Delinquencer - A sequencer but with a mind of its own

Delinquencer

A “sequencer” module for Norns but with a mind of its own!

Requirements

  • Norns

Optional

  • A Synth of your choice connected via MIDI

Background

The Delinquencer is my second ever script for the Norns and I wanted to create a sequencer that allowed a music producer to have fun exploring, mangling and generally being inspired by finding sweet spots in a 64 grid of notes. Essentially, the Delinquencer starts out as a simple 64 grid sequencer but then allows you to experiment quickly.

So it’s the Delinquencer feature complete?

Well probably not, I’m sure its missing a feature you think will be vital, but I’ve had to draw the line under the Delinquencer project otherwise it would never see the light of day outside of my Norns Shield.

So what makes the Delinquencer something you should try?
After all it’s not like the world needs yet another sequencer?

Entering notes into a 64 grid and playing them back is usually the end state for most sequencers but for the Delinquencer that’s the starting point. It’s the ability to mangle and alter over time the playback of these notes that makes the Delinquencer different to many other sequencers.

So is Delinquencer a MIDI sequencer?

Well yes, but I also dabbled in SuperCollider and ended up producing a new sound engine. I only added it so I could just have a simple sound during development of the Delinquencer. Trouble is, that took on a life of its own. It’s still simplistic but then this was meant to be a sequencer project not a synth-engine project, but it’s fun to play with.

Mini Manual

Warning: This mini manual is just a list of navigation commands and parameter descriptions, its provided as an aide-mémoire and is not a replacement for the full Delinquencer manual and its walkthroughs. See the link at the bottom for where you can download the manual and your first walkthrough (other walkthroughs and documents coming in the next few days).

Theory of operation

Fundamentally the Delinquencer script turns your Norns into a 1 to 64 notes / cells / steps sequencer that allows you to set the note pitch, length, velocity and probability. You can change the BPM, time divisions The Delinquencer play both sound through its own limited PolySaw engine and/or send MIDI instructions to a connected synth (its intended purpose).

Delinquencer also allows you to change the direction of sequence note play, forward, back, up, down etc., as well as some more interesting ways (spiral, snake, frog, blocks etc.). It also has some note presets to get the 64 grid filled in quickly (to get you exploring rather than laboriously entering notes manually). Delinquencer allows you to transpose the whole grid of 64 notes and quantise the notes to a specific music scale.
If you do want to enter notes manually you can still set the individual pitch, length, probability for each of the 64 steps/cells.

So far nothing new I hear you say …… but ……

Delinquencer allows you to set each cell/step to one of the following four states: On, Rest, Skip and Control. The On, Rest and Skip states are all standard, but where things get interesting is setting a notes state to “Control”. Now you have just handed over control of that cell/step to the Delinquencer. The Delinquencer now decides what happens based on the other settings you make.

The PatterMaker screen makes it easy for you to assign the state to the 64 steps and which cells/steps you are going to give the Delinquencer control over.
So once the Delinquencer has some notes to play with, the fun starts. On the Delinquencer menu page you will see that the 64 grid of notes are displayed and 8 modulation indicators run along the bottom and on the right. The modulation indicators have one of two settings, either On (lit) or Off (un-lit). If the intersecting cell/step at an “On” modifier in a column and row modifiers are both On.

###Navigation and finding your way around
The Delinquencer application consists of four screens: Sequencer, Note Entry, PatterMaker and Delinquencer. You can access these by pressing the [K2] button on your Norns. The four screens loop around as you continue to press the [K2] button, see the Figure below:

Screen 1 - Sequencer

Navigation Controls

  • Encoder 1 - Change BPM
  • Encoder 2 - Menu Item Selection
  • Encoder 3 - Menu Item Value
  • Key 1 - System Menu
  • Key 1*- Reset if Held
  • Key 2 - Next Menu
  • Key 3 - Stop/Start

Settings

  • BPM - Beats per Minute
  • Division - Divs per Beat
  • Loop - Looping Type
  • Scale - Quantised Scale
  • Transpose - Transposition
  • Preset - Patches

Screen 2 - Note Entry

Navigation Controls

  • Encoder 1 - Sequencer Cell Position Selection
  • Encoder 2 - Menu Item Selection
  • Encoder 3 - Menu Item Value
  • Key 1 - System Menu
  • Key 2 - Next Menu
  • Key 3 - Toggle Current Cell

Settings

  • Note : Cell Note Pitch
  • Velocity : Cell Note Velocity
  • Length : Cell Note Length
  • Cell State : On/Off/Rst/Skp
  • Probability: 0-100%
  • Len Notes : Set all Note Lengths

