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Gwion is a programming language, aimed at making music

Bran the musical wizard grizzly bear casting spell with a wand < Bran, our mascot, kindly provided by neverRare

strongly inspired by ChucK, but adding a bunch of high-level features, templating, first-class functions and more.

It aims to be simple, small, fast, extendable and embeddable.

Checkout the community, and join us on discord: You can also check this very nice server about programming language devlopment:, since a lot of improvements to gwion are discussed there.

Please also consider taking the (WIP) tour


Download the source

git clone --recursive
cd Gwion

Configuring (optional)

You can get a list of config files to tweak with

find . -name ""

Please rebuild to take your change into account.

make -C util clean
make -C ast  clean
make clean

Besides developer options, you migth want to check USE_DOUBLE, in util/, which set the floating point size (float or double). Note that the option you choose must match how you built your soundpipe library (more on soundpipe later).

Nix - Install

To get started with Gwion, use the provided default.nix file.

Navigate to the main Gwion repository. Enter the following command:

nix-env -if default.nix

This should install Gwion.

Afterwards, you can run the Gwion Interpreter with the following command:

gwion <file>

The default.nix file includes a fixed commit hash. If you prefer to utilize the latest version, you'll need to update the commit hash accordingly. Here's how:

  • Go to the Gwion repository on GitHub.
  • Locate the commit hash of the latest version you want to use.
  • Update the commit hash in the default.nix file to match the desired version.
  • Save the changes.
  • Re-run the installation command mentioned earlier to install the updated version of Gwion.

Executing your first code (

This assumes you have successfully compiled gwion. To build follow these steps . To check, if the build was successfully run


if this gives out some error, there were problems with your compilation. Try building again, and open a issue if the problem persists. We would love to help you out.
If you see no errors, Congratulations!! You have successfully compiled gwion, and can move ahead.

Create a new file "" in the same directory.(You are free to use any command)


Open this file using your favourite text editor


Add the following lines to print "Hello World" (Note the semicolon at the end)

<<< "Hello World" >>>;

Save and exit the file(:wq in vim). Use the following command to run your first gwion program


Congratulations!! You ran your first gwion program.

Making Sound

This section is currently very Linux-centric. We are working to improve that. Pull requests welcome!

Gwion relies on plugins for most of its language features, including all those that make sound. Plugins are located in the subdirectories of plug. To get some sounds going under linux using jack sound server, you can build the plugins Jack, Soundpipe, and Modules. Make sure you have Jack installed.

Start by downloading the sources

git submodule update plug
cd plug

Starting from the Gwion base directory, to build Jack:

cd plug/Jack

This will give you a shared object file, The default place Gwion will look for plugins is in a subdir of your home directory named .gwplug. So create that directory and move there:

mkdir ~/.gwplug
mv ~/.gwplug

Repeat for the other plugins mentioned. The Soundpipe plugin requires the gwion-soundpipe library, which we hope to have build seamlessly for you when you build the Soundpipe module, but we're not quite there yet. For now, please clone gwion-soundpipe in the Soundpipe plugin directory plug/Soundpipe. Please ask for help if this isn't working.

When all those plugin .so files are in your ~/.gwplug directory, you should be able to run a Gwion program that makes sound! In plug/Modules there's a program which plays a sine wave for 5 seconds. If the gwion you built is still in the base dir of your cloned repo, from the plug/Modules subdirectory you should be able to run ../../gwion -d Jack and hear some sound!


It's a good idea to install Gwion now that you have tried it out. Use the following command to install it:

sudo make install

To confirm Gwion can make sound, update to:

#import Modules

<<<"Sound from Gwion!">>>;

new SinOsc ~> dac;

5::second => now;

To run it with Jack as the driver: gwion -dJack. Hopefully you will hear a smooth sine wave. If not, please reach out on Discord and we'll help you out.


Run gwion with the --cdoc flag and it will show you everything that Gwion has to offer. Like so:

gwion --cdoc --color=always | less -R

Online documentation is a work in progress 👷 You can view it here. Please consider contributing 🙂

there is another site with samples

If you need help with anything just talk to us on Discord. In general the audio programming community is very friendly and the people involved with Gwion are no exception.

Contributing / Reporting bugs

👍 Every helping hand is welcome!!! 👍

If there's anything you see that can make Gwion better, please let us know!

📖 Please see the contributing page for more information.


The whole Chuck team, for inspiration.
Paul Batchelor and the awesome soundpipe library, that got me started. not to forget these wonderful people (emoji key):