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Welcome to the Slackware Documentation Project

How to use MPlayer on the Command-line

What is mplayer?

Basically, mplayer is a command-line movie player packaged into most slackware installations; It happens to work like a champ with music files in addition to watching movies. Because mplayer doesn't strictly require a desktop environment to be running while playing music, it is quite light and is ideal for wimpier machines such as netbooks.

How to invoke mplayer

Below are a couple of basic ways of calling mplayer.

$ mplayer ~/music/foo.mp3 # Tell mplayer to play your favourite song.
$ mplayer ~/music/*.mp3  # Tell mplayer to play all of your mp3 files under your music directory.

Useful shortcut keys

While running, mplayer can be controlled by additional keyboard input.

Some simple but memorable shortcuts:

  • spacebar - Toggles pause/play.
  • return - Next track.
  • ctrl+c - Escape/Quit.


Don't accidentally hit the arrow keys while mplayer is running; It will alter the audio playback speed (quite annoying).


You can also tell mplayer to play tracks from a playlist.

First you need to create a playlist file.

$ find . -type f -iname *.mp3 > my_list.txt

And then you can take the playlist and feed it into mplayer.

$ mplayer -playlist my_list.txt

If you're feeling frisky, you can also tell mplayer to shuffle your playlist as well.

$ mplayer -shuffle -playlist my_list.txt

Example Playlist Demonstration

The below terminal output demonstrates mplayer playlists in action.

[ roach@sepsis:msk ]$ find SchoolyardHeroes/Abominations/ -type f -iname *.mp3 > abominations.txt     
[ roach@sepsis:msk ]$ mplayer -playlist abominations.txt 
MPlayer 20101218-4.5.1 (C) 2000-2010 MPlayer Team

Playing SchoolyardHeroes/Abominations/04 - Violence Is All The Rage.mp3.
Audio only file format detected.
Clip info:
 Title: Violence Is All The Rage
 Artist: Schoolyard Heroes
 Album: Abominations
 Year: 2007
 Comment: Amazon.com Song ID: 20884756
 Track: 4
 Genre: Unknown
Opening audio decoder: [mp3lib] MPEG layer-2, layer-3
AUDIO: 44100 Hz, 2 ch, s16le, 256.0 kbit/18.14% (ratio: 32000->176400)
Selected audio codec: [mp3] afm: mp3lib (mp3lib MPEG layer-2, layer-3)
AO: [oss] 44100Hz 2ch s16le (2 bytes per sample)
Video: no video
Starting playback...
A:  20.8 (20.8) of 189.0 (03:09.0)  0.3% 

Note: The above example's find command creates an unsorted playlist (which might not be what you're after).

Here's a nifty article on creating sorted playlists and then some.


 howtos:software:mplayer ()