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Wagner's music is better than it sounds.
- Mark Twain
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There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats.
- Albert Schweitzer
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There are some experiences in life which should not be demanded twice from any man, and one of them is listening to the Brahms Requiem.
- George Bernard Shaw
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I don't know anything about music. In my line you don't have to.
- Elvis Presley
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Anything that is too stupid to be spoken is sung.
- Voltaire
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Too many pieces of music finish too long after the end.
- Igor Stravinsky
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Mr. Wagner has beautiful moments but bad quarters of an hour.
- Gioacchino Antonio Rossini
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After silence that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.
- Aldous Huxley
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Music is the universal language of mankind.
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
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Music is the only language in which you cannot say a mean or sarcastic thing.
- John Erskine
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The musician who always plays on the same string is laughed at.
- Horace
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Music is well said to be the speech of angels.
- Thomas Carlyle
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Classical music is the kind that we keep hoping will turn into a tune.
- Kin Hubbard
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We consider that any man who can fiddle all through one of those Virginia Reels without losing his grip, may be depended upon in any kind of musical emergency.
- Mark Twain
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Music is the only sensual pleasure without vice.
- Samuel Johnson
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Music is a higher revelation than philosophy.
- Ludwig van Beethoven
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Life without music would be a mistake.
- Friedrich Nietzsche
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Words make you think a thought. Music makes you feel a feeling. A song makes you feel a thought.
- E.Y. Harburg
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The Mandolin is the bottom four strings of the guitar, backwards...so a person with dyslexia has no problem learning to play the Mandolin.
- Steve Goodman
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It seems to me that those songs that have been any good, I have nothing much to do with the writing of them. The words have just crawled down my sleeve and come out on the page.
- Joan Baez
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Love is like a violin. The music may stop now and then, but the strings remain forever.
- June Masters Bacher
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Without music, life is a journey through a desert.
- Pat Conroy
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Do I listen to pop music because I'm miserable or am I miserable because listen to pop music?
- John Cusack
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Music creates order out of chaos: for rhythm imposes unanimity upon the divergent, melody imposes continuity upon the disjointed, and harmony imposes compatibility upon the incongruous.
- Yehudi Menuhin
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I don't like country music, but I don't mean to denigrate those who do. And for the people who like country music, denigrate means 'put down'
- Bob Newhart
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It's easy to play any musical instrument: all you have to do is touch the right key at the right time and the instrument will play itself.
- Johann Sebastian Bach
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Most of us go to our grave with our music still inside of us.
- Anonymous
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Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent.
- Victor Hugo
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Where words fail, music speaks.
- Hans Christian Andersen
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All the sounds of the earth are like music.
- Oscar Hammerstein
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It had never occurred to me before that music and thinking are so much alike. In fact you could say music is another way of thinking, or maybe thinking is another kind of music.
- Ursula K. Le Guin
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Music is everybody's possession. It's only publishers who think that people own it.
- John Lennon
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Music speaks what cannot be expressed, soothes the mind and gives it rest, heals the heart and makes it whole, flows from heaven to the soul.
- Anonymous
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Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything.
- Plato
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There is geometry in the humming of the strings, there is music in the spacing of the spheres.
- Pythagoras
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Bach gave us God's Word. Mozart gave us God's laughter. Beethoven gave us God's fire. God gave us Music that we might pray without words.
- quote outside an opera house
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Use the talents you possess, for the woods would be very silent if no birds sang except the best.
- Henry Van Dyke
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Jazz will endure just as long people hear it through their feet instead of their brains.
- John Philip Sousa
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I think my fans will follow me into our combined old age. Real musicians and real fans stay together for a long, long time.
- Bonnie Raitt
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Give me a laundry list and I'll set it to music.
- Gioacchino Antonio Rossini
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A good composer does not imitate; he steals.
- Igor Stravinsky
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There are more love songs than anything else. If songs could make you do something we'd all love one another.
- Frank Zappa
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Music is given to us with the sole purpose of establishing an order in things, including, and particularly, the coordination between man and time.
- Igor Stravinsky
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We all have idols. Play like anyone you care about but try to be yourself while you're doing so.
- B. B. King
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Beethoven can write music, thank God, but he can do nothing else on earth.
- Ludwig Van Beethoven
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I think one of the reasons I'm popular again is because I'm wearing a tie. You have to be different.
- Tony Bennet
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I think there are only three things America will be known for 2,000 years from now when they study this civilization: the Constitution, jazz music, and baseball.
- Gerald Early
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I always felt rock and roll was very, very wholesome music.
- Aretha Franklin
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I want to do a musical movie. Like Evita, but with good music.
- Elton John
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We composers are at least as significant as the stars who make $14 million or $15 million. You just don't see us.
- Michael Kamen
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I don't mind what language an opera is sung in so long as it is the language I don't understand.
- Sir Edward Appleton
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No opera plot can be sensible, for in sensible situations people do not sing.
- W H Auden
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It is extraordinary how potent cheap music is.
- Noel Coward
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Opera is when a guy gets stabbed in the back and instead of bleeding, sings.
- Ed Gardner
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You know you're getting old when everything hurts. And what doesn't hurt doesn't work.
- Hy Gardner
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I have witnessed and greatly enjoyed the first act of everything which Wagner created, but the effect on me has always been so powerful that one act was quite sufficient; whenever I have witnessed two acts I have gone away physically exhausted; and whenever I have ventured an entire opera the result has been the next thing to suicide.
- Mark Twain
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Last night at Carnegie Hall, Jack Benny played Mendelssohn. Mendelssohn lost.
- Harold C. Schonberg
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It is quite untrue that British people don't appreciate music. They may not understand it but they absolutely love the noise it makes.
- Thomas Beecham
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The difference between a violin and a viola is that a viola burns longer.
- Victor Borge
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I understand the inventor of the bagpipes was inspired when he saw a man carrying an indignant, asthmatic pig under his arm. Unfortunately, the manmade sound never equalled the purity of the sound achieved by the pig.
- Alfred Hitchcock
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Beethoven always sounds to me like the upsetting of a bag of nails, with here and there an also dropped hammer.
- John Ruskin
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There are more bad musicians than there is bad music.
- Isaac Stern
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Handel from Hanover, a man of the vastest genius and skill in music that perhaps has lived since Orpheus.
- Viscount Percival
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Music fathoms the sky.
- Charles Baudelaire
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There is music in the beauty, and the silent note that cupid strikes, far sweeter than the sound of an instrument; for there is music wherever there is harmony, order, or proportion; and thus far we maintain the music of the spheres.
