ncmpcpp - An ncurses Music Player Daemon (MPD) client.



ncmpcpp − An ncurses Music Player Daemon (MPD) client.


ncmpcpp [options]


ncmpcpp is an ncurses client for MPD (Music Player Daemon), inspired by ncmpc.

Read more about MPD at


Mandatory arguments to long options are mandatory for short options too.
, −−host=HOST

Connect to server at host [localhost]

−p, −−port=PORT

Connect to server at port [6600]


Print current song using given format and exit

−c, −−config=FILE

Specify configuration file(s)


Ignore unknown and invalid options in configuration files

−b, −−bindings=FILE

Specify bindings file(s)

−s, −−screen <name>

Specify the startup screen (<name> may be: help, playlist, browser, search_engine, media_library, playlist_editor, tag_editor, outputs, visualizer, clock)

−S, −−slave-screen <name>

Specify the startup slave screen (<name> may be: help, playlist, browser, search_engine, media_library, playlist_editor, tag_editor, outputs, visualizer, clock)

−q, −−quiet

Suppress logs and excess output

−?, −−help

Display help.

−v, −−version

Display version information.


When ncmpcpp starts, it tries to read settings from $XDG_CONFIG_HOME/ncmpcpp/config and $HOME/.ncmpcpp/config files. If no configuration is found, ncmpcpp uses its default configuration. An example configuration file containing all default values is provided with ncmpcpp and can be usually found in /usr/share/doc/ncmpcpp (the exact location may depend on your operating system or configure prefix).

Note: Configuration option values can either be enclosed in quotation marks or not.
- If they are enclosed, the leftmost and the rightmost quotation marks are treated as delimiters, therefore it is not necessary to escape quotation marks you use within the value itself.
- If they are not, any whitespace characters between = and the first printable character of the value, as well as whitespace characters after the last printable character of the value are trimmed.

Therefore the rule of thumb is: if you need whitespaces at the beginning or at the end of the value, enclose it in quotation marks. Otherwise, don’t.

Note: COLOR has to be the name (not a number) of one of colors 1-8 from SONG FORMAT section.

Supported configuration options:
ncmpcpp_directory = PATH

Directory for storing ncmpcpp related files. Changing it is useful if you want to store everything somewhere else and provide command line setting for alternative location to config file which defines that while launching ncmpcpp.

lyrics_directory = PATH

Directory for storing downloaded lyrics. It defaults to ˜/.lyrics since other MPD clients (eg. ncmpc) also use that location.

mpd_host = HOST

Connect to MPD running on specified host/unix socket. When HOST starts with a ’/’, it is assumed to be a unix socket. Note: MPD_HOST environment variable overrides this setting.

mpd_port = PORT

Connect to MPD on the specified port. Note: MPD_PORT environment variable overrides this setting.

mpd_music_dir = PATH

Search for files in specified directory. This is needed for tag editor to work.

mpd_connection_timeout = SECONDS

Set connection timeout to MPD to given value.

mpd_crossfade_time = SECONDS

Default number of seconds to crossfade, if enabled by ncmpcpp.

visualizer_data_source = LOCATION

Source of data for the visualizer. For MPD it’s going to be a fifo output, for Mopidy a udpsink output (see the example configuration file for more details).

visualizer_output_name = NAME

Name of output that provides data for visualizer. Needed to keep sound and visualization in sync.

visualizer_in_stereo = yes/no

Should be set to ’yes’, if fifo output’s format was set to 44100:16:2.

visualizer_type = spectrum/wave/wave_filled/ellipse

Defines default visualizer type (spectrum is available only if ncmpcpp was compiled with fftw support).

visualizer_look = STRING

Defines visualizer’s look (string has to be exactly 2 characters long: first one is for wave whereas second for frequency spectrum).

visualizer_color = COLORS

Comma separated list of colors to be used in music visualization.

visualizer_fps = FPS

The amount of frames per second for the visualizer.

visualizer_autoscale = yes/no

Automatically scale visualizer size.

visualizer_spectrum_smooth_look = yes/no

For spectrum visualizer, use unicode block characters for a smoother, more continuous look. This will override the visualizer_look option. With transparent terminals and visualizer_in_stereo set, artifacts may be visible on the bottom half of the visualization.

visualizer_spectrum_dft_size = NUMBER

For spectrum visualizer, a value between 1 and 5 inclusive. Specifying a larger value makes the visualizer look at a larger slice of time, which results in less jumpy visualizer output.

