Is there a way to recreate the timing of a lead like this in Renoise?

The lead instrument starting at 00:03 in revontuli | laamaa sounds like it repeatedly triggers notes while speeding up and slowing down (in addition to other things, like pitching up/down and reverse or offset).

I thought I could do this in Renoise, but so far I haven’t had any luck with the timing of the notes. My first thought was to use 0Rx and 0Rxy―but those only work per beat. I don’t know of any way to speed up or slow down notes over several beats in a single track/phrase, at least not how the reference song sounds.

The reference song was created with another tracker (the Dirtywave M8). Are there some simple tracker techniques I’ve missed in Renoise that can also produce this effect?


Cool sound, I wouldn’t want to try to recreate it using pattern commands (though Sample offset command SXX you can trigger a sound in different places & there is also an effect to trigger envelopes at different positions EXX), I think you will have more luck in the modulation tab of the instrument editor. I vaguely remember a thread on a similar IDM modulation envelope retriggering technique from the past, but can’t find it real quick. Not sure if it was created through the TrackDSP tab or in the instrument editor.

I think there was some kind of keyfollow device resetting on every note event to automate different positions in a looped (volume?) envelope. Though it sounds like there are more modulations going on in parallel in the example.


Nice tune.

I quickly made something very similar. Nothing fancy. Just by entering note data with the correct timing. With some velocity data to control the brightness.

This is just a basic idea. Don’t have time to recreate the sound accurately right now. But the timing is there.

Went to 24LPB to have enough resolution at 85BPM to enter the notes. The slowing down effect comes from the timing distance between the notes increasing. Ending in triplets.

Hope this helps you out.

revontuli_laamaa_remake.xrns (235.7 KB)

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offtopic: exploring his pages on his homepage, he has git repo with some renoise projects:

@eretsua i think that OP was referring more to the subtle pitch changes/glides, rather than rhythm


It sounds really nice indeed… I think eretsua pretty much nailed the rhythm, then just automate the attack and add lots of vibrato to a Harp like sound!?


nicely done, @eretsua, that’s definitely a workable approach. Sounds to me like the original track is modulating attack time on the envelope as well, which lends some nice textural variation. I wonder if there is an lfo smoothing function on the M8… That would be an easy way to do it. Sounds like pitch commands in conjunction with the above would do the trick


Cool song. I’ve done a sound kind of like this before, and I didn’t retrigger the note for the effect. I just had a saw-shaped LFO modulating the filter cutoff, then just moved the LFO rate around as the instrument played (This could be automated). You get a sharp attack that repeats semi-organically (not on beat), kind of like the lead in that track.

Quick and dirty example:
revontuli example.xrns (137.4 KB)

I think that lead might use some kind of Karplus-Strong synthesis, which you can recreate using some white noise and the comb filter. Although it could be some sort of FM, which you can’t really do with native DSP.


That’s a neat approach @highway_rehab. To my ears the revontuli sound is a bit more ‘round’ but I think you’re in the ballpark.

I like it how there are different approaches to “solving this puzzle”.

Thanks @slujr and @Garf.

I tweeted at laamaa and pointed to him to this thread. Maybe he’ll share some insights with us.

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Wow! Thanks, everyone—this conversation has really jumpstarted my understanding of a lot of things I didn’t even know I didn’t know about.

@eretsua’s .xrns transcription was brilliant—I hadn’t considered using notes at 24LPB, and the velocity->cutoff modulator was an eye-opener. Examining the project, I was struck by two things:

  • The distances between each note only change at each beat or half-beat
  • 24LPB patterns look like they’d be a nightmare to manage across an entire song

So: I was curious if laamaa was keeping the LPB + retriggers manageable using some sort of automation, as suggested by @Jonas and @highway_rehab (and their own dead-clever .xrns example of modulating the LFO rate).

I lucked out by finding a WIP video of laamaa’s project for that song in the M8 discord. Looking over some screenshots, the note retriggers are indeed modulated independently from the phrases, using tables:

m8 phrase

m8 table.

(The M8 manual documents the sequencer FX commands shown in the screenshots as:

TBL XX      (XX = Table for current instrument)
PSL XX      (Pitch Slide [Portamento], XX = ticks)
AT[1-2] XX  (Envelope Attack, XX = offset time)
PVB XY      (Vibrato, X = speed, Y = depth)
PBN XX      (Pitch Bend, XX = 00–7F: slide up, 80–FF: slide down)
RET XY      (Retrig, X = 0-7: vol dec, 8–F: vol inc, Y = number of ticks)


I’m still catching up with the last 20 years of tracker developments but from what I understand, tables in M8/LSDJ function as reusable mini-sequences that can start from any step, run independently from the main sequence/pattern, and at their own rate (LPB?).

