My 5 years old boy want to hear his CD with the funny things of mommy's computer.
Totem movie player has some nice visualisations that can be enabled via edit > preferences > display (see the second screenshot below). You can start the visualisations by playing a music track (when that option is is set in the preferences) and pause them by pausing the music track. There are many different visualisations to choose from and different effects can be combined.
I don't think that they respond to the beat of the music (i.e. get more frenzied as the tempo increases), but perhaps something like
audiosurf might become available if Steam makes good its promise and comes to Ubuntu.
Unfortunately, if the sound file contains an album cover picture, (for example say like one has with files downloaded from Jamendo), then Totem displays the album art and not the visualizations.
Clementine has some visualizations.
Here is a screenshot of it.
Once Clementine is installed, you can enable it's visualization from
Tools->Visualizations . You can then customize your visualization by right-clicking the window that shows up and then adjust the frame-rate, quality and the different visualizations that you would like. Choosing multiple visualizations keeps changing the visualization to loop among them.
VLC media player has visualizations too. vlc
Once installed, while playing an audio file, go to the menu → Audio → Visualization and select a visualization to display. Spectrum is a good one which changes upon beats (as per the requirement of the OP).
Another good player for Ubuntu with visualizations is Audacious. audacious . The good news about Audacious is, you can enable more than one visualizations with it.
After installation, while playing an audio file, go to View → Visualizations and select one. Here, I'm giving a screenshot of audcious player.
ProjectM is a standalone visualization app that plays the WinAmp MilkDrop visualizations. It's engine is what powers the visualizations on XMBC, Clementine and others.
It can be installed stand-alone and will play visualizations for whatever is pumping out of your speakers (technical: it taps into pulseaudio to "hear" the audio).
This way you can use your favorite media player even if it hasn't got visualizations.
To get it, search for
ProjectM pulseaudio on Ubuntu Software Center or install straight from the terminal with:
sudo apt-get install projectm-pulseaudio
Then launch it from unity by typing
ProjectM on unity search.
The Ubuntu wiki page on ProjectM has some keyboard shortcuts for controlling ProjectM, including the
f key to toggle the all-important full-screen mode.
Thanks for all answers. I (ok, my son) really wanted one visualization that changed with the beats of the music. XBMC gave me it and a nice full screen interface.