Game of Life based sequencer

Zellen (German for “cells”) is a generative sequencer based on Conway’s Game of Life with a bunch of sequencing and play modes, Euclidean rhythms, simple controls, all the scales from @markeats MusicUtil, and MIDI out or PolyPerc for sound.


Norns 2.0
Grid (tested with 128, should work with other sizes – testers welcome!)


README on GitHub


v1.1.1 - Download


There’s a small update (1.1.0):

  • MIDI clock (via beatclock.lua) added
  • Fixed a one step pause at the end of the sequence when using semi-automatic loop mode

Played with this a bit this morning. Fun!


seeing an error on encoder 1 turn:

/home/we/norns/lua/core/paramset.lua:194: invalid paramset index: speed
stack traceback:
	[C]: in function 'error'
	/home/we/norns/lua/core/paramset.lua:194: in function 'core/paramset.lookup_param'
	/home/we/norns/lua/core/paramset.lua:165: in function 'core/paramset.delta'
	/home/we/dust/code/zellen/zellen.lua:624: in function 'enc'
	/home/we/norns/lua/core/encoders.lua:57: in function 'core/encoders.process'
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Thanks for catching that! I fixed this in maiden yesterday but forgot to include it in the 1.1.0 GitHub commit. It’s fixed now (version 1.1.1).


Is it possible to use this to sequence external midi gear?

I’m using a USB/MIDI cable to send to my Minimoog reissue but not having much luck. I feel like I’ve tried every config possible in Norns. And it seems that my cable is receiving the midi out data, though perhaps not in time or with proper “gate” messages.

I’m just wondering if this SHOULD work and if anyone who has made it work might have some tips for setting it up or could point out something obvious I may have missed?


Zellen does send MIDI note data and can send MIDI clock, if activated in the parameters screen. It worked great with my OP-1. Are you using the right MIDI channel? (see parameters, default is channel 1)

I’m currently visiting family and don’t have my Norns with me, so I can’t do any debugging at the moment. I think I have one of those USB-to-DIN-MIDI cables at home that I can try when I get back on Monday.

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@sbaio I really appreciate the response!

I just tried it again and got it working. It still seems like the gates aren’t firing properly but as long as I have the envelopes wide open and sustain up it’s definately getting the note data. It may be because the Minimoog doesn’t “technically” have a release stage, so perhaps the CC’s are confusing it. Unfortunately I I don’t have another midi synth to try it out on… but this is certainly better than nothing :heart:

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trying to slave Zellen to MIDI clock and no luck.

i was trying other scripts with clock and was having trouble with Fairplay and Foulplay so i tried LOOM which is working but i moved onto Zellen and it’s not reacting to clock for me.

clock is set to external.
switching back to internal everything plays as it should.

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Thanks for reporting this! I’ll look into it.

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