Music (quotes)


Ode to music


Music adds great richness to life …

  • 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 to everything. Plato
  • Music produces a kind of pleasure which human nature cannot do without. Confucius
  • Music is the moonlight in the gloomy night of life. Friedrich Richter
  • BeautyListeningLife is a songDancingArt

… and without it, life would be greatly impoverished 

  • Without music I should wish to die. Edna St. Vincent Millay
  • Without music, life is a journey through a desert. Pat Conroy
  • Without music, life would be a mistake. Friedrich Nietzsche
  • Without music to decorate it, time is just a bunch of boring production deadlines or dates by which bills must be paid. Frank Zappa
  • To stop the flow of music would be like the stopping of time itself, incredible and inconceivable. Aaron Copland

Music is a sacred gift … 

  • Music is a holy place, a cathedral so majestic that we can sense the magnificence of the universe, and also a hovel so simple and private that none of us can plumb its deepest secrets. Don Campbell
  • Music isn’t just a pleasure, a transient satisfaction. It’s a need, a deep hunger; and when the music is right, it’s joy. Love. A foretaste of heaven. A comfort in grief. Is it too much to think that perhaps God speaks to us sometimes through music?  How, then, could I be so ungrateful as to refuse the message? Orson Scott Card

… a form of magic 

  • Magic exists. Who can doubt it, when there are rainbows and wildflowers, the music of the wind and the silence of the stars? Anyone who has loved has been touched by magic. It is such a simple and such an extraordinary part of the lives we live. Nora Roberts
  • Music is the strongest form of magic. Marilyn Manson
  • Ah, music. A magic beyond all we do here! K. Rowling
  • Magic

Music is the smile of the soul …

  • Rhythm is our universal mother tongue. It’s the language of the soul. Gabrielle Roth
  • For me, music is the smile of the soul. Luis Szaran
  • Music isn’t just learning notes and playing them, you learn notes to play to the music of your soul. Katie Greenwood
  • Music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy… the mediator between the spiritual and the sensual life. Ludwig van Beethoven
  • The beauty of a piece of music is not in its technique but in the Soul of its creator; nor is it in the sound vibrations of the piece but in the silence of the Light from which the sound springs. Walter Russell
  • Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything. Plato
  • A book is a story for the mind. A song is a story for the soul. Eric Pio
  • Music in the soul can be heard by the universe. Lao Tzu
  • Music is an outburst of the soul. Frederick Delius
  • SmilingThe soul

… and its language 

  • Music is to the soul what words are to the mind. Modest Mouse
  • Music is the vernacular of the human soul. Geoffrey Latham
  • Music is the language of the spirit. It opens the secret of life bringing peace, abolishing strife. Kahlil Gibran
  • Language

Music is pure, beautiful expression … 

  • The truest expression of a people is in its dance and music. Agnes de Mile
  • Music is well said to be the speech of angels; in fact, nothing among the utterances allowed to man is felt to be so divine. It brings us near to the infinite. Thomas Carlyle
  • Music is well said to be the speech of angels. Thomas Carlyle
  • I love the relationship that anyone has with music … because there’s something in us that is beyond the reach of words, something that eludes and defies our best attempts to spit it out. … It’s the best part of us probably … Nick Hornby
  • How is it that music can, without words, evoke our laughter, our fears, our highest aspirations? Jane Swan

… a universal language all of its own … 

  • In a world of peace and love, music would be the universal language. Henry David Thoreau
  • Music is the universal language of mankind. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
  • Music is the soul of language. Max Heindel
  • Music is the only language in which you cannot say a mean or sarcastic thing. John Erskine

… able to express the inexpressible 

  • After silence that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music. Aldous Huxley
  • Where words fail, music speaks. Hans Christian Andersen
  • For heights and depths no words can reach, music is the soul’s own speech.
  • Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent. Victor Hugo
  • When words leave off, music begins. Heinrich Heine
  • Music can name the unnameable and communicate the unknowable. Leonard Bernstein

Music can be one the highest expressions of beauty 

  • A man should hear a little music, read a little poetry, and see a fine picture every day of his life, in order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of the beautiful which God has implanted in the human soul. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
  • Beauty

Music is the highest form of truth and wisdom 

  • Music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy. Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Remember, information is not knowledge; knowledge is not wisdom; wisdom is not truth; truth is not beauty; beauty is not love; love is not music; music is the best. Frank Zappa
  • The only truth is music. Jack Kerouac
  • TruthWisdom

