Arranger Ideas

The track i’m working on right now has a 8 pattern string foundation that it keeps building on. As i was constantly hopping up and down the pattern list copying, inserting and pasting patterns, i really started missing being able to group-select patterns for rearrangement purposes like i could in PlayerPro. This started a train of thought culminating in this:

If i was cool and awesome, i’d add an “arrangement” primary editor to the pattern/sample/instrument trinity. There would be a new tab on the lower right taking you to it. The arrangement editor would take over the main view like the other primary editors do. The layout could be something like this:

Yes i know it’s fugly. Did that just now damn you!
Anyway, shoddy art skills aside, this is the extreme basis of the idea.
The objective is to be able to take a finished/almost finished track and do rearrangement and final touchups with broad strokes. In addition, it would allow automation over the course of several patterns, as well as prepping the whole song or long segments of it for automation. I for one think it’s annoying when i’ve done a track with lots of repeating patterns, to have to go in there and copy/paste all repeating patterns into new ones to make room for automation. Anyway, from the top:

The track is represented with a grid. Each column represents a point on the timeline (00,01,02,03 etc etc) in which a pattern can be placed.
Doubleclicking a point on the timeline would let you attach a comment. Would be very convenient when trying to keep track of a sprawling long track to know just where certain things happen. This is mostly for live purposes though.
When a track is in progress, timeline points occupied by non-blank patterns will appear in the sequence they are placed. It’s basically the position editor spread out horizontally over a larger area.
The user can click-drag marquees on the grid to select multiple points of the timeline and whatever patterns/blankness that occupy them and perform certain functions:

Copy - Paste - Cut
You know these :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Clears all unselected patterns from the timeline and moves selected patterns back to 00

Cuts out selected patterns and pulls following patterns back to take their place, filling the gap

Takes all patterns on the timeline and rearranges them all, copying each and every position to a new pattern. The result being something like this:

00 00 00 00 01 01 01 01 02 02 02 02 03 03 04 04
00 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 0a 0b 0c 0d 0e 0f

Of course with the same content. This allows for easy touchups with regard to automation without having to insert new patterns all over the place. This has actually been enquired about by a few of my friends, so it’s not just another one of my quirks this time :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

The master automation options would let you drag a marquee around a selection of patterns and automatically add automation to the master track. This would let you do a fadeout over the course of any number of patterns for instance. Other possible uses for this would be parameter automation for DSPs bound to the mastertrack using the device/parameter method used by the LFO device.

The misc ops would be functions like finding instances of a specific instrument, much like you’d look for words in a text document, complete with find next. This could also include replacement options, like “replace all”.

The layer bar is something i just thought of, though it’s probably too complicated to even start to think of. I’m learning how to animate using Maya these days, and one of the techniques is called Blend shape. What happens is you take one piece of geometry, duplicate it, do changes to it and then tell Maya to make a blend shape out of the two. what this basically does is give you a slider you can move that morphs between the two shapes. This in itself is alright, but when you realise you can have any number of blend shapes and they all merge seamlessly into one another, letting you merge a sneering lower lip with a screaming mouth for instance, that’s when you start seeing the potential for facial animation. What i thought was hey, how about precedence layers?
Let’s say you have a 4-track song. Track 1 contains bassdrums, track 2 contains hihats, track 3 contains the lead VSTi and track 4 contains a breakbeat. Now you mainly want the drum segments to loop over and over, but at certain points you want variation. For example an extra bassdrum at the end or something. The layers would let you do something like this:

Layer 2 __ __ __ 01
Layer 1 00 00 00 00

Where 00 contains the basic pattern and 01 is empty but for a drum roll at the end of Track 1. What happens when renoise reaches 04 is it checks the patterns on the layers, sees there is a conflict between 01 and 00, but gives 01 precedence since it is on Layer 2.

Am i making sense at all?
Just a notion. Could be interesting for minimalist tracks.

You make perfectly sense, and thanks for the ideas.
Now go on and take a look at the pinned post “Some pattern ideas”.
The basics of the arranger has already been partially coded.
(but is, of course, not part of renoise yet)