Manuale d'istruzioni - Pizzicato 3.6 IT120 - Revisione del 14/11/2012

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Musical notation examples

Subjects covered:


Note pitch - example [Base] [Principiante] [Professional] [Notazione] [Composizione Base] [Composizione Pro] [Percussioni] [Chitarra] [Coro] [Tastiera] [Solista]

We will examine and listen to some examples of the notation of sound characteristics, so as to illustrate the theory learned in a previous lesson.

With Pizzicato, open the Ex001 file, located in the Examples folder. As explained in the previous lesson, to open an example, click on the blue "2" button located in the top left part of the main Pizzicato window. Open the Examples folder and go to the example you want to open. Open it to make the score icon appear and double-click that icon. The content of the score appears in the main part of the window.

The following score appears:

It shows you a staff with 3 measures. The playing instrument is the piano. The sign located at the beginning of the staff is called a clef. We will explain this in the following paragraph. You can observe 9 notes distributed in the 3 measures. From left to right, these notes are placed more and more high on the staff, which corresponds to increasingly high pitch notes. Listen to the sound result by pressing the space bar. One after the other, the 9 notes are played by the computer. A small black triangle follows the play and the notes are coloured in red one after the other.

What is a clef? [Base] [Principiante] [Professional] [Notazione] [Composizione Base] [Composizione Pro] [Percussioni] [Chitarra] [Coro] [Tastiera] [Solista]

The possible pitch range of notes largely exceeds the 9 notes played in the above example. In other words, it is possible to play notes much lower than the note placed on the first line of the staff or much higher than the note placed on the fifth line. As we will see further, it is possible to place additional lines on which to place higher or lower notes. Here are examples:

This technique is nevertheless limited to 3 or 4 additional lines below or above the staff, because using more lines makes the score difficult to read. By placing a clef at the beginning of the staff, the pitch of all notes can be changed. Let us see this in more detail.

We had seen that the sound consists of air vibrations. The higher the sound, the more vibrations there is and the higher the note is placed on the staff.

To locate a note on the staff, it is not enough to say that it is lower or higher than another. It is necessary to establish a precise reference on which everyone can agree. This reference is established by placing a clef at the beginning of the staff. There are several reference systems for notes and each one is marked by a different clef.

The most current clef is the treble clef (or G clef). With this clef, a note placed in the second line spacing corresponds to a sound making the air vibrate 440 times a second:

The second most current clef is the bass clef (or F clef). This key is used for notes lower than the treble clef, i.e. notes which would require too many additional lines with a treble clef. Here are for example three notes with a bass clef:

You can notice that the same sound (440 vibrations a second) is represented at different places according to the clef. For this reason, a staff must always start by indicating the clef in which the notes will have to be located. The key is then valid for all following notes and does not have to be drawn again in each measure. It is also possible to change the clef in the middle of a staff. One draws the new clef starting from the place where it is valid.

Open the Ex002 file, also located in the Examples folder:

This example starts with a bass clef and changes to the treble clef starting from the third measure. Five notes are placed at the same position for both clefs. Listen to the sound result with the space bar. The notes placed after the bass clef are much lower than those placed after the treble clef.

Further in the course, we will come back in more detail on the pitch of notes and the relation with the clefs. The purpose here is simply to show you how the use of clefs makes it possible to move the pitch of the notes lower or higher on the staff.

Note duration - example [Base] [Principiante] [Professional] [Notazione] [Composizione Base] [Composizione Pro] [Percussioni] [Chitarra] [Coro] [Tastiera] [Solista]

Open the Ex003 file:

This example illustrates the duration of the notes. From left to right, the durations of the notes decrease and one note follows the other more and more rapidly. Listen to the sound result.

Instrument timbre - example [Base] [Principiante] [Professional] [Notazione] [Composizione Base] [Composizione Pro] [Percussioni] [Chitarra] [Coro] [Tastiera] [Solista]

Open the Ex004 file:

This score has 6 measures and 6 staves. The name of the instruments is indicated in front of each staff. The instruments play one after the other a series of 5 notes. On measure 1, the piano is playing. During this time, the 5 other instruments do not play, because there is no note written on their staves. After that, on measure 2, the flute plays the same sequence while the others do not play, and so on. Listen to the sound result while following on the score. It is the same melody repeated 6 times. The perceived difference comes from the timbre of the sound, which is different for each instrument. You can hear the difference only if you have a sound card or a General MIDI (GM) compatible synthesizer or better.

Note amplitude - example [Base] [Principiante] [Professional] [Notazione] [Composizione Base] [Composizione Pro] [Percussioni] [Chitarra] [Coro] [Tastiera] [Solista]

Open the Ex005 file:

It shows examples of symbols that influence the amplitude or loudness of a sound. The first measure must be played gently. In the next measure, 2 notes are accentuated and thus played more loudly than the others. Finally the notes of the third measure must be played loudly. Listen to the result. Once again, you will only hear the difference with a GM musical material.


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