This document will not be updated anymore, being replaced by norns.community, a community-driven wiki (launch post).
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Awesome monome norns
A list of links and resources for the norns hardware music platform by monome.
The community resides mostly on llllllll.co (pronounced lines).
Table of Contents
- What / why is norns?
- What can it do?
- script List
- scripts by I/O
- Pure Data
- Development: General
- Development: Libraries & Engines
- Development: C
What / why is norns?
norns is a hardware music platform.
It's built around the idea of community: creating and sharing ideas in the form of small apps (scripts).
It allows running apps built with SuperCollider and/or softcut, a powerful live sampler / player.
In addition, Pure Data patches can also be run (see Pure Data).
It runs Linux and is built around the Raspberry Pi (processing unit + USB ports) but uses a separate low-latency audio codec chip (ADC/DAC).
For more details, see the docs and the t/Approaching: norns thread, specifically posts:
What can it do?
A more correct question would be "What can it be?".
Switching apps (scripts) allows going into totally different contexts.
Some are inspired by existing hardware / software, others are totally new and sometimes produce very experimental (yet musical) results.
To give you some concrete examples, norns can be:
- an analogue-sounding synth with molly_the_poly, a pimped up Juno-6 emulation
- a 4 track tape recorder / looper with reels
- chainable multieffects with pedalboard
- an advanced sequencer with takt, inspired with the Electron Octatrack
- a nasty sounding sample player with timber/keys (MPC-like) timber/player (rompler-like)
For a more complete list, see the script List section.
norns designate both the hardware and software side of the platform.
It runs independent musical scripts (sometimes also called apps) written in the lua programming language.
In addition to lua, in order to record and play back and manipulate sound, scripts rely on bindings with softcut and/or SuperCollider. Bindable SuperCollider sub-scripts are called engines.
maiden is the web-based IDE (
You might encounter the name matron, which designate the program that performs lua code evaluation and provides binding to hardware (screen / encoders / buttons).
The folder were data is stored called dust (
/home/we/dust/). It comes bundled with some default scripts, engines & samples (lines tread).
Audio can be saved to disk with tape, the internal audio recorder.
There are 3 variations of the norns hardware:
|name||audio path||case||battery||audio monitor output||supported Raspberry Pi models||price point||releases|
|norns (shop)||cleanest *||2x aluminum block (hard anodized), custom caps & buttons||CM3, CM3+||$800 / $680 (b-stock)||instant|
|norns shield (shop)||clean||3D-printed w/ acrylic face plate / DIY||3B, 3B+||$240 **||instant|
|fates||cleanest *||acrylic / DIY||3B, 3B+, 4||n/a||with delay ***|
*: the original norns and fates have an isolated audio power section which is much more immune to noise.
**: to which must be added the price of the Raspberry Pi, micro SD card, power supply and eventually an alternative case. So you're eventually looking more at ≃$300.
***: fates runs on an unofficial fork of the norns software, with its own kernel, so update cycles run behind the official releases given there is a separate maintainer.
As of writting, all 3 versions are compatible with every app published.
norns shield is currently the most economic version but is DIY and lacks some of the features of its big brother. It's design is open source.
fates is an unofficial project similar to the norns shield, not initiated by monome.
norns and norns shield use a CS4270 codec. norns uses an additional amp chip to drive a monitor (headphone) output. fates uses a WM8731 codec which embeds an headphone amp chip.
For getting help regarding assembly please use t/DIY: norns shield.
People share their own case design in t/norns shield case designs.
A few highlights:
- the now standard 3D-printed design by u/JHC (shop).
- nice laser-cut designs by u/okyeron (shop).
- 3D-printed + aluminium front plate design by u/justinkowski.
- aluminium case by u/Gregory_Delabelle (shop).
- aluminium case on Pusherman (shop).
- simple laser cut front & back panels by u/infovore.
If you don't have access to a fablab, you can use a laser-cut service such as ponoko (US) or razorlab (UK).
For encoder caps, any D-shaft knob cap should fit.
You can look at makers such as Sifam / Selco, the various offerings at aliexpress (example) or even go the 3D printing route.
For screws/spacers, use M2 for the screen and M2.5 for everything else.
monome hardware companions
Some scripts are made to pair with some of other monome hardware.
The most prominent are:
- grid, a keyboard mostly used for sequencer scripts
- arc, an array of knobs with sequencing functionalities
- crow for interacting with eurorack / modular synth gear
You don't necessarily have to own any of those "peripherals" to enjoy your norns. It depends of the scripts you plan to use.