- Thomas Browne
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Why is it that whenever I hear a piece of music I don't like, it's always by Villa-Lobos?
- Igor Stravinsky
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His music used to be original. Now it's aboriginal. [About Igor Stravinsky]
- Sir Ernest Newman
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Parsifal is the kind of opera that starts at six o'clock and after it has been running for three hours, you check your watch and it says 6:20.
- David Randolph
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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.
- Gioacchino Antonio Rossini
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Enough of clouds, waves, aquariums, water-sprites and nocturnal scents; what we need is music of the earth, everyday music...music one can live in like a house.
- Jean Cocteau
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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 compositions."
- Hugo Wolf
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It is proportion that beautifies everything. This whole universe consists of it, and music is measured by it.
- Orlando Gibbons
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Among God's creatures two, the dog and the guitar, have taken all the sizes and all the shapes, in order not to be separated from the man.
- Andre Segovia
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The piano is a monster that screams when you touch its teeth.
- Andre Segovia
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The guitar is a small orchestra. It is polyphonic. Every string is a different color, a different voice.
- Andre Segovia
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Sometimes one is without the pleasure of playing. But when the silence of the audience is perfect, we recover that.
- Andre Segovia
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Lean your body forward slightly to support the guitar against your chest, for the poetry of the music should resound in your heart.
- Andres Segovia
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The advice I am giving always to all my students is above all to study the music profoundly... music is like the ocean, and the instruments are little or bigger islands, very beautiful for the flowers and trees...
- Andres Segovia
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How do you explain what it feels like to get on the stage and make poetry that you know sinks into the hearts and souls of people who are unable to express it?
- Nina Simone
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Music is a gift and a burden I've had since I can remember who I was.
- Nina Simone
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I'd rather be a musician than a rock star.
- George Harrison
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Every songwriter lives to have at least one song that a cab driver who asks 'You write anything I know?' will recognize.
- Rupert Holmes
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I like to think of us as Clearasil on the face of the nation. Jim Morrison would have said that if he was smart, but he's dead.
- Lou Reed
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If you wanted to torture me, you'd tie me down and force me to watch our first five videos.
- Jon Bon Jovi
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I'm not really a good singer. But most people aren't, either.
- Robyn Hitchcock
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If you can sell green toothpaste in this country, you can sell opera.
- Sarah Caldwell
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There is no doubt that the first requirement for a composer is to be dead.
- Arthur Honegger
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Boys, look like you're having fun, but don't have any. (To his band just before going on the air)
- Lawrence Welk
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She has a nice voice, but she looks a little bit too much like Eleanor Roosevelt.
- Lawrence Welk
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Boys, if you don't stick together, how do you expect me to follow you-ah?
- Lawrence Welk
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I would advise you to keep your overhead down; avoid a major drug habit; play everyday, and take it in front of other people. They need to hear it, and you need them to hear it.
- James Taylor
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I don't deserve a Songwriters Hall of Fame Award. But fifteen years ago, I had a brain operation and I didn't deserve that, either. So I'll keep it.
- Quincy Jones
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Critics don't buy records. They get 'em free.
- Nat King Cole
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I'm a musician at heart, I know I'm not really a singer. I couldn't compete with real singers. But I sing because the public buys it.
- Nat King Cole
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I certainly hear the Trombones Unlimited version of 'Daydream' in a lot of elevators.
- John Sebastian
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I'm interested in music, not in my image. If someone plays something fantastic, that I could never have thought of, it makes me happy to know it exists.
- Ornette Coleman
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Jazz is the only music in which the same note can be played night after night but differently each time.
- Ornette Coleman
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The musicians that didn't know music could play the best blues. I know that I don't want no musicians who know all about music playin' for me.
- Alberta Hunter
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Detroit turned out to be heaven, but it also turned out to be hell.
- Marvin Gaye
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I'm glad there are a lot of guitar players pursuing technique as diligently as they possibly can, because it leaves this whole other area open to people like me.
- Richard Thompson
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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.
- Artur Schnabel
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When you hear my records today, you hear a vanilla sounding artist with no black inflection, although I was trying to imitate what I heard.
- Pat Boone
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Music is essentially useless, as life is: but both have an ideal extension which lends utility to its conditions.
- George Santayana
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I sat down at the piano and my hands began to browse over the keys. Then something happened. I felt as though I could reach out and touch God. I found myself playing a melody, one I'd never heard or played before, and words came into my head -- they just seemed to fall into place...
- Thomas A. Dorsey
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You're willing to pay him a thousand dollars a night just for singing? Why, you can get a phonograph record of Minnie the Moocher for 75 cents. And for a buck and a quarter, you can get Minnie. (Night at the Opera)
- Groucho Marx
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When I started to sing like myself — as opposed to imitating Nat Cole, which I had done for a while — when I started singing like Ray Charles, it had this spiritual and churchy, this religious or gospel sound. It had this holiness and preachy tone to it. It was very controversial. I got a lot of criticism for it.
- Ray Charles
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Do it right or don’t do it at all. That comes from my mom. If there’s something I want to do, I’m one of those people that won’t be satisfied until I get it done. If I’m trying to sing something and I can’t get it, I’m going to keep at it until I get where I want it.
- Ray Charles
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The soundtrack to 'Indecent Exposure' is a romantic mix of music that I know most women love to hear, so I never keep it far from me when women are nearby.
- Fabio
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Listen Edith, I know you're singing, you know you're singing, but the neighbors may think I'm torturing you. - Archie Bunker
- Carroll O'Connor
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I love to sing, and I love to drink scotch. Most people would rather hear me drink scotch.
- George Burns
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All music is folk music. I ain't never heard no horse sing a song.
- Louis Armstrong
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Opera in English is, in the main, just about as sensible as baseball in Italian.
- H. L. Mencken
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Music in the soul can be heard by the universe.
- Lao Tzu
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I'm not good enough to be playin' much acoustic guitar onstage. Man, you gotta get so right; I mean, the tones, the feel, the sound. Plus, acoustic blues guitar is just that much harder on the fingers. I really appreciate when someone can blow me away with live acoustic blues.
- Johnny Winter
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For Debussy the musician and the man I have had profound admiration, but by nature I'm different from him. I think I have always personally followed a direction opposed to that of the symbolism of Debussy.
- Maurice Ravel
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I am not one of the great composers. All the great have produced enormously. There is everything in their work - the best and the worst, but there is always quantity. But I have written relatively little.
- Maurice Ravel
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I begin by considering an effect.
- Maurice Ravel
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Music, I feel, must be emotional first and intellectual second.
