norns: clock

link allows sending sync data from a single node to the network, but it’s not yet implemented in the norns API. but even with a working implementation it will still require some manual adaptation of the scripts for the use-case you described:

1 Like

I would like to add my vote to the general call for “clocks”. Tighter more reliable clocking across the board would make Norns so much more playable in less experimental contexts. Cheat codes with a start/stop/reset function would be a dream.


I’m seeing some very strange behavior when sending MIDI clock to my norns (201202)

tl;dr: norns system clock works fine, except when being driven by external device’s MIDI over USB. But, when being driven by external MIDI, the clock will be wildly out of time. Sometimes with consistent scaling, sometimes with random drift… kinda hard to pin down. Doesn’t matter which external device (Logic Pro X, Hermod).

I’ve tried it with a few different scripts: Awake, Cyrene, and Foulplay.

With Foulplay:

  • Start playback
  • Start sending in external clock messages
  • Fouplay suddenly speeds up drastically (often up to 2x)

With Awake:

  • Start playback (easiest to notice if there’s only one note per loop, and a short loop length)
  • Will randomly drop beats

With Cyrene:

  • Tempo is roughly steady but approximately 14% faster

Has anyone else seen similar behavior? It’s driving me bananas

It seems relatively similar to Crow/norns/clock question but Crow isn’t connected in any of these test cases. I’ve also tried completely removing all references to Crow from Cyrene and that doesn’t help


I find it syncs to clock ok (I’m sending from an MPC X) but I’m finding that none of the scripts (tried Awake, Meadowphysics midi, Buoys and Arcologies) seem to reset with midi stop/start which makes syncing not great. Anyone know whether these scripts should restart?

1 Like

Ive experienced lots of clocking issues, mostly with crow. For me what the biggest issue is some clock pulses get skipped which messes up timing and no start/stop or reset makes it very difficult to properly sync with my modular or midi gear.

Id ideally like to see a more stable global clock system with start/stop and reset.

1 Like

I think this is the same issue I have been dealing with here: Crow/norns/clock question

1 Like

woof, thanks for the bump. setting some time aside today to try and build the world’s most solid repro cases :slight_smile:


ok, here’s some MIDI clock testing. if anyone can verify they’re experiencing the same on their unique hardware, that would be very dope.

test case 1: incoming MIDI clock

load script and run with maiden open: test_case_1-midi.lua (213 Bytes)


  • connect to maiden
  • attach a MIDI clock source to norns
  • nav to EDIT > CLOCK and choose midi
  • ensure the tempo displayed matches the expected tempo
  • run the script

script details:

  • script starts by truncating the current clock beat number and assigning it to a variable count
  • a coroutine is established
  • the coroutine uses clock.sync(1) to sync to each beat
  • each beat increments the count variable by 1
  • each beat prints the current beat number
  • in theory, these two values should remain the same (understanding that the printed clock beat might be +0.00x ahead)

expected results: in the repl, the integer of the left value (clock beat) matches the right value (count)

control: I ran this script with internal clock and got the following expected output (tested for 500 beats)

2990.0006277402	2990
2991.0005184111	2991
2992.0001214273	2992
2993.0006991944	2993
2994.0003110648	2994
2995.0003726984	2995
2996.0004916714	2996
2997.000117394	2997
2998.000491057	2998
2999.0001529897	2999
3000.0003470107	3000
3001.0005175358	3001
3002.000120727	3002
3003.0002333857	3003
3004.0004611609	3004
3005.0004396816	3005

actual results: clock steps are somehow double-tapping, which double-increments the count value

1181.0002472464	1181
1182.000157767	1182
1183.0018666615	1183
1183.9966417216	1184
1184.0018485279	1185
1185.0002404991	1186
1186.0002296293	1187
1187.0005070127	1188
1188.0003569899	1189
1189.000229808	1190
1190.0024096313	1191
1190.9967660519	1192
1191.0018336364	1193
1192.0001773595	1194
1193.0008779371	1195
1194.0000049084	1196
1195.0005623592	1197
1196.0002397995	1198


  • if a script uses a coroutine to advance a counter to determine a 16-beat bar, then the counter would hit 16 beats at the 14th beat
  • if a script is just simply re-triggering a synth voice on a steady pulse, the voice is re-triggered and sounds accented

Hi. Norns shield.

test case 1: incoming MIDI clock

control: internal clock is fine at 130bpm

control data
64.000498784	64
65.001215816333	65
66.000731702833	66
67.000696154333	67
68.000727074833	68
69.001187489333	69
70.000920833333	70
71.000677759333	71
72.000930878	72
73.000338654333	73
74.0013128635	74
75.000600799333	75
76.0007706335	76
77.000330754667	77
78.000923654333	78
79.000335833333	79
80.000931779333	80
81.0010387585	81
82.000322066333	82
83.0006537245	83
84.0011196705	84
85.000334817167	85
86.000709921333	86
87.0003406845	87
88.000933020833	88
89.000879983	89
90.000891943	90
91.000939791667	91
92.0008144175	92
93.001166728333	93
94.000381422167	94
95.000730459167	95
96.001008290833	96
97.000955253	97
98.000445408167	98
99.001171016167	99

actual results: double-tapping on MIDI clock source, an OP-Z ticking along some smooth dub-techno at 130bpm