Music can reveal deep secrets about who you are 

  • Music is the one incorporeal entrance into the higher world of knowledge which comprehends mankind, but which mankind cannot comprehend. Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Music takes us out of the actual and whispers to us dim secrets that startle our wonder as to who we are, and for what, whence, and whereto. Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • Tell me what you listen to, and I’ll tell you who you are. Tiffanie DeBartolo

Music connects people 

  • Music does bring people together. It allows us to experience the same emotions. People everywhere are the same in heart and spirit. No matter what language we speak, what color we are, the form of our politics or the expression of our love and our faith, music proves we are the same. John Denver
  • Music is the great uniter. An incredible force. Something that people who differ on everything and anything else can have in common. Sarah Dessen
  • Connection

Music soothes and refreshes … 

  • Music melts all the separate parts of our bodies together. Anaïs Nin
  • Music is the language of the spirit. It opens the secret of life bringing peace, abolishing strife. Kahlil Gibran
  • Music brings a warm glow to my vision, thawing mind and muscle from their endless wintering. Haruki Murakami
  • There is no feeling, except the extremes of fear and grief, that does not find relief in music. George Eliot
  • My heart, which is so full to overflowing, has often been solaced and refreshed by music when sick and weary. Martin Luther
  • When music fails to agree to the ear, to soothe the ear and the heart and the senses, then it has missed its point. Maria Callas
  • Rest and renewal

… washing the dust from the soul 

  • Take a music bath once or twice a week for a few seasons. You will find it is to the soul what a water bath is to the body. Oliver Wendell Holmes
  • Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life. Red Auerbach
  • The aim and final end of all music should be none other than the glory of God and the refreshment of the soul. Johann Sebastian Bach

Music lifts … 

  • A great song should lift your heart, warm the soul and make you feel good. Colbie Caillat
  • 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 to everything. Plato
  • But then there’s a moment like tonight, a profound and transcendent experience, the feeling as if a door has opened, and it’s all because of that instrument, that incredible, magical instrument. Diane Frolov and Andrew Schneider
  • She sat listening to the music. It was a symphony of triumph. The notes flowed up, they spoke of rising and they were the rising itself, they were the essence and the form of upward motion, they seemed to embody every human act and thought that had ascent as its motive. It was a sunburst of sound, breaking out of hiding and spreading open. It had the freedom of release and the tension of purpose. It swept space clean, and left nothing but the joy of an unobstructed effort. Only a faint echo within the sounds spoke of that from which the music had escaped, but spoke in laughing astonishment at the discovery that there was no ugliness or pain, and there never had to be. It was the song of an immense deliverance. Ayn Rand

… energises … 

  • I think I should have no other mortal wants, if I could always have plenty of music. It seems to infuse strength into my limbs and ideas into my brain. Life seems to go on without effort, when I am filled with music. George Eliot 

… and strengthens 

  • Music is my higher power. Oliver James
  • Life seems to go on without effort when I am filled with music. George Eliot
  • When I hear music, I fear no danger. I am invulnerable. I see no foe. I am related to the earliest times, and to the latest. Henry David Thoreau

Music can make you feel 

  • Music, as many people have said, is the universal language. Of course, points are made which make you think about things, but ultimately it makes you feel. And that’s why people remember more songs that have meant something during their life than films. They start to define periods in your life, and that’s kind of the beauty of it. Scott Weiland
  • Music is the literature of the heart; it commences where speech ends. Alphonse de Lamartine
  • Music is the divine way to tell beautiful, poetic things to the heart. Pablo Casals
  • I haven’t understood a bar of music in my life, but I have felt it. Igor Stravinsky
  • In music one must think with the heart and feel with the brain. George Szell
  • Music is the shorthand of emotion. Leo Tolstoy
  • Music touches us emotionally, where words alone can’t. Johnny Depp
  • Emotions

Music can be a refuge and a relief 

  • Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness. Maya Angelou
  • The only escape from the miseries of life are music and cats… Albert Schweitzer
  • Music could ache and hurt, that beautiful music was a place a suffering man could hide. Pat Conroy
  • There’s no bad day that can’t be overcome by listening to a barbershop quartet; this is just truth, plain and simple. Chuck Sigars
  • There is no feeling, except the extremes of fear and grief, that does not find relief in music. George Eliot
  • Music will help dissolve your perplexities and purify your character and sensibilities, and in time of care and sorrow, will keep a fountain of joy alive in you. Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Music can heal 