- Maurice Ravel
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Remember that I wrote a pavane for a dead princess, and not a dead pavane for a princess!
- Maurice Ravel
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You might lose your spontaneity and, instead of composing first-rate Gershwin, end up with second rate Ravel.
- Maurice Ravel
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What comprises good performance? The ability through singing or playing to make the ear conscious of the true content and affect of a composition.
- Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach
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After I die I shall return to earth as the doorkeeper of a bordello and I won't let a one of you in.
- Arturo Toscanini
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Assassins!
- Arturo Toscanini
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God tells me how the music should sound, but you stand in the way.
- Arturo Toscanini
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Being a singer is a natural gift. It means I'm using to the highest degree possible the gift that God gave me to use. I'm happy with that.
- Aretha Franklin
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A lot of people are singing about how screwed up the world is, and I don't think that everybody wants to hear about that all the time.
- Mariah Carey
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I don't mind being compared to Whitney, there are people miles worse to be compared to.
- Mariah Carey
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He stole my music but he gave me my name. (on Mick Jagger)
- Muddy Waters
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I taught them everything they know, but not everything I know.
- James Brown
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I'm not going to be joining ZZ Top. You know they can't play my stuff. It's too complicated.
- James Brown
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I've outdone anyone you can name - Mozart, Beethoven, Bach, Strauss. Irving Berlin, he wrote 1,001 tunes. I wrote 5,500.
- James Brown
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When I'm on stage, I'm trying to do one thing: bring people joy. Just like church does. People don't go to church to find trouble, they go there to lose it.
- James Brown
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Some kids in Italy call me 'Mama Jazz; I thought that was so cute. As long as they don't call me 'Grandma Jazz.'
- Ella Fitzgerald
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I sing like I feel.
- Ella Fitzgerald
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A lot of singers think all they have to do is exercise their tonsils to get ahead. They refuse to look for new ideas and new outlets, so they fall by the wayside. . . I'm going to try to find out the new ideas before the others do.
- Ella Fitzgerald
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I know I'm no glamour girl, and it's not easy for me to get up in front of a crowd of people. It used to bother me a lot, but now I've got it figured out that God gave me this talent to use, so I just stand there and sing.
- Ella Fitzgerald
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I stole everything I ever heard, but mostly I stole from the horns.
- Ella Fitzgerald
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The only thing better than singing is more singing.
- Ella Fitzgerald
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The musician is perhaps the most modest of animals, but he is also the proudest. It is he who invented the sublime art of ruining poetry.
- Erik Satie
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I liked the bit about quarter to eleven. (on Debussy's "Dawn to Noon on the Sea")
- Erik Satie
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Before I compose a piece, I walk around it several times, accompanied by myself.
- Erik Satie
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I, of course, wanted to play real jazz. When we played pop tunes, and naturally we had to, I wanted those pops to kick! Not loud and fast, understand, but smoothly and with a definite punch.
- Count Basie
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If you play a tune and a person don't tap their feet, don't play the tune.
- Count Basie
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Of course, there are a lot of ways you can treat the blues, but it will still be the blues.
- Count Basie
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If anyone asks you what kind of music you play, tell him 'pop.' Don't tell him 'rock'n'roll' or they won't even let you in the hotel.
- Buddy Holly
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We like this kind of music. Jazz is strictly for stay-at-homes.
- Buddy Holly
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Without Elvis none of us could have made it.
- Buddy Holly
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Life is something like a trumpet. If you don't put anything in, you won't get anything out.
- W. C. Handy
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In the South of long ago whenever a new man appeared for work in any of the laborers' gangs, he would be asked if he could sing. If he could he got the job. The singing of these working men set the rhythm for the work.
- W. C. Handy
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I always resented the role of a drummer as nothing more than a subservient figure.
- Max Roach
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Anything I do has to be directly related to my music. If it isn't, I don't really see a point to it.
- Alanis Morissette
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Anybody with a sense of humor is going to put on my album and laugh from beginning to end.
- Eminem
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Talking about music is like dancing about architecture.
- Steve Martin
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I hate record labels. They think they know everything. I want to hear them try to sing it.
- Jessica Simpson
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I'm not interested in having an orchestra sound like itself. I want it to sound like the composer.
- Leonard Bernstein
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Don't play the saxophone. Let it play you.
- Charlie Parker
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MTV is to music as KFC is to chicken!
- Lewis Black
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The great composer does not set to work because he is inspired, but becomes inspired because he is working.
- Ernest Newman
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A good composer is slowly discovered a bad composer is slowly found out.
- Ernest Newman
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Make sure everything you do you really like, because you have to sing it the rest of your life.
- Gloria Estefan
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The opera is like a husband with a foreign title - expensive to support, hard to understand and therefore a supreme social challenge.
- Cleveland Amory
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A finished work is exactly that, requires resurrection.
- John Cage
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Which is more musical, a truck passing by a factory or a truck passing by a music school?
- John Cage
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A sound does not view itself as thought, as ought, as needing another sound for its elucidation, as etc.; it has not time for any consideration--it is occupied with the performance of its characteristics: before it has died away it must have made perfectly exact its frequency, its loudness, its length, its overtone structure, the precise morphology of these and of itself.
- John Cage
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I imagine that as contemporary music goes on changing in the way that I'm changing it what will be done is to more and more completely liberate sounds from abstract ideas about them and more and more exactly to let them be physically uniquely themselves. This means for me: knowing more and more not what I think a sound is but what it actually is in all of its acoustical details and then letting this sound exist, itself, changing in a changing sonorous environment.
- John Cage
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If you develop an ear for sounds that are musical, it is like developing an ego. You begin to refuse sounds that are not musical and that way cut yourself off from a good deal of experience.
- John Cage
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Mozart tells us what it's like to be human, Beethoven tells us what it's like to be Beethoven and Bach tells us what it's like to be the universe.
- Douglas Adams
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Film is one of the three universal languages, the other two: mathematics and music.
- Frank Capra
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If you would be singing like this two thousand years ago, people would have stoned you.
- Simon Cowell
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If your lifeguard duties were as good as your singing, a lot of people would be drowning.
- Simon Cowell
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My personal hobbies are reading, listening to music, and silence.
- Edith Sitwell
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Beware the lollipop of mediocrity; lick it once and you'll suck forever.
- Brian Wilson
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The Prelude to [Wagner's] 'Tristan und Isolde' reminds one of the old Italian painting of a martyr whose intestines are slowly unwound from his body on a reel.
- Eduard Hanslick
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There's people making babies to my music. That's nice.
- Barry White
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You got to have smelt a lot of mule manure before you can sing like a hillbilly.
