Norns: ideas



it would be nice to have some sort of clip indication on the output vu meter

also being able to map multiple params to a single cc


Been thinking for myself I wouldn’t mind a Norns version of the recording/clip editor that the Octatrack has. Mainly so I can take pieces of tape and cut them into more usable loops in MLR without having to round trip into a DAW. Rendering a waveform is definitely out of my comfort zone though haha.

Also, perhaps I’m just not using full extent of MLR’s features? A little cutting board could be cool though


micro soundfile editor would be a quick fun project. waveforms from buffer feature is on the issue list.

norns can/could do so much, hard to choose a project!


i would love to be able to record external audio directly into a script like this as well—sounds beyond powerful for mobile modular sound design


Actually I’m probably overthinking it. A waveform would be cool but I could just use my ears. All it needs is a start/finish point, or maybe an n bars @ bpm set length and it would do the trick. That sounds much more within my grasp to prototype. Edit: File naming on the other hand, haha.

Norns: scripting

Thinking about the recent usb midi grid thread and in particular this comment, it dawned on me that norns has a lot of really great potential as an in between device for grid/midi controllers and a synth, iPad, etc.—something akin to ableton’s midi effects. Basic things like a map-to-scale or arpeggiator to complex generative things would be useful.


Definitely. Though, I think norns still needs some of that glue for itself. Apps can’t run concurrently, much less feed into each other.

I mean, dedicating an $800 sound computer to something a $30 microcontroller can provide would be ludicrous. Particularly since there are folks on that thread saying “$30 is overkill! have ya lost yer damn minds?”

“Yeah, but it’s just one app. It’d be great to have the option!”

Not really. It’s an app that you can’t switch away from without disrupting your whole workflow. So, until it can run in the background while other apps take focus, you’re kinda better off without it.


I’m making a Norns script that simulates chaotic circuits. I have a module by Peter Blasser that is a real chaotic circuit and uses ~$40 of components. Lol.

That’s technically correct but SuperCollider can do many things at once. The Molly The Poly app is a good example of this. There are multiple synths composed of many UGens in a big graph and some control UGens that switch between which ones output sound. So you would have to implement the “switching” on the SC layer then expose that to Lua.


A Norns app could be a series of these midi effect devices that you “patch” up. The R synth voice example sort of has this (albeit its fixed architecture and not change it within the interface, but I don’t see why something line that couldn’t be coded up)

My suggestion of this as something Norns could wasn’t meant to negate the value of a small purpose built device, which I think could be very cool.


Based on my particular use of it, I value (the current) Norns ecosystem for its ability to do a lot of (small) things, and enjoy using it as part of a “modular” approach. Tons of apps in dust are fairly simple and their utility could be achieved with a much less sophisticated setup, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t useful.

I will also say the minimalism of Norns’ interface (only offering a handful of buttons and encoders) makes it shine when being used as part of a larger system like this, or as a focused performance tool, and I do not think it would be fun to try to turn it into or think about it as a very sophisticated DAW-replacement or multi-track groovebox.


You’re both correct, of course.

But I don’t foresee many users editing each other’s code each time they want to use a different sound engine with a particular sequencer, much less trying to integrate additional functionality from another script. What you’re describing is a clunky workaround, at best.

(I have Orac envy.)


Having a more generic mapping of synth sounds and sequences would be pretty great. As I don’t have a midi keyboard, I had to go find an old usb midi adapter so that I could get some note data to try out molly the poly. Would be awesome if it “just worked” with grid without the app coder needing to do anything special to support it.


i feel like it’s worth mentioning the organelle was something like ~2.5 years old before orac was born.

i definitely think more generic/reusable standards towards how ui and dsp interact on norns will be realized as more communal hours get put in. the design layout is pretty agnostic towards both controllers (midi, grid, hid, etc) and dsp. this is probably kind of restricting if you already know what you’re doing (ie not me) but i think with time this approach makes a lot of sense for addressing these issues.

the growing pain is figuring out when it makes sense to standardize certain aspects. i am definitely still just figuring out how the thing works.

#114 :smile:


(I have Orac envy.)

Considering how valuable Mark Harris has been to any gear community he gets actively involved in, it seems like it would be a small thing for someone to gift him (or crowdfund?) a Norns with the idea of him getting some Orac-like behavior working on it, if feasible. Maybe he already has one, but from his posts I think I remember him having the Organelle and Bela Salt, but not Norns.

Although maybe the problem with Orac is it kind of encourages a confining of a wide-open everything-agnostic sound tool to fit into Orac’s particular way of working. Not sure how much of an issue or non-issue that is. Once Orac came onto the Organelle scene, was there less active development on new Organelle tools in general as everyone found they could patch complex sound tools more easily using Orac chains? For example, instead of learning how to build a synth-sequencer-sampler tool from scratch in PD, you could chain existing synth, sequencer, and sampler patches up instantly.


FWIW - Mark put together one of the first DIY norns using Raspberry Pi and also created code for it that uses the Push2 as a native device. So yeah - he’s been hacking on norns software since it was released.

I think Orac is kinda specific to how pd and the organelle hardware work. I don’t know if that same approach can be used with supercollider


He might choose to chime in but I don’t think lack of norns hardware would prevent him from developing orac (or something similarly deep) for norns

It’s probably more to do with motivation and time needed to dedicate to a project of that magnitude

We’ll see


mentioned before, but with the upcoming norns update we separate out an external jack audio connection to supercollider, which could also be used by pd. so running pd on norns could happen without much effort… it just needs OSC glue for communication.


I think Norns strongest point right now is the advanced and interesting sequencers. Even the monome modules - it’s all about the diverse sequencers. Norns weakest point is the limited sound engines currently available. I would like to have a more diverse choice of engines converted from existing uGens Generators. Something with more timbral and wider sound palette - The Passerby and Molly Poly synth were great examples, but also something a bit more experimental and gnarlier. Playing with the takt synth recently got me thinking about using a synth engine instead of a sample based engine - something more akin to a Nord Drum or even something using membranecircle, membranehexagon uGens - a synthetic based drum engine with a wider palette than poly perc.
Even a decent wavetable synth or some of the more experimental uGens from the Chaotic and Stoicastic side would be welcome. Certainly something Gendy / Xenakis inspired would be great.

At the moment Norns is great for experimental sequencers but no so great for experimental sounds unless you use the sampling apps and import your own or use the midi out.>Generators>Stochastic>Generators>Chaotic


What would your priorities be for improving Norns’ portfolio wrt experimental sounds/effects?