Install TidalCycles on Arch Linux

Published on 2020-06-27 by Kenneth Flak

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TidalCycles is a fun and powerful livecoding language based on Haskell and SuperCollider. Installing it on Arch Linux used to happen somewhere between the fifth and seventh circle of hell, but these days it is much, much easier thanks to the tireless and heroic work of David Runge.

I am using yay, my favorite AUR helper, and I want to run the whole thing in neovim, so I need to install the vim-tidal plugin as well.

First, get the TidalCycles libs:

$ yay -S haskell-tidal

Install the vim-tidal plugin. Put this in your init.vim if you use vim-plug:

call plug#begin()
Plug 'tidalcycles/vim-tidal'
call plug#end()

" use neovim's own terminal instead of tmux:
let g:tidal_target = "terminal"

Run :PlugUpdate.

Next, a very important yet easily overlooked step:

$ cd ~/.config/nvim/plugged/vim-tidal
$ sudo make install

This will make the tidal binary available system-wide, which is a requirement for the whole thing to work.

Head over to SuperCollider and run:

Quarks.checkForUpdates({Quarks.install("SuperDirt", "v1.1.3");

Let's test the installation. Run this in SuperCollider:


Open up a new terminal window, and run:

$ nvim test.tidal

Put this in the file:

d1 $ sound "bd sn sn sn"

Place the cursor over the line, hit Ctrl-E and enjoy your first Tidal beat. Next thing you probably want to do is head over to the TidalCycles tutorial to figure out what else you can do!