- Hank Williams
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Probably the biggest bringdown in my life was being in a pop group and finding out just how much it was like everything we were supposed to be against.
- Cass Elliot
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Get up from that piano. You hurtin' its feelings.
- Jelly Roll Morton
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I want to write songs that are so sad, the kind of sad where you take someone's little finger and break it in three places.
- Nick Cave
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During the 'whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa's' in 'Combination Of the Two,' I couldn't help but go to the mirror and pretend I was a wild woman like Janis, in a rock band.
- Joan Jett
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I never thought that much about my playing. I was adequate.
- Roy Buchanan
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You can cage the singer but not the song.
- Harry Belafonte
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You have Van Gogh's ear for music.
- Artemus Ward
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Whether I was in my body or out of my body as I wrote it I know not. God knows. (on the "Hallelujah Chorus" of his "Messiah")
- George Friideric Handel
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Musical comedies aren't written, they are re-written.
- Steven Sondheim
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I practice when I'm loaded.
- Zoot Sims
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The colour of my soul is iron-grey and sad bats wheel about the steeple of my dreams.
- Claude Debussy
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I like your opera. I think I will set it to music.
- Ludwig van Beethoven
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Jazz came to America three hundred years ago in chains.
- Paul Whiteman
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Music is one of the closest link-ups with God that we can probably experience. I think it's a common vibrating tone of the musical notes that holds all life together.
- Marvin Gaye
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Simple is the only way I can write.
- Don Gibson
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I wish I would tell our audience that we don't hate them without sounding cheesy.
- Kurt Cobain
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The guitar's not all that expensive either, when you compare it to gettin' a tooth pulled or something.
- Merle Haggard
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My music is best understood by children and animals.
- Igor Stravinsky
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I always said that I'm not the best singer in the world, just the loudest.
- Tammy Wynette
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We did consider the name 'Beetles,' but Jerry [Allison] said, 'Aw, that's just a bug you'd want to step on,' so we immediately dropped that.
- Niki Sullivan
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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
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You can muffle the drum, and you can loosen the strings of the lyre, but who shall command the skylark not to sing?
- Kahlil Gibran
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I'd love to see Christ come back to crush the spirit of hate and make men put down their guns. I'd also like just one more hit single.
- Tiny Tim
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There'll always be some arrogant little brat who wants to make music with a guitar. Rock'n'roll will never die.
- Dave Edmunds
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Perhaps all music, even the newest, is not so much something discovered as something that re-emerges from where it lay buried in the memory, inaudible as a melody cut in a disc of flesh. A composer lets me hear a song that has always been shut up silent.
- Jean Genet
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I once told this writer a story about how I met the guys in an elevator and found out we all had the same last name, so we decided to form a band.
- Joey Ramone
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Madonna is the speedboat, and the rest of us are just the Go-Gos on water skis.
- Liz Phair
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Madonna is the speedboat, and the rest of us are just the Go-Gos on water skis.
- Liz Phair
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Most people say, 'Well, Earl, you sing the blues,' or however they want to categorize it. I just sing songs. I'm a writer, so whatever gymnastics jump through my head, I write about it.
- Earl King
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On matters of intonation and technicalities I am more than a martinet—I am a martinetissimo.
- Leopold Stokowski
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I only know two tunes. One is 'Yankee Doodle,' and the other isn't.
- Ulysses S. Grant
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Madam, you have between your legs an instrument capable of giving pleasure to thousands—and all you can do is scratch it. (a woman cellist)
- Thomas Beecham
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A musicologist is a man who can read music but can't hear it.
- Thomas Beecham
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Brass bands are all very well in their place - outdoors and several miles away.
- Thomas Beecham
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Great music is that which penetrates the ear with facility and leaves the memory with difficulty. Magical music never leaves the memory.
- Thomas Beecham
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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.
- Thomas Beecham
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If an opera cannot be played by an organ grinder, it's not going to achieve immortality.
- Thomas Beecham
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Composers should write tunes that chauffeurs and errand boys can whistle.
- Thomas Beecham
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Playing 'Bop' is like Scrabble with all the vowels missing.
- Duke Ellington
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I don't know where my songs come from . . . If I knew, I'd know too much, more than we are allowed on this plane.
- Judy Collins
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He never contributed a damn thing to music. (on Elvis Presley)
- Bing Crosby
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I spent 15 minutes writing 'Stand by Your Man,' and a lifetime defending it.
- Tammy Wynette
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Basically, we put our songs together in very much the same way the guys in Metallica do.
- John Flansburgh
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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.
- Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
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A typical day in the life of a heavy metal musician consists of a round of golf and an AA meeting.
- Billy Joel
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John's just jealous because I'm the brains of the group. I've written all the songs, even from the beginning when I wasn't in the group.
- Sid Vicious
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Never hate a song that's sold a half million copies.
- Irving Berlin
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For the amount of talent I had (and I couldn't dance, act, or tell a joke) I enjoyed a tremendous career.
- Perry Como
***
Personally, being somewhat envious of Richard's songwriting and guitar playing, it's somewhat satisfying he's not yet achieved household-name status. It serves him right for being so good. (on Richard Thompson)
- David Byrne
***
Avant-garde music is sort of research music. You're glad someone's done it but you don't necessarily want to listen to it.
- Brian Eno
***
If it wasn't for [pimps, prostitutes, hustlers, gangsters, and gamblers] there wouldn't be no jazz! They supported the club owners who bought the music. It wasn't the middle-class people who said 'Let's go hear Charlie Parker tonight.'
- Betty Carter
***
Music is the wine that fills the cup of silence.
- Robert Fripp
***
When an instrument fails on stage it mocks you and must be destroyed.
- Trent Reznor
***
These days, what isn't worth saying is sung.
- Pierre Beaumarchais
***
Music is not written in red, white and blue. It is written in the heart's blood of the composer.
- Nellie Melba
***
After Rossini dies, who will there be to promote his music?
- Richard Wagner
***
I merely took the energy it takes to paint and wrote some blues.
- Duke Ellington
***
The Detroit String Quartet played Brahms last night. Brahms lost.
- Bennett Cerf
***
Nobody knows a hit before it's a hit.
- Tom T. Hall
***
I always thought he sounded just like Yogi Bear. (on Bob Dylan)
- Mick Ronson
***
When she started to play, Steinway came down personally and rubbed his name off the piano.
- Bob Hope
***
For me, writing something in the spirit of Halloween is like Mother Teresa writing on charity and sacrifice. It's just second nature to me.