  • I think music in itself is healing. It’s an explosive expression of humanity. It’s something we are all touched by. No matter what culture we’re from, everyone loves music. Billy Joel
  • For me, singing sad songs often has a way of healing a situation. It gets the hurt out in the open into the light, out of the darkness. Reba McEntire
  • Music is such a great healing balm and a great way to forget your troubles. Ricky Skaggs
  • Music is very important. It’s important as a tool for learning, it can be a tool for healing, it can be no telling what, as long as we remain free to be able to create the music. Lester Bowie
  • Music is the balm that heals the forlorn ache of a distant star. Don Williams
  • Healing

Music can be life changing 

  • Music doesn’t lie. If there is something to be changed in this world, then it can only happen through music. Jimi Hendrix 
  • Music can change the world because it can change people. Bono

Use music for …


Music can consciously be used to enhance wellbeing 

  • If wellness is the state of optimal health in all aspects of life, then music can be used as a tool to maintain or return to that state. Kat Fulton
  • My heart, which is so full to overflowing, has often been solaced and refreshed by music when sick and weary. Martin Luther
  • Music must take rank as the highest of the fine arts – as the one which, more than any other, ministers to human welfare. Herbert Spenser
  • Well-being

Use music for relaxation and stress management … 

  • Choose music that is slow, but that has a regular pulse or beat. Researchers have discovered that music with the tempo of the healthy, resting heartbeat will synchronize your own breathing and heart-beat to it, thus slowing down our racing body rhythms. Dr Alice A Cash
  • RelaxationStress

… by using it in meditation 

  • Music without words means leaving behind the mind. And leaving behind the mind is meditation. Meditation returns you to the source. And the source of all is sound. Kabir
  • Your formal meditation practice doesn’t have to be practiced in silence. In fact, music can be a great object of concentration. When using music to meditate, it’s important to choose music that will relax you, but not put you to sleep. Many classical pieces are appropriate for attaining this middle ground of a calm and alert mind, as are many new- age performers. Traditional chants and chimes are also a good choice when experimenting with musical meditation.  Chanting and chimes or bells have been used for centuries by many different cultures to induce a meditative state. Donna Torney
  • Meditation

Use music to lift your mood 

  • In order to change a person’s mood with music, you must first begin with music that reflects the state he is in to start with. If you’re feeling depressed, you cannot simply put on “happy” music to change your mood. It must be done slowly and carefully. Dr Alice H Cash
  • A great song should lift your heart, warm the soul and make you feel good. Colbie Caillat
  • Mood

Use music to cope with, soothe and manage pain 

  • One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain. Bob Marley
  • There is no feeling, except the extremes of fear and grief, that does not find relief in music. George Eliot
  • Music has charms to soothe the savage breast, to soften rocks, or bend a knotted oak. William Congreve
  • Pain

Use music to open up to and express your feelings 

  • Music can help you open up a part of yourself and express feelings you didn’t know you were feeling. Josh Groban
  • For me music is a vehicle to bring our pain to the surface, getting it back to that humble and tender spot where, with luck, it can lose its anger and become compassion again. Paula Cole
  • Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent. Victor Hugo
  • Music acts like a magic key, to which the most tightly closed heart opens. Maria von Trapp
  • Joy, sorrow, tears, lamentation, laughter — to all these music gives voice, but in such a way that we are transported from the world of unrest to a world of peace, and see reality in a new way, as if we were sitting by a mountain lake and contemplating hills and woods and clouds in the tranquil and fathomless water. Albert Schweitzer
  • Music touches us emotionally, where words alone can’t. Johnny Depp

Use music to enhance memory 

  • Music is stored in our long-term memory. When we learn something through music, we tend to remember it longer and believe it more deeply. Dr. Joyce Brothers
  • Music, when soft voices die, vibrates in the memory. Percy Bysshe Shelley
  • Music is the way our memories sing to us across time. Lance Morrow
  • Memory

Make time for music in your life


Make time to listen to music 

  • If I had my life to live over again, I would have made a rule to read some poetry and listen to some music at least once every week. Charles Darwin

Listen to music you love 

  • Don’t waste time trying to appreciate music. you dislike. Spend the time with music you love. Jackson Brown Jr.
  • The trouble with music appreciation in general is that people are taught to have too much respect for music. They should be taught to love it instead.  Igor Stravinsky

Listen to music mindfully from a place of inner stillness … 

  • When you offer your stillness and open yourself to the experience of music, it pays you back more than you give. David Ogden Stiers
  • Mindfulness meditation improves our focused engagement in music, helping us to truly enjoy and experience what we’re listening to, according to a study in the journal Psychology of Music. Amanda L. Chan
  • Listening to music mindfully can be a powerful way of increasing your quality of life. We really found significant increases in the participants’ aesthetic and flow experience. Some were intense. They were really in the zone. Frank Diaz
  • You have to, take a deep breath. and allow the music to flow through you. Revel in it, allow yourself to awe. When you play allow the music to break your heart with its beauty. Kelly White
  • MindfulnessStillness

