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Musical Quotes

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"An opera may be allowed to be extravagantly lavish in its decorations, as its only design is to gratify the senses, and keep up an indolent attention to the audience."
~ Joseph Addison

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"Music is that which cannot be said but upon which it is impossible to be silent"
~ Anonymous, attributed to Victor Hugo

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"Harpists spend half their life tuning and the other half playing out of tune."
~ Anonymous

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"The flute is not an instrument with a good moral effect. It is too exciting."
~ Aristotle

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"Music is the best means we have of digesting time."
~ W.H. Auden

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"I was obliged to work hard. Whoever is equally industrious will succeed just as well."
~ Johann Sebastian Bach

"Whereas the Honorable and Most Wise Council of this Town of Leipzig have engaged me as Cantor of the St. Thomas School... I shall set the boys a shining example... serve the school industriously... bring the music in both the principal churches of this town into good estate... faithfully instruct the boys not only in vocal but also in instrumental music... arrange the music so that it shall not last too long, and shall... not make an operatic impression, but rather incite the listeners to devotion... treat the boys in a friendly manner and with caution, but, in case they do not wish to obey, chastise them with moderation or report them to the proper place."
~ Johann Sebastian Bach
On Bach:
"Bach almost persuades me to be a Christian"
~ Roger Fry

"Bach is a colossus of Rhodes, beneath whom all musicians pass and will continue to pass. Mozart is the most beautiful, Rossini the most brilliant, but Bach is the most comprehensive: he has said all there is to say."
~ Charles Gounod
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"Singing lieder is like putting a piece of music under the microscope."
~ Dame Janet Baker

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"I have always believed that I need a circumference of silence. As to what happens to when I composer, I really haven't the faintest idea."
~ Samuel Barber

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"Today, conducting is a question of ego: a lot of people believe they are actually playing the music."
~ Daniel Barenboim

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"Whether the angels play only Bach in praising God I am not quite sure: I am sure, however, that en famille they play Mozart."
~ Karl Barth

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On Bartok:
"If the reader were so rash as to purchase any of Bela Bartok's compositions, he would find that they each and all consist of unmeaning bunches of notes, apparently representing the composer promenading the keyboard in his boots. Some can be played better with the elbows, others with the flat of the hand. none require fingers to perform or ears to listen too."
~ Frederick Corder
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"The women composers of today have advanced in technique, resourcefulness, and force, and even the younger composers have achieved some effects which the great masters themselves would never have dared to attempt. The present composers are getting away more and more from the idea that they must cater to the popular taste, and in expressing their individual ideas, are giving us music of real worth and beauty."
~ Amy Marcy Cheney Beach (Mrs. H.H.A. Beach)

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"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

Sir Thomas Beecham was once asked if he had played any Stockhausen. "No", he replied, "but I have trodden in some".
~ Sir Thomas Beecham

"A musicologist is a man who can read music but can't hear it."
~ Sir Thomas Beecham

"The English do not like music but love the noise it makes."
~ Sir Thomas Beecham

"Brass bands are all very well in their place - outdoors and several miles away."
~ Sir Thomas Beecham

"What can you do with it? It's like a lot of yaks jumping about."
~ Sir Thomas Beecham on Beethoven's Seventh Symphony

"Anton Bruckner wrote the same symphony nine times, trying to get it just right. He failed."
~ Sir Thomas Beecham on Bruckner's Seventh Symphony

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"Handel, to him I bow the knee."
~ Ludwig van Beethoven

"Music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy, it is the wine of a new procreation, and I am Bacchus who presses out this glorious wine for men and makes them drunk with the spirit."
~ Ludwig van Beethoven

"I carry my thoughts about with me for a long time... before writing them down... once I have grasped a theme. I shall not forget it even years later. I change many things, discard others, and try again and again until I am satisfied; then, in my head... [the work] rises, it grows, I hear and see the image n front of me from every angle... and only the labor of writing it down remains... I turn my ideas into tones that resound, roar, and rage until at last they stand before me in the form of notes."
~ Ludwig van Beethoven

Rossini would have been a great composer if his teacher had spanked him enough on his backside.
~ Ludwig van Beethoven

On his deathbed:
"Strange, I feel as if up to now I had written no more than a few notes."
~ Ludwig van Beethoven

"What I have in my heart and soul - must find a way out. That is the reason for music..."