- Danny Elfman
***
They should be shot. (on the Backstreet Boys)
- Noel Gallagher
***
I try to sit down and write a Rory Gallagher song, which generally happens to be quite bluesy. I try to find different issues, different themes and different topics that haven't been covered before...I've done songs in all the different styles...train blues, drinking blues, economic blues. But I try to find a slightly different angle on all these things. The music can be very traditional, but you can sort of creep into the future with the lyrics..
- Rory Gallagher
***
His Majesty does not know what the band has just played, but it is never to be played again. (on Richard Strauss' "Elektra")
- George V
***
A Druid in training must be a bard before he is a priest, for music is one of the keys to the laws of the universe.
- Marion Zimmer Bradley
***
Maybe the words that I say is just another way to pray.
- Curtis Mayfield
***
When I heard him, I thought, if he can do that and get away with it, I can do it too. (on Sonny Bono)
- Ian Hunter
***
We're playing at our own level of ability.
- Dee Dee Ramone
***
In order to compose, all you need to do is remember a tune that nobody else has thought of.
- Robert Schumann
***
Rock'n'roll all goes back to R & B, but to me it's not very relevant. Kraftwerk is much more relevant.
- Nick Rhodes
***
Rodgers and Hammerstein, if you can imagine it taking two men to write one song. (when asked "Who wrote 'Some Enchanted Evening'?")
- Cole Porter
***
It won't be long before we'll be writing together again. I just hope they have a decent piano up there.
- Frederick Loewe
***
There is only one real happiness in life, and that is the happiness of creating.
- Frederick Delius
***
I may not be a first-rate composer, but I am a first-class second-rate composer.
- Richard Strauss
***
When they called 'em rock'n'roll pioneers, they were talking about the music. But that pretty much described the living conditions, too.
- Waylon Jennings
***
Do it again on the next verse, and people think you meant it.
- Chet Atkins
***
My dad taught me about music. He used to tap dance.
- Ray Davies
***
Poor people have the blues because they're poor and hungry. Rich people can't sleep at night because they're trying to hold on to their money and everything they have.
- John Lee Hooker
***
For 15 years, we always thought we would last as long as our last record contract.
- John Entwistle
***
It's ill-becoming for an old broad to sing about how bad she wants it. But occasionally we do.
- Lena Horne
***
Once you become predictable, no one's interested anymore.
- Chet Atkins
***
If you approach an opera as though it were something that always went a certain way, that's what you get. I approach an opera as though I didn't know it.
- Sarah Caldwell
***
The blues are the roots, and everything else are the fruits.
- Willie Dixon
***
I once served a steak to Janis Joplin at Max's Kansas City. She was quiet and very polite. She didn't eat her steak but left a five dollar tip.
- Debbie Harry
***
A piano store looks like a funeral parlor for music.
- Ramon Gomez de la Serna
***
We just sort of provided the right thing at the right time. We come along with a very raw sort of music where everything was rather sweet.
- Brian Jones
***
It's not music, it's a disease. (on rock'n'roll)
- Mitch Miller
***
I'm very fortunate to have a career that has lasted as long as it has. Did I think it would last this long? No way!
- Barry White
***
Music should never be harmless.
- Robbie Robertson
***
If you have to ask, shame on you. (on what Jazz is)
- Louis Armstrong
***
The violinist must possess the poet's gift of piercing the protective hide which grows on propagandists, stockbrokers, and slave traders, to penetrate the deeper truth which lies within.
- Giancarlo Menotti
***
I like Beethoven, especially the poems.
- Ringo Starr
***
With my little band, I did everything they did with a big band. I made the blues jump.
- Louis Jordan
***
I refuse to slap some stupid words on the stupid paper just so we have a stupid song finished.
- Suzanne Vega
***
True music must repeat the thought and inspirations of the people and the time. My people are Americans and my time is today.
- George Gershwin
***
Olivia Newton-John—Australia's gift to insomniacs. It's nothing but the blonde singing the bland.
- Minnie Riperton
***
I am a greedy, selfish bastard. I want the fact that I existed to mean something.
- Harry Chapin
***
In the Top 40, half the songs are secret messages to the teen world to drop out, turn on, and groove with the chemicals and light shows at discotheques.
- Art Linkletter
***
Sometimes I’d think I was making music through the wrong end of a magnifying glass.
- John Coltrane
***
Led Zeppelin is just a bunch of stupid idiots who wrote cool riffs.
- Chris Cornell
***
Hits are for squares.
- Thurston Moore
***
I'd rather be dead than singing 'Satisfaction' when I'm forty-five.
- Mick Jagger
***
My present post amounts to about 700 thaler, and when there are rather more funerals than usual, the fees rise in proportion; but when a healthy wind blows, they fall accordingly...
- Johann Sebastian Bach
***
People compose for many reasons: to become immortal; because the pianoforte happens to be open; because they want to become a millionaire; because of the praise of friends; because they have looked into a pair of beautiful eyes; for no reason whatsoever.
- Robert Schumann
***
After I've done the salesman bit, I like to be quiet and retreat, because that's where I write from. I'm a sort of quiet little person.
- Kate Bush
***
Composers shouldn't think too much—it interferes with their plagiarism.
- Howard Dietz
***
Someday we may have as many followers as the harpsichord.
- Eddie Condon
***
It is not impossible that the future belongs to this 'traumverwirrten Katzenjammerstil' (nightmarish hangover style), a future which we therefore do not envy. (on Bruckner)
- Eduard Hanslick
***
Even Bach comes down to the basic suck, blow, suck, suck, blow.
- Larry Adler
***
Tipper and Al (Gore) came to a show the last time we were in Washington. They're nice people, a nice family. We made every effort not to frighten them.
- Jerry Garcia
***
A lot of pop music is about stealing pocket money from children.
- Ian Anderson
***
An unalterable and unquestioned law of the musical world required that the German text of French operas sung by Swedish artists should be translated into Italian for the clearer understanding of English-speaking audiences.
- Edith Wharton
***
I am who I am, I am what I am, I do what I do and I ain't never gonna do it any different. I don't care who likes it and who don't.
- Buck Owens
***
I've got huge admiration for prose writers because I just know that I'd be no good at it. I don't think I'd try to write a novel or a screenplay or be a poet even. When you're peddling ditties, it's a different thing.
- Mark Knopfler
***
About as modest as Mussolini. (on Joni Mitchell)
- David Crosby
***
Sunshine can burn you, food can poison you, words can condemn you, pictures can insult you; music cannot punish—only bless.
- Artur Schnabel
***
When you play music you discover a part of yourself that you never knew existed.
- Bill Evans
***
A song without music is a lot like H2 without the O.