… by focusing entirely on the music, free of distraction and thought … 

  • Choose a new piece of music, something you’ve never heard before. Don’t think about the genre or the artist, instead just allow yourself to get lost in the journey of sound for the duration of the song. The idea is to just listen; to do nothing else but hear, without preconception or judgement. William Veasley
  • Settle yourself into the practice with a few moments of resting your attention on the breath. As you begin to listen to the song, focus with intention on the sound and vibration of each note, the feelings that the music brings up within you, and other sensations that are happening “right now” as you listen. If other thoughts creep into your head, congratulate yourself for noticing, and gently bring your attention back to the current moment and the music you are hearing.  Mayuri Gonzalez
  • Use Mindfulness when listening to music by eliminating all other distractions. Focus in on the music. Observe the tempo (speed), dynamics (volume) and timbre (sound). What instruments are playing? How does the music make you feel? What emotion does it evoke? Why? Connect with the sound. Feel the vibrations. Extend your experience further by moving to the music or journaling your thoughts and feelings. Sonja Keller

… and listening with a beginner’s mind 

  • Consider listening to the music with “beginners mind,” a phrase used by mindfulness meditation practitioners that describes approaching experience with a fresh perspective. Listen to the piece as if it’s the first time you ever heard it, focusing in on the beat of a drum, or the tone of a violin.  Listening to music in this way will put you in a true meditative state.  Donna Torney
  • Beginner’s mind

Listen to the silence between the notes 

  • Music is the wine that fills the cup of silence. Robert Fripp
  • The music is not in the notes, but in the silence between. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
  • A painter paints pictures on canvas. But musicians paint their pictures on silence. Leopold Stokowski
  • A note of music gains significance from the silence on either side. Anne Morrow Lindberg
  • After silence that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music. Aldous Huxley

Listen to the music of nature 

  • Look at the stars sometimes. They are only notes They are music. Pat Conroy
  • All the sounds of the earth are like music. Oscar Hammerstein
  • There is pleasure in the pathless woods, there is rapture in the lonely shore, there is society where none intrudes, by the deep sea, and music in its roar; I love not Man the less, but Nature more. George Gordon Byron
  • Nature

Approach life as a song


Approach your life as a song and resolve not to die with your music still in you 

  • Alas for those that never sing but die with all their music in them. Oliver Wendell Holmes
  • Some days there won’t be a song in your heart. Sing anyway. Emory Austin
  • Every day that is born into the world comes like a burst of music and rings the whole day through, and you make of it a dance, a dirge, or a life march, as you will. Thomas Carlyle
  • We are like violins. We can be used as doorstops, or we can make music. Barbara Sher
  • We are the music makers and we are the dreamers of dreams. Arthur O’Shaughnessy
  • If I were not a physicist, I would probably be a musician. I often think in music. I live my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of music. Albert Einstein
  • Life is a song

Final thoughts


Thoughts on pop music 

  • Pop music often tells you everything is OK, while rock music tells you that it’s not OK, but you can change it. Bono

Thoughts on classical music 

  • Mozart has the classic purity of light and the blue ocean; Beethoven the romantic grandeur which belongs to the storms of air and sea, and while the soul of Mozart seems to dwell on the ethereal peaks of Olympus, that of Beethoven climbs shuddering the storm-beaten sides of a Sinai. Blessed be they both! Each represents a moment of the ideal life, each does us good. Our love is due to both. Henri Frederic Amiel
  • Mozart is sweet sunshine. Antonin Dvorak
  • Beethoven tells you what it’s like to be Beethoven and Mozart tells you what it’s like to be human. Bach tells you what it’s like to be the universe. Douglas Adams
  • Classical music is the kind we keep thinking will turn into a tune. Kin Hubbard
  • I just can’t listen to any more Wagner, you know…I’m starting to get the urge to conquer Poland. Woody Allen

Thoughts on the Blues 

  • Nobody can teach you to sing the blues, you have to feel the blues. Ernestine Anderson

Thoughts on opera 

  • No opera plot can be sensible, for people do not sing when they are feeling sensible. H. Auden
  • I don’t mind what language an opera is sung in so long as it is a language I don’t understand. Sir Edward Appleton
  • An opera is when a guy gets stabbed in the back and, instead of bleeding, he sings. Ed Gardener  

