Flats And Sharps

I think it’s been debated before, but it’d be cool to be able to switch between a sharp notes and a flat notes display.

A ‘simple’ #/b toggle (ie all G# would display as Ab throughout the song) would be fine.

When needed, one could keep track of any key signature change in the pattern sequencer text fields and switch to # or b accordingly.

(accidentals, double sharps and double flats are not so necessary since there is no key signature per se)

Thanks for reading :)

It has been proposed yes, even mixed mode (which is not possible unfortunately). There are different note-schemes around where flats and sharps have different meaning (between countries). What will be perfect for one is again false for someone else.

I’m not sure if your answer means that the team should be considering a better system or if nothing will be done because whatever would be done wouldn’t satisfy 100% of the users. :huh:

But still, granted, it wouldn’t be perfect:

There are ‘classical’ scales that require E#, B# and Cb notes to be written and that wouldn’t be possible with just a toggle,
you can have a change of signature inside a single piece of music, there are quarter tones scales that need half-sharps, half-flats and what not,
there are musical forms that don’t even fit in the “well-tempered scale” frame that Renoise is built upon.

There are people who don’t even care what’s displayed as long as they hear the note they want to hear, and others who use the keyboard as push-buttons to trigger sounds/loops/noises that have nothing in common with the key they are assigned to :)

But since trackers’ note input system mimics a piano keyboard and use a twelve-tone scale, I think the #/b toggle would benefit those who can read sheet music, those who are uncomfortable with a G and a G# instead of a G and an Ab, and those who use external tools to help them with composing (such as harmony helpers, circle of fifths, chord progression tools, key/scale finders and so on)

So, basically, some wouldn’t care, some would benefit from it, and some would find it as unsuitable as what we have now. :)

Protracker already had a similar toggle back in the day:

Anyway, this was just intended as a ‘comfort’ choice, nothing critical ;)

i’d rather that the devs leave out musical concepts whenever they can. i’d like a general solution where the user can set whichever combination of two alphanumrical symbols for each of the twelve pitches (or more).

that would open up for more complex ways of naming pitches like for instance 24-TET or the bohlen-pierce scale (btw, didn’t know that max (as in max/msp) published that discovery) and other non-standard stuff.

i’m sure the experimental muwsicians would love that! it’s something that’s pretty hard to do in a piano-roll type of daw as well. (there’s a niche for you devs! ;))

Well, the fact is that the whole tracker concept is built around the 12 semitones scale and a piano keyboard layout, so it’s a bit late to leave out the musical concepts it’s built upon ^_^

Mind you, I’ve got nothing against your ideas, I’m sure many would be interested in such a system with different layouts for indian, chinese, arabic, experimental and whatever scales or systems, with the ease of use of a tracker. But I’m pretty sure the devs would NEED to understand all those musical concepts in order to come out with a system that could manage them all, actually :)

So I don’t think what I’m suggesting involves new musical concepts (such as key signatures.) I’m just saying that, considering the ‘western/equal tempered’ musical system Renoise is built upon, the ability to display “black keys” notes as # or b would be a nice improvement for some people and wouldn’t change anything for the rest of the users.

Well, maybe most people wouldn’t even care and this is maybe the reason why it’s never been done :D

What fact? That’s a claim, and I say it’s incorrect. It has 12 notes and a base frequency for each. Those are fixed, as opposed to configurable. Is there really that much more to it?

The piano layout is just a graphic. I’m fairly certain that for Renoise there is no difference whatsoever between black and white keys. Any note has simply two values: note (an integer number between 0 and 11) and octave. There aren’t really any “musical concepts” involved I’d say?

Only when it comes to the user interface, of course, but here the tradition of trackers is to crap all over conventions anyway? Trackers are made by musically inclined coders, not musicians who do a bit of coding on the side, so to speak.

(btw, I have no idea about VSTi/MIDI, nor do I care, I’m solely talking about sample based instruments)

What makes you think that? There just needs to be a way to describe the parameters – then users come up with them. Think of it as instrument patches – synth makers do not need to understand all possible sounds a synth can create.

So what features besides “how many notes there are in an octave and how they are spaced out” can a scale have? I’m asking because I have no clue, and because this thread gets a +1 anyway, so why not hijack and expand it :lol:

Except the #`s indicate the black keys.

