Excel to Renoise

I’m using Excel as my main compositional tool, then later translated to Renoise.

I just started using it about a month ago (March 2014), with zero background in math.

Learning how to use it for now is done through trial/error, google, and phone app.

I’m starting this thread to speed things up a bit, questions I have,
maybe get a book or site recommendation from other Excel users.

Question: Is there a shorter way to write this formula (pitch to tempo)? formula is pitch / 2 = X * 60

To be more precise A1 (55.0000) divide by 2 (six times) = X times 60

Excel format:


Result is 51.5625

How do I shorten “/2/2/2/2/2” or write/formulate it better?

If you’re dividing by 2 six times, then you are dividing by 2 raised to the power of 6.

So you can use the power function, or simply ^ for short.



Simplifying it a bit further, we know that 2^6 will always equal 64, so this also works:


And further still, since these factors 64 and 60 remain constant in your formula, you can flip it around a bit and simplify the whole thing into a single multiplication.

We know that 60 / 64 will always equal 0.9375, so…


But the last two examples are simply for fun. I’d advise the first example using the power function, because it clearly shows what you’re doing to the value.

And a Google spreadsheet to show that all results are the same:


Wow, didn’t expect a detailed run down, thank you.

I’ll be digging more on this later.

May I ask, as someone with a strong background in mathematics, how the heck do you use excel as a composing tool?
This sounds wired and off and fun, so I am just willing to try that also :)
Always a pleasure to come to this forum and get new inspiration :D

Cheers, Chris

It started as a way to make music on the go. I tried text editor phone apps but found
it finicky to edit. I like plain text because I can grid everything.
I thought I’d give Excel a shot, it came with the phone. Leave no stone unturned.

It took about a week to see if it could do the job (phone and web syncing).
Excel on the phone is fairly limited, but the real test was in translation.

Idea > Excel (phone) > LSDJ (phone) > Renoise

To answer your question without getting too much into details as to how…

Excel allows words and words with formulas - which I haven’t used yet.

I transferred my text charts, guides, and steps to Excel.

Inspired by this word and numbers workflow, I was able to grid what I call “Context Builder”.

Which is what I’ve been after for some time. A formulaic way to excite a meaningful image in the mind
to make music to, which also doubles as a form of psychological self-exploration.
Which I suppose could be more important than music.

Excel organizes numbers really well, in this case, music related numbers,
which makes it easier to sync things up with that meaningful image exciter formula.

I’m in no way taking credit for this stuff. I’ve got a decent list of names that should be
written here. Analyzing each person’s contribution and then synthesizing it.

Since you have a strong background in mathematics, I’ll mention John Boyd (military strategist).

and the pitch to tempo is influenced by Haskell and Fox.

These collision of ideas is of course subject to change.

What are you using to run LSDJ on the phone?
VBA8 or another emulator ?

VGBC8, from the same publisher (WP8Emu). Nokia Lumia 521.
I haven’t tried to run LSDJ on VBA8.

On VGBC8, I do need to sign in OneDrive to export the .sav file.
Then I could run the .sav file with KIGB emulator (it can export to .wav).
The .sav file needs to be named exactly the same as the rom file and needs to placed
in the “save” folder and I think also in the “cfg” folder.
The export to wav will save it in the “snap” folder.

I use 16 LPB, so in LSDJ, I use groove 3 and double the tempo to get a close match to Renoise’s tempo.

Its nice to have Excel and LSDJ in the same phone which is crazy since I’m fairly new to smartphones.

Sometimes I’ll just use Excel and be confident enough that it will translate well in Renoise,
or at least corner and organize a good amount of possibilities so I’m not left guessing when I do sit down in front on Renoise.

GASP! Are you advocating magic numbers? I thought they were verboten in all forms of programming

Dude about the only thing I can compose in Excel is a house beat. :)

Otherwise it really helps me to actually hear the music instead of just seeing it.

Props to you who can do it though, seems like a useful skill :)

Its a tough one to reply to, regarding wether its a useful skill.

I suppose if it boils down to one thing, its probably a way to combat the increasing
feeling of insignificance as I survive each year, without the need to socialize with people
to feel significant. If the surface level looks like I can compose music with Excel,
then the abyssal plain looks like this
or some variation of it…

YT: last moments of a lion’s life. (watch in HD)

There is gravity in the scene in which a particular type of music is required, or perhaps no music.
In formula terms, no, it will not require 16th beats at 150 bpm.

Unless of course, you want a funny reaction. It seems that opposing gravities
will excite some sort of laughter.

YT: “Shawshank Redemption” (1994) - Inappropriate Soundtracks

Finally took the plunge to learn math from the ground up at the Khan Academy site.