Thoughts on jazz 

  • Jazz isn’t dead. It just smells funny. Frank Zappa
  • What is my definition of jazz? ‘Safe sex of the highest order.’ Kurt Vonnegut

Thoughts on sad songs 

  • Songs are as sad as the listener. Jonathan Safran Foer
  • What came first – the music or the misery? Did I listen to the music because I was miserable? Or was I miserable because I listened to the music? Do all those records turn you into a melancholy person? Nick Hornby
  • I like beautiful melodies telling me terrible things. Tom Waits

Thoughts on love and music 

  • Love is friendship set to music. Jackson Pollock
  • If music be the food of love, play on, give me excess of it; that surfeiting, the appetite may sicken, and so die. William Shakespeare
  • If it weren’t for music, I would think that love is mortal. Mark Helprin
  • If God has the recipe of life, then love is the cake and music is the icing. Dale Morris

On a lighter note

  • A gentleman is someone who knows how to play the banjo and doesn’t. Mark Twain
  • A music lover is a man who, on hearing a soprano in the bathroom, puts his ear to the keyhole. Kalends
  • An intellectual snob is someone who can listen to the William Tell Overture and not think of The Lone Ranger. Dan Rather
  • An opera is when a guy gets stabbed in the back and, instead of bleeding, he sings. Ed Gardener
  • Brass bands are all very well in their place – outdoors and several miles away. Sir Thomas Beecham
  • Classical music is the kind we keep thinking will turn into a tune. Frank  …Kin’ Hubbard
  • Domestic Harmony: Music produced only if the husband plays second fiddle.
  • Hell is full of musical amateurs. George Bernard Shaw
  • I don’t like my music but what is my opinion against that of millions of others. Frederick Loewe
  • I hate music especially when it’s played. Jimmy Durante
  • I have been told that Wagner’s music is better than it sounds. Edgar Wilson  …Bill’ Nye
  • I just can’t listen to any more Wagner, you know…I’m starting to get the urge to conquer Poland. Woody Allen
  • I like Wagner’s music better than any other music; it is so loud that one can talk the whole time without people hearing what one says. Oscar Wilde
  • I liked your opera. I think I will set it to music.   Ludwig van Beethoven
  • 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 mean, if Beethoven had been killed in a plane crash at twenty-two, the history of music would have been very different. As would the history of aviation, of course. Tom Stoppard
  • I went to a karaoke bar last night that didn’t play any 70’s music – at first I was afraid, oh I was petrified.   Stewart Francis
  • If love was easy there would be almost no music. Jake Johannsen
  • If the music’s too loud you’re too old.
  • If you can imagine a man having a vasectomy without anesthetic to the sound of frantic sitar playing you will have some idea of what popular Turkish music is like. Bill Bryson
  • Jazz: Music invented by demons for the torture of imbeciles. Henry van Dyke
  • Longfellow is to poetry what the barrel-organ is to music. Van Wyck Brooks
  • Men read Playboy for the articles, women go to malls for the music.
  • Music hath the charm to soothe a savage beast but I’d try a revolver first. Josh Billings
  • Music makes one feel so romantic – at least it always gets on one’s nerves – which is the same thing nowadays. Oscar Wilde
  • Music with dinner is an insult both to the cook and the violinist. K. Chesterton
  • My personal hobbies are reading, listening to music, and silence. Edith Sitwell
  • Of all noises, I think music is the least disagreeable. Samuel Johnson
  • Old Age: When you don’t recognize either the host or the musical guest on Saturday Night Live.
  • Talking about music is like dancing about architecture. Steve Martin
  • The musician who invented Swing ought to. The New York Times
  • The people who gave us golf and called it a game are the same people who gave us bag pipes and called it music. Silk Stockings TV Show
  • The trouble with life is there’s no background music.
  • The trouble with nude dancing is that not everything stops when the music stops. Robert Helpmann
  • The trouble with real life is that there’s no danger music.
  • The tuba is certainly the most intestinal of instruments – the very lower bowel of music.   Peter De Vries
  • There are more bad musicians than there is bad music. Isaac Stern
  • There are three things I have loved but never understood. Art, music and women. Bernard Le Bovier Fontenelle
  • Those who can’t dance say the music is no good. Jamaican Proverb
  • Those who dance are considered insane by those who cannot hear the music. George Carlin
  • Wagner’s music is better than it sounds. Mark Twain
  • When opportunity knocks, I normally have the music turned up way to loud to hear it.
  • When people don’t make sense, listen to music. It always does.