See the list of scripts by I/O to see what you're missing.
Please note that most scripts assume a 128 varybright grid. Older non-varybright models will work but you'll be missing some visual feedback.
There is a DIY grid project that allows making one for ≃$250. To use it with the norns, patching and recompiling is required to have it recognized. It will work right of the bat on a PC (with Max, Pure Data...). It doesn't (and will certainly never) work with eurorack monome modules such as ansible.
There is also a DIY arc project which will also cost ≃$250. It does not require any special patching.
Other hardware companions
Synth scripts generally rely on MIDI inputs. So a keyboards, pads or sequencer is a must have. A computer with midi output will do as well.
Lots of parameters can also be controlled with midi CC by using anything with midi knobs / sliders.
Some examples related to the monome community:
- 16n faderbank
- bleached, Four-N and 17
Some trackers scripts (orca and nisp) rely on a USB computer keyboard.
Those plus other hardware accessories & peripherals are discussed in t/Friends of norns: gear, accessories, etc.
Many scripts are available through maiden (real-time list) but many more are missing.
The documentation has a list of popular scripts.
This section is aimed at being more complete and providing more meta-data to select which app corresponds to your needs.
Synths & Drones
|ash/earthsea||gh||PolySub engine. Also acts as a sequencer with grid.|
|benjolis||gh||port of Alejandro Olarte’s Benjolis SuperCollider patch, inspired from Rob Hordijk’s Benjolin||1, 2|
|fm7||gh||DX7-inspired polyphonic FM synth||1||online|
|grendy||gh||a simple drone synth, grendel drone commander inspired|
|hachi||gh||TR-808 reproduction with euclydian sequencer|
|haven||gh||two unique oscillators: one high, one low||1|
|lissadron||gh||a software synth making extensive use of seeded randomness, internal sequencer for voice change||internal sequencer|
|mi-eng/macro-b||gh||collection of complex oscillator sources, based upon the Mutable Instrument Braids macro-oscillator||1|
|mi-eng/macro-p||gh||collection of complex oscillator sources, based upon the Mutable Instrument Plaits macro-oscillator||1|
|mi-eng/modal-e||gh||modal synth, based upon the Mutable Instrument Elements||1|
|mi-eng/resonate-r||gh||ring resonator, can be used as basic percusive oscillator, based upon the Mutable Instrument Rings||1|
|molly_the_poly||default️||gh||Juno-6 voice structure with chorus, the extra modulation of a Jupiter-8, and CS-80 inspired ring modulation||1|
|moln||gh||Polyphonic substractive synthesizer|
|passersby||gh||Wave folding, FM, LPG, spring-ish reverb, LFO and two dice to roll||1|
|rudiments||gh||8 voice lofi percussion synthesizer and sequencer (playfair-style)|
|showers||gh||a thunderstorm (rain & thunder)|
|sines||gh||a simple FM sine drone synth|
|stjoernuithrott||gh||drone synth inspired by the Moffeenzeef Stargazer|
Granular Sample Players & Synths
|ash/angl||gh||use an arc to control pitch and speed granulation of four audio files||1|
|glut||gh||granular synth inspired by mlr/rove, grainfield & loomer cumulus||1|
|gemini||gh||one file, two granulators||1|
|langl||gh||ash/angl-inspired granulator, also uses arc and offer more control||1|
|mangl||gh||a 7 track granular sample player||1|
|uhf||gh||your tapes transmitted thru late-night static and broken antenna frequencies|
|abacus||gh||drum loop slicer / player / sequencer||1|
|beets||gh||drum loop slicer / player||1, 2, 3|
|crash||gh||random drum kit player (606 samples)|
|drum_room||gh||MIDI-controlled drum kits||1|
|ortf||gh||browse play & loop your tape folder||1|
|timber/keys||gh||map a sample at different pitches across midi keys / grid||1|
|timber/player||gh||load whole directory of samples mapped onto midi keys / grid||1|
|sam||gh||record, adjust start & end points, save to tape|
|animator||gh||2D polyphonic sequencer for grids||1, 2||online|
|arcologies||gh||interactive environment for designing 2d sound arcologies||gallery||online|
|arp_index||gh||generate sequence from company stocks||1|
|ash/earthsea||gh||grid-enabled shape-memory pattern instrument|
|ash/playfair||gh||euclidean drummer, four sequences, each with its own sample||1|
|awake||default||gh||two looped sequences||1|
|boing||gh||a bouncing ball sequencer||1|
