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Music Quotes and Quotations

Beethoven can write music, thank God - but he can do nothing else on earth.
The public doesn't want new music; the main thing that it demands of a composer is that he be dead.
I have sat through an Italian opera, til, for sheer pain, and inexplicable anguish, I have rushed out into the noisiest places of the crowded street, to solace myself with sounds which I was not obliged to follow and get rid of the distracting torment of endless, fruitless, barren attention!
Let us not forget that the greatest composers were also the greatest thieves. They stole from everyone and everywhere.
A legend is an old man with a cane known for what he used to do.
A symphony is a stage play with the parts written for instruments instead of for actors.
An ear for music is very different from a taste for music. I have no ear whatever; I could not sing an air to save my life; but I have the intensest delight in music, and can detect good from bad.
Classic music is th' kind that we keep thinkin'll turn into a tune.
Discord occasions a momentary distress to the ear, which remains unsatisfied, and even uneasy, until it hears something better.
Discord occasions a momentary distress to the ear, which remains unsatisfied, and even uneasy, until it hears something better. I am convinced...that provided the ear be at length made amends, there are few dissonances too strong for it. Disharmony, to paraphrase Bergson's statement about disorder, is simply a harmony to which many are unaccustomed.
Canned music is like audible wallpaper.
Don't play what's there, play what's not there.
From Mozart I learnt to say important things in a conversational way.
Generally music feedeth that disposition of the spirits which it findeth.
God tells me how he wants the music played - and you get in his way.
Handel was a man of the world; but Bach was a world of a man.
He was dying all his life.
I am sure my music has a taste of codfish in it.
I do not mind what language an opera is sung in so long as it is the language I don't understand.
In the Negro melodies of America I find all that is needed for a great and noble school of music.
It is the best of all trades to make songs, and the second best to sing them.
Jazz came to America 300 years ago in chains.
Jazz is about the only form of art existing today in which there is freedom of the individual without the loss of group contact.
Jazz is the only music in which the same note can be played night after night but differently each time.
Jazz will endure just as long as people hear it through their feet instead of their brains.
Mozart is sunshine.
Music sweeps by me as a messenger carrying a message that is not for me.
Mozart's music gives us permission to live.
Music is a strange thing. I would almost say it is a miracle. For it stands halfway between thought and phenomenon, between spirit and matter.
Music is another planet.
Music is the art of thinking with sounds.
Music is well said to be the speech of angels.
Music touches places beyond our touching.
Music with dinner is an insult, both to the cook and the violinist.
Never compose anything unless the not composing of it becomes a positive nuisance to you.
Nothing is better than music.... It has done more for us than we have the right to hope for.
Rests always sound well.
Swans sing before they die - 'twere no bad thing, did certain persons die before they sing.
The basic difference between classical music and jazz is that in the former the music is always graver than its performance - whereas the way jazz is performed is always more important than what is being played.
The devil does not stay where music is.
The Sonata is an essentially dramatic art form, combining the emotional range in vivid presentation of a full-size stage drama with the terseness of a short story.
The sonatas of Mozart are unique; they are too easy for children, and too difficult for artists.
Too many pieces of music finish too long after the end.
Throughout my career, nervousness and stage-fright have never left me before playing. And each of the thousands of concerts I have played at, I feel as bad as I did the very first time.
Twelve Highlanders and a bagpipe make a rebellion.
Wagner has lovely moments but awful quarters of an hour.
Who is there that, in logical words, can express the effect music has on us? A kind of inarticulate, unfathomable speech, which leads us to the edge of the Infinite and lets us for moments gaze into that!
You know what you do when you shit, singing is the same thing, only up!
After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.
When people hear good music, it makes them homesick for something they never had, and never will have.
Light quirks of music, broken and uneven, make the soul dance upon a jig of heaven.
Who hears music, feels his solitude peopled at once.
Richard Wagner, a musician who wrote music which is better than it sounds.