Screen 4 - PatternMaker

Navigation Controls

  • Encoder 1 - Change BPM
  • Encoder 2 - Menu Item Selection
  • Encoder 3 - Menu Item Value
  • Key 1 - System Menu
  • Key 2 - Next Menu
  • Key 3 - Stop/Start

Settings

  • Pattern - Mod Pattern
  • Neutron - On/Off/Rst/Skp/Ctl
  • Proton - On/Off/Rst/Skp/Ctl
  • Mutation - 0-100%

Screen 4 - Delinquencer

Settings

  • Encoder 1 - Select Modifier
  • Encoder 2 - Menu Item Selection
  • Encoder 3 - Menu Item Value
  • Key 1 - System Menu
  • Key 2 - Next Menu
  • Key 3 - Stop/Start

Settings

  • X-Pat - Column Pattern
  • X-Loop - Column Change Freq
  • Y-Pat - Row Pattern
  • Y-Loop - Row Change Freq
  • State - Modifier Setting
  • Preset - Presets to try

User Manual

The Delinquencer User Manual can be found here:
delinquencer-support/Delinquencer Manual V1.0.0.pdf at main · kevinlindley/delinquencer-support · GitHub

Walkthrough Guide #1

The Delinquencer Walkthrough #1 can be found here:
delinquencer-support/Delinquencer Walkthrough #1 V1.0.0.pdf at main · kevinlindley/delinquencer-support · GitHub

Walkthrough Guide #2

The Delinquencer Walkthrough #2 can be found here:
delinquencer-support/Delinquencer Walkthrough #2 V1.0.0.pdf at main · kevinlindley/delinquencer-support · GitHub

Installation

  1. From maiden:
    ;install https://github.com/kevinlindley/delinquencer
  2. Power Off and On to install the new Engine provided.
53 Likes

This looks fun!

Seems like this would lend itself well to a monome grid (128 keys) interface where

  • the left side represents the 64 sequencer cells
  • the right side lets you
    • with one or more sequencer cells held:
      • change cell note/velocity/length/state/probability
    • with no sequencer cells held:
      • four buttons for direct screen change
      • change settings for the current screen
9 Likes

Strange. Good documentation. Thank you :slight_smile:

PS. Also properly crashed my norns (1st time ever), won’t even respond to ICMP pings. Crashing a Linux is impressive in itself. I’ll investigate and report more productively if i can (at this time im not confident to attribute the crash to Delinquencer, but that’s what was running at the time).

PPS. I think it was a combo of norns crashing and network disconnect, hard to believe in crashing the kernel. Anyway, making bleeps again.

3 Likes

Yeah I would love to add support / use a monome grid but I just don’t have the funds at the moment. :frowning:

1 Like

If you have a device that can run TouchOSC, there exist TouchOSC implementations of Grid and Arc.

3 Likes

Hi,

I made a mistake with the link to Walkthrough #1. Its now fixed, if your struggling with the Manual (which is quite dry) the Walkthrough will make half of the Delinquencer understandable, I’m working on the second Walkthrough at the moment, should be released over the weekend / early next week.

2 Likes

A small Maiden error about a missing PNG on script load, on updated Delinquencer.

# script init
Here
Change Patch to :3
display_png: file not found

Edit found it, line 966 of delinquencer.lua points to possibly old name of the script, bitstream. Norns has a variable for the script home directory, _path.this.

Fixed it (sorry no change to provide a pull request right now), and I have to say i like what i see :slight_smile:

2 Likes

Hi Mace,

Well spotted, yes “bitstream” was the prototype name.
I have now fixed the bug and uploaded the fix to GitHub.

Thanks for the clear bug report, allowed me to fix it quickly. Your name now added to the
Bug Fix Reporters List in the script :slight_smile:

Kind Regards
Kevin.

4 Likes

Hi, Just wanted to point out that the default initialisation patch that runs when you start the Delinquencer was trying to show off some of its features. However I appreciate that this is not a great “start point” for either learning or entering in your own project.

So…

If you navigate (press Key 2) till you get to the “Notes Entry” screen and then press and ** HOLD** Key 2 it will “init” the Delinquencer to a simple 8 step pattern.

Kind Regards
Kevin.

2 Likes

As promised, for those that want to go deeper with the Delinquencer here is what you need …

Walkthrough Guide #2

The Delinquencer Walkthrough #2 can be found here:
delinquencer-support/Delinquencer Walkthrough #2 V1.0.0.pdf at main · kevinlindley/delinquencer-support · GitHub

2 Likes

Single A4 Page cheat sheet of the menu structure for finding your way around.

Delinquencer Cheat Sheet

The Delinquencer Cheat Sheet can be found here:
delinquencer-support/Delinquencer Navigation Cheat Sheet - V1.0.0.pdf at main · kevinlindley/delinquencer-support · GitHub

4 Likes

I am unable to send MIDI to either of my connected synths running this script. How might I troubleshoot this? The only output in Matron is

New MIDI Device [3]

New MIDI Device [4]

Is it because it has a mind of its own :wink: Thanks in advance.