visualizer_spectrum_gain = dB

Gain for spectrum visualizer in dB, larger/smaller values shift bars up/down.

visualizer_spectrum_hz_min = Hz

For spectrum visualizer, left-most frequency of visualizer, must be less than HZ MAX.

visualizer_spectrum_hz_max = Hz

For spectrum visualizer, right-most frequency of visualizer, must be greater than HZ MIN.

system_encoding = ENCODING

If you use encoding other than utf8, set it in order to handle utf8 encoded strings properly.

playlist_disable_highlight_delay = SECONDS

Delay for highlighting playlist since the last key was pressed. If set to 0, highlighting never fades away.

message_delay_time = SECONDS

Delay for displayed messages to remain visible.


Song format for lists of songs.


Song format for statusbar.


Song format for media library.

alternative_header_first_line_format = TEXT

Now playing song format for the first line in alternative user interface header window.

alternative_header_second_line_format = TEXT

Now playing song format for the second line in alternative user interface header window.

current_item_prefix = TEXT

Prefix for currently selected item.

current_item_suffix = TEXT

Suffix for currently selected item.

current_item_inactive_column_prefix = TEXT

Prefix for currently selected item in the inactive column.

current_item_inactive_column_suffix = TEXT

Suffix for currently selected item in the inactive column.

now_playing_prefix = TEXT

Prefix for currently playing song.

now_playing_suffix = TEXT

Suffix for currently playing song.

browser_playlist_prefix = TEXT

Prefix for playlists in Browser.

selected_item_prefix = TEXT

Prefix for selected items.

selected_item_suffix = TEXT

Suffix for selected items.

modified_item_prefix = TEXT

Prefix for modified item (tag editor).


Determines sort mode for browser. Possible values are "type", "name", "mtime", "format" and "none".


Format to use for sorting songs in browser. For this option to be effective, browser_sort_mode must be set to "format".


Song format for window title.


Format for songs’ list displayed in columns.

execute_on_song_change = COMMAND

Shell command to execute on song change.

execute_on_player_state_change = COMMAND

Shell command to execute on player state change. The environment variable MPD_PLAYER_STATE is set to the current state (either unknown, play, pause, or stop) for its duration.

playlist_show_mpd_host = yes/no

If enabled, current MPD host will be shown in playlist.

playlist_show_remaining_time = yes/no

If enabled, time remaining to end of playlist will be shown after playlist statistics.

playlist_shorten_total_times = yes/no

If enabled, total/remaining playlist time displayed in statusbar will be shown using shortened units’ names (d:h:m:s instead of days:hours:minutes:seconds).

playlist_separate_albums = yes/no

If enabled, separators will be placed between albums.

playlist_display_mode = classic/columns

Default display mode for Playlist.

browser_display_mode = classic/columns

Default display mode for Browser.

search_engine_display_mode = classic/columns

Default display mode for Search engine.

playlist_editor_display_mode = classic/columns

Default display mode for Playlist editor.

discard_colors_if_item_is_selected = yes/no

Indicates whether custom colors of tags have to be discarded if item is selected or not.

show_duplicate_tags = yes/no

Indicates whether ncmpcpp should display multiple tags as-is or remove duplicates.

incremental_seeking = yes/no

If enabled, seek time will increment by one each second of seeking.

seek_time = SECONDS

Base seek time to begin with.

volume_change_step = NUMBER

Number of percents volume has to be increased/decreased by in volume_up/volume_down.

autocenter_mode = yes/no

Default state for autocenter mode at start.

centered_cursor = yes/no

If enabled, currently highlighted position in the list will be always centered.

progressbar_look = TEXT

This variable defines the look of progressbar. Note that it has to be exactly two or three characters long.

default_place_to_search_in = database/playlist

If set to "playlist", Search engine will perform searching in current MPD playlist rather than in music database.

user_interface = classic/alternative

Default user interface used by ncmpcpp at start.

data_fetching_delay = yes/no

If enabled, there will be a 250ms delay between refreshing position in media library or playlist editor and fetching appropriate data from MPD. This limits data fetched from the server and is particularly useful if ncmpcpp is connected to a remote host.

media_library_primary_tag =

Default tag type for leftmost column in media library.

media_library_albums_split_by_date = yes/no

Determines whether albums in media library should be split by date.

