Approaching: norns

Thanks for the response. Unfortunately they are not mentioning push as far as I’ve seen.
I’m pretty new to norns, so I don’t fully get how could I adapt it.

No, it was a bit more involved than I expected, sorry.

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how can i remove the startup sound? thanks

One of Ezra’s Norns livestreams showed this – I think it was just a matter of commenting out this line:


I hope this is the right place to ask this. There’s a lot of Norns threads. It’s clear that Norns can do a lot, but am I correct in thinking that a majority of Norns scripts seem designed to render ‘pretty’ sounding results? I love a lot of that stuff, but I’m curious whether that just happens to be the stuff that shows up on Instagram and YouTube, or if there is a Norns culture that prioritizes prettiness as an aesthetic.

I’m interested in diving in, but I’m wondering how diverse the array of existing scripts is. I hope this doesn’t come across as a criticism. Tons of what I’ve heard sounds amazing.


ha - I’m thinking most people here are gonna give you the answer you might already be expecting: norns is what you make of it

sway, Benjolis, & Haven, are probably a little different that most of what might be seen on the tube, and ultimately, most of the popular scripts just manipulate the sound input, so if you throw some death metal samples into mlr you’ll be into fairly different territory that the soft focus house plant aesthetic.

&&& -> right now on the back end norns runs supercollider. we haven’t explored it quite too far yet but any supercollider patch out there can be turned into a norns patch with some refactoring and lua coding. lots of non-ambient styles in that world ! sway is one example of this

regardless, i’d recommend checking out the list of scripts before deciding to buy. link below !


Good point! Norns has plenty of samplers and live loopers which is what you feed them with. I’m not sure yet whether softcut is kind of directional or not…

I’ve been playing around with some… uh… noisy Norns engines here the past few days:

ENC1 - volume
ENC2 - chaotic param X
ENC3 - chaotic param Y
KEY2 - randomize chaotic param X
KEY3 - randomize chaotic param Y

sounds wicked. thank you for sharing :pray:

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Writing code because I can’t play the guitar

Very much a work in progress. It’s for an album project I’m working on


this is great! i’ve always enjoyed this sort of two-handed instrument— grid + keyboard.

also automatic dungeonsynth :gem:


I was wondering if it was possible to use FX scripts (e.g. pedalboards, phyllis, etc.) with TAPE. for example I want to play a long drone and then use pedalboards for small changes in a live show.

thanks for any useful answer:)

I was wondering if there were any studies or script examples exploring micro-tuning or different intonations? I’m pretty new to norns so sorry if its an obvious question.

at the moment there is no route from TAPE back to supercollider. (nor from softcut to SC.) might add this in future update. (feedback is a danger in second case.)

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i guess the TL/DR is: no, there has been no specific effort to make microtonal studies. but on the other hand there are many norns users who use the device to make microtonal music.

most the synthesis engines you’ll find on norns have been consciously designed to support arbitrary frequency input.

that said, most scripts just use a default midi-12tet conversion. there have been a couple different scala parsers written. here is a microtonal sequencer that understands scala files:

and it is easy to make things that explicitly work with ratios. here is a drone machine that builds up sinewaves as JI ratios, optionally against live-captured fundamental pitches

this uses (a local copy of) the built in JI scale library on norns:

(i find that a dense JI gamut is helpful for more than just scales - for example, timing / loop division knobs.)

one thing on my list of things to do for norns, is add a scala parser and intonation library at the system level, as a drop-in alternative to midi->12tet conversion, so that most scripts that work with midi notes can easily be adjusted to arbitrary tunings.


Oh great, thanks for the quick response. I’ll take a look at those scripts, very exciting!

An intonation library on a system level would be really amazing! Looking forward to it.

If you do end up looking at Fretwork, let me know if you have any questions about it, since it’s probably all pretty opaque. There’s a separate branch where I’ve been working on a tool for editing scales on the fly (most of that functionality is only accessible through the Lua REPL right now, but I have plans to make it controllable by USB keyboard – in fact the numpad I ordered for this purpose just arrived this morning…)

Also, as part of the scale editor, I wrote this library for manipulating & displaying JI ratios, including translating them to/from Ben Johnston’s notation:


I was using it quite a bit. Really interesting, I like it a lot. I didnt find it that opaque tbh, its generally pretty clear I think, particularly cause of your description of the script on github.

I have the DIY norns shield and it crashed a couple of times while using Fretwork. Not too sure why but at one stage after a crash supercollider wouldn’t start on norns and I had to reset.
Apart from that I ended up playing it in a sort of a weird way where I would set up a sequence then cycle through scala files in the parameters menu that I made using the sevish scale workshop, sort of treating the tuning systems as sudo-chords widening in pitch. It ended up sounding pretty interesting but I guess its a pretty weird way of using fretwork.

I’ll take a look at the scale editor, thanks for the recommendation.

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Glad to hear you’re using it, and I like the approach of loading different scales – I’m sure the UI for that is hardly ideal, and it would be pretty interesting to be able to choose a set of scales and switch between them using the grid… hmm…

But I’m super sorry about the crashes. If that keeps happening and you notice any pattern to it, please let me know, especially if you find a way to reliably crash it. I only have a factory Norns, so I haven’t tried it on a shield, but as far as I know they should be equally computationally capable. It sounds like you’re using it with PolySub and not Crow or MIDI, right? Is your we library up to date? Before April there was a minor bug in PolySub that could sometimes cause brief audio drop-outs, but I don’t think it would have crashed anything.

Yeah, I’m really enjoying the script. Still getting my head around lua and supercollider (I’m used to using pd and max). I haven’t found a way to reliably crash it consistently yet but I’ll keep on it.

Yeah, I’m using Polysub, but I tried it with the digtone too and it worked really well with it. Yeah, the we library is up to date. I’ll try to get a consistent crash and get back to you.

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