Sleek Musique audio player

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Enough audio players exist under Linux to fulfill everyone's wishes. If you find Amarok is too complicated and Rhythmbox or Audacious too old-fashioned, then there's a newcomer, Musique, that's well worth looking at.

Linux has long been recognized as a platform suitable for multimedia applications. Whether you're watching or editing movies or recording and playing music – the free operating system has something for everyone.

Because of all the new online services that have emerged in the last years, many audio players are now functionally armed to the teeth with features that are seldom used and often not used at all. The Musique newcomer, despite some smart ideas, limits itself to the essentials with an attractive graphical interface while also being quick as a flash. (See "Installing Musique" for installation details.)

Installing Musique

Musique, originally known as Minitubes, is available for just about any of the large distributions in the software repositories with 32-bit and 64-bit versions. If it happens not to appear in your software collections, you can get the source code from the homepage [1]. After a successful installation, you'll find a starter in the Entertainment Media or Multimedia menu, depending on the desktop and Linux version.

First Start

Musique requires a locally stored music collection. So, you need to let the program know at the start where the audio files are located on your hard drive (Figure 1).

Figure 1: A locally stored music collection is a prerequisite for Musique.

Musique then catalogs your whole music collection by reading the ID3 tags of the audio data and referencing the online service to get artist and album data. Because such tags in the form of Vorbis comments are also available with the free Ogg audio format and Musique can read them, the additional data also becomes available when using Ogg Vorbis files. Depending on the scope of your music collection, such cataloging could take a few minutes.

When you open the program window, the software shows you in a large region at the left of the window some photos of the artists and their names, while to the right is a free area where you can set up playlists. You can do this by dragging and dropping the artist in the left window into the list on the right. In this area, the artist/album titles are somewhat highlighted. Left-clicking a title starts the playback (Figure 2).

Figure 2: Artists are given a face in your collection in Musique.

If you want to have just one album title of an artist's possible many in your playlist, you can activate Album view in the main window, then drag and drop the album into your list. Alternatively, you can use the sorted artist names on the Folders tab as the basis of your playlist. This view gives you the number of folders for a particular artist and the total amount of data stored in it.

At the top of the program window is a horizontal bar with controls. Again, Musique limits itself to the essentials. Next to four buttons that control the player, you'll see a few progress bars and a volume control. At the far right is a text box used for searching. Here you can search for artist, album title, or individual tracks. This feature is particularly useful for large music collections.

You can remove individual songs from the playlist with the Delete key. To purge the entire playlist, click on Clear at the bottom right of the window. To the left of the Clear button are the Repeat and Random buttons, which allow you to control the playback. You can easily move titles around on the playlist by dragging and dropping.

Additional Info

Besides playing back your collection, Musique provides you with the option of finding out more about the artist and track. Click the Info button in the upper left-hand corner to open a three-part info view.

On the left is the artist's photo and, under that is a short bio, which usually includes further links. Clicking a link opens the page in Musique's own web browser and links to the corresponding pages of the Internet radio service for the additional info.

In the center is the cover of the album from which the current track originates. On the right, after a short delay, you'll see the lyrics of the current track. Once you are done reading, you can click Info again to return to the previous view (see Figure 3).

Figure 3: Musique plays Depeche Mode's Music for the Masses.

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