Drum roll ladies and gentlemen........Piano Roll please!

Hi Folks,

Please forgive me. I totally understand that this has been mentioned and talked about so many times before on the forum, but I just feel compelled to say this.

I’m also fully aware that Renoise is a tracker. However, for me (and I’m sure many more) a Piano Roll would be sooooo helpful. EDM has changed a lot in the last 10 years. It’s a lot more melodic and has more sophisticated chord progressions than it used to have. Renoise is without doubt my go-to DAW, always. Nothing can beat it for me. I’ve been with trackers since day one from the Amiga days and it’s how I work.

But for more complex chord progressions and melodies, I have to say…FL studio gets booted up. Sometimes I save the pattern in FL studio as midi and import it into Renoise. Sometimes I freeze the part in FL and rip the whole pattern as a sample into Renoise.

A piano roll would prevent the need for this. In fact, it would put FL Studio in the bin. Completely.

All my tracks are made with Renosie. Two have been released on Matrix Music Records. But I’ve had to use FL Studio for a lot of the chord and melody work. It’s just easier for me on a piano roll.

As mentioned at the start, I know that Renoise is a tracker, but a piano roll might open up the program to more users. How hard can a piano roll be to program? Isn’t it just a big table that you paint blocks onto? It can’t be hard to do? I’d do it myself if I even knew anything about Lua scripting.

Peace out


Raul has worked on one for some time and it’s available: New tool (3.2.1): Piano Roll Editor v8.1 build 312 (February 2020)

Tracker is a tracker and it should stay the way it is… If you want to use piano roll use FL or Ableton or other piano roll DAW…

It does say in Wikipedia that Renoise is a DAW

Learn how to enter chords with Renoise. Hold SHIFT and press the notes of the chord. After this, you can now throw FL Studio in the trash.

You are always in time to start. Come on! Just type in an English text editor.


i dont see why a modern tracker like renoise cant feature a built in piano roll an audio tracks for faster workflow

thats just primitive thinking


Renoise could perfectly coexist with a piano roll (it already does it thanks to the API). That implies having 2 editors to do the same, although an integrated piano roll could be a small performance drag. And no, a piano roll isn’t just stretching blocks.

Now, if you know how to use the tracker correctly, you can compose extremely fast. It takes a little practice, like any other program.

Everything is not explained in the manual. There are certain tricks that help you get “that workflow”. But I think many times “the workflow” is limited more by the user than by the DAW itself.

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I think by definition, modern or not, trackers don’t have piano rolls. This “feature” discussion that some folks think, (some insist), should be incorporated into Renoise has been beaten to death over the years in these forums.

By way of “modern”, Bamboo tracker is fairly recent, emulates an “old school” Yamaha YM2608 (OPNA) sound chip and not a piano roll to be seen. https://github.com/rerrahkr/BambooTracker

For myself, I’m perfectly happy with note entry as it is. But that’s just me. :wink:


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to be perfectly clear i don’t need a piano roll in renoise …but i think the whole statement above that i always see when the topics pops up doesn’t make any sense

“Tracker is a tracker and it should stay the way it is… If you want to use piano roll use FL or Ableton or other piano roll DAW…”

renoise is a computer software definitions don’t matter if its tracker or a DAW like the wikipedia article says, if the programmer(s) wants to put a piano roll because he/they think is needed or cool that’s up to them.

and i think what they really need to add is

**parallel processing device- for making parallel chains in one track ** **
**instrument rack device - for better layering and instrument building options
make the arranger view detachable from the side of the pattern editor …


+1 for piano roll. I’m using a bit of rewire for piano roll, but it’s not optimal.

Maybe a piano roll isn’t what I think should be prioritized, but it’s top5.


Aah, another piano roll topic.

There is no explicit mention that Renoise is just a tracker and cannot add the piano roll. " Renoise is a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) with a refreshing twist. It lets you record, compose, edit, process and render production-quality audio using a tracker-based approach. https://www.renoise.com/products/renoise

I cannot request but I would like to have Renoise with piano roll. From my point of view, a combination of tracker + piano roll is great and unique. For example, Radium editor contains both approaches but doesn´t provide as nice UI and features as we have in Renoise https://users.notam02.no/~kjetism/radium/

With the current Renoise API we are able to create a nice looking matrix editor or step sequencer that can be close to the piano roll but it will suffer for lack of features (zooming, rectangle selection, direct sound control, …)

What stops you from just using any piano roll application out there, sync it with renoise and take its midi signal on whatever channel you want to use it?