- Ira Gershwin
***
The way I see it, rock'n'roll is folk music.
- Robert Plant
***
My attitude these days is, if you write a bad song, what are they gonna do, throw you in songwriter jail?
- John Hiatt
***
In opera, there is always too much singing.
- Claude Debussy
***
Musically, I always allow myself to jump off of cliffs. At least that's what it feels like to me. Whether that's what it actually sounds like might depend on what the listener brings to the songs.
- Tori Amos
***
To get your playing more forceful, hit the drums harder.
- Keith Moon
***
I have been told that Wagner's music is better than it sounds.
- Edgar Wilson Nye
***
Man, I love that song. I think about it at least once a day. (on his hit "Achy Breaky Heart")
- Billy Ray Cyrus
***
Yes, death is strong, but look you, the strongest, stronger is music than death.
- Franz Werfel
***
But in the next world I shan't be doing music, with all the striving and disappointments. I shall be being it.
- Ralph Vaughan Williams
***
If I wasn't a musician, I would be a serial killer.
- GG Allin
***
Traditionally, songwriters can't sing. And that holds true in my case, also.
- John Phillips
***
Seemed to me that drumming was the best way to get close to God.
- Lionel Hampton
***
The world must be filled with unsuccessful musical careers like mine, and it's probably a good thing. We don't need a lot of bad musicians filling the air with unnecessary sounds. Some of the professionals are bad enough.
- Andy Rooney
***
My first strong musical memory is of the Villa-Lobos Sixth Quartet which my parents were rehearsing. I remember that it reminded me of big teddy bears dancing around.
- Leonard Slatkin
***
Now there is a new group every week; it seems like everybody and anybody can get into the charts.
- Barry Gibb
***
If I didn't do this well, I just wouldn't have anything to do...I can't cook, and I'd be a terrible housewife.
- Freddy Mercury
***
For us the most important thing is to be visual, and for the cats watching us to have fun. This is all we want. We get very upset if people get bored when we're only half way through smashing the second set.
- Roger Waters
***
I can't listen to that much Wagner. I start getting the urge to conquer Poland.
- Woody Allen
***
You gotta hear this new box I got, it creates the most offensive noise ... (to Lester Bangs
- Robert Quine
***
Brahms' Variations are better than mine, but mine were written before his.
- Franz Liszt
***
I conclude that the Wagnerian operas which are already in the repertoire, and other masterworks as well, stand in no further need of my services.
- Franz Liszt
***
I find little in the works of Beethoven, Berlioz, Wagner and others when they are led by a conductor who functions like a windmill.
- Franz Liszt
***
In Hungary all native music, in its origin, is divided naturally into melody destined for song or melody for the dance.
- Franz Liszt
***
In the oldest chronicles of the times conserved in Hungary, reports will be found of Gypsy music, but never of any other, either Magyar, Slavic or Jewish.
- Franz Liszt
***
Inspiration is enough to give expression to the tone in singing, especially when the song is without words.
- 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.
- Franz Liszt
***
Oral musical traditions are rooted in assured and scrupulous faith.
- Franz Liszt
***
The character of instrumental music... lets the emotions radiate and shine in their own character without presuming to display them as real or imaginary representations.
- Franz Liszt
***
The first impulse of a great number of civilized musicians... is to protest our declaration that the music in Hungary belongs to the Gypsies.
- Franz Liszt
***
We need improvement in the style of performance. There is no more advantage in a musician who plays and conducts than in one who is only a beater of rhythm.
- Franz Liszt
***
All I can promise myself and everyone else is that this record is a snapshot of this period in my life. It will be that by default.
- Alanis Morissette
***
Other people notice the same things but they don't think to put it to music.
- Ian Hunter
***
A lot of the great songwriters in history have been collaborators, with a separate lyricist.
- Mike Gordon
***
Actually Fish and I had this side band that played a lot of Dead covers and stuff, called the Dangerous Grapes. Also Allmans, typical blues stuff.
- Mike Gordon
***
Actually, it's great to play with someone who tries to come up with interesting drum beats because it pushes the music in different directions.
- Mike Gordon
***
Elektra has no control over the live show, at least.
- Mike Gordon
***
I agree with the rest of the band, that a truly synthesized sound isn't really what I would want to go for.
- Mike Gordon
***
I don't really have a favorite bass player. I listen to a lot of bluegrass. But then again, I'm not a typical bluegrass bass player. I was really into the Grateful Dead, and I still am-I don't listen to them too much, but for me they are a big influence.
- Mike Gordon
***
I don't really know if a gig's going to be good or bad or medium, and sometimes I am really psyched, and other times, if my personal life isn't going right, then I will be the opposite. Most of the time I just sort of walk on and see what happens.
- Mike Gordon
***
I feel like I want to write some songs and I don't know how to go about doing it. Usually it's the lyrics that are a problem, and I think I am not really cut out to be a lyricist.
- Mike Gordon
***
I guess there are two things that make me like songs generally, of ours, and that is if they groove well, or if they have a jam that can go somewhere.
- Mike Gordon
***
I had a choice whether to play with Phish, or with the people from the Dangerous Grapes. I felt like I was clicking better with the Dangerous Grapes people, but it seemed like, in terms of being experimental and thinking of the future, that the Phish people were like that.
- Mike Gordon
***
I haven't written enough songs to be able to say that I have a system. I've only written a handful.
- Mike Gordon
***
I like referring to the saxophone and having a guitar lick instead. Same with the cymbals; having the cymbals and not playing cymbals.
- Mike Gordon
***
I think one thing that helped the sound change, it's a real subtle thing; it's just one switch on my bass, it has three positions, and I usually boost the mid-range frequency, I lowered the frequency that I boost, and that goes out to the sound system, too.
- Mike Gordon
***
I'm always interested in mixing technology and music. You know, maybe I'll have a MIDI bass pickup at some point, I don't really think that's the direction I would want to go.
- Mike Gordon
***
I'm not really satisfied with anything I have written to date.
- Mike Gordon
***
I've written some poetry, but... songs have to be more poetic, and I've really gotten to this non-poetic sort of writing.
- Mike Gordon
***
It does make sense to put on some songs that are relatively short, because radio usually only plays songs that are less than 4 or 5 minutes.
- Mike Gordon
***
It's really important for the bass and the drums to somehow blend.
- Mike Gordon
***
Jams sometimes turn into a really different sounding thing. Like the drum beat will change, or the chord progression will change-that sort of thing. Sometimes it will develop into something really specific that we've never played before. That's something that even jazz bands don't do too much.
- Mike Gordon
***
The worst thing I could be thinking is how could I be a cool bass player.
