Is Piano Roll A Fast Way..

Hi everybody,
I’ve tried many times to make music using a piano roll (Cubase, Nuendo, Reason), but I always thought it is very slow. I mean, too many mouse clicks (no MIDI keyboard here…).

So my question is:
Why all professional softwares use a piano roll rather than a tracker view?? Which could be the things I can do with a piano roll that I can’t do with a tracker-like program??

Some people say that piano roll is better for editing notes with keyboard. I don’t think so personally. If only it was possible to enter chords with one hit on the keyboard Renoise’ tracking interface would be the best possible way of editing music for me.

piano roll is good for editing; it doesn’t make much sense without midi-keyboard. get one, it’s a worthy investation.
it also depends on the situation, some things (like chord progressions) are better editable in piano roll, other thing (like beats) work better in tracker way.
also piano roll gives the benefit of being able to quickly move notes around without having to fiddle with note delay values.

A piano roll also looks better, and like computer games going from 2D to 3D, computer interfaces have gone from text to GUI. Cultural expectations mean no going back…

that’s nice. y’know aesthetics are really all you have to worry about when you’re making video games. too bad renoise isn’t a video game. it’s a music making tool which you have to USE. and a good USER interface (UI) should be developed with ideas like “how can i streamline and accelerate productivity for the user in the application i’m designing a program for?” and not “i should use a piano roll because it looks cool.” get with the times, good looking products that don’t work right are soooo 90s. :blink:

oh come on, what a stupid argument. good looking can also mean userfriendly. a pianoroll is visualizing the keys of a keyboard, so it definately makes sense, its only matter of being used to it. alot of people use piano-roll based software, and they certainly dont just because they cant get anything better although it sucks soooo much. the one thing which I think good of for pianorolls is the ability to move notes in the timeline without having to type in delay values or similar.

yeah, precisely… i got started with the pattern interfaces first, and now i can’t live without it :) i guess you need to choose what’s best for you.

but the basic idea of piano roll is older than every computer game … it’s simply the computer aided utilization of old mechanic automated pianos with punch tapes e.g. ;) … notes and notes length are written on paper rolls … or look at a musical box … a little cylinder with the note positions.

piano roll is older than the tracker style … it’s only a simple but complete visualisation of music and notes on computers … i think made from and for musicians … when midi and sequencer were born (and in this time a computer couldn’t display something like truetype-fonts or type1 etc. … and that’s why it were too complicate to display a grafical staff notation!!!)

Still I do prefer the tracker. All in all it’s faster to work with a tracker than with a roll Seq. . It takes time when you press on ‘record’, play notes on your keyboard, go back to your PC and try to edit some details for every note. But if you’re good at playing the piano (I’m not), then the Roll-Seq. can be very useful. Some things like melissima and tremolo need more time to be realized on a tracker sometimes. You have to set up the resolution (more raws per beat) or use delay commands (Dxx). In this case you can play it right into your Roll-Seq…Though I’ve been pessimistic to this, now I’m very excited about the new Renoise with a roll-sequencer. It’ll be probably the only-one-music-software on my PC then.


I started from Fruity Loops, which had a piano roll…

And I will NEVER, EVER use any application with piano roll again.

I think you misunderstand - that wasn’t my view, it was my view of how western culture views a text based interface on the computer versus a GUI in this day and age. People who don’t know any better will go for the GUI, and just assume that it’s better because it looks better. :rolleyes:

I prefer the tracker interface to a piano roll, and can achieve a lot more in a lot less time with it. I switched from a program with high emphasis on aesthetics and modularity (Reason) to one with high emphasis on speed of use and ease of sample mangling (Renoise). You’re preaching to the choir. :)

Indeed. Also, I think the human mind works best when it’s putting things into slots, rather than filling a void with a line of colour. Trackers look scarier to the average layman than they should because they use hexadecimal. You know and I know that they’re really darn simple to use, but most folks don’t get over the initial hurdle of “look how scary that thing looks”, and might go for something flashier (but ultimately a lot less efficient to use).

I have never really like using a pianoroll, but Aero tracker has a great pianoroll, which is very quick, you use it with shift and ctrl keys.

Unfortunatly you can’t really use it because there is no position cursor so you have to play the song from start, and first you have to set the loop points for the correct pattern in the sequencer and that is a pain in tha *** to do. Also that program lacks usability in just about everything.

So I´ll just wait untill Renoise gest a pianoroll :)

Though most pianorolls I used are much slower than a good pattern editor, like the one in Fruityloops, very slow…

But a god pattern editor (like the one in Renoise not like the one in Aero) is a very quick and easy way of editing notes.

Also I think its easier to edit and overview parameters like volume and such with a pattern view.

you migrated from reason to renoise? that’s badass! i wish there were more like you. had you used a tracker beforehand?

or until it puts in 0dxx flags for midi input event offsets <_<

You could try checking “Record Note Delays”…

About the pianoroll vs tracker patterneditor discussion, here is my main view.

I see no reason whatsoever that a pianoroll can’t be made just as efficient
to use with the computer keyboard as the patterneditor. It’s just a matter of
providing the right shortcuts. In fact, some kinds of editing can probably be
even faster in the pianoroll! The major advantage is that it gives a lot better
visual feedback about note pitch relationships. When editing chord progressions
for example, which can be a bit slow to read from the pattern, the pianoroll
gives a view that’s much easier to read and follow.

exactly martinal, and to be honest I really dont want one of those “pianorol sucks, dont do this or I stop using renoise”-discussions (altough I know its too late for that wish, we are in one right now.) so lets just say it again : the pianoroll will be an addon which no one has to use, it will not replace the tracker-view and if renoise team does it well you wont even have to see it once, except for the rare occasion that you might click on the wrong button, and if you do throw up then because of taking a glimpse at a pianoroll, then I feel really sorry for you. I do.

it would be free/modular signal routing that really would make it 3rd generation if you ask me… anyway, piano roll will be a nice thing if it won’t be limited by tracker style compability.

like Texas faggott saays:


i don’t have a problem with a piano roll option in the program. here’s my general philosophy (drawn in crayon so you can’t misread it and layer it with nonexitent coats of “bad vibes”) on options:

more options = good

i thought he was saying he likes the piano roll better because it looks better and therefore is more modern.

but he wasn’t.

it’s ok.

“we” are not in one of those “pianorol sucks, don’t do this or I stop using renoise”-discussions.

smoke a joint and chill out. ok?

good idea! :D