media_library_hide_album_dates = yes/no

Determines whether album dates in media library should be hidden.

default_find_mode = wrapped/normal

If set to "wrapped", going from last found position to next will take you to the first one (same goes for the first position and going to previous one), otherwise no actions will be performed.

default_tag_editor_pattern = TEXT

Default pattern used by Tag editor’s parser.

header_visibility = yes/no

If enabled, header window will be displayed, otherwise hidden.

statusbar_visibility = yes/no

If enabled, statusbar will be displayed, otherwise hidden.

connected_message_on_startup = yes/no

Show the "Connected to ..." message on startup

titles_visibility = yes/no

If enabled, column titles will be displayed, otherwise hidden.

header_text_scrolling = yes/no

If enabled, text in header window will scroll if its length is longer then actual screen width, otherwise it won’t.

cyclic_scrolling = yes/no

If enabled, cyclic scrolling is used (e.g. if you press down arrow being at the end of list, it’ll take you to the beginning)

lyrics_fetchers = FETCHERS

Comma separated list of lyrics fetchers.

follow_now_playing_lyrics = yes/no

If enabled, lyrics will be switched at song’s change to currently playing one’s (Note: this works only if you are viewing lyrics of item from Playlist).

fetch_lyrics_for_current_song_in_background = yes/no

If enabled, each time song changes lyrics fetcher will be automatically run in background in attempt to download lyrics for currently playing song.

store_lyrics_in_song_dir = yes/no

If enabled, lyrics will be saved in song’s directory, otherwise in ˜/.lyrics. Note that it needs properly set mpd_music_dir.

generate_win32_compatible_filenames = yes/no

If set to yes, filenames generated by ncmpcpp (with tag editor, for lyrics, artists etc.) will not contain the following characters: \?*:|

allow_for_physical_item_deletion = yes/no

If set to yes, it will be possible to physically delete files and directories from the disk in the browser.

lastfm_preferred_language = ISO 639 alpha-2 language code

If set, ncmpcpp will try to get info from in language you set and if it fails, it will fall back to English. Otherwise it will use English the first time.

space_add_mode = add_remove/always_add

If set to add_remove, attempting to add files that are already in playlist will remove them. Otherwise they can be added multiple times.

show_hidden_files_in_local_browser = yes/no

Trigger for displaying in local browser files and directories that begin with ’.’

screen_switcher_mode = SWITCHER_MODE

If set to "previous", key_screen_switcher will switch between current and last used screen. If set to "screen1,...screenN" (a list of screens) it will switch between them in a sequence. Syntax clarification can be found in example config file.

startup_screen = SCREEN_NAME

Screen that has to be displayed at start (playlist by default).

startup_slave_screen = SCREEN_NAME

Slave screen that has to be displayed at start (nothing by default).

startup_slave_screen_focus = yes/no

If set to yes, slave screen will be the active one after startup. Otherwise master screen will be.

locked_screen_width_part = 20-80

If you want to lock a screen, ncmpcpp asks for % of locked screen’s width to be reserved before that and provides a default value, which is the one you can set here.

ask_for_locked_screen_width_part = yes/no

If enabled, ncmpcpp will ask for % of locked screen’s width each time you want to lock a screen. If you disable that, it’ll silently attempt to use default value.

jump_to_now_playing_song_at_start = yes/no

If enabled, ncmpcpp will jump at start to now playing song if mpd is playing or paused.

ask_before_clearing_playlists = yes/no

If enabled, user will be asked if he really wants to clear the playlist after pressing key responsible for that.

clock_display_seconds = yes/no

If enabled, clock will display time in format hh:mm:ss, otherwise hh:mm.

display_volume_level = yes/no

If enabled, volume level will be displayed in statusbar, otherwise not.

display_bitrate = yes/no

If enabled, bitrate of currently playing song will be displayed in statusbar.

display_remaining_time = yes/no

If enabled, remaining time of currently playing song will be be displayed in statusbar instead of elapsed time.

regular_expressions = none/basic/extended/perl

Type of currently used regular expressions.

ignore_leading_the = yes/no

If enabled, word "the" at the beginning of tags/filenames/sort format will be ignored while sorting items.

ignore_diacritics = yes/no

If enabled, diacritics in strings will be ignored while searching and filtering lists.

block_search_constraints_change_if_items_found = yes/no

If enabled, fields in Search engine above "Reset" button will be blocked after successful searching, otherwise they won’t.

