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December 15, 2004

The 21 Best Music Quotes of All Time

What I like about music is its ability to be convincing, to carry an argument through successfully to the finish, though the terms of the argument remain unknown quantities.
-- John Ashbery

Music is the best means we have for digesting time.
-- W.H. Auden

Music appeals to the heart, whereas writing is addressed to the intellect; it communicates ideas directly, like perfume.
-- Honoré de Balzac

The search for a critical vocabulary in which we may speak of music by strict denotation is quite absurd: not even the conventional notes and signs of a score can precisely denote the sounds that we hear.
-- Jacques Barzun

The function of music is to release us from the tyranny of conscious thought.
-- Sir Thomas Beecham

Do, do things, act. Make a list of the music you love, then learn it by heart. And when you are writing music of your own, write it as you hear it inside and never strain to avoid the obvious. The person who does that is living outside life.
-- Nadia Boulanger

All pop music is about sex. Rock is about wanting to do it, jazz is about doing it, and country and western is about feeling guilty after you’ve done it.
-- Robert W. Brunelle, Jr.

The whole problem can be stated quite simply by asking, "Is there a meaning to music?" My answer to that would be, "Yes." And "Can you state in so many words what the meaning is?" My answer to that would be, "No."
-- Aaron Copland

Too many people today are trying to justify the precision with which organized musical sound is produced rather than the energy with which it is manipulated.
-- David Diamond

The sonata was said by a German critic to be intended by the earliest writers to show in the first movement what they could do, in the second what they could feel, in the last to show how glad they were to have finished.
-- Philip H. Goepp

What is music? The very existence of music is wonderful, I might even say miraculous. Its domain is between thought and phenomena. Like a twilight mediator, it hovers between spirit and matter, related to both, yet differing from each. It is spirit, but spirit subject to the measurement of time; it is matter, but matter that can dispense with space.
-- Heinrich Heine

Music is meaningless noise unless it touches a receiving mind.
-- Paul Hindemith

Melody alone never grows old.
-- Vincent d’Indy

Objectivity in music is rubbish. . . . Have you ever had an objective love affair? And what is music but love?
-- Lili Kraus

The power and the magic of music lie in its intangibility and its limitlessness. It suggests images, but leaves us free to choose them and to accommodate them to our pleasure.
-- Wanda Landowska

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 of all the languages unites the contradictory attributes of being at once intelligible and untranslatable -- these facts make the creator of music a being like the gods.
-- Claude Lévi-Strauss

For time is the medium of narration, as it is the medium of life. Both are inextricably bound up with it, as are bodies in space. Similarly, time is the medium of music; music divides, measures, articulates time, and can shorten it, yet enhance its value, both at once.
-- Thomas Mann

Music is the shorthand of emotion.
-- Leo Tolstoy

Why waste money on psychotherapy when you can listen to the B Minor Mass?
-- Michael Torke

Music is the inarticulate speech of the heart, which cannot be compressed into words, because it is infinite.
-- Richard Wagner

What love is to man, music is to man as well as to the arts; for it is love itself, the purest, most ethereal language of the passions, containing their innumerable and constantly changing colors, yet expressing only one truth that is immediately understood by a thousand people endowed with the most widely divergent feelings.
-- Carl Maria von Weber



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