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Yes, Rewire is the option. But still you have to use, know, control two DAWs, you have to save the projects separately and it is more CPU hungry than just one DAW.

Having another editor like a piano roll would be an option, not a must. That is, if a user only wants to use the tracker, they are not required to use the pianoroll.

I suppose there are several reasons why there is no piano roll in Renoise, and it is not because Renoise is a tracker type DAW:

  • Including a piano roll is literally fattening the code. Renoise is built in such a way that it has everything just and necessary and almost everywhere. The sample editor has the bare minimum. The phrase editor has the minimum, the instrument box has the minimum, the automation editor has the minimum. Everything is just and necessary to function. There will be some extra, but it is not the general rule.
  • The piano roll serves as a substitute for the tracker. You could compose a complete single song without using the tracker. It is a bit of a strange situation.
  • Most want a piano roll because they don’t see (don’t understand) the notes on the tracker, and matrix is ​​not enough (its zoom is minimal). This is my particular case. A piano roll helps a lot to see the composition. It is a wonder for post-editing.
  • Most want a roll to avoid using the tracker. What?
  • Most want the roll to be able to build chords. In other words, accumulate notes in several columns of notes (Renoise has some tricks for this even from the alphanumeric keyboard).
  • And the main one, taktik doesn’t want a piano roll for Renoise. It is useless to reopen another thread with this theme, because there are already several since Renoise was born.

From my point of view, if someone wants a piano roll, it can only be done from the API. To interested programmers, there is only one solution, and it is not ideal. Ask taktik to respond to requests for API6 improvement. That API7 has everything you need to build a proper piano roll. But not everything is done. Then there has to appear a crazy programmer who later dare to do it correctly, and I don’t see any.

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Well you don’t have to use a full daw. I’m guessing you’re not on Linux so you probably can’t use something like ‘non sequencer’ but I’m sure there should be windows/Mac applications with similar functionality. They don’t even need to support rewire as you have a midi setup within renoise that lets you select the channel input and output

Also you could just use ulneiz piano roll editor for 10€ it’s a steal

It’s funny because ever since using Renoise I’ve had no desire to use piano rolls in other daws. I almost wish other daws had tracker sequencing instead of the piano roll. Imagine Bitwig with a tracker sequencer! I guess it all comes down to persronal preference but I find the tracker a much more efficient and informative way to handle note data.

In my experience rewire has always been a bit clunky but that was more for audio and syncing when I tried it, rather than midi sequencing. I much prefer to stick to one daw at a time and live with that workflow.

As for a feature request, I just think there are far more interesting / useful things to be added to Renoise and for me at least a piano roll just doesn’t fit the tracker daw approach.

My 2 cents! I don’t want Renoise to become the do-it-all daw but would like to see some features added that take it to new heights and expand upon existing features.

If I was very strict I would think of only one thing. Taktik has very little time to dedicate to Renoise. That time has to be well spent. Of course, it wouldn’t be just for him to build a piano roll for Renoise. We have to be realists. All this time has to be invested in improving the tracker (you know: the GUI and its escalation, treatment of VSTi, some additional options in the tracker itself, the automation editor, etc.). If it is necessary to choose between this and build a piano roll, I would certainly choose the tracker improvements (such as improving the instrument box to classify them by groups) without hesitation. There are many details here and there that steal your time.

A piano roll would only be required if there were several programmers behind, and full time. It is not the case.

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Well I guess if the developers have no time, then I would agree that resources should be kept to keeping the rest of the program in check.

It does feel like a bit of a downer though. For many, a piano-roll is one of the main ways of input in DAWs these days (check out “Slam 1 hour challenge” on Youtube).

I’m going to try Raul’s PRE tonight. If I get on with it I’ll buy it.

Cheers Guys


And thank you all for your responses. I really appreciate it guys.

Peace out