A Substitute To Pianoroll

I noticed there ar as many people totally against and those who would like a piano roll. Either way editing notes is still a bit painful for those who wouldn’t benifit from a pianoroll so i started thinking and came up with a nice substitute that could do well in a tracker. Maybe some of it is already implemented or maybe it has been suggested before but this is my idea of how note editing would be a bit quicker, than nudging and copying and pasting.

In the pattern editor it would be nice if you could just click and drag each one off the notes. I know as it is now you can make a selection and if you hold the mouse button you can move them around. This is a quite neat feature but it would be great if you could move them by tick. Nudging by tick with insert has been suggested before but my idea is more graphical. and done with mouse.

How does it work?
Pressing “alt” button would display areas with handles on each note and trace an offnote if there is one inside the track you’re working on and highlight them. Moving the mouse over such a note or area would allow you to do a couple of things… This while hold alt button.

1 Traced note and offnote (Area) can be moved if you click and drag it. Dragging downwards will display a ghosted area and automaticly edit Delay values until it snaps on next line.

2 Handles are shown on top and bottom of each area and allow you to Pull the handles to set the position of either the note or offnote.

  1. While mouse is over an area or a note you should be abe to use the scroll wheel to either pitch the note up or down while holding alt.

4.If a note doesnt have an offnote drag the lower handle of the note and one is immidiatly displayed underneath. (maybe a note cut code could be added before spawning an offnote if you want a shorter playtime than a line)

  1. I don’t know if’s possible to trace an offnote if there is one on the next pattern but that would be great, and the area would stretch to pattern end and display a small icon indicating that there is an offnote on the next pattern. And vise versa if there is a note on the previous pattern that will be cut by this offnote.

  2. pressing alt could also temporarlily display the “view patterns contiuosly” function. That would be really useful. (I usually have it turned off but sometimes i want it on so this would be nice) That would help you to see if there is any notes or offnotes in the patterns before or after when editing.


I think this would be quite nice substitute for thos who don’t want a pianoroll, But easy mouse editing of notes. My favorite function would be scrolling to change note pitch.

Any other suggestions?

Let me be the first one to say that this is an EXCELLENT idea.

Not a bad idea, but much must be discussed about it, also about the display form you have suggested…

This will change most of the entire concept behind tracking, but what about having a timeline instead of rows, then having a “snap” feature. Think of it like a… fretless tracker. No rows but the note/pattern data stuff would still be all there. It’d literally be half tracker, half piano roll, in one view. You’d be able to move notes literally by pixels instead of lines.

I’m suggesting this because it might be easier to look at and process in your head than note delays.

Hmmmm… Not a bad idea. I would still want original track so what if (alost like you describe it) notes could “break free” while entiring that “mode” and lines and tick no longer existed. Maybe just a grid for some guidense. Just free space of moving stuff around. (In columns of course) I think You’re on to something there…

I think i will make a photoshop mockup as well of how that could look like. Very interesting!

reminds me of how aodix uses it’s pattern editor. pretty uhm… slick.
also has a piano roll with the same concept.

but i really prefer a multi pattern arranger above this :ph34r: :lol:

Very much like aodix: http://www.museresearch.com/kvr/i/b/aodix.jpg

… but a thought occurs: the primary reason people might want a piano roll is so they can see notes in a more classical way… there are many people who are more comfortable with sheet music than with tracker “spreadsheets”. But then, I don’t personally give a snakes ass considering I’m a vertical kinda guy ;)

After checking out aodix’s pattern editor, I think it’s the ultimate solution to the whole zoom issue though… I’d love to see Renoise with added Arguru ;) (RIP & Thanks for all the apps!)


i am drunk and don’t understand. i do like to track though!


i like it B)

I like this idea a lot actually, as nudging around notes often becomes cumbersome business.

You don’t need to show the “off” command when a note is marked in a box, it’s simply off when the box is ending.

Overcoats idea sounds interesting, could be something to keep in mind for tickless design.

