
Let's start a new score with 2 instruments, with the New score... button and the corresponding dialog filled as follows:
Let's fill it full of notes, simply to show how the general score will look and how we can then adjust the page layout. We could get something like this:
There are two different operations to edit the page layout of a score.
- Adding and/or deleting measures and/or staves
- Rearranging the existing measures and staves
With the first operation, you determine the number of measures and instruments you need for the music you want to write.
To add and/or remove measures and staves to an existing score, select the arrow tool in the main palette (or use the shortcut which is the ESC key of the keyboard) and double-click inside the normal content of one of the measures (in standard notation, this corresponds to the area inside the 5 lines of the staff). The following dialog box appears:
The left part can be used to add, insert or remove measures and the right part is for adding, inserting or deleting staves. The measures/staves are added/inserted/deleted in relation to the measure/staff you double-clicked to call this dialog.
As a simple example, if you want to add 12 measures to the end of the score:
- Double-click on the last measure
- Click Add in the left part of the dialog and fill in "12" in the text box just to the right.
- Click OK. In the case of the above score, the result will be to add a new page with 12 measures in it. If you shift the display to the right with the horizontal scroll bar, you will see the new page:
Note that Pizzicato Light may only handle scores that have a total of 60 measures for one instrument (or 30 measures for 2 instruments, 20 measure for 3,...). Other versions have no limitations in the number of measures.
As another example, if you now only want 12 measure in the score, you can do it as follows:
- Double-click on measure 13
- In the left part of the dialog, select Delete and fill in the text box with "16" (in fact you can even set the number to "1000" and it will delete all measures after mesure 13).
- Click OK. The resulting score is now:
Let's have a look now at the second type of operation, where you adjust how the existing measures and staves are organized on one or more page(s).
To determine the number of measures in a system and the number of systems per page, enable the reference marks tool (shortcut is ":") on the main palette:
You will then see a set of "+" and "-" blue buttons appear to the right of each system on the page, as well as one set in the lower left corner of each page:
To use this buttons, be sure that the arrow tool is also selected in the main palette (shortcut is ESC).
By clicking a "+" button, you will add one measure to the corresponding system. However, the measure is not created. It is only shifted from the following system into the current system, so that if a system has 4 measures, when you click the "+" button it will have 5 measures.
By clicking the "-" button, you shift the last measure of the system to the next system, so you decrease the number of measures in the current system.
For instance, if you want to adjust the above page layout so that there are 4 systems of 3 measures instead of 3 systems of 4 measures, you can proceed as follows:
- Click on the "-" button of the first system. The fourth measure goes down and the other are shifted.
- Click on the "-" button of the second system. The 7th measure goes down and the other are shifted.
- Click on the "-" button of the third system. The 10th measure goes down and the other are shifted.
- As a result, there are 3 systems with one measure in the lower part of the score. At this step, Pizzicato does not organize them automatically. So you can simply click two times on the "+" button of the fourth system and the 3 measures will be back into one system, so as to result in the following display:
The same principle applies to the lower left set of "+" and "-" buttons. They are used to shift a system to or from the next page, so that you can adjust the number of systems in a given page.
Now you can also adjust the positions of the staves and systems as well as the position of the barlines. Here is how you can do this:
- If you click inside the first staff of a given system and drag it lower or higher, you can adjust the system's vertical position
- If you click inside a staff (but not the first) and drag it lower or higher, you can adjust the distance between the first staff and the current staff
- If you click just left to a middle barline, you can drag it horizontally so as to make more space for a given measure for instance.
You can also adjust the width of the measures globally, taking into account the existing content of the measures, as follows:
For more advanced features of the page layout tools, you can refer to the following lessons in the Pizzicato user's manual, in the Help menu:
- Adding and removing measures and staves: Help ==> Writing scores ==> Measures and staves (1) and (2)
- Working on the page layout: Help ==> Writing scores ==> Page layout...
You can also change the bar lines, for instance to add repeats and the double bar line at the end of the music. For details on this, see the lesson on bar lines and repeats:
- Help ==> Writing scores ==> Bar lines and repeats...
