Cantata – Feature-rich client for Music Player Daemon

Last Updated on September 1, 2020

In the past few months, I’ve covered a whole raft of music players. This time I’m going to walk through Cantata. Cantata is billed as a feature-rich and user friendly client for Music Player Daemon (MPD).

MPD is a powerful server-side application for playing music. In a home environment, you can connect an MPD server to a Hi-Fi system, and control the server using a notebook or smartphone. You can, of course, play audio files on remote clients. MPD can be started system-wide or on a per-user basis.

Cantata was forked from QtMPC in 2015. It’s progressed a long way since then. It’s written in the C++ programming language and uses Qt 5.


The developer doesn’t provide packages for Linux. But Cantata is popular software, and all the popular distros offer their own package. There’s the full source available too.

While this is cross-platform software, the developer no longer provides binaries for Windows or macOS. But it still compiles on these operating systems.

On the first run, a helpful wizard helps you configure Cantata. You’re prompted to choose either a standard multi-user/server setup, or a basic single user setup. The first option should be chosen if your music collection is shared between users, MPD is running on a different machine, you already have a personal MPD setup, have an advanced MPD setup (such as multiple audio output, full DSD support), or you wish to enable access from other clients. If none of these apply, you’ll probably want to choose the basic single user setup.

If you choose the standard setup, you’re then asked to provide connection details: host, password, and music folder. You can choose to fetch missing album covers, and save these covers into your music folder.

Next page: Page 2 – In Operation

Pages in this article:
Page 1 – Introduction / Installation
Page 2 – In Operation
Page 3 – Song Information
Page 4 – Internet Streaming
Page 5 – Other Features
Page 6 – Configuration Options
Page 7 – Summary

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3 years ago

It fails at the first page. What the hell do I put for ‘host’ when I want my own music on my own machine? Never been asked before on any music program.

Quarmby Resistance
Quarmby Resistance
1 year ago

The MPD server can run in two “connection” type modes – either a socket (eg /run/mpd/mpd.socket) [restricts connections to access permissions on socket and directory] or via a TCP/IP port associated with the IP of localhost ( [restricts connections to only local users) or with the IP of the network interface (to allow remote connections).

If using the socket approach and systemd, MPD will stay off until activated by a connection on the socket — this is useful if you need mpd to be available but not always running. In this case you enter the patht to the socket in the Cantata input field rather than a host name and you do not need a password. It is not immediately obvious that a path name rather than a host name can be a valid entry.

Which method for connection is determined by the value of the “bind_to_address” parameter in the MPD configuration file, either the path to the socket or the IP address (or associated host name) of the interface to use.

And now the really bad, devastating, grim news for all afficianados of Cantata.

Cantata is DEAD and will become subject to bitrot unless somebody else is prepeared to steo up tot he plate.

From the Canata page on Github

commit af04723c0ca7854df53562ed8226fd324d6a23cd

March 2nd, 2022

After 10 years, development of Cantata has now ceased, and this repository is read-only. v2.5.0 is the last released version.

1 year ago

It’s been on the cards for years. The sole developer of Cantata openly stated he hasn’t used this software for 4 years, and it’s been in maintenance mode for ages.

That’s the nature of open source software. A lot of software fades away particularly when there is only one person coding the project.

The good open source software can sometimes be forked and development continues. If not, the software will probably carry on working for some time.