Inspiring and Interesting Quotes about Music

July 16, 2008 at 8:47 pm | Posted in Benefits of Music, Choosing & Using Music, Music Education | 1 Comment
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People have recognized the many benefits of music since the dawn of recorded history.  I have scoured the Internet to find the most meaningful and inspiring quotes about music.  These come from a wide variety of ancient and modern sources; sayings from both musicians and non-musicians.  I hope that you will find these inspiring whether you play music or just enjoy grooving to it.  Leave comments if there are other quotes or tell us your favorites.

  • A painter paints pictures on canvas.  But musicians paint their pictures on silence. – Leopold Stokowski
  • Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life. – Berthold Auerbach
  • All deep things are song.  It seems somehow the very central essence of us, song; as if all the rest were but wrappages and hulls! – Thomas Carlyle
  • If the King loves music, it is well with the land. – Mencius
  • Without music life would be a mistake. – Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche
  • Take a music bath once or twice a week for a few seasons.  You will find it is to the soul what a water bath is to the body. – Oliver Wendell Holmes
  • If a composer could say what he had to say in words he would not bother trying to say it in music. – Gustav Mahler
  • Alas for those that never sing, but die with all their music in them! – Oliver Wendell Holmes
  • Music is your own experience, your thoughts, your wisdom.  If you don’t live it, it won’t come out of your horn. – Charlie Parker

  • Why waste money on psychotherapy when you can listen to the B Minor Mass? – Michael Torke
  • He who sings scares away his woes. – Cervantes
  • Music was my refuge.  I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness. – Maya Angelou
  • Were it not for music, we might in these days say, the Beautiful is dead. – Benjamin Disraeli
  • Music is what feelings sound like. – Author Unknown
  • Music is the poetry of the air. – Richter
  • If I were to begin life again, I would devote it to music.  It is the only cheap and unpunished rapture upon earth.  Sydney Smith
  • There is nothing in the world so much like prayer as music is. – William P. Merrill
  • Men profess to be lovers of music, but for the most part they give no evidence in their opinions and lives that they have heard it. – Henry David Thoreau

  • Music is the mediator between the spiritual and the sensual life. – Ludwig van Beethoven
  • I have my own particular sorrows, loves, delights; and you have yours.  But sorrow, gladness, yearning, hope, love, belong to all of us, in all times and in all places.  Music is the only means whereby we feel these emotions in their universality. – H.A. Overstreet
  • My idea is that there is music in the air, music all around us; the world is full of it, and you simply take as much as you require. – Edward Elgar
  • Life can’t be all bad when for ten dollars you can buy all the Beethoven sonatas and listen to them for ten years. – William F. Buckley, Jr.
  • Music cleanses the understanding; inspires it, and lifts it into a realm which it would not reach if it were left to itself. – Henry Ward Beecher
  • Play the music, not the instrument. – Author Unknown
  • Music is the wine that fills the cup of silence. – Robert Fripp
  • Music’s the medicine of the mind. – John A. Logan
  • You are the music while the music lasts. – T.S. Eliot

  • Music is the universal language of mankind. – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
  • Music rots when it gets too far from the dance.  Poetry atrophies when it gets too far from music. – Ezra Pound
  • He who hears music, feels his solitude peopled at once. – Robert Browning
  • Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent. – Victor Hugo
  • Music has been my playmate, my lover, and my crying towel. – Buffy Sainte-Marie
  • Music is an outburst of the soul. – Frederick Delius
  • Music is the art which is most nigh to tears and memory. – Oscar Wilde
  • In music the passions enjoy themselves. – Nietzsche
  • Music expresses feeling and thought, without language; it was below and before speech, and it is above and beyond all words. – Robert G. Ingersoll

  • Music is the literature of the heart; it commences where speech ends. – Alphonse de Lamartine
  • When words leave off, music begins. -  Heinrich Heine
  • Truly to sing, that is a different breath. – Rainer Maria Rilke
  • Music is the shorthand of emotion. – Leo Tolstoy
  • There is no truer truth obtainable by Man than comes of music. – Robert Browning
  • A jazz musician is a juggler who uses harmonies instead of oranges. – Benny Green
  • The pause is as important as the note. – Truman Fisher
  • Silence is the fabric upon which the notes are woven. – Lawrence Duncan
  • Music produces a kind of pleasure which human nature cannot do without. – Confucius

