Implementing Studio One's Piano roll

I had a come to jesus moment where I realized I have to compose my main ideas in a piano roll. I just write so much better this way. So I opened studio one and went to work. The studio one piano roll is top notch, but I instantly missed the routing of renoise. So I started importing MIDI tracks into renoise one at a time…which worked, but it is clunky since I like to make changes to my compositions as the track progrsses.

Anyway just wondering the best workflow setup for this and how to go about things.

Have you tried using Rewire?

I’m confused. What routing can you do in renoise that you couldn’t do in studio one?

He may be talking about the Multi-Band Send, which he seems to like, as he made a thread about it. Advanced Pattern editor questions

This is definitely the answer for that.

The pattern editor in Renoise, and all other trackers, is a bit of a life long journey of endless discovery. The more you use the pattern editor, the better you will get at it. Run back to the crutch of the piano roll, and you may miss the magic, of the road less traveled.

Just a thought… Not meant to sway you either way.

Just last night I was entering some notes on the Pattern Editor and thinking to myself, “wow, what a riff.” Like tennis, or football, or chess, or cooking… The more you do, the better you get.


Yeah I need to mess with rewire more. im just working in between DAWs now…annoying. I figured most people were rewiring the opposite way - basically mixing and arranging in cubase/studione…etc and composing in renoise.

An example of routing that is a PITA in studio one - sidechaining reverb. I can’t get it right. I did it in renoise in 2 seconds. Sidechaining in general is so much easier in renoise for me at least.

The main reason I like the piano roll is that I can compose so fast and move things around so quickly. It is very easy for me to build huge stacked chords that have movement everywhere. Just being able to slide notes around really helps me out when I start writing.

It will sort itself out hopefully.

The dragging-to-tweak-note thing is a pretty big pro in favor of piano rolls. But a similar effect could be achieved in Renoise I’m sure. For example, CTRL+click and hold your mouse on a note, then drag up or down to change pitch. If the pattern editor played the new note while that’s happening, you’d have the same effect as a piano roll. I also proposed recently that you could perhaps click a note and see a pop-up mini keyboard, which is again trying to get at piano-roll-like intuitiveness inside a tracker pattern interface.

Still, I wouldn’t go back to a piano roll at this point because Renoise has so many pros in its favor :D

Another pro (at least for me or other visual oriented people) is the graphical representation
of notes. Even in classical score notation, notes are “higher” or “lower” depending on their
pitch. Seeing multiple notes and their length overlapping in time in a piano roll view is
definitively something different than seeing the textual representation of the note pitch
and some lines until the next OFF or note.

However, one thing that always bothered me about the piano roll was the mouse. Why
on earth do I have to use an instrument that has it’s best applications in continuous
value changes for discrete changes of pitches in a scale? Even the note lengths are mostly
discrete most of the time 1/8, 1/4, and so one. Thats one reason I made a 100% keyboard
controlled piano roll sequencer when I started making music. Using discrete keyboard presses
for discrete changes is just much more intuitive.

I favor the pattern editor view over classical score view for the multiple tracks,
and I favor it over very separated tracks like in Live or Logic. It offers a good overview
of the musical events that happen in the time domain in parallel. But for pushing around
notes and getting an overview of the parallel played notes a piano roll simply has
a better graphical representation.

In the end it doesn’t matter that much I think. Music is created in the head of the musicians,
and their tool to write it down should be like an extension of their body. This tool needs to
be mastered, like driving a car it takes practice, experience and knowledge. However, inputting
musical ideas into the computer is not the same as presenting musical ideas on a computer.
The piano roll is mostly famous for it’s graphical representation and the editing
capabilities of existing notes, while a pattern editor is famous for very fast input of
ideas straight from the head, including the application of effects.

I would love to see a good integration of a piano roll in Renoise as an alternative view
to the note events in a pattern editor. I’m sure a lot of users will use it (at least)
occasionally, and many will use it regularly. Maybe I got a skewed point of view on
all this, I would gladly hear other arguments pro and con to a piano roll, that
are not limited to “pattern editor is the best if you mastered it in 10 years of usage”,
“adding a piano roll hurts the tracker concept because of the blue sky”,
“piano roll is best, because most commercial DAWs provide it” or “piano roll is better,
because novices to music creation relate best to it”.

