An Easy Pattern Sequencer Is Very Hard To Do ? I Don't Think So&#3

I’ve read in the poll section about the highly anticipated pattern sequencer… It seems to be THE feature what most users like to have. But why it is very hard to implement? Ok, having something like clips and non static pattern data lists is a little bit complicated… but why don’t do an easier solution as a first step?

Let’s take a look to one of my earlier tracker editors on the Amiga… It’s quite old (1992-1994) but to it’s time it was a kind of “next generation” tracker ( :blink: I don’t like this term anymore because I don’t see a really new generation for years… ).

There it is… (I hope you like the skin :D )

It’s the latest ;) original German version… but you don’t need to read the text here.
The MusicMaker V8 has great features and a full AREXX interface for programming and collaboration with other tools.

But back to topic: The MusicMaker’s main screen on the next shot shows it’s pattern sequencer…

As the V8 in name suggests it’s one of the old 8 channel trackers (which make 8 ch. out of the 4 Amiga Paula HW channels using a trick.)

In the pattern sequencer you can see those 8 channels as tracks vertically while the time (pattern counter) goes horizontally. Every vertical column is one pattern. So in difference to all the other trackers (including Renoise) each number reflects a block of events and not a whole pattern whith several blocks inside. Blocks marked with a “-P-” are emtpy ones.

Now we can edit a pattern by selecting it in the standard “row mode” which is easy recognizable by the different mouse cursor…

… and so we are in the pattern view …

:eek: … Do you see the difference? Your tracks are going from left to right instead of top to bottom… Tell me any other tracker program with horizontal pattern view. :dribble: That’s a rarity.

Back to the pattern sequencer view I’m going to show you another awesome feature of the MusicMaker V8:

Ok, I changed the skin/colors to default… but that’s not the feature ;). As you can see, the mouse cursor looks a bit different now because we are no longer in pattern selection / “row mode”. Now we want to edit a sequence (!) of blocks and not a pattern of blocks so we go into the “sequence mode”. This is very handy if you want to repeat a block several times with some modifications to every clone and want to have a 1:1 compare to the original one.

I selected the last 4 showed blocks of the first track: 113 112 113 112.

And this is how the pattern view (or better sequence view in this case) looks now:

This shot looks similar to the pattern view earlier. But this time we are looking to a sequence that starts on top-left and goes to bottom-right and NOT a pattern which goes simply from left to right.

I made the screenshot during the playback of the sequence . As you can see, the playback cursor is currently located in the first half of the second block (it’s highlighted).

Ok, that’s all for today. There are still a lot of other interesting features of MusicMaker V8 but we are talking 'bout the pattern sequencer here.
I think a solution based on this concept could be easy implemented in Renoise. It allows much better arranging of blocks/patterns with great overview and doesn’t sacrifice the common way of tracking at all.


again and again and again and again and again (and again):

what if you usually work with different pattern lengths? how could this system be useful in that case, since you should only merge together tracks having the same length?

(and again)

I don’t see the problem, the pattern could simply get as long as the longest track used? :huh:

Or simply forbid mixing tracks of differing lengths: even with it being “unflexible” like that it you would still gain a lot compared to what we have now, and lose nothing (expecially when you can just clone/copy patterns with the tracks getting cloned/copied along with them, so you don’t really need to use the track sequencer unless you need the extra power of it).

oh well… then I would just never used something like that…

To be honest… i’m glad we got rid of all the complex sheet-matrix patterns some programs used to have.
It was a must because the area on your display didn’t allowed any more simplicity in layout. Quite frankly, your screenshots don’t say much to me, not even with your explanation and they don’t invite me to use such program at all. What i mean to say is:The concept may be nice but it looks more like a science program than a music editor.

There are plenty of ways to go around the variable pattern length problem. The most easiest way would be a pattern length of n*64 and only use a part of the length by using a pattern break or similar fancy stuff.