|breakthrough||gh||rebound meets breakout||1|
|buoys||gh||kinetic sequencer based on motion of water||1|
|circles||gh||move cursor, place circles, make music||1|
|cyrene||gh||drum pattern generator||1, grid|
|dunes||gh||function sequencer, inspired by spacetime||audio, midi|
|drift||gh||sequencer based on particle systems||midi|
|euclidigons||gh||plucky geometric rhythm generator||1, 2|
|foulplay||gh||euclidean drummer, inspired by ash/playfair||1||online|
||gh||4 track polyphonic step sequencer||online|
|fugu||gh||4 playhead sequencer, inspired by the Fugue Machine iOS app||1, 2, 3|
|grd||gh||8x8 autonomy||1, 2|
|gridstep||gh||step-based 16-track polyphonic sequencer with various grid layouts and micro-timing||1||online|
|groovecats||gh||particle-based step sequencer||1|
|hpns||gh||clocks-based random step sequencer|
|ising||gh||sequencer based on 2D ferromagnetism ising model, zeelen-inspired|
|islands||gh||kria-based sequencer with internal playback||1||presentation video|
|isoseq||gh||isomorphic step sequence||1||presentation video|
|kria_midi||gh||port of the kria sequencer with midi output||1, 1|
|less_concepts||gh||cellular automata sequencer||1|
|loom||gh||pattern weaving sequencer for grids||1, 2|
|meadowphysics||gh||grid-enabled rhizomatic cascading counter||1||online|
|nono||gh||Nanoloop-inspired 4 channel sequencer||1|
|orbital||gh||circular 16 step sequencer|
|orca||gh||esoteric programming language||1, 2|
|patchwork||gh||dual function (note + command patterns) sequencer||1|
|pitfalls||gh||microtonal scale / chord sequencer||1|
|punchcard||gh||experimental sequencer that works like a classic punchcard computer||1, 2|
|qfwfq||gh||sequencer inspired by brute force password hacking|
|quence||gh||a probabilistic 4-track sequencer||1, 2|
|rebound||gh||a kinetic sequencer||1|
||a weird function sequencer||1|
|step||gh||a simple step sequencer|
|strides||gh||sample or midi pattern sequencer||1||online|
|strum||gh||16-step sequencer w/ a variety of pattern transition mechanisms||1|
|takt||gh||Digitakt-inspired parameter locking step sequencer||1||online|
|torii||gh||gated audio sequencer||1, 2|
|traffic||gh||loom-inspired, with decoupling between patterns & notes||1|
|vials||gh||4 track performance-oriented sample sequencer||online|
|wifihifi||gh||turn local Wi-Fi signals into music||online|
|zeelen||gh||game of Life based sequencer||1, crow||online|
|nisp||gh||LISP (Scheme dialect) livecoding tracker||1, 2|
|yggdrasil||gh||"cyberdeck" tracker||1, 2||online|
Control Modulation Sources
|barycenter||gh||fluctuating relationships in orbit|
|buoys||gh||its midi output mode produces abstract midi CC LFOs|
|cccccccc||gh||8 LFOs as MIDI CC output, arc-controlled||1, 1|
|changes||gh||8 connected sine wave LFOs as MIDI CC output||1, 2|
|shapes||gh||visually based modulation source for crow|
|strides||gh||allows midi CC record / replay with knobs|
|greyhole||gh||echo / delay||1|
|manifold||gh||multi-effects processing for live performance||1|
|mi-eng/modal-e||gh||modal synth, affects input audio, based upon the Mutable Instrument Rings||1|
|mi-eng/resonate-r||gh||ring resonator, based upon the Mutable Instrument Rings||1|
|pedalboard||gh||chainable effects for live performance|
|phyllis||gh||digitally modeled analog filter||1|
|pools||gh||a shimmery reverb||1|
|stack||gh||stack of bandpass filter, sequenceable|
|sway||gh||analysis-driven live audio processing||1|
|timeparty||gh||sequenced time-based multi-effect|
Loopers, Live Samplers & Crazy Delays
|ash/orbit||gh||dual async start-stop loop recorder|
|barcode||gh||a randomized looper||1|
|b-b-b-b-beat||gh||beat repeater/glitcher inspired by Ableton's Beat Repeat, MASF Possessed & MWFX Judder||1|
|blndr||gh||a quantized delay with time bending effects||1|
|bounds||gh||kinetic stereo looper / delay, otis with rebound mechanics||1|
|clcks||gh||a tempo-locked repeater||1|
|compass||gh||asynchronous looper, with command-based sequencer||1|
|cranes||gh||stereo varispeed looper / delay / timeline-smoosher||1||video|
|here-there||gh||feedback of granular replay and sines|
|glitchlets||gh||glitches incoming audio, quantized to the global tempo||1|
|jiffy||gh||16 seconds looper|
|mi-eng/texture-c||gh||realtime granualr audio processor, based upon the Mutable Instrument Clouds||1|
|mlr||gh||live sample-cutting platform||1, 2|
