Monome via Serial and Go

July 1, 2017

If you have a Monome, you're probably familiar with serialosc which does what its name implies - converts Monome's serial to OSC. However, serialosc, isn't the only way to talk to these devices. You can talk serial directly to monomes fairly simply as well.

Below is a contrived example1 using Go:

package main
import (

func setLed(port io.ReadWriteCloser, position int, on bool) {
    var a, b byte
    if on {
        a, b = 1, 0x11
    } else {
        a, b = 2, 0x10
    port.Write([]byte{(a << 4) + b, byte(position)})
func main() {
    port, err := serial.Open(serial.OpenOptions{
        PortName:        "/dev/ttyUSB0",
        BaudRate:        115200,
        DataBits:        8,
        StopBits:        1,
        MinimumReadSize: 1,
    defer port.Close()
    if err != nil {
        log.Fatalf("Monome not found: %v", err)
    // Read example, just print information
    go func() {
        readBytes := make([]byte, 3)
        for {
            fmt.Printf("%v\n", readBytes)
    // Write example, cycle all leds off/on
    s := false
    for {
        for x := 0; x < 256; x++ {
            setLed(port, x, s)
        s = !s
        time.Sleep(100 * time.Millisecond)

In the above snippet you get both reading and writing directly from/to the Monome's serial port. The serial specification is well laid out and working directly with serial rather than using serialosc might be a good option if you don't need all the fancy features (such as Bonjour or multi-device support) of serialosc or just want something a little more low-level.

  1. The example Go code was tested on a non-varibright Monome Walnut 256 model.