Algorithmic Arts

Interactive Generative Software for Music, Visuals and Wordplay

ArtWonk4 produces music, visuals and wordplay based on generative algorithms you interactively create by connecting modules (graphical objects representing functions and processes) in real time, adjusting the parameters as you go, in a drag & drop environment especially designed to be fast to learn, fast to use.

Source material can be anything at all: Fractals, DNA, EEGs, EKGs, stock quotes, you name it. Built in data extraction reads data from virtually any source, and an extensive DNA editor opens mountains of public domain genetic sequences to explore.

ArtWonk v4.2 was released in September, 2010, but the algorithms and generative processes in ArtWonk have been in development for over 20 years, since the first release of MusicBox for MSDOS in 1986. It represents the ongoing life work of pioneer music and graphics developer John Dunn. This makes ArtWonk vast, deep, and comprehensive; but it is easy and playful to use because it is always running, always live, and you get instant feedback on every change you make.

MusicWonk4 is essentially the same program, but without the graphics processing components. The MIDI and general algorithmic functionality of both programs are identical, and file formats are compatible between the two programs.

Windows 8 compatible beta version available - see Download page.

Winner of Electronic Musician's 2005 Editor's Choice Award.

"Artwonk...takes computer assisted composition to new heights."

"With more than 200 modules, there's not much in the way of real-time composition that you can't do with this program"

"Algorithmic Arts' ArtWonk is an algorithmic-composition program featuring real-time MIDI playback with animated graphics. The program provides a clear, logical work environment for arranging its vast collection of Modules, which can be connected and controlled in numerous ways. ArtWonk is a powerful, flexible, and easy-to-use program for creatively exploring the fertile relationships between music, visual art, mathematics, and nature."

ArtWonk has been reviewed in the September, 2004 issue of Electronic Musician Magazine.
Read the EM review here.

Read the review by
View Getting Started Tutorial Video (...or download the .mp4 video)
View a Flash Demonstration
Complete ArtWonk manual online
ArtWonk Packages paper by Dr. Warren Burt

ArtWonk/MusicWonk Examples

Solanum4-BellPepper.mp3 - MusicWonk Variation by John Dunn of an original ArtWonk patch by Warren Burt. Full set of Variations available on our DNA Music page.

Bell Pepper.mp3 - by Warren Burt from Nightshade Etudes Book One.
PlayingTheLotteryInPlano.mp3 by Warren Burt PlanoNotes
PlayingTheLotteryMicrotonalTrio.mp3 by Warren Burt

Listening to theMind Listening.mp3 - by Hans van Raaij: ICAD 2004 Competition Winner Concert
Composer's conference paper: Listening to theMind Listening - A Sonification/Composition.pdf
"I guess you know I am a great fan of ArtWonk and its predecessor SoftStep. I even remember doing a MusicBox patch (took huge effort...). During the years I've looked at algorithmic programs like MaxMSP. Csound, Symbolic Composer etc, but I always returned to your software. It just fits my way of working like a glove. But more important: your service is simply unequaled. And without it, I doubt if I would have been able to finish my 'masterpiece' for the ICAD in 2004 at all. Thank you!!" - Hans van Raaij

Igor Stochastic Generator - Harp.mp3 - by Igor Karaca, using the Windows built in GM MIDI wavetable synth.
Igor Stochastic Generator - Mute Trumpet.mp3 - Same as above but with a different instrument selected.
Mirage for Flute and Vibraphone excerpt.mp3 - by Igor Karaca "I'm using a similar stochastic patch, but with a different statistical distribution - and I was playing the rhythmic slider instead of having the software control it."

ArtWonk normally produces MIDI output because it is more of a composing tool than a production tool, and for composing, MIDI is more useful than direct audio output because it greatly expands your composing choices. The default General MIDI synthesizer is always available, but that is only the begining. For example, here is one of the example ArtWonk patches driving different MIDI synthesizers:

DelayLine.mp3 - An example of a very simple use of sequencer arrays and wandering pointers, an early ArtWonk demo patch.
DelayLineMoog.mp3 - Same patch, different synth.
DelayLineFingerCymbals.mp3 - Same patch, different synth.
DelayLine-Absynth.mp3 - Same patch, different synth.

ArtWonk works great with images in all sorts of ways. Here is an example of ArtWonk music created by John Dunn as a companion to a very large ArtWonk image created by Jamy Sheridan.

Ten Minutes of Cold
This image is an except. The full image is at:

Because ArtWonk is often used in live performances where computer crashes are unacceptable, ArtWonk uses the ImagXpress high performance, professional graphics imaging engine developed by Pegasus Imaging Corporation. We have found this to be the highest quality, most complete, and most rock solid stable imaging engine available today.

ArtWonk Images by Jamy Sheridan - Click images for full size

Go To Top

Copyright © 1996-2010 by John Dunn and Algorithmic Arts. All Rights Reserved.