Edit: Just removed some nonsense…

Interesting idea but how do you propose to handle multiple notes in a row? In your example there is a D-5 in the first note column. Imagine if there were 3 x D-5s in rows 36, 37 and 38. How would your control points (the white circles) be displayed in that situation, since they would be overlapping the notes above/below?


It’s just a fast scetch, Didn’t really think about that, but i dont see any problem with making all the handles a bit smaller and always having them inside the area.

A scenario like you describe. The note on 37 is between 2 other notes. Since there’s a note on the line after u cant make it longer to place an offnote, on the other hand the handle can still be useful to make the note play shorter lets say 3 ticks instead of a whole line. Ass well you should not be able to move the extend the note upwards. I don’t know maybe possible that if you wanted to do that, that note could automaticly jump to a new note track. if there isn’t any … one could be created.

Come to think about it, the current drag selection function is almost good enough. You know select a note, click on selection and wait until an icon appears and then drag it. We could save one click though if using just the right mouse button to drag a single note.

Imagine recording a jam session on midi-keyboard, then go in and fix positions with right mouse button and change note pitch with ALT+Scrollwheel.

We have been looking at this idea/method before as well. Also discussed briefly how this worked in Aodix a long time ago.
One problem is that the blocks on this picture are not accurate.

Lets say you make this note at speed 6:
C-400 D5
Off – --

This note is only one tick long. But it will appear with a mark block as it is 2 lines long?
As long as Renoise is visually quantified to lines (and I guess this is the way renoise always will be, but thats another upcoming controversial topic for a future renoise discussion) then this solution will not be accurate
That alone will IMO not make this method replace a pianoroll in any way really. (it is not accurate, and it can not sort notes visually by pitch).
But I agree very much that this could be a really nice way to nudge notes around.
Perhaps these blocks could only appear when you press ‘nudge modifier keys’ to temporary switch ‘edit mode’.

So for instance (from the nudge thread) if you press alt+shift then all these blocks will appear, and you then have other edit options to easier move/edit objects. I also think a toggle button from normal edit mode and ‘object edit mode’ could be very handy (and of course to use modifiers to quickly activate the opposite edit mode).

We will later have similar problems with how to show and move clips in the pattern editor. I think some smart way to combine clips and notes in the same edit mode should be possible.

The current renoise editing is very good for detailed work (one shot data), but very very awkward when you simply wanna move/edit clusters of data (objects).
I have always planned to open a new and more detailed thread on the possibility to have different edit modes, perhaps this is the right time to do it. Because, as said, this is already a problem with notes now, and will be a much bigger problem if we introduce more objects to the pattern editor in the future (like for instance note/wave/automation-clips etc).

I think the accuracy of the areas is not the focus for this feature as i was thinking. Yes your example will be a 2 line long area. The area is only visable when holding a button and only useful for selection purposes, it’s not there to represent a correct play time. It’s marely there for you to have something to grab on to when editing. Releasing the button should hide the areas again.

Instead of selecting notes as you do now and holding down mouse button a while (wich i find very time consuming and frustrating and unnatural) you just hold a key then edit your notes/areas. release the key… done.

My main idea is only to be useful in the pattern view and for editing notes and offnotes, not volume, pan, and effect commands. (maybe useful if the area spans over the pan and volume column as well and you could place the mouse close to the number you want to edit and scroll your way to desired number) So if you have an arranger or pianoroll or anything else they should of course be edited differently. I just think area selection then "Alt + X then selecting a new position and clicking “alt + V” is very limited. Good for bigger chunks of data but not for fast editing of notes and their positions / Pitch. Selecting a note then hitting "alt + F1 or F2 for pitching is a bit annoying as well. Mouse pointer over an area (while holding alt) then scrolling would be REALLY nice for instance.

Don’t get me wrong or anything. I agree very much with your idea. And as in that Nudge thread you can see that we talk the same language.
I was just pointing out that the topic “A Substitute To Pianoroll” was a bit misleading ;)
And I was talking about how convenient this idea is to also include other future objects.