mouse_support = yes/no

If set to yes, mouse support will be enabled.

mouse_list_scroll_whole_page = yes/no

If enabled, mouse wheel will scroll the whole page of item list at a time, otherwise the number of lines specified by lines_scrolled variable.

lines_scrolled = NUMBER

Number of lines that are scrolled with mouse wheel.

empty_tag_marker = TEXT

Text that will be displayed, if requested tag is not set.

tags_separator = TEXT

Separator that is placed between tags. Also interpreted by tag editor which splits input string into separate tags using it.

tag_editor_extended_numeration = yes/no

If enabled, tag editor will number tracks using format xx/yy (where xx is the current track and yy is total amount of all numbered tracks), not plain xx.

media_library_sort_by_mtime = yes/no

If enabled, media library will be sorted by modification time. Otherwise lexicographic sorting is used.

enable_window_title = yes/no

If enabled, ncmpcpp will override current window title with its own one.

search_engine_default_search_mode = MODE_NUMBER

Number of default mode used in search engine.

external_editor = PATH

Path to external editor used to edit lyrics.

use_console_editor = yes/no

If your external editor is console application, you need to enable it.

colors_enabled = yes/no

No need to describe it, huh?

empty_tag_color = COLOR

Color of empty tag marker.

header_window_color = COLOR

Color of header window.

volume_color = COLOR

Color of volume state.

state_line_color = COLOR

Color of lines separating header and statusbar from main window.

state_flags_color = COLOR

Color of MPD status flags.

main_window_color = COLOR

Color of main window.

color1 = COLOR

One of colors used in Song info, Tiny tag editor and Search engine.

color2 = COLOR

One of colors used in Song info, Tiny tag editor and Search engine.

progressbar_color = COLOR

Color of progressbar.

progressbar_elapsed_color = COLOR

Color of part of progressbar that represents elapsed time.

statusbar_color = COLOR

Color of statusbar.

statusbar_time_color = COLOR

Color of current track time shown in statusbar.

player_state_color = COLOR

Color of player state shown in statusbar.

alternative_ui_separator_color = COLOR

Color of separators used in alternative user interface.

window_border_color = BORDER

Border color of pop-up windows. If set to ’none’, no border will be shown.

active_window_border = COLOR

Color of active window’s border.


When ncmpcpp starts, it tries to read bindings from $XDG_CONFIG_HOME/ncmpcpp/bindings and ˜/.ncmpcpp/bindings files. If no bindings file is found, ncmpcpp uses the defaults. An example bindings file with default values can be found usually in /usr/share/doc/ncmpcpp (the exact location may depend on your operating system or configure prefix).

You can view current keybindings by pressing F1.


For song format you can use:

%l - length
%f - filename
%D - directory
%a - artist
%A - album artist
%t - title
%b - album
%y - date
%n - track number (01/12 -> 01)
%N - full track info (01/12 -> 01/12)
%g - genre
%c - composer
%p - performer
%d - disc
%C - comment
%P - priority
$R - begin right alignment

You can also put them in { } and then they will be displayed only if all requested values are available and/or define alternate value with { }|{ } e.g. {%a - %t}|{%f} will check if artist and title tags are available and if they are, display them. Otherwise it’ll display filename.

Note: If you want to set limit on maximal length of a tag, just put the appropriate number between % and character that defines tag type, e.g. to make album take max. 20 terminal cells, use ’%20b’.

Note: Format that is similar to "%a - %t" (i.e. without any additional braces) is equal to "{%a - %t}", so if one of the tags is missing, you’ll get nothing.

Text can have different color than the main window, e.g. if you want length to be green, write $3%l$9.

Available values for colors:

- 0 - default window color (discards all other colors)
- 1 - black
- 2 - red
- 3 - green
- 4 - yellow
- 5 - blue
- 6 - magenta
- 7 - cyan
- 8 - white
- 9 - end of current color

Note: colors can be nested, so if you write $2some$5text$9, it’ll disable only usage of blue color and make red the current one.


Report bugs on


Since MPD uses UTF−8, ncmpcpp needs to convert characters to the charset used by the local system. If you get character conversion errors while you are running ncmpcpp, you probably need to set up your locale. This is done by setting LANG and LC_ALL/LC_CTYPE environment variables (LC_CTYPE only affects character handling).




mpc(1), mpd(1)

Updated 2024-01-29 - |