I thought maybe I would be satisfied with Decibel, and I am quite satisfied. But you got to love the idea of MPD! Along side the required MPC, the command line player, you have everything you would ever need from a simple audio-player.

Setting it up was not straight forward. It is not enough to install the .debs and expect everything to work. You need to edit text-files – configuration files. There is a good Getting Started page on their community wiki. I went for the global option; you may choose to edit and start the daemon as the logged in user or globally. This meant that I edited the /etc/mpd.conf.

How it works

MPD is a daemon, and is a server running on your computer. It runs in the background and does whatever you tell it to. To control it, you’ll need a clientmpd-clients. The simplest one, and really all you’ll ever need, is MPC. You should, however, be familiar with the command-line if you plan to rely on it.

For a GUI-client, I got a tip from Vincent about Sonata. It is lightweight, shows album-artwork, and let’s you easily change the current playlist etc. This might be preferred so that you get visual feedback of what is going on with the music player daemon. It’s your choice.

Of course, you can easily connect to a MPD on a different computer anywhere in the world – maybe I’ll look into that option later.

The first thing you do is define the root of your library – where your music is located. This will be the “/” of your library. Then you create your database – and you’re up!

MPC

CLI MPD-client – Command-line Music Player Daemon-client. All you need! Here are the most common commands:

Add your library to the playlist

$ mpd add /

General operations

$ mpc play|stop|pause|next|prev|volume <0-100>/+/-

Clear the current playlist

$ mpc clear

List your directories – this means artists in my case

$ mpc ls

Now, to list different albums from one artist

$ mpc ls Coldplay

Note: Here you have “tab”-autocompletion, which is very useful! Start writing $ mpc ls Cold and press tab.

Note2: Ben Harper – $ mpc ls Ben_Harper

Now, to add a specific album from an artist, you simply pipe

$ mpc ls James_Morrison/Undiscovered | mpc add && mpc play

Update your MPD database

$ mpc update

Sonata

Pretty straightforward – a graphical client to control your MPD. Quite simple with the most common features.

Keyboard binding

This is maybe the most beautiful thing about a CLI-client – by assigning commands to keyboard-bindings, you can control your MPD with the keyboard. I use LXDE/Openbox, so I only need to add a few lines in my ~/.config/openbox/lxde-rc.xml (rc.xml for openbox) in the <keyboard>-section ( I have used the Win-key ):

<keybind key="W-P">
 <action name="Execute"><command>mpc play</command>
 </action></keybind>
<keybind key="W-S">
 <action name="Execute"><command>mpc stop</command>
 </action></keybind>
<keybind key="W-N">
 <action name="Execute"><command>mpc next</command>
 </action></keybind>
<keybind key="W-B">
 <action name="Execute"><command>mpc prev</command>
 </action></keybind>
<keybind key="W-L">
 <action name="Execute"><command>sonata</command>
 </action></keybind>

Conky

Of course, Conky has built-in support for MPD! Mine looks like this:

${if_running mpd}$hr
MPD $mpd_status
$mpd_artist
$mpd_track $mpd_title
$mpd_elapsed $alignr $mpd_length
$mpd_bar
${endif}

Conclusion

It rocks! Once you have it up and running. I did encounter a few minor problems during setup, and also identified a bug, but I don’t know where the bug comes from. See this post for details.

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