Beyond FM rate LFOs and granular/wavetable synthesis, this would be my top suggestion for what Renoise needs, and I don’t think it would be very hard to implement, either, since it’s basically an organizational feature.
There are many trackers and samplers that already do this. The one that always comes to mind for me is LSDJ, but the YouTuber and musician Andrew Huang has a new mobile sampler-based DAW called Flip which also separates patterns this way.
To put it simply, there’s a place where you create patterns, and then there’s a place where you insert and order the created patterns on a timeline, to structure the song.
A pattern doesn’t migrate from the created patterns area to the “in use” area. It always remains in the created patterns area at all times, but then is linked to or ordered within the “in use” area.
See the video I linked above, or watch an LSDJ tutorial, and you’ll see the benefit of this. Beginning at 5:00 in the video you can see the separation, with one area called “patterns” and one area called “order”.
LSDJ lets you create patterns, and each is given a number, but nothing appears in a song until you go to the song section and input the pattern #s in the order you want.
The separation is useful because that way you can create variations on a pattern, test ideas, sketch optional material, etc, without having them automatically be a part of your song the way Renoise does it. It’s a more logical workflow to be able to test ideas out without committing them to a place within the song right away.
Renoise already has the concept of patterns existing even if they are not in use, because it’s possible to change the pattern # in a slot in the pattern matrix so that a pattern # no longer appears in the matrix. The data is still there and the pattern still exists even without being actively used, however there is no place to actually see this unused pattern or edit it, if it’s not being actively used in the matrix. (This is why there is a “delete unused patterns” option.)
There should be a place to see created patterns, edit them, delete, duplicate, etc, perhaps even give them names, which is separate from the matrix where you actually determine the order of patterns which will create the song.
What would the repository / storage / created patterns area look like? It might be possible to tab between the matrix and this new area, so that the matrix shows the song, and the new area shows a list of all patterns whether in use or not, the pattern #s, optional pattern names, categories such as “intro patterns”, “chorus patterns”, etc, and maybe some further info such as lines in each pattern, which tracks each pattern uses, etc. There would be options to clone, delete, cut, paste, etc, and clicking on a pattern here would open it up in the pattern editor. Then, when you’re ready, you can tab back into the pattern matrix to input the pattern #s in the order you want, and build the song from there.
This would make my workflow easier and I think there’s no reason to not include it, because it would be strictly optional. Anyone who wants to work the old way would just continue to use the pattern matrix. This would simply be a new area to list your unused patterns (and used ones, too, since it displays everything) for the purpose of viewing or editing them, and create new patterns without having them appear in the song automatically, for those who wish to use it.