One cannot judge 'Lohengrin' from a first hearing, and I certainly do not intend to hear it a second time.
He could fiddle all the bugs off a sweet-potato vine.
Opera purges men of those hesitations and worries which make it difficult for them to acknowledge their importance to themselves. A good performance of an opera, that is, provides a language for us to speak of ourselves as we have always known we should speak.
No one can any longer write in the fat style of Strauss. That was killed by Stravinsky. He stripped the body of much of its clothes. Music is the craft of building structures with sound and that is what Stravinsky represents.
A nation creates music - the composer only arranges it.
Sentimentally I am disposed to harmony; but organically I am incapable of a tune.
Music produces a kind of pleasure which human nature cannot do without.
Conductors must give unmistakable and suggestive signals to the orchestra, not choreography to the audience.
Music is the shorthand of emotion.
For most singers the first half of the career involves extending one's repertoire, the second half trimming it.
How wonderful opera would be if there were no singers.
Opera in English is, in the main, just about as sensible as baseball in Italian.
Music is only sound expressing certain patterns, so to what extent is that sound architecture and to what extent theatre?
A jazz musician is a juggler who uses harmonies instead of oranges.
Music is a language by whose means messages are elaborated, that such messages can be understood by the many but sent out only by few, and that it alone among all the languages unites the contradictory character of being at once intelligible and untranslatable - these facts make the creator of music a being like the gods.
Music is your own experience, your thoughts, your wisdom. If you don't live it, it won't come out of your horn.
The good composer is slowly discovered, the bad composer is slowly found out.
The function of pop music is to be consumed.
Oboe - an ill woodwind that nobody blows good.
Music first and last should sound well, should allure and enchant the ear. Never mind the inner significance.
I am tired before the concert, not afterward.
Music, the greatest good that mortals know, and all of heaven we have below.
What we play is life.
I know that the twelve notes in each octave and the varieties of rhythm offer me opportunities that all of human genius will never exhaust.
Had I learned to fiddle, I should have done nothing else.
The notes I handle no better than many pianists. But the pauses between the notes - ah, that is where the art resides!
Chamber music - a conversation between friends.
Mozart is the human incarnation of the divine force of creation.
I write as a sow piddles.
I am an arrogant and impatient listener, but in the case of a few composers, a very few, when I hear a work I do not like, I am convinced that it is my own fault. Verdi is one of those composers.
Music hath charms to soothe a savage breast, to soften rocks, or bend a knotted oak.
Harpists spend half their life tuning and the other half playing out of tune.
She was an aging singer who had to take every note above 'A' with her eyebrows.
Going to the opera, like getting drunk, is a sin that carries its own punishment with it and that a very severe one.
Opera is when a guy gets stabbed in the back and instead of bleeding he sings.
I think popular music in this country is one of the few things in the twentieth century that have made giant strides in reverse.
If a literary man puts together two words about music, one of them will be wrong.
Music is given to us specifically to make order of things, to move from an anarchic, individualistic state to a regulated, perfectly concious one, which alone insures vitality and durability.
Music should strike fire from the heart of man, and bring tears from the eyes of woman.
Music hath charms to soothe the savage breast.
Soprano, basso, even the contralto Wished him five fathom under the Rialto.
Music is well said to be the speech of angels.
Why should the devil have all the good tunes?
The musician who always plays on the same string, is laughed at.
Music is the universal language of mankind.
All of heaven we have below.
Such sweet compulsion doth in music lie.
The harp that once through Tara's halls The soul of music shed, Now hangs as mute on Tara's walls, As if that soul were fled.
Wagner's music is better than it sounds.
Light quirks of music, broken and uneven, Make the soul dance upon a jig to Heav'n.
The man that hath no music in himself, Nor is no moved with concord of sweet sounds, Is fit for treasons, stratagems and spoils.
Hell is full of musical amateurs.

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