The closest thing I can think of in Renoise terms are instrument phrases, although I’m not sure they can be used to do “articulation” as conveniently as this.


Hi! Saw @eretsua’s message on Twitter and wanted to chime in :slight_smile:

I think there’s plenty of ways to do the timing in Renoise. I’d prefer to use phrases with Rxx (or even better would be to combine both and use phrases AND the 24LPB trick) so it’s possible to easily change notes without affecting the rhythm. I also changed Ticks Per Line to 6 since that’s what I’m used to from oldschool trackers.

I tried to do a quick approximation with a phrase+Rxx and a lfo+macro for controlling the instrument attack. The timing is not probably 100% same since retrigger commands work differently in the M8 and Renoise :stuck_out_tongue: the sound is also different since the M8 uses Karplus-Strong based synthesis instead of samples.

Hope that this helps a little.


@sysex This is a great thread. I’m also learning lots of cool, new ideas.

LPB is an incredibly powerful function inside renoise. It allows for very fine control of the timing of the notes and sample commands. But like you say, it can be a nightmare to work with. So I compose at 12LPB so I can easily do triplets if I want to. And just increase it if I need more fine control.

@laamaa Thanks for sharing! That is a cool approach. I hardly ever use phrases. I freak out when I don’t have an overview of what is playing. But by what you and @highway_rehab showcase I am denying myself a powerful tool. So i’m gonna force myself to experiment with it.

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Phrases are great and extremely powerful and everyone should be using them :slight_smile:

@eretsua if you like 12lpb, more power to you, BUT… there is a great little tool called “place selected notes evenly” that you can set up with hotkeys to create tuplets of whatever variety you want (triplets, quintuplets, etc.) quickly and easily within any n-LPB based pattern. I used to use 24 lpb all the time, but have since switched to 16 LPB (for most projects) since getting this great little tool, and I use triplets and other tuplets all the time

New tool (3.1): Place selected notes evenly

I wanted to add also, that you could do a similar effect (to the OP) on the track (or track group) level using a one-shot LFO controlling filter cutoff, then using the LFO reset button to trigger note events. By automating the filter inertia, you could emulate the attack-smoothing. One advantage of doing it this way (instead of on the instrument level) is that you can use longer samples with complex evolving sounds changing in a rhythmic way over time. If you set up the LFO>filter on a group, you could even have multiple layers of differently effected sounds contributing to the overall rhythmic effect. I’ll post an example

example:LFO_filter.xrns (817.0 KB)

In the above example I’m not trying to strictly emulate the OP example in terms of notes or rhythm or anything, just illustrating the effect on the track level. I’ve used chords from a PadSynth patch that are running through a modulated comb filter before reaching the LFO-controlled filter on the track level. This can easily allow for a more complex sound, if desired. Again, if you put the LFO controlled filter on a group track, you could have really interesting changing rhythmic stabs composed of several underlying timbres with all kinds of control possibilities


@laamaa that helps a LOT. Thanks!

Looking through the .xrns and comparing this (super-compact, 4 LPB) phrase to the M8 table, I notice additional delays on lines 03,11,13, and 15:


I’m assuming these are necessary because you’d mentioned the retrigger commands work differently in M8 and Renoise. My guess is that Rxx stops with its step, but RET retriggers until done or stopped. I’ll try to confirm that with Teensy 4.1 + M8 Headless later.

I’m curious how you’d calculate those delays, but @slujr’s suggestion (New tool (3.1): Place selected notes evenly) looks like it could help there.

(Speaking of M8 headless, @laamaa: thank you for creating m8c! I didn’t realize you were the developer until @dspasic pointed out your GitHub)

+100 ― I’m new to Renoise, and this discussion has probably jump-started my understanding of how to use it effectively by six months.


Just a follow-up to this: this is indeed the difference:

  • On the M8, RET retriggers across steps until it encounters another FX in the same column.
  • In Renoise, Rxy only retriggers during its step, and stops at the next step.
    • (Side note: I’d hoped R00 would repeat the Rxy on the previous step, but that didn’t work)

After considering this, I’m sort of scratching my head as to what Rxy is useful for. Is it just for super-quick buzzes and stutters?

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Pretty much!

Of course, it depends on your bpm and lpb. It can be useful to make phrases at low lpb values if you want more “space” in your Rxy commands, and then just call on those in the pattern editor

FYI ; In renoise there is a difference in sound if you use retrigger effect as RXX in the pattern editor or as RX in the volume and/or panning column. Try it out to hear the difference.