Norns: help



Ahh, nice site thank you.

A couple more questions if that’s ok. The tools I create are saved to the device and can run without a computer present?

Can you load samples from a USB drive?

Am I correct in thinking Norns is basically a sound computer that can be anything we want as long as we can code? And can run standalone? If so, that is incredible and I cannot wait to have a Grid, Norns, and OP-1 playing together.

I haven’t been so excited about music gear for a long time.


Yes to all of this. Norns runs standalone. Yes you can load samples from a usb. And yes, norns is a stand alone sound computer that can be anything you have the ability to make. People have made samplers, sequencers, synthesizers, effects processors, granulators, drums machines etc. all of these scripts are available on GitHub.

Yes, it’s incredibly exciting and your enthusiasm is both welcome and infectious.


Well damn! I’ll go order. Thank you everyone for the replies.


I was looking at @jah’s “r” engine docs

(it looks spectacular btw, I really want to master this)

and wanted to search the forum for some pointers but the name doesn’t really lend itself to search. Does anyone have any tip about it or a link to some discussion about it?


probably a good place to start, if you haven’t:

See tutorial scripts in scripts/r_tutorial, hacks in scripts/r_hacks and jah scripts moln, rymd, bob and shifty for more elaborate examples.


Not sure if this is the right place but…

I have an old Akai APC20 is like to use with the Norns until I get a Grid. Is it possible to work with any midi controller, and can you send messages to controllers as well as receive - so you can trigger button lights etc?



Cool! So this means one could create a Lua script with any number of MultiOSC channels, each with its own timbre? :grinning:


Yep, as long as it’s midi class compliant you should be able to connect it to norns and play notes or control params with CC


Amazing. Getting use out of old hardware :slight_smile: Thanks.


Check out this thread for reports on what people are using!


I’m updating my scripts for the norns 2.0 release. As part of this I’ve simplified the scripts a bit. The new versions (hosted at might also be of interest for anyone interested in the R engine.


Apologies this may be in the docs but I can’t find it - can the Norns send raw midi out?

Can you change patches on the fly, from a MIDI controller?

  1. Yes. Check Study 4

  2. I have not seen this as a stated feature.


Do you mean “change the current script running on norns? (Or load a different script?)” if so, not via midi. But you can from a web browser.


Ok thanks, would be a great feature for computerless performance.


The scripts are not like presets on a synth. They really are like independent instruments. Some scripts do currently offer saving and loading their own internal presets. This is pretty transparent.

Keep in mind norns is not like a beatbox or standalone synth. Those have a feature set and you pretty much work with what’s there.

That’s not norns.


in fact you can certainly call script.load() from a MIDI handler if that’s your thing, or execute any other lua code.

there are no ‘patches’ per se, just programs.


Oh wow… I was just wondering if that would work. Neat.


OK. So if I had different programs for different songs, I could create a kind of menu program and load the relevant script from MIDI.

I need to get into this thing and play. Pay day is 2.5 weeks away, then I just need to wait for shipping!


FWIW - you’d need to have a set of functions for the midi script selection in EACH of your scripts.

With a master “script-launcher” you could launch another script, but would need something similar to get back to your script-launcher again.

Sounds like a good job for a user library

Also FWIW - Norns 2.0 includes a helper type for song_select MIDI message - so if your controller could send that message, you could map that to opening various scripts. You could really use any control message at all, but might be best to not use something obvious like CCs. Even more FWIW - Sysex messages are not yet supported.