A horizontal arranger view - Split from "Wishes for the next release"

I was just curious how it could look/feel…

Here’s a quick Ableton Frankenstein mockup:

Current pattern sequencer just simply rotated:

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Translate individual note groupings into MIDI clips and just display them horizontally the same way almost all other DAWs display their arrangers. Then provide this as an additional fullscreen view, or one that can be split into two panes, one showing the arranger and one the pattern data for note editing (not too dissimilar to the first example you had mocked up there).

This also enables you to fluently incorporate audio tracks and waveforms as well, without needing to awkwardly display them vertically in the pattern editor. With Renoise’s sampler based instruments I could potentially simply see there being an option to display them as MIDI clips or as waveforms (or maybe even both at the same time?) depending on what the user feels it more appropriate. Viewing and editing automation in this view would also be much more comfortable without needing to look at a separate pane and trying to somewhat blindly sync them against the actual notes.

Translating between traditional patterns and some sort of MIDI clips is not entirely trivial of course, but it should still be perfectly viable, especially if we’d finally start to disregard patterns the primary organizational principle for managing song structures. Of course they’d still be there in the background for compatibility reasons, but you wouldn’t need to structure your tracks by splitting them into blocks of specific lengths. Keyword there being “need” because—if the arranger was well incorporated—they could still be available and if you preferred to stick to them you could just ignore the arranger altogether, and vice versa.

I firmly believe it’s the tracker style note editor that’s the real killer feature of Renoise, not the patterns themselves, which at this point are a hinderance and a weakness for flexible songwriting. I really want to see Renoise finally start to get rid of patterns by pushing them into the background.


I couldn’t disagree more!!pattern blocks are amazing,especially for really technical/unusual rhythms.


Dynamic blocks are more amazing and why wouldn’t you be able to make the same “technical/unusual rhythms” with this? :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Obviously this is subjective but to me a song is read/seen left to right so it would make sense arranging a song in this format as well, from my mockup above simply rotating the pattern sequencer feels a lot better to me even though it’s just rotated.

By the way I don’t like changes so this freaks me out :laughing:

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I wasn’t talking to you!?

well excuse me


It’s alright,it’s just you were having an imaginary argument!

What you said and say makes no sense to me.


That’s alright garf,she moves in mysterious ways.

Looks bad! :slightly_smiling_face:

To me it’s from top to bottom.


Yeah it’s subjective as I said but everything from musical notation to playing a song in Winamp etc. it goes from left to right, even though I don’t like change I don’t cling onto this odd old way of arranging a song, actually thinking about the thread about weaknesses as a composer, mine is the arrangement because I sit there with something that is awful (for me) to arrange with…

I’m surprised to hear that from someone who was active in the Commodore demoscene. Furthermore the tracker way of arranging isn’t odd and not as old as the way of arranging you’re looking for. When the SoundTracker came up in 1987 it was the first time ever a song was arranged and played from top to bottom. Before there only existed this odd old way of arranging from left to right. And of course you cannot compare a simple player like WinAmp with a DAW. Apples with pears… :wink:

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+1 to “replacing” the pattern matrix. It doesn’t matter that much to me if it’s horizontal or vertical.

If you begin with horizontal things then i want a native pianoroll too! :smiley:

happy tracking :slight_smile:

Well at least thank God that the old pattern arranger has evolved, look at the top left corner:

By the way Sound Monitor on the C64 came out before SoundTracker, I tried make some tunes with it and I’d call that a tracker…

For the record, I’m not suggesting replacing or removing the pattern matrix, or patterns themselves. I’m only saying that patterns themselves in the long run shouldn’t be first class citizens when it comes to organizing your song structure. The current Pattern Editor view should stay roughly as is, and an Arranger view should exist along side it.