Of course, there are far more better solutions than this where you don’t have fixed blocks in your pattern sequencer at all. But the mentioned way is easy to implement and very similar to the current “pattern list” you can find in near all tracker editors

:rolleyes: I’m surprised to hear something like this from you… If you show a tracker editor to a classic note/piano roll musician for the first time, he/she also would say that your program looks too scientific for making music. I think this is normal especially when you see all those hex values, values and values…
But I don’t get your problem with this additional “matrix” pattern sequencer view… Come on, it’s really easy, there’s no math at all. B)

Or don’t you like the colors and do you want a hyper polychromatic gui with fancy icons and animated stuff? The MusicMaker V8 is very old and uses only 4 colors… It’s only a sample to give you an idea…


pattern arranger would be really helpfull especially if you have complex drum patterns… imo buzz is a nice place to see how it can be done well in tracker enviroment basically if pattern sequencer in renoise could have more patterns played simulatenously…

Robbson, cheers for the history lesson :) didn’t know about this program.

For a pattern arranger in Renoise, I’d rather look at how fruityloops handles this. Different patternlengths would mean different width in block-size in the arranger.

Hmmmm sounds interesting but i agree with jonas the plugexpert. An arrenger view could probably look and work like any other arranger, like in cubase, reason, or whatever. but instead of opening the piano roll on double click you open the pattern.

Patterns should be able to be played independently and side by side from eachother. That would be really awesome and make my workflow a lot faster. Personally i would make more but smaller patterns with less tracks.

One pattern for Drums, one pattern for Bass, One pattern for Lead etc etc, and play them side by side. This wouldnt ruin the possibility to work with a tracker the old way, but let you add and arrange bits and pieces more easily and still have the flexibility to edit the patterns, unlike an arranger that only handles rendered wav clips…

It would be quite powerful if the same arranger could handle both tracker patterns and audio clips together in the same arranger just like cubase has midi tracks and audio tracks would make renoise a serious asskicki’n program.

That’s my thought and hope on how renoise would evolve.

please check fl or buzz (or buzè by calvin). i think you will find the reason why a few ppl see no problem there; because (in case of buzz and VioLETComposer) its not the pattern length, its the pattern-start that is important.
dont want to beef this up. but i guess you have never touched it before ;)


Of course, the “playlist” pattern sequencer in FLStudio is the kind of view I would prefer… I really like that approach, where every pattern has it’s own line instead of stucking all patterns of one instrument into one single line.

That’s the reason why I have a FLS license. But this kind of pattern view is not perfect so I would like to have e.g. a folding option to shrink several lines of one instrument/channel (or an instrument group) to one line and vice versa. Otherwise the overview gets lost on very complex projects with a lot of patterns.

In Renoise this concept could also work but there are a lot of things to consider. So one pattern must be able to have one or multiple tracks as well as one or multiple instruments (also in the same track which isn’t supported by the FLS concept because there we have channels which can only play one instrument).

Additional it would be fine to have a local pattern view (seeing only the tracks of the current pattern) AND a global view (seeing all tracks of those patterns which have the same or similar time position) together. So you can switch between classical renoise view and local view.

Another thing is the organization and naming of the tracks… I’ve seen a lot of renosie songs, where you have for example track 1-5 for strings, track 6-10 for drums, track 11-14 for lead, etc. In case of a local pattern view, those declarations are senseless, because every pattern can have it’s own named tracks (or channels related to FLS). This also would limit the way which tracks can fit into one pattern: what if you build a pattern which has some strings (from track 2), some drums (track 9) and a lead (track 13) together? OMG, I can’t think anymore today… concepts behind FLS and renoise are still very different. :panic:


A thought: These ideas could be implemented while still having backwardcompability to the pattern order as we know it today, for those who really prefer that way. Both workflows are possible, it’s just that one has all tracks in a pattern linked, while the other does not.

(kinda like the automation-tool - I never (or very very seldomly) use it, while it’s probably unbearable to others)

Late reply, but anyway…:
Perhaps it’s real easy, i cannot judge the real workflow of this parcticular program, but yes the interface does not look attractive. It looks like an interface of stuff that had to be cranked into this small square screen because the system could only offer 40*40 characters if you get my drift.
I’ve worked with simple sequencers like soundmonitor / Rockmonitor and music assembler on the C64 -> they worked excellent and still have stuff that Renoise cannot do yet (playing tracks independantly from complete patterms) and i guess this program does probably quite exactly what these old C64 sequencers did back then so think I do understand what you want regarding the true functionality of this design, but i just hope you don’t want to have that kind of interface.
If this is the case, we do not think that much different as you were afraid of or felt surprised by.