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There is nothing more difficult than talking about music.
( Saint-Saëns )

I have written but one masterpiece and that is the Bolero. 
Alas, it contains no music!
( Ravel )

Music creates order out of chaos; for rhythm imposes unanimity
upon the divergent, melody imposes continuity upon the disjointed,
and harmony imposes compatibility upon the incongruous.
( Sir Yehudi Menuhin )

Music is geometry in time.
( Honneger )

I don’t need time. What I need is a deadline.
( Ellington )

People whose sensibility is destroyed by music in trains,
airports and elevators, cannot concentrate on a Beethoven quartet.
( Lutoslawski )

[Music is] an agreeable harmony for the honor of God
and the permissible delight of the soul.
( Bach )

Music must humbly seek to please …
extreme complication is contrary to art.
Beauty must appeal to the senses …
must insinuate itself into us without effort on our part.
( Debussy )

The trouble with music appreciation in general
is that people are taught to have too much respect for music
when they should be taught to love it instead. 
( Stravinsky )

I can set a newspaper to music
( Rameau )

Give me a laundry list and I'll set it to music.
( Rossini )

Consonances?  They are not excluded but have to be introduced carefully.
( Schoenberg )

Music is a science whose purpose it is
to make people laugh and sing and dance.
( Machaut )

A symphony is no joke.
( Brahms )

Words are far less precise than music.
( Mendelssohn )

It is cruel, you know, that music should be so beautiful.
It has the beauty of loneliness & of pain: of strength & freedom.
The beauty of disappointment & never-satisfied love.
The cruel beauty of nature,
and everlasting beauty of monotony.
( Britten )

The aim of music is not to express feelings but to express music.
It is not a vessel into which the composer distills his soul drop by drop,
but a labyrinth with no beginning and no end,
full of new paths to discover,
where mystery remains eternal. 
( Boulez )

 Love cannot express the idea of music
but music may give an idea of love. 
( Berlioz )

If a composer could say what he had to say in words
he would not bother trying to say it in music. 
( Mahler )

Music prior to 1800 speaks,
while subsequent music paints. 
( Harnoncourt )   

Music is an outburst of the soul. 
( Frederick Delius )  
Nothing is more hateful than music without hidden meaning.
( Chopin )
Music means nothing but itself.
( Stravinsky )

The goal of music is not to express feelings but to express music.
( Pierre Boulez )

Music, of all the arts, stands in a special region,
unlit by any star but its own,
and utterly without meaning... except its own.
( Bernstein )

I cannot conceive of music that expresses absolutely nothing.
( Bartok )

Music can name the unnameable and communicate the unknowable. 
( Leonard Bernstein )

Music fills the soul with a thousand things better than words. 
( Mendelssohn )

Music is at once the product of feeling and knowledge.
( Alban Berg)

Most of the time, you have to be or will be
in a semi-trance condition to get [inspired] results.
( Brahms )

The end of all good music is to affect the soul.
( Monteverdi )

Music: the greatest good that humans know
And all of heaven we have below.
( John Addison )

It is music’s lofty mission to shed light on the depths of the human heart.
( Schumann )

I despise a world which does not intuitively feel
that music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy.
( Beethoven )

So long as the human spirit thrives on this planet,
music in some living form will accompany and sustain it
and give it expressive meaning. 
( Copland )

Competitions are for horses, not artists.
( Bela Bartok )

I have never known a musician who regretted being one.
Whatever deceptions life has in store for you
music itself is not going to let you down.
( Virgil Thompson )

In music, as I find myself forever saying,
things don't get better or worse:
they evolve and transform themselves. 
( Luciano Berio )

When music fails to agree with the ear,
to soothe the ear and the heart and the senses,
then it has missed its point. 
( Maria Callas )

I like works that resist easy comprehension.
( Boulez )

Whenever the music delights me more than does the sentence which is sung,
then I confess that I sin grievously.
( Saint Augustine )

As long as people play music together, they will not fight.
( Paul Hindemith )

Singing is such an excellent thing that I wish all people would sing.
( William Byrd )

I feel like a dog which has just broken out of his chains.
( Bruckner, on passing his final Canon and Fugue exam at the Vienna Conservatory )

Suddenly, one day, it seemed clear to me
that full flowering of music is frustrated by our instruments.
In their range, in their tone, in what they can render,
our instruments are chained fast and their hundred chains
must also bind the composer.
( Busoni )

I almost think that in the new great music,
machines will also be necessary and will be assigned a share in it.
( Busoni )

Musicians own music because music owns them. 
( Virgil Thompson )

Oh how wonderful, really wonderful, opera would be if there were no singers!
( Rossini )

God tells me how the music should sound, but you stand in the way.
( Arturo Toscanini, to a trumpet player )

Already too loud!
( Bruno Walter, at his first rehearsal with an American orchestra,
on seeing the players first reaching for their instruments )