1 Like

hey ya @Klindley !
super awesome script!

small problem…
i’m in the same boat as @kcpaul…i can’t seem to get any MIDI out of the script.

Hi kcpaul and SPIKE, I have some time tonight when I finish work and I will investigate fully and come back hopefully with a resolution if I find a problem, or better instructions if it does work but I have failed to explain how to get it working. Thanks for your feedback, appreciated.

It certainly “did work”, but I will clear my Norns and download it from the Git repository to make sure in case some gremlin has crept in the copy I uploaded from what I am running.

Kind Regards
Kevin.

1 Like

OK, Managed to get a bit of time during my lunch hour and from a clean download of the Delinquencer code of GitHub and a synth I hadn’t tried with it before, and it all works fine.

So for my setup I’m using a cheap £5 midi interface off fleaBay and a Behringer Model D.

To get it working I followed these steps:

  1. Made sure my Behringer Model D was listening on Midi Port 1. (Can either be done via a software app or switched on the back, I used software).
  2. Connected my cheap Midi controller cable into the USB port 2 of the NORNS
  3. Connected the Midi out cable to the MIDI In on the Behringer Model D, see below:

  1. Switched everything On, no magic smoke so carried on.
  2. Loaded up the Delinquencer on the Norns
  3. Went into the NORNS System settings and made sure that the USB interface cable had been recognised and was selected in position 2, see below:

pic2

  1. Went into the Delinquencer Parameters Edit, Output option screen and set:
  • Output to be audio + midi
  • Midi out device to 2 (so it matches where I plugged the USB cable into earlier)
  • Selected Midi Out Channel to 1 to match what the Behringer Model D is expecting.

See below:

pic3

  1. Started the Delinquencer sequencer
  2. Cranked up the synth volume and annoyed the neighbours :slight_smile:

Hopefully looking at the pictures and my notes above you should be able to get it working, if not I would suggest trying to get a different Norns app that outputs midi to work first then trying the Delinquencer.

Fingers crossed for you both.

Kind Regards
Kevin.

1 Like

MIDI output works great for me. Not that i understand how on Earth this works haha but it works somehow… on its own¹ :wink: Beautiful script thank you.

¹ should study the docs, which are plentiful and clear i must add

1 Like

LOL, I sometimes get surprised at what happens and what comes out of it, I certainly feel that I’ve lost control of my monster :slight_smile:

1 Like

Hi Kevin. Thanks for your attention. My synths are both connected directly to USB ports on the norns. They are listed as MIDI devices 3 and 4. I send signals to them by selecting them as MIDI outputs in the parameter settings of most scripts, such as awake and flora. What happens if you select the NTS-1 in your setup? Can you send MIDI to that? Because that is exactly what I am trying to do.

Best,
Kevin

Hi, the NTS-1 digital kit entry is a hangover from me connecting one of the Korg NTS-1 synths to it.
Unfortunately I didn’t try the Delinquencer script with it (sold it before Delinquencer came into the world). I think one problem can be if there is a mismatch between the synth being seen as a Midi Device or a Midi Host. Loopop has a great video on this … USB & MIDI: Everything you need to know to get it right (USB MIDI Host vs Interface explained) - YouTube

However, I would expect the Norns to be acting as a host and your synth a device, so that shouldn’t be be an issue and if everything works with another Norns script then all evidence points to there being an issue with the Delinquencer … I’ll try and put some time aside today to compare the midi handling code in awake and the Delinquencer to see if I can see anything.

Kind Regards

Kevin.

P.S. If anyone else is following these posts and has the Delinquencer working with a Synth via MIDI could they post their config please to see if we can spot a trend and come up with a solution for kcpaul and SPIKE.

sorry to report…still no MIDI. :frowning:

i did a few things to troubleshoot…:slight_smile:

  • started with my usual config and tested a couple of other scripts that send MIDI.
  • everything working but no MIDI from Delinquencer.
  • shut down the USB hub and directly connected my MIDI IO directly to norns.
  • removed and added back the MIDI device on norns devices page.
  • relaunched another script to check MIDI TX and everything works
  • launched Delinquencer and no MIDI
  • tested sending a MIDI Panic from Delinquencer to see if anything would register on my synth’s display screen and no luck there either.

here are my norns settings…


hmmmmm…just a second…i’m going to try one more thing…
AH!!!
i think i found the problem!

Delinquencer ONLY sends to MIDI device 2 from norns!

i removed the MIDI IO device from slot 1 on norns and added it to slot 2 on the devices page and BING…started getting noiz from my synth!

can you update the script to TX and RX MIDI on any port?

1 Like