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Control Pianobar using Mac media keys
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PianoKeys — Control Pianobar using your Mac's media keys

I was really annoyed that I couldn't control Pianobar using the media keys on my Mac, so I wrote an app that does it.


  • Pause/play will do what it's supposed to
  • Hold the pause/play key to "love" a track
  • Fast forward will also do what it's supposed to
  • Hold the fast forward key to "ban" a track
  • PianoKeys will automatically terminate after Pianobar closes


You should be able to just open the Xcode project and build. I developed the app using Xcode 4.2.


The installation requires a few steps, but it's pretty easy to get up and running, here's what you need to do:

  1. Add this to your Pianobar configuration file (~/.config/pianobar/config)

    fifo = /Users/USERNAME/.config/pianobar/ctl
  2. Create the file pipe

    mkfifo /Users/USERNAME/.config/pianobar/ctl
  3. If you have Xcode: Install the application using Xcode from terminal

    # From the project root directory
    xcodebuild -configuration Release install  # installs into /usr/local/bin
  4. If you downloaded the binary: Copy the pianokeys binary into your $PATH (e.g. /usr/local/bin)

    cp ./pianokeys /usr/local/bin
  5. (Optional) Create a cool alias to start PianoKeys when you start Pianobar

    # Add this to your shell's rc file (e.g. ~/.bashrc)
    alias pianobar='pianokeys && pianobar'

That's it! You should be able to start pianokeys and pianobar together.

Note: PianoKeys will terminate itself if Pianobar is not running after 5 seconds— just keep that in mind when starting it up.

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