Orca - Livecoding Tool

I’ve had issues with save / open on macbook as well. Downloaded mid-November. What I do to fix it is toggle transport (space bar) and it usually seems to correct itself. I’m probably not addressing the cause, but it works as a quick workaround.

@neauoire I’m curious- is there a way to have the browser-based Orca communicate over WebMIDI to another browser-based application? For instance, I’d love to have Orca on one screen and Hydra on another. I know there’s an option to send CC messages using the ! operator and Hydra supports CC input, but I can’t figure out how to pass the CC values from one application to another.

Is there a way to have the browser-based Orca communicate over WebMIDI to another browser-based application?

Yeah, although the midi implementation in hydra is very poor. I guess you already have some sort of controller working with hydra, but to control it via orca, you might need to change to the correct midi device in hydra so it listens to the right thing if you have many devices.

  • In Hydra, select the correct midi device.

I just tried it, and Hydra automatically detected and selected Midi Through(the default virtual midi thing on linux).

In Hydra, I recommend adding a console.log(midiMessage.data) to the getMIDIMessage function, it took me a while to figure out why I wasn’t getting any feedback.

I’d love to see what you make with Orca :slight_smile:

OK cool! yeah, I know the MIDI for Hydra is mainly just on the CC side, but I’d love to be able to have a few things automated via Orca and then do some livecoding alongside it. There’s a part of me that wants to start doing live visuals… we’ll see.
I’d love to see what I can make with Orca too :slight_smile: I’m still VERY new to it. I have a DIY norns kit coming so I’m thinking it’d be cool to use Orca on there to sequence some hardware (or maybe talk to some iPad synths). I have a ways to go learning this but I’m excited!

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Here’s a little something.
A setup to control 8 knobs with keyframes:


@neauoire, have you ever considered an operator for MIDI CC input in orca? As in, an operator that would act like increment, but with a MIDI channel and CC assignment in order to adjust parameters independently of the keyboard and cursor (this would also allow for multiple parameters to be adjusted simultaneously and in a tactile fashion).

I thought I remembered a note input operator mentioned in the readme some time back, but I’m not sure since it’s certainly not in there now. In any case, it seems to me that all of the MIDI output operators could do with input counterparts to aid in the composition process, if at all feasible.

Also, this a big aside and quite a stretch, but it just occurred to me that it could be interesting to record ORCΛ sessions (thinking of livecoding sessions, specifically) for interactive playback. I think this mainly occurred to me because of Asciinema, so I guess I’m imagining something like that but with output (maybe including zooming and such, though maybe it could be overridden otherwise altered) and/or the ability to insert a recorded session into another session (obviously stripped of zooming or bpm info). Anyway, seemed like it could be a neat feature.

hey now I labelled it as experimental :stuck_out_tongue:

it’s been awhile but I had better luck sending OSC messages from Orca to Hydra than I had with WebMidi CCs. You can setup a OSC listener in Hydra desktop by referencing this example

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I know I know haha, I’m just saying that as to not expect a plug-n-play experience. Would you like me to complete the midiCC implementation?



Does this no longer work? I can’t get my visuals to work anymore. I am also still having the issue that I must click on a new square in order to use a menu command. Been a few weeks since I opened it up until now.

Does this no longer work? I can’t get my visuals to work anymore

It doesn’t right now, but it will soon. I’m working on this right now and it’s a bit tricky, but it should be back shortly. Also, it will work slightly differently, but I will document this all out properly when I get back from my travel, the command will be the same, it won’t impact the orca code at all.

I am also still having the issue that I must click on a new square in order to use a menu command.

Use the shortcuts if you wanna do something before interacting with the application. I have not found a solution to that one yet.

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Thanks for the quick response! I look forward to getting those images back.

I sat down and did some serious play with ‘variable’ and ‘track’ functions and I feel like it just cracked open a whole new layer for me. Very excited to build some complicated stuff when I get home.


Just downloaded Orca two days ago on a Friday evening. Now it is Sunday evening :smiley:

Love it, the aesthetic as well as what you can do.


ORCA and glitch
dig how the MIDI operator length input
can affect the timing of the whole piece…

The MIDI operator : takes up to 5 inputs('channel, 'octave, 'note, velocity, length).


Glitch looks amazing, I haven’t been able to get any note to play using their example, is there something I’m missing?

Edit: Ah! Nevermind, I got it, I didn’t have the right audio output selected. This is very cool, it will be a good friend to Orca! Thanks for showing me glitch.


@neauoire any chance of getting the sync working nicely again? i’m trying to use orca in slave mode and currently have to cycle blindly thru inputs. Live Link would be a really easy (and nice) solution. any chance of implementing?

Sync should work already, no?

Edit: Oh, I get it, since there is no visual feedback outside of the console you can’t see which device is selected. I’ll work on improving that tomorrow :slight_smile:

I don’t really know anything about Live Link(and I don’t have Ableton) so I won’t be able to implement it myself, maybe someone will make a fork :slight_smile:


you don’t need ableton! Link is free and open source and works with anything - ios apps, vj apps, even PD

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@leolodreamland I’ve updated Orca with a new UI that should help with midi input, you can now use:

  • c-, to change midi input
  • c-. to change midi output

The midi input/output devices are displayed at the bottom of the screen for the first 500 frames. If you want to send a midi clock play message, use c-space.

Ableton link is about 60 times the size of Orca, it is unlikely to make it into the main branch, but maybe someone will maintain a fork with ableton link support at some point :slight_smile:

If you’re using MaxMSP, or something like it, a better solution than using complicated libraries to get a perfect sync is to simply send the word run to orca via UDP. It will run the current frame, and increment the frame number.

It gives you total control of the time signature of orca.


excellent thx - yeah i’m using MAX to translate the UDP stuff… perfect!