What I am saying is that we need to look at future objects that also might fight for the space/functions/keys (especially modifier keys) in the pattern editor. Thats why I also suggest that a totally different edit mode could be an option. This edit mode could focus more on how to alter existing data, and not so much about inserting new data (closely related to an arranger, thus move clips around). This also include to move entire notes vertically as well as horizontally, change the note length and note pitch etc.

If this is a separate mode, then we simply got a lot more keys and functions to quickly alter/move data around without constantly pressing lots of modifier keys.
But as you (and I) said, for the very basic functions, a double modifier (like for instance alt+shift) could temporary enable the opposite edit mode.

So lets say you work most time in normal edit mode, then by either changing to ‘Object Edit Mode’ (sorry… I don’t have a better word for it at the moment) or by temporary access this other mode by pressing alt+shift, then the pattern editor will ‘change’ a bit, showing the blocks for notes, showing clips etc. Clusters of pattern fx data could as well be ‘auto-bundled’ into blocks.
Renoise will do some smart guessing for you:

|C-400| … … |0901|
|- - -00| … … |0901|
|- - -00| … … |0901| <-- this cluster of 0901’s will be bundled into a block that you can easily move
|OFf 00| … … |0901|

      • 00 … … |0901|
    • -^------------------ a note that you see as a block

You can then, while you hold alt+shift, use arrows to move objects under the cursor etc. And use mouse and mousewheel etc. If you have switched mode (and don’t need to hold down shift+alt), then we can have more options on how renoise should bundle the data. You might want Renoise to do this instead:
|C-400 … … 0901|
|- - -00 … … 0901|
|- - -00 … … 0901| <-- Both the note and the closest bundle of fx (the 901’s) are marked as one block
|- - -00 … … 0901|
|OFf 00 … … 0901|

Another ‘Auto-Bundle’ option could be to detect chords, so notes on different note column, but close to the same line, in same track , will be bundled etc etc.

Hmmmm… interesting… i guess you could bundle all kinds of data. another thing i came to think of was adding “handles” to the regular selection rectangle, wich would allow you to stretch & scale move larger areas more easily. You could have some snap percentages to that too, so for instance…

|C-400 … … 0901|
|OFf 00 … … 0901|
|C-400 … … 0901|
|OFf 00 … … 0901|

… could easily stretch to

|C-400 … … 0901|
|- - -00 … … 0901
|OFf 00 … … 0901|
|- - -00 … … 0901
|C-400 … … 0901|
|- - -00 … … 0901
|OFf 00 … … 0901|
|- - -00 … … 0901

I don’t know weather that function should duplicate and fill effect commands automaticly if stretched 200% or if it should leave those added inbetweens blank…

Another thing that would be nice instead of holding mouse button down for a couple of seconds to drag and drop. I think an Icon should be placed in the center of the selection (Maybe a symbol with arrows in 4 directions or something) that your could grab as well to movee stuff, cuz i really cant get used to holding the mouse button :P hehe

Excellent thinking!

I really agree that holding down the mouse button to start moving things is slow and annoying.
To just press a key+right mouse would be better.

Or having different handles on a selection for different operations would be great,
like the expande/extract by dragging in handles.

Then there would be no need for any key combinations, though some basic operations could be quicker if you don’t have to aim the mouse very exact at the handle.


Auto bundle seems nice but could be added later.

Instead if you could add and subtract to selections you would not need auto bundle as much, though it would speed things up, it could also slow things down by missinterpreting things.

What if I just want to correct two notes in a chord of three notes, then autobundle would come in the way.
Though my main concern is that instead of just doing it, overcomplicating it will make it take much more time to do.

Well anyway I think Renoise desperatly needs many note fixing/adjusting things like
quantisize a selection, wrap a selection, move a selection subticks up or down,
quicker drag/copy etc.

Also I still don’t see why the note volume is left by default when deleting a note as in 99% of the cases it belongs to that note.

I hope it will be the next main focus.

Sorry for drifting away a bit…

time after time Renoise will look like a vertical cubase!!