|oooooo||gh||digital tape loops x6||1, 2|
|otis||gh||dual tape delay/looper/sampler||1|
|piwip||gh||a sampler that works in realtime||1, 2, 3, 4|
|reels||gh||a 4-track asynchronous looper||1|
|samsara||gh||minimalist looper that eventually reaches nirvana|
|tunnels||gh||a collection of uncertain delays||1|
|athenaeum/delay||gh||generates MIDI delay with visual feedback||1, 2|
|athenaeum/arc||gh||interract with arc, read and write leds, no sound||1|
|caliper||gh||tuner for eurorack modules using norns + crow|
|clarck||gh||use arc as a clock to display time||1|
|defuser||llll||musical bomb defusal game||1|
|foundry||gh||browse all glyphs of all installed fonts, play with options|
|grid-test||gh||utility to test grids||1|
|midimatrix||gh||simple midi matrix example app|
|midi-monitor||gh||simple midi monitor with note feedback||1|
|monitor||gh||midi monitor and input/output channel & note transpose||1, 2|
|n16o||gh||turn a Korg nanoKONTROL2 into an ER-301 controller|
|norman||gh||normalize & auto-trim sample files on disk|
|norns.online||gh||expose norns screen and buttons/encodeers to the internet||1|
|onehanded||gh||simple MIDI note / CC trigger|
|practice||gh||musical scale quizz|
|rpmate||gh||utility to help feeding a sped up audio to a hardware sampler|
|seaflex||gh||practice chords shapes on grid, earthsea layout|
|shell_runner||gh||menu to launch shell scripts|
scripts by I/O
|app||audio in||midi sync||midi in||keyboard||grid||arc||audio out||midi out||crow|
- *: grid acts as a midi keyboard and can replace it
- **: grid can be replaced by TouchOSC
Pure Data patches originally built for the Organelle can run on any norns device.
This is done by escaping the norns runtime environment and booting into a Pure Data-compatible one.
Please note that next release of the norns software will add native support of Pure Data, akin to what we currently have with SuperCollider.
This is easily done thanks to the combination of 2 projects:
- Sidekick by u/thetechnobear that allows booting out of the norns software and into other ones (lines thread)
- Mother by u/oxbown that provides a compatibility layer for running Organelle patches (lines thread)
In addition, installing Sideckick also provides:
- Orac: a patch chaining software for Pure Data
- NuiLite: a lightweight Pure Data external (i.e. extension) for making and running patches without depending on the Organelle/Mother or Orac layer.
For more details, see also the the Sidekick project wiki.
The norns platform allows developing small programs using the lua programming language.
They are generally referred to as scripts and sometimes apps (once packaged and distributed).
2 internal sound processing units are at our disposal:
engine: an instance of SuperCollider (sometimes also referred to as
softcut: a live multi-channel sampler / player that can be used to build crazy loopers and delays
Even though SuperCollider is generally used to define a virtual synthesizer, it can also take audio from the inputs (missing on the above diagram).
Most scripts you'll find in the wild use either softcut or engine, but some might use the 2 of them.
Tutorials & Example scripts
- norns studies
- norns: tutorial by Devine Lu Linvega
- softcut studies
- foundry app (code) for text & fonts (
- athenaeum/arc app (code) for arc interactions
- hid-demo example script (code) for HID input (keyboard, mouse, touchpad...)
- waveviz example app for softcut waveform visualization
- video tutorial on adding midi out to an existing app
- tutorial on adding computer keyboard support to an existing app
- example usage of the
When wanting to contribute or seeking help, use one of those threads:
- t/norns: scripting: getting help with app development (lua)
- t/norns 2.0: softcut: getting help with app development (softcut)
- t/norns: SuperCollider: getting help with app development (SuperCollider side)
- t/norns: development and t/Approaching 3.0: universal engine support: following and participating to evolutions to core norns code
- t/norns: crone/supercollider: following and participating to evolutions to core norns code (SuperCollider / Crone)
- t/Exquisite Script: A collective scripting game for norns: a cadavre exquis, collective development of an app
Additionally, there is a Discord norns study group (blog, lines thread) that meets regularly for sharing development knowledge.
