Cmus, music player for console, small, fast and powerful


In the next article we are going to take a look at Cmus. Today there are many GUI-based media players available, such as VLC or SMPlayer. But the console-based players they are only a few. Cmus is one of them, which will work on almost all modern GNU / Linux operating systems.

This is a music player for console small, fast and powerful that plays audio files from the terminal on Unix-like operating systems. Unlike other graphic music players, Cmus can instantly start and play music files, even if there are thousands of audio files. Supports most audio formats, among which we will find: Ogg Vorbis, MP3, FLAC, Opus, Musepack, WavPack, WAV, AAC, MP4, Audio CD, WMA, APE, MKA, TTA, SHN and libmodplug.

General characteristics of Cmus

Some features are:

  • Play without pause.
  • Support of ReplayGain.
  • MP3 and Ogg streaming.
  • Live filtering.
  • Instant start.
  • Customizable keys.

Install Cmus

Cmus is available in repositories default of most Gnu / Linux distributions. Therefore, installing Cmus is not a problem. In Debian, Ubuntu and Linux Mint we will only have to open a terminal (Ctrl + Alt + T) and write:

sudo apt install cmus

Using Cmus

Launch Cmus

To start Cmus you just have to type in the terminal (Ctrl + Alt + T):

Cmus released first time


When you start Cmus for the first time, will open in album / artist view without media files. We need to add them manually.

Add music files to Cmus

Pressing on our keyboard the number 5 we'll switch to the file browser view:

Cmus browser files

Use the following keys to get to your audio files:

  • UP and DOWN arrow keys, to go up and down. Alternatively, you can use the k and j keys to move up and down.
  • INTRO key, to enter a directory or play a selected audio track.
  • BACK key, to go back.

Once you have located the file or folders that contain the audio files, press the letter a to add audio files to the library.

Playing audio files

Added all music files, press the number 1 to see the library.

The artists / albums are alphabetically arranged on the left side and the audio files are on the right side. For switch to simple library view press 2. Only the audio tracks will be displayed in order.

Cmus simple playlist

You can use the up and down arrow keys to select the track you would like to listen to, and press Enter to play it.

Keys for using Cmus

Here is a list of important keys that you will use frequently in Cmus:

  • v → stop playback.
  • b → next track.
  • z → previous track.
  • c → pause / resume playback.
  • s → toggle randomly
  • x → restart the track.
  • - → reduce the volume by 10%.
  • = → increase volume by 10%.
  • q → Close Cmus.

These keys are enough to use Cmus.

Manage queue

Say you are listening to a song and you want select which song to play next, without interrupting the song that is playing. All you have to do is go to the song you want to listen to and press the e key. The song will start playing after the current song ends. You can view and edit the queue at any time by pressing 4.

Cmus select next song

You can also change the order of the tracks with the 'p' and 'P' keys. To remove a track from the queue, press shift + D.

Search for clues

Cmus search song

For, search for a specific track, you have to use the forward slash (/) followed by the search string. For example, to search for a song named «On the roof«, You have to write /On the roof.

Customize Cmus

We can customize the player to our liking. It will allow us to change the way the tracks are displayed, enable support for playback gain or change the key combinations.

To view the current settings / key combinations, press 7.

Cmus customization

To change a setting or key combination, simply select it using the up and down keys and press Enter. So we can change it for the one that interests us

For, exit the program, just press q.

This article only covers the basic use of Cmus. There is more functions and commands that are not covered in these lines. For more details we can go to the Web page or user manual of the program. We can also consult the help that man offers us.

Uninstall Cmus

We will be able to remove this program as easily as we install it. You just have to open a terminal (Ctrl + Alt + T) and write in it:

sudo apt remove cmus; sudo apt autoremove

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4 comments, leave yours

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  1.   Simon said

    Thks bro!

  2.   elias said

    Hello, excellent post. After reading it I installed it immediately. However when adding songs I get repeated, for example the song "1.Hello" appears:


    What I can do?

    1.    Damien Amoedo said

      I imagine it will be a problem with the name of the songs, but I don't know either. I recommend you take a look at the manual what are you offering. Salu2.

  3.   Eduardo Rivero said

    It's great!!! THANK YOU!