On Beethoven:
"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.

"Beethoven always sounds to me like the upsetting of a bag of nails, with here and there also a dropped hammer."
~ John Ruskin

"If Beethoven had been killed in a plane crash at the age of 22, it would have changed the history of music... and of aviation.
~ Tom Stoppard

"What can you do with it? It's like a lot of yaks jumping about."
~ Sir Thomas Beecham on Beethoven's Seventh Symphony
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"It is the best of trades, to make songs, and the second best to sing them."
~ Hillaire Belloc

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On Berlin:

"If a man, in a lifetime of 50 years, can point to six songs that are immediately identifiable, he has achieved something. Irving Berlin can sing 60 that are immediately identifiable. Somebody once said you couldn't have a holiday without his permission."
~ Sammy Cahn

"Berlin's great secret is that he says exactly what he means; sometimes he hits a gigantic line both musically and lyrically -- almost Wagnerian in its strength."
~ Oscar Hammerstein II

"Irving Berlin has no place in American music. He is American music. Emotionally, he honestly absorbs the vibrations emanating from the people, manners and life of his time and, in turn, gives these impressions back to the world -- simplified, clarified and glorified."
~ Jerome Kern

"I don't know anyone who sits down to write a song hit except Irving Berlin. He can't help writing hits."
~ Cole Porter

"America's music was born at his piano."
~ Isaac Stern
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"To render my works properly requires a combination of extreme precision and irresistible verve, a regulated vehemence, a dreamy tenderness, and an almost morbid melancholy."
~ Berlioz

On Berlioz:
Hector Berlioz was the "most baffling phenomenon in musical history"
~ J.H. Elliot

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"Any composer's writing is the sum of himself, of all his roots and influences. I have deep roots, each different from one another...I can only hope it adds up to something you could call universal."
~ LeOn ard Bernstein

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"There are two instruments worse than a clarinet - two clarinets."
~ Ambrose Bierce

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"The sense of music is a primal thing in mankind, and a tremendous force, either for good or evil."
~ Sir Arthur Bliss

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"Chamber music - a conversation between friends."
~ Catherine Drinker Bowen

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"My things really are written with an appalling lack of practicality!"
~ Johannes Brahms

"It is not hard to compose, but it is wonderfully hard to let the superfluous notes fall under the table."
~ Johannes Brahms

On Brahms:
"A landscape, torn by mists and clouds, in which I can see ruins of old churches, as well as of Greek temples - that is Brahms."
~ Edvard Grieg

Art is long and life is short; here is evidently the explanation of a Brahms symphony.
~ Edward Lorne

"I once sent him a song and asked him to mark a cross wherever he thought it was faulty. Brahms returned it untouched, saying "I don't want to make a cemetery of your composition ."
~ Hugo Wolf
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"Composing is like driving down a foggy road ...."
~ Benjamin Britten

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On Anton Bruckner:
"In the first movement alone, I took note of six pregnancies and at least four miscarriages.
~ Frederick Corder

"Anton Bruckner wrote the same symphony nine times, trying to get it just right. He failed."
~ Sir Thomas Beecham On Bruckner's Seventh symphony
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"Musick is a tonick to the saddened soul, a Roaring Meg against Melancholy, to rear and revive the languishing soul, affecting not only the ears, but the very arteries, the vital and animal spirits; it erects the mind, and makes it nimble."
~ Robert Burton

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"Take it for granted from the beginning that everything is possible On the piano, even when it seems impossible to you, or really is so."
~ Ferruccio Busoni

