Welcome to Renoise. This introduction will familiarise you with the main components of the Renoise interface and explain their basic function.
Main Screen Overview
Renoise is significantly different from most other music creation packages and consequently it also looks different. When you load Renoise for the first time you will be presented with something similar to this:
Now we will briefly go through the main areas of the Renoise interface. Note the links in red, which you can click on for more detailed information about the various components.
Upper Status Bar
Located at the very top of the interface is the Upper Status Bar.
The left section of the status bar offers a variety of menu options. To the right of this is a VU meter showing the current master volume level, the MIDI controls (MIDI Mapping button, MIDI I/O LEDs), Song Timer and the current CPU usage.
Global Song Control
Just below the Upper Status Bar on the left-hand side are the basic Transport Panel controls.
From here you can start/stop the song and access basic editing features such as Edit Mode (record) and the metronome.
Loading/Saving Files & Song Visualisation
To the right of the transport panel are the Disk Browser and Scopes.
Using the Disk Browser you can load or save songs, instruments, samples, DSP chains and skins/themes. Upon first loading Renoise you will see a list of demo songs here. Double click on a song to load it, then press play to see and hear Renoise in action.
The various Scopes help you to visually analyse the song. Switch between the Scopes and Disk Browser using the four tabs located above this area.
To the right of the Disk Browser / Scopes area is the Instrument Selector.
The Instrument Selector allows you to choose the instrument that you wish to play or record with, using either the computer keyboard or an external MIDI keyboard. Also, VST/AU or external MIDI instruments will appear in this section when they are loaded.
Directly above the Instrument Selector are a series of buttons that are used to affect the GUI.
A set of eight global preset buttons are used to switch between various sections of the interface and are accessed by either clicking on them or pressing F1 - F8 on the keyboard. Renoise comes with eight presets already stored by default. To the right of this are two buttons which show/hide the upper or lower sections of the interface and the full screen button, which fully covers the desktop.
Located at the far left of the screen is the Pattern Sequencer.
Renoise uses a sequence of patterns to arrange the structure of a song and the Pattern Sequencer is used to create, copy and organise your patterns.
To the right of the Pattern Sequencer and occupying the main central space is the Pattern Editor.
This is the main tool for composing and editing within Renoise. Although it may look intimidating to beginners, the method of adding/recording notes into tracks using the Pattern Editor is actually incredibly simple.
Beneath the central area is the panel for Track DSPs:
This displays and controls all of the effects that are being applied to the current track (the track which the cursor is in). Besides the typical DSP effects (Renoise/VST/AU/LADSPA) you can also assign routing devices to send/receive audio, and meta devices such as LFOs that do not affect audio, but are instead used to alter parameters and automation.
Lower Status Bar
Finally, at the very bottom is the Lower Status Bar.
At significant points, Renoise will display information regarding its status and current operations here. If you wish to see the Tip of the Day dialog box again, click on the Renoise logo at the right.
Guide Yourself Through the Interface: Tooltips
As you are using Renoise watch out for Tooltips, which can be seen by hovering the mouse pointer over a button or part of the interface for a second. Almost every button in Renoise will provide you with a small tip about its function.
Renoise Work-flow: Learning the Keys
While Renoise supports drag'n'drop and mouse gestures, it is primarily a keyboard-based application. As such, there are keyboard shortcuts for practically every function. To view the available shortcuts, select "Help->List Keyboard Shortcuts..." from the Upper Status Bar. If you are interested in a shortcut specific to an interface area, you can right-click to open a context menu. Finally, the keyboard shortcuts can also be customised in the "Edit->Preferences->Keys" menu.
A list of most important shortcuts can also be found in the Keyboard Shortcuts section in this manual.