Everything about the audio tag in HTML and JavaScript

May 28, 2020

Audio CheatSheetAudio CheatSheet

The audio tag allows you to add audio to your web pages. The audio is introduced in HTML5 .

Adding an Audio tag is super easy

<audio src="/music/meow.mp3"> </audio>

You can also show a message if the browser doesn’t support audio tag

<audio src="/music/meow.mp3">

    You're browser is Outdated . Please Update The Browser



The above code alone doesn’t play the music or show anything, we need to add controls attribute to enable play &pause of the audio. By default controls is false , you can add enable controls of the audio tag by adding either controls or controls = "true” .

<audio src="/music/meow.mp3" controls>

    You're browser is Outdated . Please Update The Browser


Don’t forget to add controls otherwise, nothing will be displayed.

Multiple Audio Source

If you’re having multiple source files for the same audio track, then you need to use source tag to include multiple audio tracks. If you have mp3 , ogg , wav .

<audio controls>

  <source src="meow.ogg" type="audio/ogg" />
  <source src="meow.mp3" type="audio/mpeg" />
  <source src="meow.wav" type="audio/wav" />

  Your browser does not support the audio tag.


From the above code, Browser try to play the meow.ogg ,

  • If the browser can play meow.ogg , browser doesn’t load other files.
  • If the meow.ogg is not supported then the browser will load the audio from next source


You can set autoplay attribute to play audio automatically once the audio is loaded.

<audio autoplay></audio>

<!-- Second Way -->
<audio autoplay="true"></audio>

Note: mobile browsers don’t allow autoplay

If you don’t set autoplay , then browser don’t download the complete audio, only audio metadata (like duration, name ) will be downloaded, but will not download the audio itself. You can also force download the audio by setting preload the attribute as auto

<audio preload="auto"></audio>

Different preload values

  • none → that the audio should not be preloaded.
  • metadata → only audio metadata (e.g. length) is fetched.
  • auto → the whole audio file can be downloaded, even if the user is not expected to use it.
  • empty string → Alias for auto .


If you set muted attribute then the audio sound will be muted.

<audio muted></audio>

<!-- Second Way -->
<audio muted="true"></audio>


You can enable the audio to play in a loop( the audio will play continuously from the beginning after it is played completely.), by setting the loop attribute.

<audio loop></audio>

<!-- Second Way -->
<audio loop="true"></audio>

Audio is subject to CORS and unless you allow it on the server , an audio file can’t be played cross-origin.

Using audio in JavaScript

Getting the audio element first

let audio = document.getElementById('audio');

Check audio State

Check if the audio is paused by using paused attribute. If the audio is playing then the paused is false , otherwise true

let isPaused = audio.paused;

let isPlaying = !isPaused;

Controlling audio

To Pause the audio, you can use pause method


To play the paused audio, you can use play method


Browser volume

You can change the browser volume using

audio.volume = 1; // 100 %

audio.volume = 0.5; // 50%

Current Time

You can get the current playback time of audio using currentTime attribute. The currentTime returns a double-precision floating-point value indicating the current playback position, in seconds, of the audio



To rewind the track you can use

myAudio.currentTime = 0;

Fast Forward

To fast forward 30 sec

myAudio.currentTime = 30;


To get the duration of the audio, you can use duration attribute


When getting duration,

  • If no media is present on the element, or the media is not valid, the returned value is NaN.
  • If the media has no known end (such as for live streams of unknown duration, web radio, media incoming from WebRTC, and so forth), this value is +Infinity.

Important Audio Events

play → Triggered once the audio started playing

audio.addEventListener('play', function(ev){

    console.log("audio started playing");


pause → Triggered once the audio was paused

audio.addEventListener('pause', function(ev){

    console.log("audio paused. Do you want to change track");


ended →Triggered once the audio playing completed

audio.addEventListener('ended', function(ev){

    console.log("audio Ended");
    // ask user about re-playing the same song & other operations


timeupdate → the user interacted with the playback timeline and went forward/backward

audio.addEventListener('timeupdate', function(ev){

    console.log("Current time", **this.currentTime**);


volumechange → the user changed the volume

audio.addEventListener('volumechange', function(ev){

    let currentVolume = this.volume;

    if(currentVolume > .75) {
        alert("Over Sound may damage your ears");


waiting → Playback has stopped because of a temporary lack of data.

audio.addEventListener('waiting', function(ev) => {
  console.log('Audio is waiting for more data.');

Read more events here.

Thanks for reading.

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