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A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


"The material of music is sound and silence. Integrating these is composing."
~ John Cage

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"When music fails to agree to the ear, to soothe the ear and the heart and the senses, then it had missed the point."
~ Maria Callas

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"Sibelius justified the austerity of his old age by saying that while other composers were engaged in manufacturing cocktails he offered the public pure cold water."
~ Neville Cardus

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"music is well said to be the speech of angels."
~ Thomas Carlyle

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"I am amazed at radio DJ's today. I am firmly convinced that AM On my radio stands for Absolute Moron . I will not begin to tell you what FM stands for."
~ Jasper Carrott

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On Caruso:
"In the glorious radiance of it's timbre, in the life-giving abundance of its tone, and in its plentitude and virility, his voice seemed something inexhaustible. The capacity for giving pleasure by Caruso was equaled by no other figure of his time in all the realm of music."
~ Irving Kolodin

On Caruso:
"The man was unique. There never was a sound like his: that heroic attack, that velvet suavity, that sheer, exultant joy in singing."
~ Harold C. Schonberg
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"An oboe is an ill-wind that nobody blows good."
~ Bennet Cerf

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"Bach is like an astronomer who, with the help of ciphers, finds the most wonderful stars....Beethoven embraced the universe with the power of his spirit...I do not climb so high. A long time ago I decided that my universe will be the soul and heart of man."
~ Frédéric Chopin

"Nothing is more beautiful than a guitar, except, possibly, two."
~ Frédéric Chopin

"one needs only to study a certain positioning of the hand in relation to the keys to obtain with ease the most beautiful sounds, to know how to play long notes and short notes and to [attain] certain unlimited dexterity... A well formed technique, it seems to me, [is one] that can control and vary a beautiful sound quality."
~ Frédéric Chopin

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"Enough of clouds, waves, acquariums, water-sprites and nocturnal scents; what we need is a music of the earth, everyday music...music one can live in like a house."
~ Jean Cocteau

"Good music resembles something. It resembles the composer."
~ Jean Cocteau

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"Music is the art of thinking with sounds."
~ Jules Combarieu

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"The melody is generally what the piece is all about."
~ Aaron Copland

"To explain the creative musician's basic objective in elementary terms, I would say that a composer writes music to express and communicate and put down in permanent form certain thoughts, emotion s and states of being. These thoughts and emotion s are gradually formed by the contact of the composer's personality with the world in which he lives. He expresses these thoughts (musical ones...) in the musical language of his own time. The resultant work of art should speak to men and women of the artist's own time with a directness and immediacy of communicative power that no previous art expression can give."
~ Aaron Copland

"You may be sitting in a room reading this book. Imagine one note struck upon the piano. Immediately that one note is enough to change the atmosphere of the room - proving that the sound element in music is a powerful and mysterious agent, which it would be foolish to deride or belittle."
~ Aaron Copland

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

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"Extraordinary how potent cheap music is."
~ Sir Noel Coward

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A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


"Do you know that our soul is composed of harmony?"
~ Leonardo da Vinci

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"I"ll play it first and tell you what it is later."
~Miles Davis

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"You can't teach a young musician to compose any more than you can teach a delicate plant to grow, but you can guide him a little by planting a stick in here and a stick in there."
~ Frederick Delius

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"So just, so small, yet in so sweet a note,
It seem'd the music melted in the throat."
~ John Dryden

"The soft complaining flute
In dying notes discovers
The woes of hopeless lovers,
Whose dirge is whisper"d by the warbling lute."
~ John Dryden

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"My own duty as a teacher... is not so much to interpret Beethoven, Wagner or other masters of the past, but to give what encouragement I can to the young musicians of America. I... hope that just as this nation has already surpassed so many others in marvelous invention s and feats of engineering and commerce, and has made an honorable place for itself in literature in one short century, so it must assert itself in the... art of music... To bring about this result, we must trust to the very youthful enthusiasm and patriotism of this country."
~ Anton in Dvorák

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A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


"After playing the violin for the cellist Gregor Piatgorsky, Albert Einstein asked, "Did I play well?"
You played relatively well," replied Piatigorsky."

