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Man Pages
cmus-tutorial(7) FreeBSD Miscellaneous Information Manual cmus-tutorial(7)

cmus - C* Music Player tutorial

Step 1: Starting Cmus

Step 2: Adding Music

Step 3: Playing Tracks From The Library

Step 4: Managing The Queue

Step 5: The Playlists

Step 6: Find that track

Step 7: Customization

Step 8: Quit

Step 9: Further Reading

When you first launch cmus (just type cmus in a terminal and press Enter) it will open to the album/artist view, which looks something like this:

| Artist / Album             Track                            Library |
|                          |                                          |
|                          |                                          |
|                          |                                          |
|                          |                                          |
|                          |                                          |
|                          |                                          |
|                          |                                          |
|                                                                     |
| . 00:00 - 00:00 vol: 100                     all from library | C   |
|                                                                     |

This is the view where your artists and albums will be displayed.

Press 5 to switch to the file-browser view so we can add some music. You should see something like this:

| Browser - /home/jasonwoof                                           |
| ../                                                                 |
| Desktop/                                                            |
| MySqueak/                                                           |
| audio-projects/                                                     |
| audio/                                                              |
| bin/                                                                |
| config/                                                             |
|                                                                     |
| . 00:00 - 00:00 vol: 100                     all from library | C   |
|                                                                     |

Now, use the arrow keys, Enter and Backspace to navigate to where you have audio files stored. To add music to your cmus library, use the arrow keys to highlight a file or folder, and press a. When you press a cmus will move you to the next line down (so that it is easy to add a bunch of files/folders in a row) and start adding the file/folder you pressed a on to your library. This can take a while if you added a folder with a lot in it. As files are added, you will see the second time in the bottom right go up. This is the total duration of all the music in the cmus library.

Note: cmus does not move, duplicate or change your files. It just remembers where they are and caches the metadata (duration, artist, etc.)

Just to be on the safe side, lets save. Type :save and press Enter.

Note: Cmus automatically saves your settings and library and everything when you quit, so you probably won't use the save command much.

Press 2 to go to the simple library view. You should see something like this:

| Library ~/.config/cmus/ - 31 tracks sorted by artist album di |
| Flying Lizards         . Money (That's What I Want)           02:31 |
| Jason Woofenden        . VoR Theme                       2009 01:20 |
| Keali'i Reichel      06. Wanting Memories                1994 04:28 |
| Molly Lewis            . Tom Cruise Crazy                     03:13 |
| NonMemory              . pista1                          2009 03:18 |
| NonMemory            01. pista1                    2009-04-21 04:13 |
| Ray Charles          06. Halleluja I Love Her So              02:33 |
|                                                                     |
| . 00:00 - 2:16:25 vol: 100                   all from library | C   |
|                                                                     |

Use the up and down arrow keys to select a track you'd like to hear, and press Enter to play it. Here are some keys to control playback:

Press c to pause/unpause Press right/left to seek by 10 seconds Press </> seek by one minute Press z to play the previous track and b to play the next track

cmus has some great options to control what plays next (if anything) when the track ends. The state of these settings are shown in the bottom right corner. The first of these shows what collection of tracks (currently "all from library") we are playing. Press m to cycle through the different options for this setting. To the right of that (past the "|") cmus shows the state of four toggles. Only toggles which are "on" are shown, so now we only see the C. Here are the toggles:


If this is off, cmus will always stop at the end of the track. You can toggle this setting by pressing shift-C.


If this is on (and continue is on), when cmus reaches the end of the group of tracks you're playing (selected with the m key) it will start again from the beginning. Press r to toggle this setting.


If this is on, cmus will choose a random order to play all the tracks once. Press s to toggle this option.


If this is on, cmus will select the currently playing track on track change. Press f to toggle this option.

Lets say you're listening to a song, and you want to select which song will play next, without interrupting the currently playing song. No problem! Just go to the song you want to hear next (in any of the views) and press e. The queue is FIFO, meaning if you queue up another track, it will play after the one you already had queued up.

Note: The queue is not affected by the "shuffle" option described above.

Press 4 to view/edit the queue. This view works and looks a lot like the simple library view. The main difference is that you can change the order of the tracks with the p and P keys. You can press shift-D to remove a track from the queue.

When cmus is ready to play another track (it's reached the end of a track and the "continue" setting is on) it will remove the top entry from the queue and start playing it.

The playlists work like another set of libraries (like view 2) except that (like the queue) you manually set the order of the tracks. This can be quite useful if you want to create a mixes of specific tracks or if you want to listen to an audio book without having the chapters play when you're playing "all from library".

The playlists are on view 3. But before we go there, lets add some tracks. Press 2 to go to the simple library view, go to a track you want and press y to add it to a playlist. The only visual feedback you'll get that anything happened is that the highlight will move down one row. Add a few more so you have something to work with.

Now press 3 to go to the playlist. You should see something like this:

| Playlist                   Track                              11:32 |
| * default                | Flying Lizards     . Money (Th...  02:31 |
|                          | Jason Woofenden    . VoR T... 2009 01:20 |
|                          | Keali'i Reichel  06. Wanti... 1994 04:28 |
|                          | Molly Lewis        . Tom Cruis...  03:13 |
|                          |                                          |
|                          |                                          |
|                          |                                          |
|                                                                     |
| . 00:00 - 00:00 vol: 100                     all from library | C   |
|                                                                     |

Just like the queue, you can use the p, P and D keys to move and delete tracks from the playlist.

Note: Changing the view (e.g. by pressing 3) does not affect what cmus will play next. To put cmus into "play from the playlist" mode, press Enter on one of the tracks in the playlist. To switch modes without interrupting the currently-playing song, you can press shift-M.

This step shows various ways you can find track(s) you're looking for.

Search: Press 2 to be sure you're on the simple library view, then press / to start a search. Type a word or two from the track you're looking for. cmus will search for tracks that have all those words in them. Press enter to get the keyboard out of the search command, and n to find the next match.

Tree View: Press 1 to select the tree view. Scroll to the artist, press space to show their albums, scroll to the album you want, then press tab so the keyboard controls the right column. Press tab again to get back to the left column.

Filters: See the reference manual (see Further Reading below) for a detailed description on how to quickly (and temporarily) hide most of your music.

Cmus has some very cool settings you can tweak, like changing the way tracks are displayed (e.g. to display disk numbers), enabling replaygain support or changing the keybindings.

Press 7 for a quick overview of the current keybindings and settings.

To change a setting or keybind, just select it (up/down keys) and press enter. This will put the command for the current setting in the command now (bottom left of your screen), which you can edit to put in a new value/key.

Please see the reference manual (see Further Reading below) for a detailed description of all the commands and settings available.

When you're done, type :q and press Enter to quit. This will save your settings, library, playlist and queue.

Cmus comes with a great reference manual. Now that you've got the basics down it should be intelligible. Try man cmus in a terminal. If that's not installed, try opening up cmus.txt from the Doc directory, or read the latest version online:

There are more commands and features not covered here like loading and saving playlists, controlling cmus remotely with cmus-remote, etc.

14/02/2010 cmus

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