Data Sonification on Norns

Data Sonification on Norns

I've created a data sonification script for Norns, called Loud Numbers. Right now it turns .csv files into melodies, though I have ambitions for it to eventually turn many more kinds of data file into many more musical attributes, as well as outputting MIDI over USB and control voltages through Crow.

You can select the root note and scale with encoders 2 and 3. Encoder 1 selects the bpm. Key 2 toggles play/pause, and key 3 toggles whether the melody should loop when you reach the end of the dataset or not.

The script comes with a default set of data - temperature.csv, which contains global temperature anomalies since 1950 for the globe, tropics, and northern and southern hemispheres, via Our World in Data. Swap between data columns by turning encoder 1 while holding down key 1. Selecting a new data column will reset the sequence.


Monome Norns or Norns Shield


Place data files in the /data folder - the same folder as temperatures.csv. Once you've loaded your file, restart the script and select it through the parameters menu.

  • KEY 2: toggle play/pause
  • KEY 3: toggle loop
  • KEY 1 + ENC 1: select data column
  • ENC 1: select bpm
  • ENC 2: select root note
  • ENC 3: select scale

Crow support

  • OUT1 = trigger
  • OUT2 = note (1V/oct)
  • OUT3 = data value scaled to 0V-10V
  • OUT4 = data value scaled to 0V-10V

I want to build this out a bit more in due course, but this works for now.


  • The script assumes that your .csv file has headers. If it doesn't, it'll read the first row of data as headers.
  • Short datasets work better than long datasets right now, due to the number of bars that can fit on the screen. The temperature dataset is about 70 lines long - I wouldn't go much longer than that. It'll work, but won't look so great.
  • The script is pretty fragile right now. Don't feed it .csv files that have text columns, or anything else weird. If it breaks, please let me know (attach the CSV you're using) and I'll try to figure out why.
  • Looking for some data to sonify? Step this way.


Install by typing the following into Maiden:


You can also find the code on Github, and see what bugs I want to fix and features I want to add in the issues section.

Loud Numbers?

It’s the name of my data sonification podcast. Worth a listen if you want to see what’s possible with sonification.