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"I like to look on the composer's vocation as the old troubadours or bards did. In those days it was no disgrace to a man to be turned on to step in front of an army and inspire the people with a song."
~ Sir Edward Elgar

"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."
~ Sir Edward Elgar

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"There is no feeling, except the extremes of fear and grief, that does not find relief in music."
~ George Eliot

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"New music? Hell, there's been no new music since Stravinsky."
~ Duke Ellington

"Somehow I suspect that if Shakespeare were alive today, he might be a jazz fan himself."
~ Duke Ellington

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On opera:
"one of the most magnificent and expanseful diversion s the wit can invent."
~ John Evelyn

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A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


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A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


"...I got to try the bagpipes. It was like trying to blow an octopus."
~ James Galway

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"It's very odd! When I hear Massenet's operas I always long for Saint-Saëns". I should add that hearing Saint-Saëns" operas make me long for Massenet's."


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~ Henri Gauthier-Villars

"It is proportion that beautifies everything, this whole universe consists of it, and music is measured by it."
~ Orlando Gibbons

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"It has been our purpose to produce something that should be innocent but not imbecile."
~ Sir William Schwenck Gilbert

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"If it hadn't been for him, there wouldn't have been none of us. I want to thank Mr. Louis Armstrong for my livelihood."
~ "Dizzy" Gillespie

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"I call architecture frozen music."
~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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"Mozart died too late rather than too soon ."
~ Glenn Gould

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"Bach is a colossus of Rhodes, beneath whom all musicians pass and will continue to pass. Mozart is the most beautiful, Rossini the most brilliant, but Bach is the most comprehensive: he has said all there is to say."
~ Charles Gounod

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"A jazz musician is a juggler who uses harmonies instead of oranges."
~ Benny Green

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"Music has charms, we all may find,
Ingratiate deeply with the mind.
When art does sound's high power advance,
To music's pipes the passions dance:
Motion s unwill"d its powers have shown,
Tarantulated by a tune."

~ Matthew Green

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"A landscape, torn by mists and clouds, in which I can see ruins of old churches, as well as of Greek temples - that is Brahms."
~ Edvard Grieg

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A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


On Handel:
"Handel, to him I bow the knee."
~ Ludwig van Beethoven

On Handel:
"He is the master of us all."
~ Franz Joseph Haydn

On Handel:
"Handel understands effect better than any of us - when he chooses, he strikes like a thunderball."
~ Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
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"My Prince was always satisfied with my works. I not only had the encouragement of constant approval but as conductor of an orchestra I could make experiments, observe what produced an effect and what weakened it, and... improve, alter, make additions, or omissions, and be as bold as I pleased." "The other arts persuade us, but music takes us by surprise."
~ Eduard Hanlick

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"I occasionally play works by contemporary composers and for two reason s. First, to discourage the composer from writing any more, and secondly to remind myself how mush I appreciate Beethoven."
~ Jascha Heifetz

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"People who make music together cannot be enemies, at least while the music lasts."
~ Paul Hindemith

"Music, as long as it exists, will always take its departure from the major triad and return to it. The musician cannot escape it any more than the painter his primary colors or the architect his three dimensions."
~ Paul Hindemith

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"Music should either be done in a church or someone's home."
~ Gustav (Theodore) Holst

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"It is clear that the first specification for a composer is to be dead."
~ Arthur Honegger

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"Classical music is the kind we keep thinking will turn into a tune."
~ Kin Hubbard

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"At first I thought I should be a second Beethoven, presently I found that to be another Schubert would be good; then, gradually, satisfied with less and less, I was resigned to be a Humperdinck."
~ Engelbert Humperdinck