  • Rock music in its lyrics often talks ahead of the time about what’s going on in the country. – Edmund G. Brown
  • The discovery of song and the creation of musical instruments both owed their origin to a human impulse which lies much deeper than conscious intention:  the need for rhythm in life… the need is a deep one, transcending thought, and disregarded at our peril. – Richard Baker
  • Music is the medicine of the breaking heart. – Leigh Hunt
  • Country music is three chords and the truth. – Harlan Howard
  • I think sometimes could I only have music on my own terms, could I live in a great city, and know where I could go whenever I wished the ablution and inundation of musical waves, that were a bath and a medicine. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • Music, once admitted to the soul, becomes a sort of spirit, and never dies. – Edward George Bulwer-Lytton
  • The pleasure we obtain from music comes from counting, but counting unconsciously.  Music is nothing but unconscious arithmetic. – Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz
  • After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music. – Aldous Huxley
  • Music is love in search of a word. – Sidney Lanier

  • I worry that the person who thought up Muzak may be thinking up something else. – Lily Tomlin
  • Music is the mediator between the spiritual and the sensual life.  – Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Music is a higher revelation than philosophy.  – Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Music  is the one incorporeal entrance into the higher world of knowledge which comprehends mankind but which mankind cannot comprehend.  – Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Leaders must encourage their organizations to dance to forms of music yet to be heard.  – Warren G. Bennis
  • Music can name the unnameable and communicate the unknowable. – Leonard Bernstein
  • Music is well said to be the speech of angels.  – Thomas Carlyle
  • The truest expression of a people is in its dance and music.  – Agnes de Mile
  • Number is the Word but is not utterance; it is wave and light, though no one sees it; it is rhythm and music, though no one hears it. Its variations are limitless and yet it is immutable. Each form of life is a particular reverberation of Number. – Maurice Druon

  • I think there are only three things America will be known for 2,000 years from now when they study this civilization: the Constitution, music, and baseball. – Gerald Early
  • There is no feeling, except the extremes of fear and grief, that does not find relief in music. – George Eliot
  • Music is the language of the spirit. It opens the secret of life bringing peace, abolishing strife. – Kahlil Gibran
  • As any jazz musician knows, it takes flexibility and adaptability for improvisation to create beauty. – Doc Childre and Bruce Cryer
  • Music isn’t just learning notes and playing them, You learn notes to play to the music of your soul. – Katie Greenwood
  • 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
  • Without music, life is a journey through a desert.  – Pat Conroy
  • Extraordinary how potent cheap music is. – Noel Coward
  • The history of a people is found in its songs.  – George Jellinek

  • I think music in itself is healing. It’s an explosive expression of humanity. It’s something we are all touched by. No matter what culture we’re from, everyone loves music. -  Billy Joel
  • It is from the blues that all that may be called American music derives it most distinctive characteristics.  – James Weldon Johnson
  • Music is the vernacular of the human soul. – Geoffrey Latham
  • Just as certain selections of music will nourish your physical body and your emotional layer, so other musical works will bring greater health to your mind. – Hal A. Lingerman
  • Music is a beautiful opiate, if you don’t take it too seriously. – Henry Miller
  • If you can walk you can dance. If you can talk you can sing. – Zimbabwe Proverb
  • The new sound-sphere is global. It ripples at great speed across languages, ideologies, frontiers and races. The economics of this musical Esperanto is staggering. Rock and pop breed concentric worlds of fashion, setting and life-style. Popular music has brought with it sociologies of private and public manner, of group solidarity. The politics of Eden come loud. – George Steiner
  • A good composer does not imitate; he steals. – Igor Stravinsky
  • Remember, information is not knowledge; knowledge is not wisdom; wisdom is not truth; truth is not beauty; beauty is not love; love is not music; music is the best. – Frank Zappa

  • Jazz came to America three hundred years ago in chains. – Paul Whiteman
  • There’s a basic rule which runs through all kinds of music, kind of an unwritten rule. I don’t know what it is. But I’ve got it. – Ron Wood
  • There are more love songs than anything else. If songs could make you do something we’d all love one another. – Frank Zappa
  • You are the music while the music lasts. – T. S. Eliot
  • True music must repeat the thought and inspirations of the people and the time. My people are Americans and my time is today. – George Gershwin
  • Sounds like the blues are composed of feeling, finesse, and fear. – Billy Gibbons
  • 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
  • Music and dancing (the more the pity) have become so closely associated with ideas of riot and debauchery among the less cultivated classes, that a taste for them, for their own sakes, can hardly be said to exist, and before they can be recommended as innocent or safe amusements, a very great change of ideas must take place. – Sir John Herschel
  • Music, the greatest good that mortals know, and all of heaven we have below. -  Joseph Addison

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1 Comment »

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  1. Is the opposite of music silence or noise?


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