Norns study zero: first light

norns study zero: first light

we’ve seen (and continue to see) incredible scripts shared here— super impressive artful sound objects. these have generated a ton of enthusiasm for code and have pushed the ecosystem in new directions.

on the other hand, norns can also provide a different way of thinking about code: tiny, uncomplicated edits which customize something to work how you want, or provide an easy avenue to explore a new idea.

we realized that the studies and documentation were oriented towards from-scratch script design: the byproduct which we didn’t intend was it might encourage a learn-it-all before getting started… or a need to become an expert in Lua. in fact, i don’t think people should care what Lua is, if you can learn a handful of syntax that helps you perform some experiments. (of course, if you specifically enjoy programming, i absolutely encourage you to go deep— similar to my attitude about music theory (take it or leave it, you can make art either way).

and so we present: study zero. i created a small instrument with edit-ability in mind. if you have trepidation about code, i’m hoping this will show you how easy and fun it can be. you don’t need to architect a big app: you can just tweak a few little things. you don’t need every feature to be a menu-dive. just consider editing the code, a tiny bit.

@dan_derks is going to host two live walkthroughs of this study on feb 11. one at 12p eastern time and the other at 9p eastern time. please join us, follow along, ask questions!

[edit: registration closed! these sessions are full up, but we will have more!]

all feedback welcome— as with everything here, this is a living document and we strive to make it better.


Thank you so much for putting this together, it looks like a whole tonne of fun with the bonus of making cool sounds!

Really appreciate the effort that the Monome crew put in, not only to the ecosystem, but also to this community.

So very glad to have found y’all :hugs:


As a newcomer to this platform who hasn’t actively coded in years, this hits a real sweet spot for me. Can’t wait to mess with this later tonight.

Great stuff!


This is a brilliant idea - thanks!


lovely! see you in feb @dan_derks


Exactly what I need to get started with code :blue_heart:


thanks for making this process so accessible, light and inviting. the approach of an open ecosystem has created a unique relationship between people and compositional tools - it feels like it’s really blooming. there’s a full breathing organism here.

after spending a year with my norns this is exactly the thing i needed in order to flip the switch and start scripting :butterfly:

RE: wow incrementally changing the softcut rate/tbl of notes is already so incredible…this is a lot more approachable than i had expected:)


this is super encouraging and relatable

my first exposure to code was trying to edit games on my graphing calculator while in school…i often struggle to think beyond that frame of mind to make things from scratch (even though i eventually will learn more lua)

for now
edits and tweaks are within reach and i’ll try not to guilt myself for not doing more


My first week with Norns (shield) has been inspiring and fun. Glad I finally got one. I went through this study and have made and saved my first tweak to two apps…baby steps.
Thanks for making this study.


registration for the Feb 11 sessions is open!


  • we’ll be doing a group hang (rather than a Twitch stream), but participant video is totally optional
  • we’re going to limit each session to ~15 people
  • a link to the meetup will be shared via email on the day
  • we’ll be recording the session, but will edit out participants by default
  • we’ll be offering more of this sort of thing, so don’t worry if you can’t make either of these :slight_smile:
  • please email with any questions or requests for future sessions!

can’t wait! thanks for hosting these :star:

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20 characters of registered!

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Looks great I have always wanted to get a basic understanding - not knowing exactly where to start has really heldme back. High hopes.

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Is this for people with some knowledge of coding?


not at all – this study + workshop are designed to start at zero experience. the only prerequisites are knowing how to connect norns to WIFI and how to access maiden via your browser. we’ll start with a review of maiden’s more coding-focused components, but i just want to avoid spending everyone’s time with WIFI troubleshooting.

hope this feels encouraging!


Thats great!! I just realised Im going to be in a place with very bad internet signal at that time :frowning: Hopefully there will be another version of this in the future :slight_smile:

there will be! we’ll also be recording these (oh, i should add that to the notice) to chop up for edu materials.


@tehn @dan_derks I don’t even know how I did it see this topic in 5 days! I’m surprised this post popped up at this point for me, my interest about Lua and coding grows everyday since a few months, I’m sincerely happy you came out with this initiative!
A Norns shipped today in order to fly here at my door, maybe I’ll learn how to access Maiden and connect Norns to WiFi before February 11 :slight_smile:

Thanks a lot for it!!

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has anyone done the tutorial yet? or just played with firstlight? (it’s pretty fun!)


I’ve completed the tutorial, was straightforward and really enjoyable diving in and seeing how accessible and powerful things could be. Fiddled about at the end and made some different versions.

Thanks very much for putting it together, it’s a great starting point.