Quotes About Music
So she poured out the liquid music of her voice to quench the thirst of his spirit.
- Nathaniel Hawthorne, Mosses from an Old Manse—The Birthmark

Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent.
- Victor Hugo

No doctor is capable of healing the intense pain that only music can soothe.
- Stella Rambisi Chiweshe

This will be our reply to violence: To make music more intensely, more beautifully, more devotedly than ever before.
- Leonard Bernstein

The joy is actually in the music. It's the music that supports you and tells you what to do. It tells you how to fill the music. You don't have to be shy about feeling the music when you're singing. If you believe in music—the power of music—the music will support you and take you to another dimension.
- Cecilia Bartoli

Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.
- Red Auerbach

Without music, life is a journey through a desert.
- Pat Conroy

Music is the vernacular of the human soul.
- Geoffrey Latham

Sing again, with your dear voice revealing
A tone Of some world far from ours,
Where music and moonlight and feeling
Are one.
- Percy Bysshe Shelley, To Jane—The Keen Stars were Twinkling

O Carril, raise again thy voice! let me hear the song of Selma, which was sung in my halls of joy, when Fingal, king of shields, was there, and glowed at the deeds of his fathers.
- Ossian, Fingal (bk. III, st. 1)

What we play is life.
- Louis Armstrong

Rhythm is the soul of life. The whole universe revolves in rhythm. Every thing and every human action revolves in rhythm.
- Baba Tunji

Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.
- Victor Hugo

I think the labyrinth is an interesting metaphor for our lives as musicians. We're always being drawn toward the center of it because that's where the mystery is. What is music? It's a journey.
- Sting

Music is love in search of a word.
- Sidney Lanier

You can't stay the same. If you're a musician and a singer, you have to change, that's the way it works.
- Van Morrison

Improv belongs on the stage, not in your mouth.
- Restaurant advertisement

Tuning is like aircraft maintenance; it's always worth it.
- Friend of yuke phenom James Hill

It's the singer not the song that makes the music move along.
- Pete Townshend

Let us go singing as far as we go: the road will be less tedious.
- Virgil

Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and everything.
- Plato

Condensed from Gaviotas: A Village to Reinvent the World, by Alan Weisman
World Bank president Felipe Herrara told of a tiny Indian village near Bolivia's Lake Titicaca, where he'd gone on a feasibility study for a proposed hydroelectric dam. Upon completing the visit, his team realized they hadn't used up their travel budget. Since the village lacked everything, they assembled the local chiefs and explained they had some money left. In gratitude for hospitality and assistance, they'd like to give it to the community as a gift. "What project would you like us to fund here in the name of the Bank?"

The Indian elders went off to discuss the offer. In just five minutes they returned. "We know what we want to do with the money."

"Excellent. Whatever you want."

"We need new musical instruments for our band."

"Maybe," replied the Bank spokesman, "you didn't understand. What you need here are improvements like electricity. Running water. Sewers. Telephone and telegraph."

But the Indians had understood perfectly. "In our village," the eldest explained, "everyone plays a musical instrument. On Sundays after Mass, we all gather for la retreta, a concert in the church patio. First we make music together. After that, we can talk about problems in our community and how to resolve them. But our instruments are old and falling apart. Without music, so will we."



I know of no group [apart from jazz musicians] which has such direction in work. They aim at excellence and apparently at nothing else. They are hard to buy and if bought they either backslide into honesty or lose the respect of their peers. And this is a loss that terrifies them. In any other field of American life, great rewards can be used to cover a loss of honesty, but not with jazz players -- a slip is known and recognized instantly. And further, they do not compare with those in other professions. Let a filthy kid, unknown, unheard of and unbacked sit in -- and if he can do it -- he is recognized and accepted instantly. Do you know of any other field where this is true? And this curious search for and treasuring of excellence is the one thing that has never been said of them nor written of them.
- John Steinbeck, Forward to Eddie Condon's Scrapbook of Jazz, 1973

