mocp man page

MOC — Console audio player


mocp [Options] [FILE|DIR ...]


MOC is a console audio player with simple ncurses interface.  It supports OGG, WAV, MP3 and other formats.  Just run mocp, go to some directory using the menu and press enter to start playing the file.  The program will automatically play the rest of the files in the directory.

With no options and no file arguments the program begins in current directory, or in MusicDir if the StartInMusicDir option is set in the configuration file.  If you give a directory on the command line, MOC will try to go there.  If a playlist is given, then it is loaded. With multiple files, playlists or directories, everything will be added to the playlist recursively (including the contents of any playlist given). (Note that relative paths in playlists are resolved with respect to the directory of the playlist, or of the symlink being used to reference it.)


If an option can also be set in the configuration file the command line overrides it (but see the -O option for the list-valued configuration file options exception).

-D, --debug

Run MOC in debug mode.  The client and server log a lot of information to debug files.  Don't use this; the server log is large.  This is only available if MOC was compiled without --disable-debug.

-S, --server

Run only the server and exit.

-F, --foreground

Implies -S.  Run the server in foreground and log everything to stdout.

-R NAME[:...], --sound-driver NAME[:...]

Use the specified sound driver(s).  They can be OSS, ALSA, JACK, SNDIO or null (for debugging).  Some of the drivers may not have been compiled in.  This option is called SoundDriver in the configuration file.

-m, --music-dir

Start in MusicDir (set in the configuration file).  This can be also set in the configuration file as StartInMusicDir.

-q, --enqueue

Add files given after command line options to the queue.  Don't start the interface.

-a, --append

Append files, directories (recursively) and playlists given after command line options to the playlist.  Don't start the interface.

-c, --clear

Clear the playlist.

-p, --play

Start playing from the first item on the playlist.

-l, --playit

Play files given on the command line without modifying the clients' playlists.

-f, --next

Request playing the next song from the server's playlist.

-r, --previous

Request playing the previous song from the server's playlist.

-s, --stop

Request the server to stop playing.

-x, --exit

Bring down the server.

-P, --pause

Request the server to pause playing.

-U, --unpause

Request the server to resume playing when paused.

-G, --toggle-pause

Toggle between play and pause.

-k [+|-]N, --seek [+|-]N

Seek forward (positive) or backward (negative) by N seconds in the file currently being played.

-T THEME, --theme THEME

Use a theme file.  If the path is not absolute, the file will be searched for in /usr/share/moc/themes/ (depends on installation prefix), ~/.moc/themes/ and the current directory.

-C FILE, --config FILE

Use the specified configuration file (which must be readable) instead of the default.  As this file can specify commands which invoke other applications MOC will refuse to start if it is not owned by either root or the current user, or if it is writable by anyone other than its owner.


Do not read any configuration file but use the built-in defaults.

-O NAME[+]=VALUE, --set-option NAME[+]=VALUE

Override configuration file option NAME with VALUE.  This option can be repeated as many times as needed and the option name is not case sensitive. Most option values are set before the configuration file is processed (which allows the new values to be picked up by substitutions); however, list-valued options are overridden afterwards (which gives the choice of whether the configured values are replaced or added to).

See the example configuration file (config.example) for a description of the options available.

Examples: -O AutoNext=no
          -O messagelingertime=1 -O XTerms+=xxt:xwt

Note that MOC does not perform variable substitution as it does for values read from the configuration file.

-M DIR, --moc-dir DIR

Use the specified MOC directory instead of the default.  This also causes the configuration file from that directory to be used.  This can also be specified in the configuration file using the MOCDir option.

-y, --sync

This copy of the interface will synchronize its playlist with other clients. This option is called SyncPlaylist in the configuration file.

-n, --nosync

This copy of the interface will not synchronize its playlist with other clients (see above).

-A, --ascii

Use ASCII characters to draw lines.  (This helps on some terminals.)

-i, --info

Print the information about the file currently being played.


Print information about the file currently being played using a format string.  Replace string sequences with the actual information:

%state     State
%file      File
%title     Title
%artist    Artist
%song      SongTitle
%album     Album
%tt        TotalTime
%tl        TimeLeft
%ts        TotalSec
%ct        CurrentTime
%cs        CurrentSec
%b         Bitrate
%r         Rate

It is also possible to use variables from the FormatString configuration file option.

-e, --recursively

Alias of -a for backward compatibility.

-h, --help

Print a list of options with short descriptions and exit.


Print a synopsis of the mocp command and exit.

-V, --version

Print the program version and exit.


Print the POPT-interpreted command line arguments and exit.

-v [+|-]N, --volume [+|-]N

Adjust the mixer volume.  You can set (-v 50) or adjust (-v +10, -v -10).

-t OPTION[,...], --toggle OPTION[,...]
-o OPTION[,...], --on OPTION[,...]
-u OPTION[,...], --off OPTION[,...]