Anyhow, this is what my Excel to Renoise looks like.

Noob! :lol:

Do you really get music just by opening this in Renoise? I figure you have to add instruments manually?
How much of a composition is that sheet, is it a complete track, or how does this work? Does it sound good?
Can we hear?

Those word problems :wacko:

Everything is a manual transfer from Excel to Renoise or the other way.
Excel’s job is more or less a rhythm and pitch sequence, statistics driven, manager.

Its still at an experimental stage, the picture is one xrns.
The goal is to auto-pilot the composition process both in context of subject and non contextual.

At its most basic level, the rhythm alone with a simple click tone should sound good.
I do choose instruments first in the entire process of things, before rhythm.

If I don’t give up, I’d like to publish something on bandcamp as a proof of concept.

Sounds to me like an extremely ineffective way to compose, but nonetheless quite awesome!

Beautiful, in a techy sort of way.

looks to me like schrodinger’s cat barfed on the screen…

I wonder if you’d mind sharing the XRNS?

The Excel image looks absolutely fascinating, but I’m really struggling to interpret what it means, what it might sound like, and so on. I’m very curious to see and understand the Renoise song data this actually translates into.

Heck, even a screenshot of the pattern editor might be enough, if you don’t feel like sharing the whole thing. I’m mainly curious to see if there’s some kind of 1:1 relationship between the Excel data and the pattern data.

Orange cells in Excel are patterns in Renoise.
This is a way to organize the 1:1 relationship between two programs.

On the very left of Excel, you’ll see a description of what those numbers mean.
Not a detailed description as this is becoming a personal system of sorts,
which means changes are made constantly to satisfy my perception of music
and trying different ways to accomplish a faster composition process and
if the whole process can be in auto-pilot, great.

Order: In the Excel example you’ll see that the entire row are all one’s.
In other words, this is the first layer which will dictate the rest of the layers.
Sort of like a slipstream.

Vary: You’ll see that its double digit, its just a way to keep tabs on
which pattern I did first, second, etc. and the sum of patterns.
Pattern 5 of 7 total for example.

Gear vary: Some patterns may share the exact same rhythmic units.
This is a way, just like “Vary”, to keep tabs of which patterns that share
the same exact rhythmic units I did first, second, etc. and the sum of patterns.
1_77_12 and 1_77_22 share the same exact rhythmic units. 8 lines, 3 lines, and 5 lines.

In Renoise this labeling will simply be placed in the Pattern Matrix.
1_17_11 = Order, Vary, Gear Vary.

SRX unit: SRX stands for Start Return Exit. Like geometry, Rays and Lines…
still fresh with my math, so bear with me, if there are mistakes with my math lingo.
SR is a way to label a pattern that loops. Start, Return.
SX is a way to label a pattern that does not loop. Start, Exit.
In 1_17_11 there are 7 rhythmic units and the SRX length or pattern length is 48 lines.

Underneath SRX unit and SRX length are the rhythmic units pool. The XRNS is at 16 LPB,
1_17_11 has 4 lines and 8 lines. 4 lines = 1/16th and 8 lines = 1/8th.
8 is color coded green which means It starts with 8 lines and ends with 8 lines.
You can see the yellow color code which simply indicates that it ends with that many lines.

indi V: which is short for independent variable. In 1_17_11, I put in 8, meaning this
pattern will loop 8 times which will then calculate some stats. SRX unit originally 7 is now
equal to 56, the length is now 384 lines long. I’m currently trying to figure out a way to
calculate these in minutes and milliseconds. Also I may later use percentages during
the arranging process.

Finally, Sequence and Dynamics. In 1_27_11 the sequence is 10, 5, 10, dynamics
at mid to low, then high.

These patterns are recyclable, some adjustments may be required if going from slow to fast bpm.
In the XRNS I used Taiko drums because of their ambiguity, you can use your own samples,
and to create a greater variation and shelf life of each pattern, use the maybe command
on snare placement, if you are simply using a kick snare combo instrument.
Doesn’t have to be drums, use melodic harmonic instruments if you like.
Check out Achenar’s acoustic samples:

14MB wav rendered files.

Link will take you to you one drive, with a bunch of other files, I haven’t figured out
direct download link, if you want, just use “find” in your browser, copy paste " xrns_exceltorenoise "
to find it quickly, although there aren’t that many files to sort through.

how do you export the .xls to .xrns

do you simply rename it?

Everything is a manual transfer, Excel to Renoise or vise versa.

Manual may read like it takes time, it really doesn’t due to knowing how both programs work.

I haven’t scratched the surface of Excel, but I like the results so far.