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"The great challenge which faces us is to assure that, in our society of big-ness, we do not strangle the voice of creativity, that the rules of the game do not come to overshadow its purpose, that the grand orchestration of society leaves ample room for the man who marches to the music of another drummer."
~ Hubert Humphrey

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A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


"Beauty in music is too often confuse with something that lets the ear lie back in an easy chair. Many sounds that we are used to do not bother us, and for that reason we are inclined to call them beautiful. Frequently -- possibly almost invariably -- analytical and impersonal test will show that when a new or unfamiliar work is accepted as beautiful on its first hearing, its fundamental quality is one that tends to put the mind to sleep."
~ Charles Ives

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A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


"Had I learned to fiddle, I should have done nothing else."
~ Samuel Johnson

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"What is scurrilously called ragtime is an invention that is here to stay. That is now conceded by all classes of musicians... All publication s masquerading under the name of ragtime are not the genuine article... That real ragtime of the higher class is rather difficult to play is a painful truth which most pianists have discovered. Syncopations are no indication of light or trashy music... Joplin ragtime is destroyed by careless or imperfect rendering, and very often players lost the effect entirely by playing too fast."
~ Scott Joplin

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A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


"Fair Melody! kind Siren! I"ve no choice;
I must be thy sad servant evermore;
I cannot choose but kneel here and adore."
~ John Keats

"Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard
Are sweeter; therefore, ye soft pipes, play on;
Not to the sensual ear, but, more endeared,
Pipe to the spirit ditties of no tone."
~ John Keats

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"People never write pretty melodies for tubas. It just isn't done."
~ George Kleinsinger and Paul Tripp

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"In the glorious radiance of it's timbre, in the life-giving abundance of its tone, and in its plentitude and virility, his voice seemed something inexhaustible. The capacity for giving pleasure by Caruso was equaled by no other figure of his time in all the realm of music."
~ Irving Kolodin

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A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


"There is delight in singing, though none hear
Beside the singer."
~ Walter Savage Landor

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"We are not an aria country. We are a song country."
~ Alan Jay Lerner

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"You cannot imagine how it spoils one to have been a child prodigy."
~ Franz Liszt

"Music embodies feeling without forcing it to contend and combine with thought, as it is forced in most arts and especially in the art of words. If music has one advantage over the other media through which a person can represent the impressions of the soul, it owes this to its supreme capacity to make each inner impulse audible without the assistance of reason ... Music presents at once the intensity and the expression of feeling. It is the embodied and intelligible essence of feeling, capable of being apprehended by our senses. It permeates them like a dart, like a ray, like a mist, like a spirit, and fills our soul."
~ Franz Liszt

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A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


"Everybody is talking about Paganini and his violin. The man seems to be a miracle. The newspapers say that long streamy flakes of music fall from his string, interspersed with luminous points of sound which ascend the air and appear like stars. This eloquence is quite beyone me."
~ Thomas Macaulay

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"none knew whether
The voice or the lute was most devine,
So won derously they went together."
~ Yehudi Menuhin

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"Jazz is to be played, sweet, soft, plenty rhythm."
~ Thomas Moore

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"Jazz is to be played, sweet, soft, plenty rhythm."
~ "Jelly Roll" Morton

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Where he [Johann Strauss, Sr.] fiddles, all dance - dance they must...He himself dances, body and soul, while he plays - not with his feet but with his violin, which keeps bobbing up and down while the whole man marks the accent of every bar."
~ Ignace Moscheles

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"People make a mistake who think that my art has come easily to me. Nobody has devoted so much time and thought to composition as I. There is not a famous master whose music I have not studied over and over."
~ Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

"Handel understands effect better than any of us - when he chooses, he strikes like a thunderball."
~ Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

As death, when we come to consider it closely, is the true goal of our existence, I have formed during the last few years such close relation s with this best and truest friend of mankind, that his image is not only no longer terrifying to me, but is indeed very soothing and consoling! And I thank my God for graciously granting me the opportunity … of learning that death is the key which unlocks the door to our true happiness.
~ Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

"Mozart died too late rather than too soon ."
~ Glenn Gould

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A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


"There's a barrel-organ carolling across a golden street,
In the city as the sun sinks low;
And the music's not immortal; but the world has made it sweet
And fulfilled it with the sunset glow."