Regarding patterns, if anything they originate from the Amiga days as a method to save on file size and memory when those resources were scarce; nowadays they’re primarily a limitation and a hindrance on many types music, and are often cited by my acquaintances as one of the main reasons why they don’t want to go back to trackers (including Renoise). But I don’t want to see them removed either, they’re still useful in certain styles of music and song writing approaches, and work well when starting out a track. It’s the latter phases when you need to start to form a picture of the overall song structure that they become difficult to deal with. Here’s some examples:

  • If you want to move a sequence of notes from one pattern so that it overlaps two or more patterns, you need to split it into pieces and manually distribute it accordingly. This is extremely tedious manual work, while in other DAWs it’s often a single drag’n’drop operation on the arranger timeline.
  • Things become even more hairy if there’s automation involved, because now you need to split the interpolation points across the pattern lines as well, for every individual automated parameter, manually. Again, one drag&drop in other DAWs, you don’t even need to think about it.
  • It’s not possible to “zoom” out of the pattern view. Pattern Matrix—which I’m thankful exists since it’s much better than having nothing at all—does give some indication, but all of the blocks are the same size regardless of pattern length, which obscures information. If a single note event exists on a track in a pattern, the entire cell is colored in. But also if a note is simply sustained across a pattern, it is not colored in even though it (potentially) plays through it. The visual feedback it provides is always quantized to pattern boundaries.

The compounding effect of these factors I think is that Renoise pushes the user to write highly “quantized” music on the higher level, with events and structure coinciding with the pattern boundaries. The workaround is to use longer patterns but then navigating within them becomes tedious, and in exchange Pattern Matrix becomes even less precise and useful as you can only operate on the level of entire patterns using it.

What makes sense to me, is to start building your song up the same way you do in Renoise currently; writing notes into patterns and building the initial structure from bottom up. Meanwhile the Arranger would simply automatically create MIDI clips that correspond to each pattern per track (or longer clips if notes sustain across a pattern). However, in the Arranger view you would also be able to manipulate the note data at a higher level, being able to move and split the clips across the underlying pattern structure, which would simply assign new pattern IDs as necessary (this feature already exists as “Keep Sequence Sorted”, and is enabled by default I believe).

It’s worth reiterating that I don’t want to have patterns removed. They should still exist alongside an Arranger, but you should be able to ignore them, as I do already to the largest extent possible. Likewise even if an Arranger existed, you should be able to ignore it and keep using Renoise through patterns as they exist today. Renoise is incredibly powerful (I’m of the opinion that the tracker style note input is vastly superior to piano rolls), but its legacy also currently sets a ceiling for usability which limits fluency in creativity in song writing. Patterns are very powerful tool in some circumstances but severely limiting in others, and the interface shouldn’t inconvenience some over others. This is also clearly evident in the styles of music Renoise is commonly associated with, which is something to be embraced—hence why patterns and the Pattern Matrix should remain—but what I want to see is the best of both worlds. :slight_smile:

There are some good arguments in this spirit in the below video by Tantacrul regarding Reason. I think Renoise is currently in a similar situation, where the pattern metaphor as a structuring tool sets a ceiling for convenience and creativity, and loosening its control over the overall design would open up many new possibilities. See especially the sections “Design Idealism” and “Design Challenges” (the examples of tediousness arising from rigidly adhering to the underlying metaphors are very similar when it comes to Renoise and patterns): Music Software & Interface Design: Propellerhead’s Reason - YouTube


That’s well written, I pretty much share all the same sentiments

Yeah i totally disagree with this,if anything id love to see the patterns enhanced.

That’s fine. It just means this feature wouldn’t be for you, which is why I said these two views and methods of structuring should exist side by side. There are many features in Renoise I basically never use either. I’d ask what “patterns enhanced” means exactly but I kinda get the vibe that you’re trying to disagree just for the sake of it for some reason. But if you have alternative suggestions how to tackle the problems I mentioned do tell. Just keep in mind that nobody is suggesting taking anything away, so no need to just reflexively say “No” at the idea.

I’ve discussed a few different enhancements here in the forums at length.Its not a reflex,no,your just assuming that,neither did i say no to any of your ideas,simply stated that i strongly disagree with the notion