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Pulsar is a code editor that is open-source and community-led. It is based on Atom and was started after the announcement to Sunset Atom. Pulsar has a Package Manager which provides for community contributions, including our Tidalcycles package.

UPDATE - Jan 1, 2023: The Pulsar Package Manager now is fully operational with the Tidalcycles package. Once Pulsar is installed, installation and updates for tidalcycles can be managed within Pulsar. There is no longer a need for manual package install. UPDATE - Jul 7, 2023: Pulsar on macOS is now signed, no need for the xattr command

Install Pulsar and Tidalcycles package

  1. Download from the Pulsar download page.
  2. Start Pulsar application
  3. Load Package Manager: from Menu > Packages > Open Package Manager
    • Select Install tab
    • search for "tidalcycles"
    • select install

Known issues:

  • macOS performance: this may be resolved by disabling the github package

Other issues:

  • Auto-complete with default settings can be slower and more intrusive for livecoding. Possble workarounds:
    • autocomplete-plus package: increase "Delay Before Suggestions are Shown": to 100 or 1000.
    • disable the autocomplete-plus package

Discord #pulsar channel:

Manual Installation of Tidalcycles package

In most circumstances manual installation of tidalcycles package in Pulsar should be avoided. Please use the Package Manager within Pulsar. If there is a requirement for manual installation, or if installation via Package Manager repeatedly fails, below are manual steps that apply to MacOS and Linux. For more information, see pulsar-tidalcycles on github.

  • Start Pulsar: This will create a hidden folder in your home directory ~/.pulsar.
  • From a command line using git: (make sure you have launched the Pulsar application). This will install the tidalcycles package into ~/.pulsar/packages/tidalcycles/.
> cd ~/.pulsar/packages
> git clone tidalcycles

Install the node.js modules for tidalcycles

Pre-requisite: npm (node package manager)

Install nvm (node version manager - used to install and manage npm)

If npm is already installed, you can skip these steps and go to: "Install the tidalcycles node modules."

The recommended method to install npm is via the node version manager.

  • See NPM Docs for options and instructions.
  • Or go directly to the nvm install script in GH. It has lots of detail, troubleshooting, and support for different OS, etc. See the section on Installing and Updating. The curl option is good.
  • The nvm install script will add lines to your shell profile (.bash_profile, ~/.zshrc, ~/.bashrc etc). This can result in a short delay when starting the shell.
  • run command -v nvm to verify nvm install - expected output nvm.
  • now use nvm to install npm:
> nvm install node

Install the tidalcycle node modules

With npm you now run the npm install command. This will install the node modules needed by the tidalcycles plugin.

> cd ~/.pulsar/packages/tidalcycles
[userHome]/.pulsar/packages/tidalcycles > npm install

Validate results

  • The node modules directory should be present: ~/.pulsar/packages/tidalcycles/node_modules/
  • There should be three sub-directories: binpack directory-tree osc-min
  • Restart the Pulsar app.
  • Create a Tidal file (file extension *.tidal) and run a command. See the Start Tidal page for more instructions if you are new to Tidal.

Configure Pulsar

Pulsar works just like Atom. To configure and change preferences:

  • Main menu: Pulsar > Preferences (will load the Settings tab)
  • Select: Packages > Community Packages > tidalcycles > Settings
  • optional: Set your Sound Browser Folders - if you add the full path to your SuperCollider - Dirt-Samples, then you can easily browse and play these from Pulsar once you start tidal.
  • MacOS (optional): disable the GitHub package. There is a known performance issue on MacOS. See


Potential errors:

  • Couldn't find module: 'Sound.Tidal.Context' This indicates that Pulsar could not load tidal properly.
  • Variable not in scope: streamSetCycle Your "BootTidal.hs" file version is not compatible with the tidal version. There is an easy fix by commenting out this line: -- setCycle = streamSetCycle tidal. But it would be best to resolve the version compatibility issue.

More about the Tidalcycles Package

Forum discussion

The Tidal Package for Pulsar is developed by ndr_brt - who completed made this available in the new Pulsar package manager. There is a Tidal Club forum thread with more information and history of the development.

GitHub repository

There is a GitHub repository if you want to contribute, report an issue or follow the development.