Edit: a +1 aswell.

So? The #'s are purely graphical as well.

Ok I`ll take the bait :

To quote you:
" It has 12 notes and a base frequency for each. Those are fixed, as opposed to configurable. Is there really that much more to it?"

The similarity is not quite as simple as 12 notes
A piano has black keys, renoise represents the very same keys differently but with a white key # name.

The graphics mean something in both cases (black or #) and represent the same special to keyboard notes. The #s in renoise do not relate to fret positions of notes on a guitar (or pick a non keyboard instrument analogy of choice) [deductively - though I cant see a strong case for guitar derivation]

The virtual keyboard on the qwerty (sharps dedecated to a different row) while not proving this relationship certainly enforces it.

Troll much?

But internally it’s the same… geez! You’re not “taking the bait”, you’re just not getting it. Ask the devs if you don’t believe me.

Huh? How so? You’re just making stuff up.

Just wrap your head around the difference between how the data is internally stored and how it’s displayed, and just accept that internally Renoise is NOT based on music theory, western or otherwise, but cold logic: integers, floating point numbers, add, subtract, divide, multiply. AND OR NOT etc. blah blah. Nothing more. That the keyboards keys are mapped to the notes is because that is “fixed, as opposed to configurable”, and that fixed keyboard layout has been set up with the scale we use in mind.

Now if you can define that setup (how many notes per octave, the frequencies, and the keys you want them mapped to) in say, an .xml file… Renoise would suddenly be able to accomodate all that and STILL not know anything about the music theory you claim it is “based on”.

In short, why am I even talking to you, what’s your point? Nevermind, let me just repeat the only thing I care about within this thread:

Ok? look at most of my posts on the forum and make your mind up on that :rolleyes:.

What am I not getting?

“The virtual keyboard on the qwerty (sharps dedecated to a different row) while not proving this relationship certainly enforces it.”

This enforces an idea that # in the renoise GUI are different from non #. These specific keys relate to the piano keyboard black keys. You can look at the piano keyboard as a GUI.

“Renoise is NOT based on music theory”

The renoise 12 tone system is based on the 12 tones of western music equal temperament. There is the theory.

But that was never my point…

"and STILL not know anything about the music theory you claim it is “based on”

Never claimed that. I am claiming there appears to be a relationship between renoise representing # and black keys on a piano keyboard.

I can only guess that we have cross wires here?

oh well.

edit:
Oh and apologies if you felt trolled, it was not my intention.

Well if the concepts of “twelve tone scale”, “note” and “octave” you mentioned are not musical, then no, there are no musical concepts involved, I guess :)
And sure, the piano layout is just an obvious choice because it’s easy to lay out on a computer keyboard. Sure, internally, notes may be stored in the way that is the most convenient to the coder. Sure, they could be displayed to the user as coloured triangles instead of the names of the notes they represent.
Thing is, while you say Trackers break conventions, they indeed follow them pretty well. It’s a fact they use a piano keyboard layout, and it’s a fact they display notes using the names they have in ‘traditional’ western music.
Of course, they could offer different scales, but they don’t. That’s also a fact, not a claim.

That said, the reason I started this thread could be put that way: “Ok, so you tracker makers, you decided arbitrarily that we would have a piano keyboard, a 12 tone scale with fixed frequencies. These twelve notes have set names. Would you mind if we could decide to name five of them differently when we feel like it, just like we could do 20 years ago?” :P

Although that was an answer to something quite unrelated to the initial subject, duration, pitch and intervals are all parameters that also happen to be musical concepts. If the dev doesn’t understand you need to be able to operate them, chances are you won’t be able to.
As for your comparison with synth makers, while they don’t need to understand all the sounds (whatever that means) they need to understand what LFO, VCO, VCA and other filters do to to the signal to build a synth.

EDIT (well, I read the newer posts while I was previewing mine) Johann: I really wondered if you were trolling at first, but now I understand you were reacting to something that was not the main subject. I guess my english is not clear enough or maybe you just misread my answer to maes :P. I didn’t say a tracker could not deal with other scales than the equal tempered one, but that the way trackers have been designed until now is clearly dedicated to standard western music, be it only graphically or conceptually, and they just never needed to bother with other types of scales. So, following this western music system “mimicry”, just having the choice between sharps and flats would be sufficient (in most cases.)