~ Alfred Noyes

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A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


"What else is "opéra comique", in fact, but sung vaudeville?"
~ Jacques Offenbach

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"George Gershwin died last week. I don't have to believe it if I don't want to."
~ John O'Hara

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"Music's the cordial of a troubled breast,
The softest remedy that grief can find;
The gentle spell that charms our care to rest
And calms the ruffled passions of the mind.
Music does all our joys refine,
And gives the relish to our wine."

~ John Oldham

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"Lutes, flutes, and lyres enervate the mind."
~ Ovid

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A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


"If I don't practice for one day, I know it; if I don't practice for two days, the critics know it; if I don't practice for three days, the audience knows it."
~ Ignacy Jan Paderewski

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"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

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"After playing the violin for the cellist Gregor Piatgorsky, Albert Einstein asked, "Did I play well?"
You played relatively well," replied Piatigorsky."


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"Music and rhythm find their way into the secret places of the soul...Musical innovation is full of danger to the state, for when modes of music change, the laws of the state always change with them."
~ Plato

"Music gives a soul to the universe."
~ Plato

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"Poetry and painting have arrived to their perfection in our own country; music is yet but in its non age [immaturity], a forward Child, which gives hope of what it may be hereafter in England, when the masters of it shall find more Encouragement."
~ Henry Purcell

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"There is geometry in the humming of the strings. There is music in the spacings of the spheres."
~ Pythagoras

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A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


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A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


On Rachmaninoff's performing:
"Even an ordinary broken chord is made to disclose rare beauties; we are reminded of the fairies" hazelnuts in which diamOn ds were concealed but you could break the shell only if your hands were blessed."
~ Neville Cardus

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"Creation must be completely free. Every fetter one imposes On oneself by taking into account playability or public taste leads to disaster."
~ Max Reger

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"... the roar of the crowd, the intensity that happens when you're in an arena, is overwhelming. It's one of those things you want to have every night."
~ singer Emily Robison of the Dixie Chicks, explaining the country trio's preference for playing indoor arenas rather than outdoor amphitheaters.
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"composition is notation of distortion of what composers think they've heard before. Masterpieces are marvelous misquotations."
~ Ned Rorem

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"The world of reality has its limits; the world of imagination is boundless"
~ Rousseau

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"one can't judge Wagner's opera Lohengrin after a first hearing, and I certainly don't intend hearing it a second time."
~ Gioachino Rossini

"How wonderful opera would be if there were no singers."
~ Gioachino Rossini

Rossini would have been a great composer if his teacher had spanked him enough on his backside.
~ Ludwig van Beethoven

"At the playing of Rossini's 'William Tell Overture (at the Albert Hall) an American lady said, 'Back home this is known as The Lone Ranger.'"
~ Peterborough column, The Daily Telegraph

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"I cannot tell you how much I love to play for people. Would you believe it - sometimes when I sit down to practice and there is no one else in the room, I have to stifle an impulse to ring for the elevator man and offer him money to come in and hear me."
~ Artur Rubinstein

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"All of one's life is music, if one touches the notes rightly, and in time."
~ John Ruskin

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A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


"Music rearranges your molecular structure."
~ Carlos Santana

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"Before I compose a piece, I walk around it several times, accompanied by myself."
~ Erik Satie

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"(Arnold) Schoenberg is too melodious for me, too sweet."
~ Bertolt Brecht

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On Caruso:
"The man was unique. There never was a sound like his: that heroic attack, that velvet suavity, that sheer, exultant joy in singing."
~ Harold C. Schonberg

