Beginner Question


I just found your software and I enjoy tinkering with the free version very much. I’m glad it’s not limited and allows me to learn at my own pace.
However … I have a VERY beginner question.
Are there any good tutorials on how to make great music? I’m interested in mainly techno/new age/meditation stuff.
I know what a VST is, I have Crystal VST and I think Synth1 (I use Mac OS X). They seem pretty nice. I enjoy tinkering with them a lot.
However I miss a lot of the jargon, like pads, atmospherics … etc. And the general structure of a let’s say meditation track.
Any ideas on where I might start? This is not so much as a software question (I got the hang of renoise in 10 mins) but as a music creation question.

Thanks a lot in advance!

Hmm, I took most of my knowledge from random tutorials/information on the Web. And there are also some books on music production, especially for techno/dance oriented music you might want to checkout "The Dance Music Manual"by Rick Snoman - he also has some video/dvd courses. It’s mostly piano-roll oriented, but it shouldn’t be too hard to adapt it to the tracker workflow.
It also helps a lot to try things out you find information about on the internet, like how to make a nice drum pattern, or how to match the bassline to your chords or melody. And don’t forget to checkout books/websites about rote music theory. A rough grasp of chords and harmonies will make your life a lot easier. For sound-synthesis there are many information source on the Web. Oh and don’t forget to checkout Youtube too!

I sadly know no comprehensive source which will make you “ready to go”, “The Dance Music Manual” was the closest thing I could find. Other than that YouTube has some nice tutorials on simple techno-music.

Last but not least: Checkout other music production forums, for example the “Books, Sources, Links” thread in the idmforums:

You know, now that you mention I did encounter such problems. I have a basic rhythm in my mind. I recored it using two kicks in two different tracks. How do I build from that? I know I should add a pad, but syncing it to the basic beat … beyond me. Trial an error perhaps. I do not know!

There is defintively a large amount of experimentation in it. I tried to approach it in a very theory-oriented way, thats all nice for finding ideas. But the process of actually creating music you are mostly on your own. Try things out, listen to other music, try to immitate their basslines/pads/beats/harmonies/synthesis-techniques/mixing-tricks, and then try it out in your own tracks. For tracker music you have an almost infinite source of information to be found in online published modules (see for example). If you got a basic beat, layer some chord progression on it, add some bassline that seems to fit.

The biggest problem for me always was to find out what to add next, what to actually do with a track, where to go. It often helps to set arbitrary artificial limits to your creative process. Like limit yourself to 1 drumkit and 2 synthesizer sounds and make a track from that. Set yourself some deadline. Or set in stone an arrangement or tracks: 1 drum track, 1 bassline, 1 pad track with some harmony and then experiemnt around, change patterns in these tracks, add effects, play with the mix and so on.
I think one should try to finish as many bad tracks as possible in the beginning, so you can build up your own set of experience for future better tracks. And never be afraid of an experimentation-session, from experiments and failure you can learn and also find new interesting sounds and ways to progress your track or spice it up.

You can always try to get a grip on things with one of the many Renoise tutorial videos:

Here is one of the workflow videos on that page:

Honestly, most of the stuff you learn will be from sitting down and just experimenting and playing for hours on end. If you enjoy experimenting and you have the passion for music and understand it’s going to take time, you’ll get there eventually, with lots of experimentation and playing around and what not.

First and foremost I would say spend a lot of time to learn renoise itself, and the renoise manual is a great way to do that, as well as simply just playing around as I’ve spoke about before. Once you get to the point where you feel like you understand the basics pretty well, e.g. what each individual VST does, that kind of stuff… you could watch a tutorial on youtube for practically any DAW and take it and apply it to renoise. That’s how I did a lot of my learning anyway… there aren’t many renoise tutorials on youtube, but there are a shit load of tutorials for say, reason… so if you can understand what they’re talking about in a reason tutorial and apply it to renoise, you’re sorted!

Hope this helps. Welcome to the renoise family!

For understanding music and improve in terms of composition/arrangement, I recommend:

-Listen to as much music as you can but not only listen: analyze the sound and arrangement, try to recreate some parts and see how it works, for drum patterns it is really easy in Renoise just mess around with Kick/Snare/Hihat placement till you get the swing you want. Mostly, hear how it starts, how it flows from one place to another (transition between patterns, where to place break, where to remove percussion, where to add massive noise rise). Listen to many genres and also some older stuff to get an image how the producton techniques improved/changed from time to time.

-Learn to play some musical instrument. This will help you really really much in terms of improvisation, scale/chord knowledge and the musical stuff in general. You will create melodies much easier from then.

My own way was to start with the dullest drum loops and sounds from Renoise (I thought that I sounded awesome :D). By actually creating first so-called “tunes” you gain the motivation to do more stuff, start messing with the effects, set some abstract goal “how I would like to sound”, and as you improve, you will feel confident about more and more parts of production. You don’t have to adapt the “industry standart” workflow, Renoise is calling you to do it the weirdest way. Every here and now you will do a “happy mistake”, those accidents count up and you are getting your own sound, you develop your own tricks and secrets. Read production forums, ask questions, and not only your creativity raises and you can think about things you couldn’t before, but you can actually listen “more” and “deeper” to other music. I notice how drastically is my hearing of environment and sounds changed by music creation.

As for programs, I recommend to read the manual only if you don’t know something about X or Y. Most manuals are anyway constructed as full in-depth info on the program, and it starts with basic setting up devices etc. What helps are the Quickstart guide and video tutorials.

I recommend this forum: