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Elisa is a simpler music player built for KDE while being compatible with any desktop environment which aims to be easy and strait-forward to use. It is a database-oriented player which will scan your music folder(s) and lets you search albums, tracks and genres and matches to a playlist. It has a lot of potential but fails miserably at being user-friendly as of version 0.4.0.

Features and usability

Keep in mind that the version tested is 0.4.0 released May 23rd, 2019. Your experience may vary on newer or older versions.


First thing you will have to do when starting Elisa is to configure your music folders. Elisa will then spend seemingly forever indexing your music collection. While annoying it is something required to get a searchable index and all database-oriented players do it. It would have been fine if Elisa didn't fail to properly do this step. First of all, Elisa spent quite some time getting to an index of about 15000 files and then it crashed. That's bad. To actually do a proper test of the player we decided to try it with a much smaller music set so we removed the existing /stuff/music/ folder and replaced it with the subfolder /stuff/music/kpop. Elisa started indexing again and stalled at 6025 tracks. It just decided to .. hang. Killing it and starting it again made it finally index the rest. Looking at the "Artists" and "Genres" categories revealed a ton of empty entries. Apparently the content of the previously indexed collection - no longer part of the used collection - was removed but the "Artists" and "Genres" categories were kept.

Problems with indexing aside, actually using the Elisa to play music quickly reveals a very unpolished and quite frankly unfinished product. It's possible to click "Artists" and use the search feature to find artists. Hovering the mouse over the artist entry reveals a play button and a + button for adding the artist to the playlist. Trying to drag the artist to the playlist fails. Elisa can't into drag-and-drop.. This drag-and-drop concept, which has been very popular amount desktop users since the release of Windows 3 in 1990, is entirely missing from Elisa v0.4.0.

And that is not the only mouse-related feature it lacks. Scrolling the mousewheel over the volume-slider does nothing. Scrolling the mousewheel above the timeline showing how far you've played a song does nothing. Scrolling the mousewheel over the list of albums does something so the author(s) of the Elisa music player is clearly aware that there is something called a mouse-wheel on modern mice.

A close-up inspection of the Playlist reveals that there's some basics missing there too. There is a Save and Load button and a Clear button. There is on Shuffle button or Consume Play mode or Random mode or anything but load, save and clear. Oh, there is a "show current track" button too but it doesn't do anything.

All in all Elisa is a music player with great potential. It could become something. As of version 0.4.0 it's basically unfinished alpha-quality software. It just ain't usable. Major oversights not being to adjust the volume by scrolling the mousewheel above the volume slider is ridiculous. We predict that it will become one of the best music players by version v1.0. The concept is sound and much of the work is already done. The gigantic user-interface oversights can be fixed. We absolutely do not recommend this music player until such a time when it's issues are fixed.

Video players: SMPlayer | mpv | VLC | GNOME Videos

discontinued: Xine | GMPlayer | MPlayer

Stand-alone Audio players:

Filesystem-oriented: Audacious
Database-oriented: Elisa | Strawberry | Exaile | GNOME Music
Bankrupt and finished: Clementine | Amarok

Music Player Daemon audio player clients:

GUI: Cantata | GMPC | Xfmpc (Xfce)
ncurses: ncmpc - Command-line: mpc
Dead and berried: Sonata | KMP | Glurp