( Arturo Toscanini, to his orchestra during a long and trying rehearsal )

I can wait.
( Schönberg, when told the soloist would need grow an
additional finger on each hand to perform one of his pieces. )

In opera, there is always too much singing.
( Debussy )

Choral music is the last vestige of human interaction.
( Robert Shaw )

The most perfect expression of human behavior is a string quartet.
( Jeffrey Tate )

Music embodies feeling
without forcing it to contend and combine with thought. 
( Liszt )

[Composing] to me is like a vivid dream.
( Mozart )

I am composing like a god, as if it simply had to be done as it has been done. 
( Schubert )

The modern composer builds upon the foundation of truth. 
( Monteverdi )

Music-making as a means of getting money is hell.
( Holst )

I compare a good melodist to a fine race horse,
a contrapuntist to a hack post-horse.
( Mozart )

There is an implied melodic outline in all vital music.
( Ravel )

Melody is the essence of music.
( Mozart )

What a divine calling is music! 
( Mendelssohn )

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 )

Sorrowful and great is the artist's destiny. 
( Liszt )

My music is a product of my genius and my misery.
( Schubert )

Music, I feel, must be emotional first and intellectual second. 
( Ravel )

Inspiration is of such importance in composing,
but by no means all that there is to it.
Structure is just as consequential, for without craftsmanship,
inspiration is a ‘mere reed shaken in the wind’
or ‘sounding brass or tinkling cymbals’.
( Brahms )

Music ought to strike fire from the soul of man.
( Beethoven )

I haven't understood a bar of music in my life, but I have felt it. 
( Stravinsky )

Modern music is as dangerous as narcotics.
( Piatro Mascagni )

Music is born free, and to win freedom in its destiny
( Busoni )

The public doesn’t want new music;
the main thing it demands from a composer is that he is dead.
( Honneger )

I want nothing better, more flexible or more complete
than the sonata form, which contains
everything necessary for my structural purposes. 
( Prokofiev )

Music is the mediator between the spiritual and the sensual. 
( Beethoven )

Neither a lofty degree of intelligence nor imagination
nor both go into the making of genius.
Love, love, love, that is the soul of genius.
( Mozart )

Movie music is noise. It's even more painful than my sciatica.
( Sir Thomas Beecham )

I'm not interested in having an orchestra sound like itself.
I want it to sound like the composer. 
( Leonard Bernstein )

The only love affair I have ever had was with music. 
( Ravel )

I think popular music in this country is one of the few things in the
twentieth century that has made giant strides in reverse.
( Bing Crosby )

Theirs [the Beatles] is a happy, cocky, belligerently resourceless
brand of harmonic primitivism ...
Strawberry Fields suggests a chance encounter at a mountain wedding
between Claudio Monteverdi and a jug band.
( Glenn Gould )

I never use a score when conducting my orchestra.  Does a lion tamer
enter a cage with a book on how to tame a lion?
( Dimitri Mitropolous )

Don't bother to look, I've composed all this already.
( Mahler, to Bruno Walter who had stopped to admire
mountain scenery in rural Austria )

Music is at once the product of feeling and knowledge, for it requires
from its disciples, composers and performers alike,
not only talent and enthusiasm, but also knowledge and perception
which are the result of protracted study and reflection. 
( Berg )

I am not handsome, but when women hear me play,
they come crawling to my feet.
( Paganini )

I write music with an exclamation point! 
( Wagner )

Musicians talk of nothing but money and jobs.
Give me businessmen every time. They really are interested in music and art.
( Sibelius, explaining why he rarely invited musicians to his home )

My sole inspiration is a telephone call from a producer.
( Cole Porter )

In spite of all, we may say of Beethoven, as has been said of Handel,
great even in his mistakes.
( One critic on Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony )

Tonality is just a habit.
( John Tenney )

Of all arts, music is the most susceptible to magic.
( Debussy )

Great music is that which penetrates the ear with facility
and leaves the memory with difficulty.
Magical music never leaves the memory. 
( Sir Thomas Beecham )

Great compositions
are not the fruits of inspiration alone,
but of severe, laborious and painstaking toll.
No composition will live long unless it has
both inspiration and craftsmanship.
( Brahms )

My music is not modern, it is just badly played.
( Schönberg )

Gentleman, if this is modern music, you can keep it!
( Vaughan Williams, during a rehearsal of his own 4th Symphony )

Legato is for Europe, Staccato is for America.
( Gershwin )

My God!  What has sound got to do with music?
( Ives )
Jazz is the most fun you can have with your clothes on.
( Herb Pomeroy )
It is better to make a piece of music than to perform one,
better to perform one than to listen to one,
better to listen to one than to misuse it
as a means of distraction, entertainment, or acquisition of "culture."
( John Cage )

All truly inspired ideas come from God.
( Brahms )
The aim and final end of all music should be none other
than the glory of God and the refreshment of the soul.
( Bach )


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