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Revision as of 04:58, 25 December 2016 by 0x46 (talk | contribs) (Updated visualizer_type and visualizer_look. More types are available and have been, but this page did not previously list these types. Newer users to ncmpcpp would not have been able to find these visualizers without reading the source or googling)
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Ncmpcpp or ncmpcpp is an mpd client (compatible with mopidy) with a UI very similar to ncmpc, but it provides new useful features such as support for regular expressions for library searches, extended song format, items filtering, the ability to sort playlists, and a local filesystem browser.

To use it, a functional mpd must be present on the system since ncmpcpp/mpd work together in a client/server relationship.


Install ncmpcpp from the official repositories.

Basic configuration

The shell "GUI" for ncmpcpp is highly customizable. Edit ~/.ncmpcpp/config to your liking. If, after installation, ~/.ncmpcpp/config has not been created, simply copy the sample config, change owner and edit at the very least the following three configuration options:

  • mpd_host - Should point to the host on which mpd resides, can be "localhost" or "" if on the same machine
  • mpd_port - The default of mpd should be "6600"
  • mpd_music_dir - The same directory value as specified in "music_directory" in mpd.conf

For inspiration, see the following resources:

Enabling visualization

For visualization, add a few lines to /etc/mpd.conf to enable the generation of the fast Fourier transform data for the visualization:

audio_output {
    type                    "fifo"
    name                    "my_fifo"
    path                    "/tmp/mpd.fifo"
    format                  "44100:16:2"

Additional lines need to be added to ~/.ncmpcpp/config

visualizer_fifo_path = "/tmp/mpd.fifo"
visualizer_output_name = "my_fifo"
visualizer_sync_interval = "30" 
visualizer_in_stereo = "yes"
#visualizer_type = "wave" (spectrum/wave/wave_filled/ellipse)
#visualizer_type = "wave_filled" (spectrum/wave/wave_filled/ellipse)
#visualizer_type = "ellipse" (spectrum/wave/wave_filled/ellipse)
visualizer_type = "spectrum" (spectrum/wave/wave_filled/ellipse)
visualizer_look = "+|"
  • visualizer_sync_interval - Set the interval for synchronizing the visualizer with the audio output from mpd. It should be set to greater than 10 to avoid trying to synchronize too frequently, which freezes the visualization. The recommended value is 30, but it can be reduced if the audio becomes desynced with the visualization.
  • visualizer_type - Set the visualization to either a spectrum/ellipse analyzer or wave/wave filled form.
  • visualizer_look - Set the visualizer's look (string has to be exactly 2 characters long: first one is for wave and wave_filled whereas second for frequency spectrum and ellipse).

Basic usage

Loading ncmpcpp

Load ncmpcpp in a shell:

$ ncmpcpp

Different views

Partial list of views within ncmpcpp:

  • 1 - Current playlist
  • 2 - Filesystem browser
  • 3 - DB search
  • 4 - Library
  • 5 - Playlist editor
  • 6 - Tag editor (very powerful!)
  • 7 - Output selector
  • 8 - Music visualizer
  • = - Clock
  • F1 - Help

Other UI keys

  • q - Quit
  • f - Seek forward
  • b - Seek backward
  • \ - Switch between classic and alternative views
  • # - Display bitrate of file
  • i - Show song info
  • I - Show artist info (saved in ~/.ncmpcpp/artists/ARTIST.txt)
  • L - Shuffle between available lyric databases
  • l - Retrieve song lyrics for current song Show/hide lyrics
  • > - Next track
  • < - Previous track
  • p - Play/Pause
  • + - Increase volume 2%
  • - - Decrease volume 2%

Playback modes

Noticed the control panel in the upper right; shown in alternative mode:

1:40/4:16 1082 kbps                            ──┤ Criminal ├──                                       Vol: 98%
[playing]                             Disturbed - Indestructible (2008)                               [-z-c--]

And again in classic mode:


This corresponds to the playback modes; ordered from left to right, they are:

  • r - repeat mode [r-----]
  • z - random mode [-z----]
  • y - single mode [--s---] (Repeats the current track after reaching the end.)
  • R - consume mode [---c--] (Removes the current track from playlist after reaching the end.)
  • x - crossfade mode [----x-]

The final "-" is only active when the user forces an update to the datebase via u.

Remapping keys

A listing of key bindings and their respective functions is available from within npmpcpp itself via hitting F1. Users may remap any of the default keys simply by copying /usr/share/doc/ncmpcpp/bindings to ~/.ncmpcpp/ and editing it.

See also configurations