My point and opinion being: A piano roll will not hurt Renoise’s tracker concept as much
as it will benefit it’s users ability to express musical ideas.

I find for most things, I am preferring the pattern editor, but there are some things piano roll is best for, not the least of which is piano. If you simply put piano notes into a tracker it will sound flat and devoid of life, because there is no life to the velocity. You could try to manually try to input velocities but it just won’t sound right. You could try just live recording straight into renoise but the way it records fast notes is confusing to look at and manipulate/fix. Like, 2 notes will be on the same line but have different delay values, that’s just not ideal for editing and correcting bad notes.

For things that need to be crisp and perfectly spaced (like drums) the pattern editor is the way to go. For things more delicate and sensitive to velocity, piano roll is damn nearly mandatory.

Or at least that’s been my experience so far.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. I’ve come to realize that the main difference with the tracker is not what people focus on. The most important thing isn’t vertical vs. horizontal, graphical vs. text, it’s about optimizing for different time scales.

Editing with a tracker is highly optimized for two particular time scales, defined by the duration of a single row and a single pattern. If you’re editing and working at that time scale, it’s way more efficient. For example, if your LPB is 4 and you’re editing a drum pattern with 16th notes, editing should take fewer actions with a tracker than in other sequencers. The tradeoff is that while other sequencers are less optimal at this scale, they’re designed to work at multiple scales. You can zoom in and edit groove timing, or zoom out and move entire phrases. You can do this with a tracker, but it’s less efficient, forcing you to get into alternate modes of editing, either via the delay column, or managing phrases and automation that get glued across multiple patterns. It’s awkward to, for example, nudge notes towards triplet quantization with delay column edits, or select notes from two and a half pattern region and move the notes back two beats. Certain genres of music tend to be focused on a particular time-scale, and trackers excel at those. For the way I think about music, I find it challenging to work without the fluidity across multiple time scales.

Having said this, I am in the anti-piano roll for renoise. I’d rather see a new paradigm that fits within the renoise design.

It might be worth looking at Seq24. Its out for Windows and Linux. Heres a quick how to…

I like it because it adds all the piano roll tools I need without the bloat. The main n thing I love about Renoise is it’s lack of bloat. Adding Seq24 when I need it solves any piano roll limitations for me.
Another very cool feature of Seq24 is you can jam with loops like Live.

You have some good point there. So, what you are aiming at, would be something like
a pattern editor which is more decoupled from the actual data. Maybe having different
LPB per pattern would already help a lot, or alternate views on the same data
with different LPB. Something like the zoomable pattern editor, but not with just zoom
but with custom LPB per view.
Maybe having a custom LPB even per track and per pattern, so you can have your triplets
playing parallel to your 4/4 kick drum in a single pattern.

Something roughly like this would probably remove many aspects of the piano roll concerning
the support for multiple scales/meters from this discussion. Leaving open the
graphical aspect.

Well, I guess that as we progress in music, and music production, and acquire a deeper understanding of our art, the way we look at things, and our theories about what is wrong, and what is right, what is better, and what is worse, inevitably change.

One thing to keep in mind is that we are all on different journeys. Another thing we must be aware of is just how different our amounts of experience, foresight, practice may be. There is no way that a piano roll can be mandatory for anybody but you. You can not tell me to agree with you, just because this is the way you see it. I don’t agree with you at all, and in five years, you may not even agree with what you have said here. Maybe your perspective will change?

Music is essentially sound, organized in time; we can push and pull that time. In an imperfect moment we connect with our true selves, because at days end we can not find a perfect specimen in our species. There exists no pure human, no straight line carbon based life form.

When we have perfectly spaced drums, we actually have a disconnect to the artform of music.

When you find your keyboard parts a line late, or a line early, try moving the note on the lines… but leaving the delay column alone. It may take you to a whole new level of the way you hear and feel groove.


I have found that setting the lpb up way high, like 16+, more or less fixes the issues I have had, which is simply recording live piano into the tracker is confusing to look at due to rapid notes being on the same line and only a delay value separating them. With low lpb I kept ending up with like a jillion columns because of this. It still bugs me when notes played at the same time are no in order from left to right but that’s pretty minor.

Also you are totally right about my drums, my drums have actually taken a backward step due to some bad habits I developed since I started using trackers. They are too perfect. I haven’t really concentrated on them too hard as of yet though, I’ve been focusing more on writing good melodies.