Regarding the side debate -the “open scale” system- all I said is that the devs would need to know what’s required to build any type of scale, which I abbreviated to “understanding the musical concepts”, and it seems that’s what you’re looking for, too. There are some answers here.

It’s just a graphic! If I write with “outrage” then I am an authority! The following graphics mean nothing! Do not try to understand what they represent, it’s just binary! Nah, I just wanted to post screenshots. I’m not contributing to the discussion because as usual there isn’t any… I’m not for or against the idea, I just think that trolling is a two way street.

Scroll down to “Screenshots”

Well, if I had known my “simple” suggestion would turn to this, I probably would have kept it for me :blink:

Well done for a first topic, one might say…

Sorry, I was being sarcastic. Your idea is fine. Would I use it? Probably not.

Many users have complained about the inability to represent their musical tuning of choice to the “piano graphic.” I posted those graphics to underline that the visual representation is meaningful, not meaningless. The idea that the piano in Renoise is “just a graphic” is wrong. For further proof, simply press the “Map Midi” button and try mapping that piano to anything except a Midi piano.

But, I also agree that trackers tend to break and ignore theoretical conventions. So…

Good times.

Oh, I won’t argue about that since I’m not the author of that statement and I don’t agree with it, actually.

I still wonder how “could C#, D#, F#, G# and A# be displayed as Db, Eb, Gb, Ab and Bb ?” could turn to a full rewrite of Renoise with microtonal features :wacko:

I don’t think that will be the case, i suspect another array with a different note-scheme will suffice.
It is just a fancy option, another toggle required in the preferences.

Hell, for what i say, perhaps a drop-down representing the original notes and then a textfield where you can define your counter-equivalent of the same selected note in the dropdown. Then everybody can make his own note-scheme. They still remain the same twelve notes in each octave anyway.

Regarding the last fact:does it really matter that much? -> Only if you tend to copy sheetmusic in different scheme notations to Renoise perhaps. You can’t print the data on paper from within Renoise anyway (which would be a more valid ground for these requests).

I would use even the simplest implementation of a #/b toggle in song settings, if it were added.

I would too… It’s a helluva lot harder to write basic harmonies when your brain keeps going to D# (when it should be Eb as is the case in C minor) and shouts WRONG WRONG WRONG! To me, only having sharps makes the whole process of writing very distracting, and I would go so far to say that I’ve lost musical ideas over it. If it is really simple, please please please please add this feature in a new build. If I knew anything about programming I would gladly do it myself. I would have it as a drop down toggle where you could select a scale in major or minor, and then you would be able to change the key in different sections as you please. I sense that some people view this as pandering to hoity toity music snobs, but I think it is really something that would help a lot of people immensely.

I also have to add that I nearly passed on renoise because it’s so different from any other modern music software and the learning curve was very steep, but learning it has been a joy. Having to hobble my ability to compose by being unable to read notes by their correct names just seems unfair.

Thanks for reading.

this is a very good suggestion imo because:

+people used to think in keys and stuffs are all happy (den & co) since any mix of flats and sharps can be used.

+different notational systems: germans (and to some extent in sweden, denmark, poland and in the czech republic) use b -> h. in post-tonal music is 0 to 11 used to denote each pitch-class.

+percussive instrument “without” pitch: would be nice to be able to denote stuff like c -> bd, c# -> sn, d -> hh etc imo. (ofc, it would be kind of weird to find “hh” for example on the keyb so this would probably aid reading only)

+solmization: do, re, mi, fa, so… is used in france, italy, and in indian music it’s sa, re, ga, ma, pa, dha, and ni.

+nonstandard-tunings: if one is using detuned samples to create non-western stuff then it would probably help to have mnemonics to make it easier to compose. we still just have 12 different “slots” ofc but still.

apropos the simple toggle option: it’s a bit too simplistic imo. if it should be done right so that sharps and flats are used acording to theory then it must be done as casinoSHANTY suggests below. if not, then eventully there will be demands of this more advanced option since the toggle function only satisfies a special case.

^ is why i don’t particularly fancy the “toggle” idea. it’s a lot of music thoery built into the gui and it’s use is limited to western tonal music (which, admittedly is what 98 % of the user base write). imo, leave it up to the user to set the right mappings and enable people to come up with clever mnemonics and tweaks.