Text blocks [Light] [Beginner] [Professional] [Notation] [Composition Light] [Composition Pro] [Drums and Percussion] [Guitar] [Choir] [Keyboard] [Soloist]
By default, with the automatic creation of a new score, there is a title, the name of the composer and a copyright notice. These are text blocks that are part of the page layout.
You can modify an existing text block simply by double-clicking on it (while the cursor tool is selected, the shortcut being the ESC key of the computer keyboard). A dialog appears that gives you full control of the text, font and positionning options:
To remove a text block, place the mouse over it (without clicking) and hit the DELETE key of the computer keyboard.
To add a new text block you can use the text block tool that is located in the main palette :
Simply click in the page where you want to add it and the above dialog box opens to create a new text block.
For more information about text blocks, see the Pizzicato user's manual:
- Help ==> Writing scores ==> The text tool...
Music symbols [Light] [Beginner] [Professional] [Notation] [Composition Light] [Composition Pro] [Drums and Percussion] [Guitar] [Choir] [Keyboard] [Soloist]
You can add the most common symbols in the alternative part of the display. You will find them in the standard palettes of the Tools menu. They are located after the Notes and rests palette. The most important symbols are in the Main symbols palette, as shown here:
To add a symbol, select it in the palette and then click on the note to which it is related.
When the symbol is on the score, you can click it and drag it to adjust its graphic position. For instance, placing a nuance mf, an accent and a Dim. will show the following:
You can also place crescendo signs and slurs by clicking on the starting note. However, according to the way Pizzicato works to display the alternative notation from the standard notation, it is often more easier to adjust such symbols in the standard notation part of the score. For instance, a crescendo and slur in the standard notation will then be automatically readjusted to fit the alternative notation display:
You can delete a symbol by placing the mouse over the symbol (without clicking) and then using the DELETE key.
For more information about handling symbols, see the Pizzicato user's manual:
- Help ==> Writing scores ==> Graphic and MIDI symbols...
Defining the alternative notation configurations [Light] [Beginner] [Professional] [Notation] [Composition Light] [Composition Pro] [Drums and Percussion] [Guitar] [Choir] [Keyboard] [Soloist]
By default, the HMN-Jianpu music notation system is active. Pizzicato offers 10 possible alternative notation configurations. You can modifiy them by clicking on the Options... button in the alternative notation palette. The following dialog box appears:
The upper menu is used to select the configuration that is used to display the music.
For each configuration you can define the following:
- The color of each note symbol
- The UNICODE decimal value that represents the symbol you want to use for the note (you can find UNICODE tables on Wikipedia)
- The font used to display each symbol (click on the Font... button to select it)
- The character that can be used as a shortcut while entering the note.
- A check box specifies if the time and key signatures are placed inside the staff or above it.
- There are three modes available for handling the notes :
- HMN Jianpu : the notes have absolute values ("1" is always the C note), they are displayed at the same vertical position
- Jianpu standard : the notes have relative values ("1" is the tonic of the scale), they are displayed at the same vertical position
- HMN Vertical Pitch : the notes have absolute values, but they are displayed using a vertical position that follows the natural pitch (up = higher pitch)
Notice that when the HMN Vertical Pitch is active in a configuration, it generally does not display chords and multiple voices adequately, as the vertical positionning varies with pitches. Voices and chords would otherwise collide with each other. This mode must be used only with a single melodic line.
The selection of the basic font is used for the time and key signatures. The Default values will set the HMN-Jianpu values to the current configuration.
The right part of the dialog defines the shortcuts that you can use for the tools of the alternative notation palette. You can see their default values here above.
A check box specifies if the piano keyboard window will (or not) display the colors and note symbols on each key.
The next check box, if enabled, will display the note symbols that correspond to the black keys of the piano in bold style so as to give a visual hint for the scale.
The Back to original setup button, will reset the 10 default configurations to their original values. Use this if you want to get back to the situation existing when you first installed the program.
Here is how a chromatic scale will look with each of the 7 predefined configurations. The last 3 configurations are free for experimental work.
- Standard notation
- Standard Jianpu
- HMN Vertical pitch
- HMN-Jianpu-USC - Black & white
- HMN-Jianpu-UKC - Black & white
- HMN Vertical pitch - Black & white