Quotes about music

A collection of quotes on the topic of music.

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Robert Browning photo

„Who hears music feels his solitude
Peopled at once.“

—  Robert Browning English poet and playwright of the Victorian Era 1812 - 1889

Balaustion's Adventure, line 323 (1871).
Source: The complete poetical works of Browning

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart photo
Claude Debussy photo

„There’s no need either for music to make people think! … It would be enough if music could make people listen“

—  Claude Debussy French composer 1862 - 1918

Letter to Paul Dukas (1901)
Context: I confess that I am no longer thinking in musical terms, or at least not much, even though I believe with all my heart that Music remains for all time the finest means of expression we have. It’s just that I find the actual pieces — whether they’re old or modern, which is in any case merely a matter of dates — so totally poverty-stricken, manifesting an inability to see beyond the work-table. They smell of the lamp, not of the sun. And then, overshadowing everything, there’s the desire to amaze one’s colleagues with arresting harmonies, quite unnecessary for the most part. In short, these days especially, music is devoid of emotional impact. I feel that, without descending to the level of the gossip column or the novel, it should be possible to solve the problem somehow. There’s no need either for music to make people think! … It would be enough if music could make people listen, despite themselves and despite their petty mundane troubles, and never mind if they’re incapable of expressing anything resembling an opinion. It would be enough if they could no longer recognize their own grey, dull faces, if they felt that for a moment they had been dreaming of an imaginary country, that’s to say, one that can’t be found on the map.

Maria Callas photo

„[Serafin was] an extraordinary coach, sharp as a vecchio lupo [old wolfe]. He opened a world to me, showed me there was a reason for everything, that even fiorature and trills… have a reason in the composer's mind, that they are the expression of the stato d'animo [state of mind] of the character — that is, the way he feels at the moment, the passing emotions that take hold of him. He would coach us for every little detail, every movement, every word, every breath. One of the things he told me — and this is the basis of bel canto — is never to attack a note from underneath or from above, but always to prepare it in the face. He taught me that pauses are often more important than the music. He explained that there was a rhythm — these are the things you get only from that man! — a measure for the human ear, and that if a note was too long, it was no good after a while. A fermata always must be measured, and if there are two fermate close to one another in the score, you ignore one of them. He taught me the proportions of recitative — how it is elastic, the proportions altering so slightly that only you can understand it…. But in performance he left you on your own. "When I am in the pit, I am there to serve you, because I have to save my performance." he would say. We would look down and feel we had a friend there. He was helping you all the way. He would mouth all the words. If you were not well, he would speed up the tempo, and if you were in top form, he would slow it down to let you breathe, to give you room. He was breathing with you, living the music with you, loving it with you. It was elastic, growing, living.“

—  Maria Callas American-born Greek operatic soprano 1923 - 1977

Sviatoslav Richter photo
Zakir Hussain (musician) photo
Ludwig Van Beethoven photo

„Music is like a dream. One that I cannot hear.“

—  Ludwig Van Beethoven German Romantic composer 1770 - 1827

Conversations (January 1804)

Yuvan Shankar Raja photo
Yuvan Shankar Raja photo
Lil Peep photo

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Jimi Hendrix photo

„Music is a safe kind of high.“

—  Jimi Hendrix American musician, singer and songwriter 1942 - 1970

Merce Cunningham photo
Joschka Fischer photo

„I can already picture us sitting there with dreadlocks, smoking a huge joint, listening to reaggae-music and in front of us a steaming beer. Seriously: Can you imagine such a thing?“

—  Joschka Fischer German politician 1948

Ich sehe uns schon mit Dreadlocks da sitzen und eine riesige Tüte rauchen, im Hintergrund Reggae-Music und vor uns ein dampfendes Bier. Im Ernst: Wie stellen Sie sich das vor?
After the 2005 Bundestags election discussion of the so-called Jamaica coalition.

Selena Gomez photo
Kurt Cobain photo
Kurt Cobain photo
Daniel Radcliffe photo
Freddie Mercury photo
Harry Styles photo
Friedrich Nietzsche photo

„Those who dance appear insane to those who cannot hear the music.“

—  Friedrich Nietzsche German philosopher, poet, composer, cultural critic, and classical philologist 1844 - 1900

Misattributed

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