Pattern Editor

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Pattern Editor

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The Pattern Editor is the main editor used to create music in Renoise and is opened with the Edit tab at the top left of the interface. Instruments are recorded by entering notes onto lines in the order that they are to be played, from top to bottom. This done with the Tracker Interface, so if you're unfamiliar with this method of working, you should read through that section of the manual before continuing here.

A pattern can contain multiple tracks, typically one for each different instrument and each with their own separate set of effects. Songs are created by arranging a sequence of patterns with the Pattern Sequencer and the Pattern Matrix. So, a pattern is normally used to represent a specific section of a song that may be repeated again in future. The length and speed of a pattern can be changed, so the exact nature of a specific pattern can vary wildly depending on the whims of the composer.

You may find it useful to watch a video about the various track types.

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Track Types

There are four different types of track in the Renoise Pattern Editor:


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These standard tracks are where you record notes onto the lines of a Note Column. Each track also features Effect Columns, which are used to apply Effect Commands to instruments and to control Track Effects.

Group Tracks

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Used to group together similar Tracks, such as all percussion, all synths etc. The child tracks have their output automatically routed through the parent track, though you can change this with the Pre Mixer. This means that Track Effects, Automation and Effect Commands used in the Group Track will affect the audio coming from the regular Tracks contained within it. Notes cannot be entered into Group Tracks and so they only feature Master FX columns.

Send Tracks

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Send Tracks are fed audio from other tracks using Send Devices and are typically used to apply the same set of Track Effects to multiple tracks at once, though there is a whole range of possibilities for creatively complex routing. Notes cannot be entered into Send Tracks and so they only feature Master FX columns.

You may find it useful to watch our video covering the subject of Send Tracks & Devices.

Master Track

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The Master Track is where all audio produced by the other tracks finally ends up. Effects placed on the Master Track will therefore affect the output of the entire song. Notes cannot be entered into the Master Track and so it only features Master FX columns.

The Post-mixer device in the Master Track also has a few extra options.

Organising Tracks

Any track can be renamed by double-clicking on its name and typing in a new one. This is also true for Note Columns.

To add or remove tracks, you can use the "Edit->Insert Track" (Left Control/Command + T) and "Edit->Delete Track" (Left Control/Command + Left Shift + T) commands from the menu in the Upper Status Bar. If the currently selected track is a regular Track, then a new Track will be added to the right of it. If the currently selected track is a Send Track or the Master Track, then another Send Track will be added.

To add a group track, use the "Edit->Insert Group" (Left Control/Command + G) command or drag one track onto another while holding down Alt. This will create a new group and add both tracks to it.

To reposition a track, click on its name, hold the button down and drag the track to either side. This can be done in both the Pattern Editor and the Mixer. You can also move tracks by using the Ctrl/Command + Alt + Left/Right shortcuts.

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To duplicate tracks, you can use the "Edit->Duplicate Track" (Left Control/Command + D) command from the menu in the Upper Status Bar.

Collapsing Tracks

To collapse a track, press the small arrow to the left of the track's name. This just hides most of its information; the track will still play as normal. You can collapse a Group of tracks in the same way and also collapse the Group's Master FX column using the arrow to the right of its name.

Using Single Track Edit Mode will cause all of the tracks and groups to collapse, except for the track that the cursor is currently in. Moving the cursor to other tracks while in this mode will automatically expand those tracks and collapse the one you were previously in.

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Changing Track Colors

To change the color of a track, left-click on the color slot above the track name. Using the color picker you can move around the grid to choose a color, while the left-hand slider controls the saturation value. You can also pick colors from the available swatches or right click on a swatch to save the current color to it. The "Background Blend" slider controls the amount of color present in the track's background. Enabling "Apply to all tracks" will apply the slider value to all of the tracks at once.

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Pattern Editor Control Panel

At the bottom of the Pattern Editor is the control panel:

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  • Single Track Edit Mode: When enabled, all tracks will be collapsed except for the currently selected track.
  • Pattern Wrap Mode: Toggle what will happen upon reaching the end of a pattern when entering notes step-by-step in Edit Mode. When enabled, the cursor will move to the top of the next pattern in the sequence. When disabled, the cursor will move back to the top of the current pattern.
  • Pattern Automation Recording Mode: When enabled, right-clicked and MIDI mapped parameters are recorded into Automation instead of the track's Master FX Column.
  • Quantize Controls: Toggle live quantization. The value box to the right specifies the quantization value in lines. Use the drop down menu next to the value box to manually quantize a selected area of the current pattern after recording.
  • Edit Step: Set how many lines the cursor will skip down in the Pattern Editor when entering a note or effect.
  • Vol/Pan/Dly/FX: Toggle the volume, panning, delay and Local FX sub-columns for the currently selected track.
  • FX Dropdown Menu: Quickly show and insert Effect Commands.

Editing and Navigating in Patterns

Before anything can be recorded into the Pattern Editor, Edit Mode needs to be enabled, which is done by either pressing the "ESC" key or the record button in the Transport Panel.

Basic Shortcuts

Moving the cursor around in the Pattern Editor can done with the arrow keys. The Page Up/Down buttons will move the cursor up and down 16 lines at a time. To quickly jump to the next note column press "TAB", while "Left Shift + TAB" will jump back to the previous note column. "F9", "F10", "F11" and "F12" will move to the beginning, first quarter, half, last quarter of the pattern, respectively. Hit "End" to skip to the last note in a pattern.

To select an area in the Pattern Editor, hold down the "Left Shift" key while moving around with the arrow keys. This can also be done by left-clicking and dragging with the mouse. The selection can also be cut, copied and pasted using the standard keys: "Left Control/Command + X (Cut), C (Copy), V (Paste)".

A selection can also be made by starting with "Left Control/Command + B" and ending with "Left Control/Command + E".

Column/Track/Selection/Pattern Shortcuts

To quickly edit, copy and paste in the Pattern Editor:

  • F1 + MODIFIER: Transpose one note down
  • F2 + MODIFIER: Transpose one note up
  • F3 + MODIFIER: Cut
  • F4 + MODIFIER: Copy
  • F5 + MODIFIER: Paste
  • F6 + MODIFIER: Flip
  • F11 + MODIFIER: Transpose one octave down
  • F12 + MODIFIER: Transpose one octave up

Where MODIFIER is:

  • Left ALT: Selection in the Pattern
  • Left CONTROL/COMMAND + SHIFT: Current Column
  • Left SHIFT: Current Track
  • Left SHIFT + ALT: Current Group
  • Left CONTROL/COMMAND: Whole Pattern

Drag & Drop of Selections

You can also use the mouse to quickly move and copy a selection of notes or effects. First, mark an area in the pattern by left-clicking and dragging, then re-click and hold on the selected area and drag the selection to a new position. Holding down the "Left Control/Command" key while dropping will copy the selection instead of moving it.

Recording of Notes into Patterns

Instead of editing notes step by step, you can also record "live". This is done by playing the song with Edit Mode enabled and recording the notes using the keyboard. For a more detailed description, have a look at the Recording and Editing Notes section.

Recording of Effects

To quickly record Effect parameter changes into a pattern, click and drag any slider in the Track Effects panel with the right mouse button. This can also be done as the song is playing.

Applying Effects

Finally, to get a full list and detailed description of the effects available for use in the Effect Columns, take a look at Effect Commands section of the manual.