- Mike Gordon
***
There's no way we could play a country song as well as a country band or a Latin song as well as a Latin band. We could never expect to do that. We just keep doing what we do, what we know how to do. We sound like ourselves.
- Mike Gordon
***
An interpreter must give his blood to the work interpreted.
- Claudio Arrau
***
Since in music we deal with notes, not words, with chords, with transitions, with color and expression, the musical meaning always based on those notes as written and nothing else - has to be divined. Therefore any musician, no matter how great an instrumentalist, who is not also an interpreter of a divinatory order, the way Furtwängler was, or Fischer-Dieskau is, is somehow onesided, somehow without spiritual grandeur.
- Claudio Arrau
***
Music does not have to be understood. It has to be listened to.
- Hermann Scherchen
***
[Madonna is] a living, breathing cash register.
- Boy George
***
When I die, just keep playin' the records.
- Jimi Hendrix
***
Music is my religion.
- Jimi Hendrix
***
Music is a safe type of high. It's more the way it was supposed to be. That's where highness came, I guess, from anyway. It's nothing but rhythm and motion.
- Jimi Hendrix
***
The privilege of directing this magnificent consort of artists is such that my pleasure would be diminished if I accepted a fee. I would, however, gladly accept a decent cigar.
- Thomas Beecham
***
There are no women composers, never have been, and possibly never will be. (when asked why only male composers appeared in his repertoire)
- Thomas Beecham
***
Too much counterpoint; what is worse, Protestant counterpoint. (of Johann Sebastian Bach)
- Thomas Beecham
***
Beethoven’s last quartets were written by a deaf man and should only be listened to by a deaf man.
- Thomas Beecham
***
Jazz is a white term used to define Black people. My music is Black classical music.
- Nina Simone
***
A band ought to have a sound all of its own. It ought to have a personality.
- Glenn Miller
***
I haven’t (got) a great jazz band and I don’t want one... A dozen colored bands have a beat better than mine.
- Glenn Miller
***
"(The saxophone sound) was always intended to be an all-around combination; but when we do play a swing number, we expect and try to make it swing as much as possible.
- Glenn Miller
***
There is no rest, there must be no rest for a fellow when he is successful. He has got to keep right on going... And don’t think that I am the product of luck or breaks or anything like that. I have worked hard ever since I came out of the University of Colorado. I have played the trombone in so many bands, I can’t count them all.
- Glenn Miller
***
I learned from my uncle that jazz, like symphony music, was built to last.
- David Amram
***
I wish to share and pass down some of my generation's traits, and encourage young people to create their own art, music, and literature.
- David Amram
***
In jazz, you listen to what the bass player is doing and what the drummer is doing, what the pianist and the guitarist is doing, and then you play something that compliments that, so you are thinking simultaneously and thinking ahead.
- David Amram
***
When you are accompanying someone, you are listening to them the way you listen to a Bach Chorale, where four parts are going on at the same time, all of which are gorgeous melodies, all being played simultaneously.
- David Amram
***
The idea that beauty is revolutionary is a revelation to me...I've discovered the part of my brain that can't decode anything, can't add, can't work from verbalized concepts, but that does make melodies with pitch and rhythm...beauty is enough.
- Beth Anderson
***
My own mystic bent leads me to believe that musical variations, collage, reiteration and process, or evolution, are beautiful. Life is worth living and beauty is worth making.
- Beth Anderson
***
Everything is just better in California - the wine, the food, fruits and vegetables, the comforts of living. Even the instrumentalists are generous and curious. Everything is wonderful.
- Beth Anderson
***
If you want to write, do so. If you don't want to hold down a full time job in order to have the comfort to write, give up the idea of being a composer of concert music, unless you can learn to be happy in poverty, marry the rich, inherit the wealth, or otherwise fall into money.
- Beth Anderson
***
Women's music is underrepresented.
- Beth Anderson
***
Quite a number of observers have commented on my coolness during various riotous concerts which I performed at during those first tumultuous years of the armistice between World War I and World War II. The reason is very simple: I was armed.
- George Antheil
***
Your pianos travel with you. So does your manager. You have no time for girls. Your manager sees to it that no young predatory females get very far.
- George Antheil
***
I can't believe that people really prefer to go to the concert hall under intellectually trying, socially trying, physically trying conditions, unable to repeat something they have missed, when they can sit at home under the most comfortable and stimulating circumstances and hear it as they want to hear it.
- Milton Babbitt
***
I dare suggest that the composer would do himself and his music an immediate and eventual service by total, resolute and voluntary withdrawal from this public world to one of private performance and electronic media.
- Milton Babbitt
***
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
***
I started playing piano with a little band in high school. I was terrible. I thought I had absolutely no talent. I couldn't keep time. I only got into McGill, which was a lousy music school, because they were taking American music students.
- Burt Bacharach
***
Never be ashamed to write a melody that people remember.
- Burt Bacharach
***
I believe without exception that theory follows practice. Whenever there is a conflict between theory and practice, theory is wrong. As far as I'm concerned, we make theories for what people have done.
- David Baker
***
It is rare that even a jazz musician finds an individual voice.
- David Baker
***
Competitions are for horses, not artists.
- Bela Bartok
***
I cannot conceive of music that expresses absolutely nothing.
- Bela Bartok
***
Nearly all my longer compositions are based upon aspects and moods of extreme nature and their relation to human emotion.
- Arnold Bax
***
I can tell you, dearest friend, that if it became known how much friendship, love and a world of human and spiritual references I have smuggled into these three movements, the adherents of programme music - should there be any left - would go mad with joy.
- Alban Berg
***
Music is at once the product of feeling and knowledge, for it requires from its disciples, composers and performers alike, not only talent and enthusiasm, but also that knowledge and perception which are the result of protracted study and reflection.
- Alban Berg
***
Sometimes you know you find precious things in the creative process that you couldn't find out of it.
- Arthur Berger
***
In music, as I find myself forever saying, things don't get better or worse: they evolve and transform themselves.
- Luciano Berio
***
The relation between practical and spiritual spheres in music is obvious, if only because it demands ears, finger, consciousness and intellect.
- Luciano Berio
***
Every composer knows the anguish and despair occasioned by forgetting ideas which one had no time to write down.
- Hector Berlioz
***
Love cannot express the idea of music, while music may give an idea of love.
- Hector Berlioz
***
Music can name the unnameable and communicate the unknowable.
- Leonard Bernstein
***
The key to the mystery of a great artist is that for reasons unknown, he will give away his energies and his life just to make sure that one note follows another... and leaves us with the feeling that something is right in the world.
