Music also has a powerful role to play in setting the mood. It can also be used to convey information to the player, as Super Mario Bros does when the remaining time to finish the level falls below 1 minute.

Song Class

While it is possible to play music using a SoundEffect, MonoGame supports music through the Song class. This represents a song loaded from a wav or mp4 file.

In addition to the audio data, the Song defines properties for accessing the audio file’s metadata:

  • Name is the name of the song
  • Album is the album the song is from
  • Artist is the song’s artist
  • Duration is the length of the song.
  • Genre is the genre of the song
  • TrackNumber is song’s track number on its album

Note that for these properties to be populated, the original audio file would need to have the corresponding metadata set.

Unlike the SoundEffect, the Song class does not have a play method. Instead it is played with the static MediaPlayer class, i.e.:

Song song = Content.Load<Song>("mysong");

SongCollection Class

Invoking MediaPlayer.Play() will immediately end the current song, so if you want your game to transition between songs smoothly, you’ll probably want to use the SongCollection class.

As you might expect, this is a collection of Song objects, and implements methods:

  • Add(Song song) adds a song to the collection
  • Clear() clears the collection.

SongCollections can also be played with the static MediaPlayer.Play(SongCollection collection) method:

Song song1 = Content.Load<Song>("song1");
Song song2 = Content.Load<Song>("song2");
Song song3 = Content.Load<Song>("song3");
SongCollection songCollection = new SongCollection();

The MediaPlayer Class

The static MediaPlayer class is really an interface to the Windows Media Player. Unlike the SoundEffect class, which communicates directly with the sound card and manipulates audio buffers, songs are piped through the Windows Media Player. Hence, the reason MediaPlayer can only play a single song at a time.

Some of the most useful properties of the MediaPlayer for games are:

  • IsMuted - A boolean property that can be used to mute or unmute the game’s music
  • Volume - A number between 0 (silent) and 1 (full volume) that the music will play at
  • IsRepeating - A boolean property that determines if the song or song list should repeat
  • IsShuffled - A boolean property that determines if a song list should be played in a shuffled order
  • State - A value of the MediaState enum, describing the current state of the media player, which can be MediaState.Paused, MediaState.Playing, or MediaState.Stopped.

Much like you would expect from a media playing device, the MediaPlayer also implements some familiar controls as methods:

  • Play(Song song) and Play(SongList songList) play the specified song or song list.
  • Pause() pauses the currently playing song
  • Resume() resumes a paused song
  • Stop() stops playing the current song
  • MoveNext() moves to the next song in the song list
  • MovePrevious() moves to the previous song in the song list

In addition, the MediaPlayer implements two events that may be useful:

  • ActiveSongChanged - triggered when the active song changes
  • MediaStateChanged - triggered when the media state changes

This section only touches on the classes, methods and properties of the Microsoft.Xna.Framework.Media namespace most commonly used in games. Because it is a wrapper around the Windows Media Player, it is also possible to access and play the users’ songs and playlists that have been added to Windows Media Player. Refer to the MonoGame documentation for more details.