Quotes about music

A collection of quotes on the topic of music.

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Gioachino Rossini photo

„Music is a kind of harmonious language.“

—  Gioachino Rossini Italian composer 1792 - 1868

Zanolini, Biografia di Gioachino Rossini (1875)

Megan Marie Hart photo

„She helped me feel like I could take risks with the music, which you’re often told not to do. When you watch her, you see that it makes a difference. From now on, I am not going to be afraid to individualize my performances to the max. I won’t be afraid of liberties, if the score permits them. I know I can do it.“

—  Megan Marie Hart American opera singer 1983

on Marilyn Horne's influence; 2005, as quoted by Zachary Lewis https://solokeyboard.typepad.com/Music2005Final.doc and edited into the Oberlin Review article The Marilyn Horne Experience http://www2.oberlin.edu/con/connews/2006/of_note.html#3

Vangelis photo

„On music: "Scientifically, believe it or not, music drives everything, because music equals universe and universe equals music."“

—  Vangelis Greek composer of electronic, progressive, ambient, jazz, pop rock, and orchestral music 1943

2012

Vangelis photo

„When I’m writing music for a film, inspiration will come from the subject matter and visual images, because I don’t agree to any offers of film work unless I believe I can add another dimension to the film. But if l’m writing music purely for myself, inspiration comes naturally, from everything around“

—  Vangelis Greek composer of electronic, progressive, ambient, jazz, pop rock, and orchestral music 1943

1984
Context: On inspiration: "Of course, inspiration can come in different ways, depending on what field you’re working in? When I’m writing music for a film, inspiration will come from the subject matter and visual images, because I don’t agree to any offers of film work unless I believe I can add another dimension to the film. But if l’m writing music purely for myself, inspiration comes naturally, from everything around. I absorb every experience in life, every situation, because anything can become a source of inspiration — positive or negative. In general l’m influenced more by everyday concepts — nature, the city and so forth — than by hearing other pieces of music. Neither do I find any special inspiration from working in a studio. Obviously it makes life a lot easier to have 24 tracks to record on, and I use the studio as a tool to help in the writing process. I see the mixing desk really as another instrument, the conductor for all the others. But although the tape recorder and the console are just as important as the keyboards, I haven’t equipped my studio with a lot of hi-tech effects: l’d rather spend time searching through my sound library to get the exact colour I want".

Vangelis photo

„On instruments: "Well, to be honest I don’t think it’s necessary to find out how pieces of equipment work. I would prefer to know how music works, or how my body and my mind work.“

—  Vangelis Greek composer of electronic, progressive, ambient, jazz, pop rock, and orchestral music 1943

After all, it’s more useful to know how to drive a car than it is to know what makes it go. Of course it’s important to know certain things about a machine, but I don’t need to be able to build my own synthesizer. It strikes me that the people who do build them don’t know how to play them, so l’d rather find out more about playing".
1984

Vangelis photo

„Unfortunately most films are flooded with music“

—  Vangelis Greek composer of electronic, progressive, ambient, jazz, pop rock, and orchestral music 1943

2012
Context: On film music: "There are cases in which a film can stand on its own without music, but if music is used, it's better for it to touch the soul and create emotions that the rest of the film cannot do. Music should continue emotions where words finish. Unfortunately most films are flooded with music, due to mediocre scripts and to producers' and directors' lack of talent".

Vangelis photo

„For every album I’ve ever made, I’ve written many times more music than has actually been released, and the way I choose which music appears is almost totally random, but one thing I have never done is to make music for the sake of commercialism“

—  Vangelis Greek composer of electronic, progressive, ambient, jazz, pop rock, and orchestral music 1943

1984
Context: On albums and commercialism: "For every album I’ve ever made, I’ve written many times more music than has actually been released, and the way I choose which music appears is almost totally random, but one thing I have never done is to make music for the sake of commercialism... I don’t think it’s possible to guarantee commercial success for an album anyway, because nobody really knows what is commercial and what isn’t. Even if I went out of my way to make an album that was more accessible to the public, that would not guarantee its commercial success".

Victor Hugo photo

„Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.“

—  Victor Hugo, book William Shakespeare

Ce qu’on ne peut dire et ce qu’on ne peut taire, la musique l’exprime.
Part I, Book II, Chapter IV
William Shakespeare (1864)
Variant: Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent
Source: Hugo's Works: William Shakespeare

Claude Debussy photo

„Music is the space between the notes.“

—  Claude Debussy French composer 1862 - 1918

As quoted in Turning Numbers into Knowledge: Mastering the Art of Problem Solving (2001) by Jonathan G. Koomey, p. 96; since at least 2010 similar statements are also sometimes attributed to Mozart, and a similar remark, apparently one of Ben Jonson, is quoted in "Notes to Cynthia's Revels, in The Works of Ben Jonson: With Notes Critical and Explanatory, and a Biographical Memoir (1875), edited by William Gifford, Vol. 2, in notes to p. 223, on p. 551: Division, in music, is "the space between the notes of music, or the dividing of the tones."
Unsourced variants:
Music is the silence between the notes.
The music is not in the notes, but in the silence between.
The music is not in the notes, but in the silence between them.
Variant: Music is the space between the notes.

Dmitri Shostakovich photo

„If they cut off both hands, I will compose music anyway holding the pen in my teeth.“

—  Dmitri Shostakovich Russian composer and pianist 1906 - 1975

Said to Isaac Glikman, 1936; cited from Laurel Fay Shostakovich: A Life (2000) p. 92.

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Klaus Meine photo
Klaus Meine photo
Dmitri Shostakovich photo

„What can be considered human emotions? Surely not only lyricism, sadness, tragedy? Doesn't laughter also have a claim to that lofty title? I want to fight for the legitimate right of laughter in "serious" music.“

—  Dmitri Shostakovich Russian composer and pianist 1906 - 1975

From an article in Sovetskoye Iskusstvo, November 5, 1934; translation from Laurel Fay Shostakovich: A Life (2000) p. 77.

Dmitri Shostakovich photo
Tom Hiddleston photo
Kurt Cobain photo
Kurt Cobain photo
Kurt Cobain photo

„Rap music is the only vital form of music introduced since punk rock.“

—  Kurt Cobain American musician and artist 1967 - 1994

As quoted in M.E.A.T (1991-09).
Interviews (1989-1994), Print

Kurt Cobain photo
Kurt Cobain photo

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