I’ve begun planning a new tool.
More details will emerge over time, but I thought I’d try something new and open up the whole planning/thinking process behind it.
So this is basically a post which tries to formulate the problem I’m trying to solve.
Renoise has this freedom which allows you to place instruments all over the place.
And I use this creatively myself - checking out how instrument A sounds like in track B, etc.
But it’s also unforgiving if you then put the wrong note in the wrong place (two different tracks at the same time), while using plugins or instruments with effects
(in case you don’t know - this can result in all manner of audible glitches as the audio is switching between those tracks)
So, the purpose of the tool is to impose a “soft” set of rules that still allows creative use of tracks, but also promotes a more disciplined approach.
And also-also, to give us some options for fixing those chaotic songs with instruments all over the place…
HOW IT COULD WORK
So far, I’ve been thinking about the following features:
[A] Associate an instrument with a specific track (strictest rule possible)
[B] Allow an instrument to be placed in any track (less strict)
In both cases, the tool would moan if you tried to enter a different instrument into the track - only a single instrument per (pattern-)track should be allowed, once you have established an association.
Also, if you had chosen [B], the tool should still detect if the instrument was placed on multiple tracks_at the same time._This may or may not be desirable (did you establish multi-track routing? - do the routed tracks match with what is entered in the pattern?)
The tool should try to make educated guesses before asking you. This involves :
the available routing information in the plugin, sample-instrument [likely instrument -> track connection]
instr. automation / macro devices [likely track -> instrument connection]
But in cases of doubt the tool should always ask you for the correct action to take.
- Assign colors to instruments, and use this to colorize (pattern-)tracks that feature these instruments
- Use the available information (the association you’ve created) to create a semi or fully-automatic track/instrument navigation
For example, if you’ve linked instrument A to track B, then the simply act of select the instrument could focus the associated track.
And the same would be true if you navigated to track B - then it could select instrument A.
This is obviously something that needs to be optional - a manual “capture” would make sense here as a secondary option.
This is the tricky part - when track XYZ contains “invalid” instruments, what should be done?
[Keep] - obviously, it should be possible to just keep the notes as they are.
[Clear] - or you could simply get rid of them
[Cut] - or create a clipboard entry containing just the “invalid” ones, which could then be (mix-)pasted somewhere else
So, the “cut” feature instead encourages you (the user) to figure out where things should go.
This is a nice alternative to automatically detecting/splitting/distributing instruments (which is oftennot doing what you want anyway…)
- The tool should sniff around in the background, and monitor things written to the pattern.But it shouldn’t actively mess with the user input - instead, be purely “reactive” and prompt the user when in doubt (when the rules you’ve set up are not sufficient)
- Running in the background means that it needs to be light-weight - I’m planning on using this all the time, also in combination with other tools.
- Should be completely keyboard driven, if possible
For those out there who thinks this sounds like a great idea, here are a few existing tools that are somehow doingsimilarthings.
“Auto-Capture Instrument From First Note” by Ledger
“Capture Track From Instrument” by joule
“Split Into Separate Tracks” by fladd
“Voice Runner” by yours truly (sort notes based on pitch, and more.)