actual data
215.99951759669	216
217.00161491518	217
218.00020028496	218
219.0020879911	219
220.00085409773	220
221.00047282712	221
222.00186216184	222
223.00012752244	223
224.00130228343	224
225.00066495229	225
225.99878745762	226
226.0007453255	227
227.00168842145	228
228.00113541492	229
229.00085247609	230
229.9995416018	231
231.00054948129	232
232.00091352133	233
233.00115271745	234
234.00159865667	235
235.00090865234	236
236.0008994969	237
237.00078143123	238
238.00110441334	239
239.00069429909	240
240.00128343537	241
240.9973829834	242
241.00069978574	243
242.00021073753	244
243.00192248963	245
244.00065384899	246
245.00071475266	247
245.99589237837	248
246.01530550327	249
247.00152688021	250
248.00027160829	251
249.00100139173	252
250.00093903397	253
251.0006500109	254
252.00071630049	255
253.00120423151	256
254.00120752775	257
255.00092298605	258
256.00092994818	259

An observation is that the second tap comes very close to the next tick, at least in this data, (e.g. below) and that shared by @dan_derks above

229.00085247609	230
229.9995416018	231


245.00071475266	247
245.99589237837	248

this is the exact behavior i’m seeing :100: the clock reads the correct bpm, but the actual pace of advancement is about 14% faster (16 beats in the span of 14). if you want to have a fun time, try altering the test script to use different BPMs. In my experience, the error is bigger in some places, and smaller in others. I think the error is minimized right at 100 BPM :eyes: which may be a hint as to what’s happening under the hood? Or just random chance

An opportunity for some fun fun fun regression analysis statistics :chart_with_upwards_trend:

I read above that midi clock can be daisy chained. I am wondering though if midi clock is available at more than one usb output? Specifically, I have a usb midi device and a midi din device with a usb to din converting interface so ideally I’d just like to set up Norns clock to output on two ports, or assign two devices to one port. Is this possible (my midi knowledge is basic by the way)

@21echoes + @xmacex, thank you so much for testing + confirming! i’ve also confirmed this same behavior with crow as a clock source. internal and Link seem to test well, so the issues seems specific to those two sources. logged the issue.

up next: testing clock sent out via crow

@yoyosandshoes, multi-device midi clock output is not available through the system menus, no. this could be accomplished with some scripting (or daisy chaining your midi devices), but I agree that it’d be a good feature for the norns system.


Thanks @dan_derks Would scripting this be a beginner task?
And/or would this post be considered a feature suggestion. Or should be done elsewhere?

Edit to say I will add it to the Norns Ideas thread

it’d for sure be a great intro to learning the menus and the heuristics of system-level features. i recently did some work on extending MIDI device management to 16 devices, which did take a little bit of time poking and cross-referencing – much of the challenge for me was learning the dependencies across different files – but is 1000% doable and will really highlight the moving parts of norns :slight_smile:

all to say, it’d be great to have feedback on the feature request ticket either way. if you’re interested in working on the problem, @csboling’s guides to contributing to the main norns codebase (compiling + extending) are excellent and the community can help fill in the gaps :tada:


Thanks for the reply and opening the feature request Dan. I will investigate this over the coming week but given some life matters atm I actually can’t see me getting anywhere with it. Thanks for the encouragement though

1 Like

Just cross posting this to see if anyone here has a solution?
I noticed it still seems like an open issue on the github page. I’m having more sync issues with the latest update. It may have been like this for a while as I normally make slower ambient sounds, which make sync issues harder to hear, but yesterday I wrote some more rhythmic/percussive based stuff and could clearly hear sync issues between norns and ansible being clocked by PNW.
Really hoping this can be resolved.
Id love to see a more solid external sync and access to a global transport with some sort of reset.

hey sorry, i saw this and then we emailed and i totally spaced on replying here :slight_smile:

i know this one is frustrating. essentially, investigation is still underway – there was a change released in december 2020 which didn’t end up solving all cases. a solid set of repro cases have been logged and we’ll definitely keep folks updated as work develops! for now, clocking from norns (if possible) is the best approach. this has been logged, tho, and won’t get lost (it’s part of feasibility scoping for norns 3.0) – thanks for the patience + bump :rainbow:

(script authors can also bypass the norns system clock and listen directly for incoming crow pulses or midi clock messages when using those clocking methods – this is a workaround until the core library has been addressed)

as far as transport goes, methods are now outlined in the clock studies for script authors: clocks - docs. this is pretty much the method i used to add a global transport to cheat codes. if you have a favorite script that you want to talk to the transport, it’d be best to raise as a feature request with that author.

1 Like

Hey Dan,

Thats all good, I didn’t want to bog down our emails with Norns clock issues :upside_down_face:

Good to hear things are still in the works. Cant wait for this to be fixed properly.
I do try to keep my sync set up the same for studio to live performances which means running Norns as master isn’t ideal. I do love having a dedicated start/stop button as well as using all crow outputs for sequencing but i’ll give it a shot and see if its any better as a work around for now.

Quick question: Is sync via Link solid and can I send out clock from crow?

Your transport implementation in Cheat Codes is awesome!
Would love to see it in all scripts but I’ll make a few requests to the authors of my favourite scripts ad see what they say.

Thanks for continuing to work on this, very much appreciated :sparkles: :pray: :sparkles:

1 Like

Sync via link is super solid. Norns always takes the lead and changes the ableton clock when it first connects but no other issues. Haven’t tried crow yet in this format. I’m Just sending clock from ableton straight to eurorack via midi and to Norns.

1 Like