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Thoughts on Music

Music is the only sensual pleasure without vice.
Sanuel Johnson
You can play Bach on the piano, a symphony orchestra or a quartet of saxophones,
but let’s stop this silly, childish business of knit your own musicology
If I had the power, I would insist on all oratorios being sung in the costume of the period, with the possible exception of The Creation.
Ernest Newman
Why waste money on psychotherapy when you can listen to the B Minor Mass?
I would send the complete works of Johann Sebastian Bach into outer space on the Voyager spacecraft. But that would be boasting.
Lewis Thomas
If you remove tone from music, you have something, but what? I find it difficult to call it music.
Tamás Vásáry
Bach opens a vista to the universe. After experiencing him, people feel there is meaning to life after all.
Music is the shorthand of emotion.
Music is moonlight in the gloomy night of life.
Music has its own internal logic. It is like the logic of a dream, clear in its own terms but not necessarily in everyday terms.
Sometimes it expresses something you can describe in words, but not always.
Tamás Vásáry
If anyone has conducted a Beethoven performance, and then doesn't have to go to an osteopath, then there's something wrong.
Music is an outburst of the soul.
It occurred to me by intuition, and music was the driving force behind that intuition. My discovery (the theory of relativity) was the result of musical perception.
Albert Einstein
No good opera plot can be sensible, for people do not sing when they are feeling sensible.
The English don't really like music, but they simply adore the noise it makes.
Sir Thomas Beecham
Anything that is too stupid to be said, is sung.
François-Marie Arouet de Voltaire
Without music, life would be a mistake. The German imagines even God singing songs.
Friedrich Nietzsche
He who sings, prays twice.
St Augustine of Hippo  
In the end we shall have had enough of cynicism and skepticism and humbug and we shall want to live more musically.
Vincent van Gogh
Music that is born complex is not inherently better or worse than music that is born simple.
Aaron Copland

Bel canto is to opera what pole-vaulting is to ballet.
Ned Rorem

I’ve learned what ‘classical’ means. It means something that sings and dances through sheer joy of existence.
Gustav Holst
My personal hobbies are reading, listening to music and silence.
Edith Sitwell
After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.
Aldous Huxley
Music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosphy. Music is the electrical soil in which the spirit lives, thinks and invents.
Ludwig van Beethoven
God respects me when I work, but He loves me when I sing.
Rabindranath Tagore
Text first, rhythm second, melody third.
Claudio Monteverdi
Music rots when it gets too far from the dance.  Poetry atrophies when it gets too far from music.
Ezra Pound
A musician cannot move others unless he, too, is moved.
Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach
He who hears music, feels his solitude peopled at once.
Robert Browning
What is best in music is not to be found in the notes.
Gustav Mahler

Composers and musicians have always starved and, as this is a sentimental country, we think the tradition should be continued.

Sir Thomas Beecham
The man that hath no music in himself Nor is not move'd with concord of sweet sounds, Is fit for treasons , strategems, and spoils;
The motions of his spirit are dull as night, And his affections dark as Erebus: Let no such man be trusted.
William Shakespeare
An intellectual is someone who can listen to the William Tell Overture without thinking of the Lone Ranger.
John Chesson
Musical compositions, it should be remembered, do not inhabit certain countries, certain museums, like paintings and statues. 
The Mozart Quintet is not shut up in Salzburg: I have it in my pocket.
Henri Rabaud
Music with dinner is an insult to both cook and violinist.
Gilbert Keith Chesterton
There is nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
Johann Sebastian Bach
Learning music by reading about it is like making love by mail.
Luciano Pavarotti
Music is a moral law. It gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, a charm to sadness and a gaiety and life to everything. It is the essence of order and leads to all that is good, true and beautiful, of which it is the invisible but nevertheless dazzling, passionate and eternal form.
Music is the art of the prophets.
Martin Luther
Music is love in search of a word.
Sidney Lanier
Music is revelation; a revelation loftier than all wisdom and all philosophy.
Ludwig van Beethoven
The music is in the air. Take as much as you want.
Sir Edward Elgar
Never look at the trombones. It only encourages them.
Richard Strauss
Music is the universal language of mankind.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Music produces a kind of pleasure which human nature cannot do without.
Wagner did not like the saxophone. He said it sounds like the word Reckankreuzungsklankwerkzeuge.
Nicolas Slonimsky
What every true artist wants, really wants, is to be paid.
Terry Pratchett
Musicians talk of nothing but money and jobs. Give me businessmen every time. They really are interested in music and art
Jean Sibelius
If they think they are doing something new, they ought to do what I do every day - spend at least two hours every day listening to Johann Sebastian Bach and, man, it's all there. If they want to improvise around a theme,which is the essence of jazz, they should learn from the master. He never wastes a note, and he knows where every note is going and when to bring it back. Some of these cats go way out and forget where they began or what they started to do. Bach will clear it up for them.
Coleman Hawkins
I would teach children music, physics, and philosophy; but most importantly music, for in the patterns of music and all the arts are the keys of learning.
There are two golden rules for an orchestra: start together and finish together The public doesn't give a damn what goes on in between.
Sir Thomas Beecham
It is cruel, you know, that music should be so beautiful. It has the beauty of loneliness and of pain: of strength and freedom. The beauty of disappointment and never-satisfied love. The cruel beauty of nature, and everlasting beauty of monotony.
Benjamin Britten
Music is well said to be the speech of angels. In fact, nothing among the utterances allowed to man is felt to be so divine. It brings us near to the infinite.
Thomas Carlyle
The high note is not the only thing.
Placido Domingo
Music was invented to confirm human loneliness.
Lawrence Durrell
The effects of good music are not just because it's new. On the contrary music strikes us more the more familiar we are with it.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
The music teacher came every week, to bridge the awful gap between Dorothy and Chopin.
They tell me Wagner's music is better than it sounds.
Edgar Wilson "Bill" Nye (1850-1896) as quoted by Mark Twain
Music heard so deeply that it is not heard at all, but you are the music while the music lasts
Thomas Stearns Eliot
Do you know that our soul is composed of harmony?
Leonardo da Vinci
I think I should have no other mortal wants, if I could always have plenty of music. It seems to infuse strength into my limbs and ideas into my brain. Life seems to go on without effort, when I am filled with music.
George Eliot
Music ministers to human welfare more than any other art.
Herbert Spencer
Music is the flowering of character.
I haven't understood a bar of music in my life, but I've felt it.
Igor Stravinski
Music expresses that which can not be said and on which it is impossible to be silent
Victor Hugo
Don't play the notes. Play the meaning of the notes.
Pablo Casals
Music for a long time has been telling what the world is like. What music has to say now, in a manner that has both logic and emotion in it, is that the world has a structure persons could like; be stronger by.... [If] the world is the oneness of opposites -- and music says it is -- the world is given an everlastingly sensible basis; for what could be more sensible that to be calm and forceful at once, reposeful and intense at once?
Eli Siegel
There is not one thing that music does which does not say something about how a person should organize himself, too.
Eli Siegel