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Cantata is a really nice and user-friendly music player client for the music player daemon made in Qt5. It is the best and most feature-rich MPD client and the combination of Cantata and MPD is the overall best music player solution for Linux desktops.

Features and usability


Cantata relies on the Music Player Daemon for music library indexing and actual music playback. It is a front-end for MPD and is a really smooth one.

You've got your music library browser where albums and artists can be grouped in various ways. You have your folder browser where you can browse your music collection and local files which can also be played by MPD by serving them to MPD using a built-in http server.

Cantata's search-feature has search-as-you-type, and you can search in a list and a table view.

The playlist management is perhaps the most useful and powerful of all music players available on Linux. You have your "Stored playlists," and there are also dynamic playlists and smart playlists. You can rate songs in your current playlist. Cantata can use those ratings and other information such as genre, artist, or any other metadata to make smart playlists. You can, for example, make a list of all kpop songs you've rated 4-5 stars.

The playlist has a random mode, a consume mode and a repeat mode. There is a "priority" system which is very useful if you've set it to random play. You can right-click a few songs you'd like to play in the near-future and set them to the highest priority and those will be played in random order before Cantata moves on to randomly play the rest of your playlist.

Cantata lets you have multiple MPD instances configured and you can easily switch between one on your desktop and one on a Pi or something in the kitchen.

Verdict and conclusion

Overall Cantata is an excellent music player. It does everything a music player should and more. It is essentially perfect.


It's mostly fine out of the box. You do need to point it to your MPD daemon. That's about it. Also, you will want to go to Edit then Preferences and Interface then Play Queue and set Background Image to Current album cover. This, as the option indicates, gives you the album cover of the currently playing song (if available) as playlist background. Configuring this is not essential but it's something you likely want to do.


Cantata is available in all the major distributions's repositories. Just install it as usual.


Cantata does not appear to have a website. There is the github with the code and a here:


Stand-alone music players:

Program rating framework database oriented
Audacious Yeonjung-happy.jpgYeonjung-happy.jpgYeonjung-happy.jpgYeonjung-happy.jpgYeonjung-happy.jpg GTK no
Elisa Hyuna-approves.jpgHyuna-approves.jpgHyuna-approves.jpgHyuna-approves.jpg Qt/KDE yes
Exaile Kim.Se-jeong.confused.jpgKim.Se-jeong.confused.jpg GTK yes
GNOME Music User-trash-full.png GTK/GNOME yes
Strawberry Hyuna-approves.jpgHyuna-approves.jpgHyuna-approves.jpgHyuna-approves.jpg Qt yes

discontinued / abandoned / bankrupt & finished: Clementine | Amarok

Music Player Daemon clients:
mpd is a database-oriented music player daemon which can be controlled by numerous front-end programs.

Program rating framework type
Cantata Yeonjung-happy.jpgYeonjung-happy.jpgYeonjung-happy.jpgYeonjung-happy.jpgYeonjung-happy.jpg Qt X11
GMPC Hyuna-approves.jpgHyuna-approves.jpgHyuna-approves.jpgHyuna-approves.jpg GTK X11
mpc User-trash-full.png Command-line terminal
ncmpc Hyuna-approves.jpgHyuna-approves.jpgHyuna-approves.jpg ncurses terminal
xfmpc Kim.Se-jeong.confused.jpgKim.Se-jeong.confused.jpg GTK/Xfce X11

discontinued / abandoned / bankrupt & finished: Sonata | KMP | Glurp

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