Vim-like command mode for easy navigation

I spend at least as much time navigating and editing tracks as I do inserting notes. I think it would be nice to be able to use the computer keyboard keys (A-Z) in a command mode, as in VIM. For example:

ESC switch to command mode  
#(NAV) repeat navigation # times  
hjkl navigation keys  
w jump to next note  
b jump to prev note  
m(ABC) set mark to (ABC)  
'(ABC) jump to mark (ABC) '  
gg goto top  
G goto bottom  
#g goto line #  
i,a switch to record mode  
q switch to play mode (play keyboard without editing)  
x delete under cursor  
r replace under cursor  
y(NAV) copy in direction (NAV)  
yy copy line  
p paste  
d(NAV) delete in direction (NAV)  
dd delete line  
u undo  

Even if not all of these are implementable, I think just the ability to make your own custom keybindings using A-Z keys could still be very powerful. I wonder, would this be possible to do with LUA scripting? I know that Marks has already implemented pattern jumping, but I haven’t found anything else.


I like the idea. Was thinking about this myself already :slight_smile:
Not sure if this is possible with the API, though. You might want to look this up in the documentation.

Oh dear, there’s gold burried in this idea…

As a webdeveloper I use something called Emmet to help ease the pain of writing CSS/HTML, there you have Abbreviations where you write a short line of code and enter tab, then it translates that line into plain CSS/HTML like this example:

#page>div.logo+ul#navigation>li*5>a{Item $}  

is transformed into:



- Item 1
- Item 2
- Item 3
- Item 4
- Item 5


So you could write a chord with volume, panning and other commands on one line, then tab and it translates that.
I know a tracker is almost already like that, but it could be speed up a bit with something like this as you don’t have to expand fx columns for example or add more columns.

Binding “normal” (non-modifier, keyboard-piano) keys is doable now, but requires that the keys are catched into a separate GUI. So one should bring up a GUI, focus it - after which all keypresses go through the tool. The downside is that all renoise native keybinds except the ones under “Global” context are ignored. So pattern editor navigation for example would not be “active”.

So… doable but tricky.

Yes, this is an awesome idea, +INF, and totally doable. Especially then having for one beat down, 4 beats down (1 bar), everything in between… might be nice!

can I add

v start selection  
V start pattern or groupwide selection  

and of course the tool would maybe make available new key commands for transpose, but, a tool’s kb callback function can also ‘return’ a key to renoise. The biggest problem would be the rt playback of notes.

You can create Lua scripts that respond to keyboard shortcuts that you also can add to the large list of keyboard shortcuts in Renoise, though the more advanced functions are not really possible without a pop-up dialog and an input field to fill in if you want to have something like y(NAV) executed.
Btw:“jump to next/previous note” have existing shortcuts: ctrl/cmd+shift +pgUp/Prior and pgDown/Next

I’m glad so many people support this idea!

This is a cool idea too, sounds even trickier to implement though! Something for another tool?

Great ideas! It might be good to assign some keys to 25% pattern length, 50% pattern length, lpb, and/or edit step and use those as navigation keys as well. I’d have to think more about that. Of course, in theory the keys would be completely user-modifiable anyway, with the basic framework allowing you to assign custom keybindings. As for start selection, since the start selection key already exists in Renoise, I think that would be no problem!

Interesting. So could you keep the focus on the GUI but keep the GUI hidden? Would it be possible to “copy” all the Pattern Editor keybinds? Sounds like it could really interrupt your workflow when switching constantly between pattern editor, sample editor, etc. Hmm.

Yeah, things like y(NAV) would be for a future version…the main thing would be to first get a basic framework going that allows you to use keyboard-piano keys as shortcuts.

So apparently this is currently only doable with a GUI?

No, things like y(NAV) are only doable with a gui. All other direct shortcut options can be controlled with a script.
Inspect Paketti for a closer idea of what i was aiming at:

BUT you can’t bind the other direct shortcut options into non-modifier keys that are reserved for computer keyboard-piano. Without a tool gui I mean.

Exactly, one-letter commands are only doable if they are 1, a, 4, f, 8, k, -, or '. And I’ve already set most of those.

Well, if you don’t want to work with GUI interfaces, you would need to set up timer functions and attach functions to multiple key presses (morse decoder: ctrl+q two times within one second is function x, ctrl+q once is function y, this way you can assign multiple functions to the same key-combo)
I simulated alt-/shift- and ctrl-click for certain buttons the same way (using timers) in epic arpeggiator 3.0, only now you use it for key shortcuts only.

I’m here to bump this bad boy. Was working on a tool that did this via a small dialog window, but I’d still love to have this sort of thing available without the window.

1 Like

bump, that is indeed a gorgeous idea. just vim shortcuts please please! share your scripts, people are ready to test it and feed back.

1 Like

hey, if somebody will look for the answer, here it is for me:

Karabiner Elements with macos Ultimate config file

CapsLock will be hyperkey and all Vim keys including advanced deletion nm,. works like charm.
and yes, Paketti is still great tool.

I use vi keybindings in hackeytracky and wish I could in renoise. If I remember correctly, some keybindings are “baked into” renoise, and can’t be remapped. This was a long time ago so things could be different.

+1 For command mode - edit mode difference to be able to use keyboard keys directly as shortcuts. Whether it will be Vim shortcuts or some remapping - double mapping of existing key bindings, that I’m not sure. But this looks like a very good idea.

1 Like

I think you can remap everything now, but haven’t tested thoroughly… maybe not the piano keys?

Yeah, I think that may have been the issue (tried this a long time ago). Some of the core vi movement keys are also piano/note input keys.

VI is for very advanced computer user…And I’m not

Niche target

But a forum is made to let some perspectives grow,and also talking with other “In phase” persons


Excellent forum

maybe it’s time to shill my long-dormant vi emulation tool:

so far it has the basic movement commands and some limited editing. it can take a count and then will repeat the command the requested number of times, as in vi/vim (eg. 12j, will jump 12 lines down the screen). been planning to add more commands but time and interest have been limited.
annoying thing is that the tool sub-window must be open to use the ‘vi’ commands, but it can be mapped to a key shortcut, so it’s not too bad. ‘i’ will enter ‘insert’ (aka edit) mode when the window is open, so it’s kind of a modal editor layer.

i’ll create a proper thread for it later. code is also a bit messy. but for now, if you know what to do, clone away.