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"The notes I handle no better than many pianists. But the pauses between the notes - ah - that is where the art resides."
~ Arthur Schnabel

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"No one understands another's grief, no one understands another's joy... My music is the product of my talent and my misery. And that which I have written in my greatest distress is what the world seems to like best."
~ Franz Schubert

"O Mozart, immortal Mozart, how many, how infinitely many inspiring suggestions of a finer, better life you have left in our souls!"
~ Franz Schubert

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"Sing a song, read a poem, paint a picture, hear the music... Rise up and touch the stars"
~ Susan Polis Schutz

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"The painter turns a poem into a painting; the musician sets a picture to music."
~ Robert Schumann

"The singing voice is hardly sufficient in itself; it cannot carry the whole task of interpretation unaided. In addition to its overall expression, the finer shadings of the poem must be represented as well -- provided that the melody does not suffer in the process."
~ Robert Schumann

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"First, rehearse your song by rote,
To each word a warbling note.
Hand in hand, with fairy grace,
Will we sing and bless this place."
~ William Shakespeare

"He capers nimbly in a lady's chamber
To the lascivious pleasing of a lute."
~ William Shakespeare

"The horn, the horn, the lusty horn
Is not a thing to laugh to scorn."
~ William Shakespeare

"I am never merry when I hear sweet music."
~ William Shakespeare

"Under the greenwood tree
Who loves to lie with me,
And turn his merry note,
Unto the sweet bird's throat.
Come hither, come hither, come hither:
Here shall he see
No enemy
But winter and rough weather."
~ William Shakespeare

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"You can rave about Stravinsky without the slightest risk of being classified as a lunatic by the next generation ."
~ George Bernard Shaw

"Hell is full of musical amateurs."
~ George Bernard Shaw

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"Jazz will endure as long as people hear it through their feet instead of their brains."
~ John Phillip Sousa
On Sousa
"In certain of his strains he struck an incomparably popular and vital note. He said the nation al thing in a certain way that no one else ever achieved, and that could be said only of this nation ...Uncle sam in his striped hat, goatee, and trousers, out to lick the world, by gum."
~ Olin Downes
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"Learning music by reading about it is like making love by mail."
~ Issac Stern

"There are more bad musicians than there is bad music."
~ Issac Stern

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"don't perspire while conducting - only the audience should get warm."
~ Richard Strauss

"Never look at the trombones. It only encourages them."
~ Richard Strauss

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"I heard Rosenkavalier for the first time after the war and I confess I prefer Gilbert and Sullivan...Sullivan has a sense of timing and punctuation which I have never been able to find in Strauss."
~ Igor Stravinsky

"I never understood the need for a "live" audience. My music, because of its extreme quietude, would be happiest with a dead one."
~ Igor Stravinsky

"Too many pieces of music finish too long after the end."
~ Igor Stravinsky

"Schumann is the composer of childhood...both because he created a children's imaginative world and because children learn some of their first music in his marvelous piano albums."
~ Igor Stravinsky

"Harpists spend ninety percent of their lives tuning their harps and ten percent playing out of tune."
~ Igor Stravinsky

"We cannot describe sound, but we cannot forget it either."
~ Igor Stravinsky

"Consonance, says the dictionary, is the combination of several tones into a harmonic unit. Dissonance results from the deranging of this harmony by the addition of tones foreign to it. One must admit that all this is not clear. Ever since it appeared in our vocabulary, the word "Dissonance" has carried with it a certain odor of sinfulness. Let us light our lantern: in textbook language, Dissonance is an element of transition, a complex or interval of tones that is not complete in itself and that must be resolved to the ear's satisfaction into a perfect Consonance."
~ Igor Stravinsky
On Stravinsky
"New music? Hell, there's been no new music since Stravinsky."
~ Duke Ellington