Development: Libraries & Engines
When developing scripts, you rely on lua libraries (classes & modules). One of them, engine, allows interacting with a running SuperCollider instance.
When using SuperCollider, one can rely on an already installed SuperCollider library on spin their own. Those SuperCollider libraries (in essence a SynthDef) are called engines in the context of norns development.
Most advanced scripts come with their own custom libraries / engine.
Here are listed the ones most often spotted in the wild.
Softcut & Softcut-based libs
|library||code||description||provided by||used by|
|softcut||lua, undelying C||sample record & playback||installed by default||sam, reels, piwip|
|supercut||lua||higher-level wrapper around softcut||wrms|
|halfsecond||lua||simple 1/2s delay||awake||awake, vials, tambla|
To get the list of engines installed on your norns, type
tab.print(engine.names) in the matron console in maiden.
|library||code||description||provided by||used by|
|ack||lua wrapper, sclang||simple sample playback||step, ash/playfair, foulplay, takt, crash, vials, strides|
|timber||lua wrapper, sclang||advanced sample playback||timber||timber, orca|
|glut||sclang||granular sample playback||glut||glut, mangl, uhf, langl|
|Thebangs||sclang+lua wrapper||fork of PolyPerc w/ multiple synth algorythms & control over polyphony||groovecats|
|PolyPerc||sclang||simple polyphonic filtered decaying square wave||installed by default||awake, meadowphysics, barycenter, zeelen, orbital, nono, tambla|
|PolySub||sclang||multi-type oscillator with polyphonic modulation busses for polytimbral expression||installed by default||ash/earthsea|
|Gong||sclang||basic FM synth||installed by default|
|TestSine||sclang||a basic single mono sinewave||installed by default||there|
|R||sclang||collection of engines that link together in a modular synth-style workflow||installed by default||moln, torii|
|mi-engines||lua+scland||port of Mutable Instruments rack modules||mi-eng/*||mi-eng/*|
|molly_the_poly||lua wrapper, sclang||analogue (substractive) synth||molly_the_poly||molly_the_poly, arp_index, loom, quence, fugu|
|passersby||lua wrapper, sclang||westcoast-style synth||passersby||passersby, less_concepts, dunes|
Those are more generic Lua libs that add either:
- improve handling of midi / LFOs
- provide support for additional hardware
- provide additional drawing utils
|library||code||description||provided by||used by|
|passthrough||lua||allows norns to pass through midi between connected devices||passthrough||passthrough, b-b-b-b-beat, beets, stjoernuithrott|
|midi||lua||helper to trig MIDI out||euclidigons||euclidigons|
|midigrid||lua||use alternative midi grid hardware as a grid (e.g. Novation Launchpad)|
|middy||lua||define midi mappings to specific controllers in your scripts, JSON configuration|
|hnds||lua||LFOs to modulate app parameters||otis||otis, pools, greyhole, pedalboard, wrms, timeparty|
|nest_||lua||advanced, callback-based, user interaction definitions, grid support|
|arcify||lua||simple parameter binding to arc||beets, compass|
|shnth||lua||use the shbobo shnth as a controller|
|screencap||lua||animated capture of the screen (into an animated png)|
|grid-capture||lua||capture a grid button press sequence as a gif|
|shape||lua||draw shapes on screen||euclidigons||euclidigons|
|noise||lua||draw perlin Noise on screen|
|moreFilters||lua||provides a moving, windowed RMS/standard deviation filter|
|3d||lua||3D drawing lib|
|p8||lua||pico-8 code adaptation layer|
|pitfalls||gh||compute microtonal intervals/scales/chords||pitfalls||pitfalls|
|namesizer||gh||randome (file) name generator|
A niche use-case is to disable the norns software services and interact with the internal sound routing and hardware peripherals using pure C.
This effort is discussed in t/low-level-norns.
For a working example with grid and arc support see project norns-lowlevel (explanation & demo).
Contributions and suggestions are always welcome!
I am by no mean the owner of this document, merely its initiator. It belongs to the community.
To discuss about the general structure and content use t/Index of norns-related resources.
For less impacting modifications / suggestions, you can:
- submit a pull request
- create an issue
- comment on the lines thread
- send me a PM