Followed by a list of identifiers, these will control MOC's playlist options.  Valid identifiers are shuffle, repeat and autonext. They can be shortened to 's', 'r' and 'n' respectively. Both the identifiers and short forms are case insensitive.

Example: -t shuffle,R,n

        would toggle shuffle, repeat and autonext all at once.

-j N{s|%}, --jump N{s|%}

Jump to some position in the current file.  N is the number of seconds (when followed by an 's') or the percent of total file time (when followed by a '%').

Examples: -j 10s, -j 50%

Using Popt Aliases

MOC uses the POPT library to process its command line.  This allows users to assign MOC options and arguments to an alias of their choosing. The aliases are just lines in the ~/.popt text file and have the general form:

mocp alias newoption expansion

This works as if expansion textually replaces newoption on the command line.  The replacement is recursive; that is, other newoptions can be embedded in the expansion. The expansion is parsed similarly to a shell command, which allows \, ", and ' to be used for quoting.  If a backslash is the final character on a line, the next line in the file is assumed to be a logical continuation of the line containing the backslash, just as in the shell.  The newoption can be either a short or long option, and any syntactically valid name the user wishes to use.

If you add a description for the new option and/or for any argument by appending the special POPT options --POPTdesc and --POPTargs, then the option will be displayed in the output of --help and --usage.  The value for these two options are strings of the form $"string".

So, for example:

mocp alias --single -D --set-option autonext=no \
           --POPTdesc=$"Play just the file selected"

would allow the user to turn on logging (-D) and override the configuration file's AutoNext option setting just by using --single as an option to the mocp command.

Sometimes you may wish to provide values to aliased options from the command line.  If just one aliased option has such a value, then it's a simple matter of placing it last:

mocp alias --yours --sound-driver OSS --theme

when used like this:

mocp --yours your_theme

would result in:

mocp --sound-driver OSS --theme your_theme

But aliasing multiple options with such values means making use of the special construct !#:+ (and quoting carefully):

mocp alias -1 "-R !#:+" "-T my_theme" "-O !#:+"

when used like this:

mocp -1 OSS shuffle=yes ~/my_music

would result in:

mocp -R OSS -T my_theme -O shuffle=yes ~/my_music

There is also a ~/.popt entry which allows for the execution of a different program when the associated option is used.  For this, an exec is used in place of the alias and the expansion is the program to be executed:

mocp exec --help /usr/bin/man 1 mocp \
           POPTdesc=$"Provide the man page instead of help"

This would override the usual MOC --help output and use the system's man program to present this man page instead.

Note that while ~/.popt (or /etc/popt) is the default POPT configuration file, you can nominate specific file(s) to be used instead via the MOCP_POPTRC environment variable.

Environment Variables

The following environment variables are used directly by MOC.  Additional variables may be relevant to the libraries MOC uses.  Also, any environment environment variable may be substituted into a configuration file option value (see the 'config.example' file for details).


An ncurses(3X) variable which specifies the delay (in milliseconds) after which it will treat an ESC as a standalone key and not part of an escaped character sequence (such as is generated by function keys). MOC sets this value to 25ms by default, which is sufficient for most systems.


Tells MOC where your home directory is located and is used for various purposes, including the default location of the MOC directory.


The value of this variable will be prepended to the command line options before they are processed.


A colon-separated list of POPT configuration files which will be loaded in sequence by MOC during initialisation.  If the variable is unset then the
default POPT configuration file will be used.  If the variable is set but empty then no POPT configuration file will be loaded.  If the variable is set then those files which exist will be loaded and those which don't will be skipped.

As these files can specify commands which invoke other applications, MOC will refuse to start if they are not owned by root or the current user, or they are writable by anyone other than their owner.


Used by MOC to distinguish between X-terminals, screen(1) and console terminals.  MOC uses the configuration file options XTerms and ScreenTerms to help make this determination.



MOC directory for the configuration file, socket, the pid file and other data.


Configuration file for MOC.  The format is very simple; to see how to use it look at the example configuration file (config.example) distributed with the program.  The example file fully describes all the configuration options, and so is a useful reference when using the -O option.  As this file can specify commands which invoke other applications MOC will refuse to start if it is not owned by either root or the current user, or if it is writable by anyone other than its owner.


The default files POPT reads to obtain aliased options.  As these files can specify commands which invoke other applications, MOC will refuse to start if it is not owned by root or the current user, or if it is writable by anyone other than its owner.  (Also see the MOCP_POPTRC environment variable above.)


Default directories for the theme files.


Default directories for the audio decoder plugins.


Client and server log files.  These files are created in the directory in which the client and server are started.  (Also see the -D option.)


Command line options that affect the server behaviour (like --sound-driver) are ignored if the server is already running at the time of executing mocp.  The user is not warned about this.



Damian Pietras     <>
MOC Maintainer(s)  <>


16 November 2016 Version 2.6-alpha3 Music On Console