Jazz came to America three hundred years ago in chains.
- Paul Whiteman

The history of a people is found in its songs.
- George Jellinek

Music is an outburst of the soul.
- Frederick Delius

Whenever I hear music, I fear no danger. I am invulnerable, I see no foe. I am related to the earlest times, and to the latest.
- Thoreau

Maybe it's naïve, but I would love to believe that once you grow to love some aspect of a culture—its music, for instance —you can never again think of the people of that culture as less than yourself. I would like to believe that if I am deeply moved by a song originating from some place other than my own homeland, then I have in some way shared an experience with the people of that culture. I have been pleasantly contaminated. I can identify in some small way with it and its people.
- David Byrne

When I hear music, it seems to me that all the sins of my life pass slowly by me with veiled faces, lay their hands on my head, and say softly, "My child."
- Sidney Lanier

"A man in Mali told me that there are seven senses. Everyone has five, some can use their sixth. But not everyone has the seventh. It is the power to heal with music, calm with color, to soothe the sick soul with harmony. He told me that I have this gift, and I know what I have to do with it."
- Marie Daulne, Zap Mama

One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain.
- Bob Marley

There was entertainment cheaper still in [17th century] Rome's many convents, and Christina visited some of them regularly…just to listen to the music. Public performances were frowned upon or prohibited outright in Counter-Reformation Rome, and convents had become almost the only places where large numbers of women could gather to make music. Standards were high, despite severe constraints. The nuns were allowed no instrument but the organ or clavier, and any nun wanting to play needed to have spent a studious girlhood, for once inside the convent, she could take no music lessons, even from another nun. Talking about music was forbidden, too, as was singing in harmony—the decadent new 'figured' chant, polyphonic music, was prohibited to all nuns, and indeed to all Catholic women. The sisters, in consequence, were restricted to plainchant. Christina enjoyed its austere beauty, and went regularly to hear it, and she may have heard other things besides—it was whispered that, for all the rules and regulations, a note or two of harmony could sometimes be heard escaping through the grilles.
- from Christina, Queen of Sweden: The Restless Life of a European Eccentric, Veronica Buckley, 2004

Who hears music feels his solitude peopled at once.
- Robert Browning

Joseph Shabalala of Ladysmith Black Mambazo denied being political, yet told a revealing encounter he and other Mambazos had with Johannesburg police in the apartheid era. As related in the July 1987 issue of Rolling Stone, Shabalala said there was a riot going on, with black children and adults fighting the white police. A policeman asked Shambalala, "Where do you come from?" Shabalala replied, "We come from singing." The policeman asked, "You are singing while the people are fighting?" Shabalala answered, "Yes. They are doing their job. I am doing my job."

Music is nourishment, and a comforting elixir. Music multiplies the beauty of life and all its values.
- Zoltan Kodaly

The singing. There was so much singing then and this was my pleasure, too. We all sang: the boys in the fields, the chapels were full of singing, always singing. Here I lie. I have had pleasure enough. I have had singing.
- 85-year-old Welsh horseman

Appalachia is still, for American musicians, a kind of fountain of youth we always go back to, the old home place to a group of artists who represent the quintessence of American independence, fortitude, genius, and madness.
- Paul Burch

The memory of things gone is important to a jazz musician. Things like old folks singing in the moonlight in the back yard on a hot night or something said long ago.
- Louis Armstrong

Music is the shorthand of emotion.
- Leo Tolstoy

Music, in performance, is a type of sculpture. The air in the performance is sculpted into something.
- Frank Zappa

Music is a moral law. It gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, a charm to sadness, gaiety and life to everything. It is the essence of order, and leads to all that is good, just, and beautiful, of which it is the invisible, but nevertheless dazzling, passionate, and eternal form.
- Plato

What is my definition of jazz? "Safe sex of the highest order."
- Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.