"You can rave about Stravinsky without the slightest risk of being classified as a lunatic by the next generation ."
~ George Bernard Shaw
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Sir Thomas Beecham was once asked if he had played any Stockhausen. "No", he replied, "but I have trodden in some".
~ Sir Thomas Beecham
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A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


"I sit down to the piano regularly at nine o'clock in the morning and Mesdames les Muses have learned to be on time for that rendezvous."
~ Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

"Music is no illusion, but rather a revelation . Its triumphant power lies in the fact that it reveals to us beauties we find in no other sphere; and the apprehension of them is not transitory, but a perpetual reconcilement to life."
~ Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

"How can one express the indefinable sensation s that one experiences while writing an instrumental composition that has no definite subject? It is a purely lyrical process. It is a musical confession of the soul, which unburdens itself through sounds just as a lyric poet expresses himself through poetry... As the poet Heine said, "Where words leave off, music begins."
~ Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

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"The God of Music dwelleth out of doors."
~ Edith M. Thomas

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"The way to write American music is simple. All you have to do is be an American and then write any kind of music you wish."
~ Virgil Thomson

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On Marian Anderson: "...a voice such as one hears once in a hundred years."
~ Arturo Toscanini

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"I have been told that Wagner's music is better than it sounds."
~ Mark Twain

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A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


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A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


"The success of our operas rests most of the time in the hands of the conductor. This person is as necessary as a tenor or a prima donna."
~ Guiseppe Verdi

"For dramatic effectiveness, it seems to me that the best material I have yet put to music is Rigoletto. It has the most powerful situations, it has variety, vitality, pathos; all the dramatic developments result from the frivolous, licentious character of the Duke. Hence Rigoletto's fears, Gilda's passions, etc., which give rise to many dramatic situations, including the scene of the quartet, which so far as effect is concerned, will always be one of the finest our theater can boost."
~ Guiseppe Verdi

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You ought to write grand opera, Sir Arthur, you would do it so well"
~ Queen Victoria

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A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


"I know nothing at all about music."
~ Richard Wagner

"True drama can be conceived only as resulting from the collective impulse of all the arts to communicate in the most immediate way with a collective public... Thus especially the art of tone, developed with such singular diversity in instrumental music, will realize in the collective artwork its richest potential -- will indeed incite the pantomimic art of dancing in turn to wholly new discoveries and inspire the breath of poetry no less to an undreamed-of fullness. For in its isolation music has formed itself an organ capable of the most immeasurable expression -- the orchestra."
~ Richard Wagner

On Wagner: WGMS radio station host, Dennis Owens, passed along this quote about Wagner:
"Dying was a good career move."

"one can't judge Wagner's opera Lohengrin after a first hearing, and I certainly don't intend hearing it a second time."
~ Gioachino Rossini

"I have been told that Wagner's music is better than it sounds."
~ Mark Twain

"Please write music like Wagner, only louder."
~ Sam Goldwyn, instructing a composer for a movie.

"I love Wagner, but the music I prefer is that of a cat hung up by its tail outside a window and trying to stick to the panes of glass with its claws."
~ Charles Baudelaire

"I like Wagner's music better than any other music. It is so loud that one can talk the whole time without other people hearing what one says. That is a great advantage."
~ Oscar Wilde
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"Your ears will always lead you right, but you must know why"
~ Anton Webern

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Said Oscar Wilde:
"Each man kills the thing he loves. For example, the amateur musician."
~ H. L. Mencken

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"I once sent him a song and asked him to mark a cross wherever he thought it was faulty. Brahms returned it untouched, saying "I don't want to make a cemetery of your composition ."
~ Hugo Wolf

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A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


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A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


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OCMSOCMSOCMSOCMS


For Father's Day

Bringing Up Father

When I was a boy of 14,
my father was so ignorant
I could hardly stand to have
the old man around.

But when I got to be 21,
I was astonished at how much
the old man had learned in seven years.
~Mark Twain




A line of music

Many thanks to Dearest for everything!


 
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