Osx, Vst's, & Slowly Learning

Hey forum,

I’m using 2.0, and I’m relatively new to trackers. I’ve dabbled with the demo of renoise a few years ago, but my friend bought me 2.0 and I’ve decided to really get into tracking. Electronic composition isn’t very new to me since I’ve used Cool Edit on Windows, with samples. But composing everything from scratch, and just learning music theory and structure in general is very different and very cool to me. Not to say it isn’t a difficult thing to learn though… Especially since I don’t know much about music theory or PROGRAMMING! So I do have a lot of questions, but I’ll try to get my main frustrations out first.

  1. I am on a macbook! I’m a newbie when it comes to audio hardware. I used to have a PC with a Creative Live Drive (with audio in’s), so my first question is: How on earth could I even use any hardware with the laptop? Is the macbook a poor choice for composing music? I’m learning that the lack of a mouse, and the laptop keyboard are an issue already. Not like I have any money to buy anything new anyway…

  2. Music theory. I’ve been into music my whole life. Especially electronic music, jazz, funk, soul, and world music. Another obstacle for me is that I know very little of how to actually compose music. It was easy to use samples in a multi-track editor like cool edit’s, but I’m having quite a time (a nice time) learning about the mechanics of composing. Is there any source for learning about different genres and styles, and what makes them that way musically? Like how/where could I learn about time signatures, rhythm, and the other technical aspects of music? I’d like to create some future jazz, or some latin rhythms… but I really don’t even know about time signatures, or how to structure songs like that.

  3. VST’s. I’ve been using instrument samples so far, so I havn’t even dabbled with the VST’s. What are VST’s exactly? What pros/cons do they have over samples?

  4. And a question thats been bothering me since I got renoise… Say… in an acid song. You know when the pattern kinda shifts it’s cutoff over time… how do you do that sort of thing in renoise? Is that what automation is?


1: MacBook is surely one of the most chosen pieces of hardware by electronic musician, but it’s not my choice so I can’t say more than you can definitely use a MacBook in otder to make music with Renoise. Mac users in this forum can surely lead you better than me.

2: I really don’t know… when I started using trackers (1993), I was just like you: no theory, no programming abilities. Now lots of things have changed, but I still compose music with no thoery knowledges :)

3: check out this or this

4: yes, this can be done with automation, check out this or, if you are using a sample based instrument (not VST), you can use the Instrument Editor to apply a filter to an instrument.

  1. you got the right tool. When I first got my macbook i thought i needed a mouse… but now i never use it unless i am gaming. I just got used to the trackpad, i can even do it with my left hand. Plus being that you are on a superior tracking program, you don’t need the mouse as much as you would with a sucky sequencer like logic.

  2. dont know about jazz or latin stuff. But if you listen to a genre enough then it should just come naturally when you are in the act of composing.

  3. the easiest vst (and one of my favorites) I have come across so far is : Circle vst by future audio workshop.

  4. what he said.

  5. don’t get too lost in theory and technicalities for now, just play around and enjoy!

Thank you! I really appreciate your advice. Yeah, renoise is hella overwhelming, but like anything you just have to do it, learn it, and eventually know it. Making music is the one TRUE freedom humans have, either it be singing, clapping, or digitally tracking.