- Leonard Bernstein
***
All the good music has already been written by people with wigs and stuff.
- Frank Zappa
***
Most rock journalism is people who can't write, interviewing people who can't talk, for people who can't read.
- Frank Zappa
***
Music, in performance, is a type of sculpture. The air in the performance is sculpted into something.
- Frank Zappa
***
No change in musical style will survive unless it is accompanied by a change in clothing style. Rock is to dress up to.
- Frank Zappa
***
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
***
There is no feeling, except the extremes of fear and grief, that does not find relief in music.
- George Eliot
***
How wonderful opera would be if there were no singers.
- Gioacchino Antonio Rossini
***
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is the only musician who had as much knowledge as genius, and as much genius as knowledge.
- Gioacchino Antonio Rossini
***
Great musicians accept everything that they hear and find something good. They take what they like and they throw away what they don't like.
- John Zorn
***
One of the reasons I started Tzadik, which is my own label, is to keep things in print. I got tired of labels dropping things out of print when they don't sell.
- John Zorn
***
When I'm writing, sometimes it gets to that place where I feel like the piece is writing itself and I'm trying not to get in the way.
- John Zorn
***
I have my own definition of minimalism, which is that which is created with a minimum of means.
- La Monte Young
***
If listeners aren't carried away to Heaven, I'm failing.
- La Monte Young
***
The collision of hail or rain with hard surfaces, or the song of cicadas in a summer field. These sonic events are made out of thousands of isolated sounds; this multitude of sounds, seen as totality, is a new sonic event.
- Iannis Xenakis
***
Bring the good old bugle, boys! We'll sing another song.
- Henry Clay Work
***
Barbershop quartet singing is four guys tasting the holy essence of four individual mechanisms coming into complete agreement.
- Meredith Willson
***
Lloyd Webber's music is everywhere but so is AIDS.
- Malcolm Williamson
***
I don't know whether I like it, but it is what I meant. (on his Symphony No. 4)
- Ralph Vaughan Williams
***
I have never acknowledged the difference between serious music and light music. There is only good music and bad music.
- Kurt Weill
***
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
***
When an opera star sings her head off, she usually improves her appearance
- Victor Borge
***
I only know two pieces; one is 'Clair de Lune' and the other one isn't.
- Victor Borge
***
You want something by Bach? Which one, Johann Sebastian or Jacques Offen?
- Victor Borge
***
I know [canned music] makes chickens lay more eggs and factory workers produce more. But how much more can they get out of you on an elevator?”
- Victor Borge
***
I pay no attention whatever to anybody's praise or blame. I simply follow my own feelings.
- Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
***
Nevertheless the passions, whether violent or not, should never be so expressed as to reach the point of causing disgust; and music, even in situations of the greatest horror, should never be painful to the ear but should flatter and charm it, and thereby always remain music.
- Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
***
Although my first feature film score was for Interpol, I had already done a number of documentaries for the musical director John Hollingsworth. That was my way into the business.
- Richard Rodney Bennett
***
Elizabeth Lutyens was the first professional composer that I ever knew. I sent some extremely infantile pieces that I I'd written and got marvellous encouragement and interest from her... she's certainly the English composer who's influenced me the most.
- Richard Rodney Bennett
***
I am proud to be able to claim that, from the age of nineteen, I've managed to earn a living entirely as a composer.
- Richard Rodney Bennett
***
I've never written anything when I've thought afterwards, 'Crumbs, I wish I'd never done that'; I've always tried to write music that is approachable and unpretentious.
- Richard Rodney Bennett
***
Writing for the operatic stage led me to think about the concertante form as something that is essentially dramatic and, if I hadn't been through that process, I don't think my concertos would have been nearly as important to me.
- Richard Rodney Bennett
***
In music, as I find myself forever saying, things don't get better or worse: they evolve and transform themselves.
- Luciano Berio
***
The relation between practical and spiritual spheres in music is obvious, if only because it demands ears, finger, consciousness and intellect.
- Luciano Berio
***
All of a sudden I found myself doing things like 'Robot Monster' and 'Cat-Women of the Moon,' and I didn't know what the devil was going on. But if you're going to do a really bad movie, at least you do one that is at the top of the all-time bad-movie list.
- Elmer Bernstein
***
Hollywood was a great club. I think it was a difficult place for actors. They were very competitive in the star world. But for those of us involved in the creative side of things it was a great club. We were very interested in each other. All the other composers were very helpful when I first went out there.
- Elmer Bernstein
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I would do the occasional score. I thought it was the most thrilling thing. It was instant. You made the music and they played it right away to millions of people. I found it thrilling.
- Elmer Bernstein
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The first question I ask myself is Why is there music in this film at all? What's it doing here? Then your questions get more and more specific. For example, you decide one scene will have music and another one won't. Obviously you discuss that with the filmmaker, and there may be some disagreement.
- Elmer Bernstein
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There's no way I can compete with someone who can write rap or rock and roll. Nor do I wish to. But I've always kept up to date with music changes. I worked very hard not to type myself.
- Elmer Bernstein
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Be sure not to force the Sound thro' your Nose; but warble the Notes in your Throat.
- William Billings
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Choristers must always remember to set flat keyed tunes to melancoly words, and sharp keyed tunes to cheerful words.
- William Billings
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It is also well worth your observation, that the grand contention with us, is, not who shall sing loudest; but who shall sing best.
- William Billings
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As a musician I tell you that if you were to suppress adultery, fanaticism, crime, evil, the supernatural, there would no longer be the means for writing one note.
- Georges Bizet
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I want to do nothing chic, I want to have ideas before beginning a piece.
- Georges Bizet
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Respectable people do not write music or make love as a career.
- Alexander Borodin
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The aim of music is not to express feelings but to express music. It is not a vessel into which the composer distills his soul drop by drop, but a labyrinth with no beginning and no end, full of new paths to discover, where mystery remains eternal.
- Pierre Boulez
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A symphony is no joke.
- Johannes Brahms
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Composers in the old days used to keep strictly to the base of the theme, as their real subject. Beethoven varies the melody, harmony and rhythms so beautifully.
- Johannes Brahms
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I sometimes ponder on variation form and it seems to me it ought to be more restrained, purer.
- Johannes Brahms
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Straight-away the ideas flow in upon me, directly from God, and not only do I see distinct themes in my mind's eye, but they are clothed in the right forms, harmonies, and orchestration.
- Johannes Brahms
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It is not hard to compose, but what is fabulously hard is to leave the superfluous notes under the table.
- Johannes Brahms
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We cling nervously to the melody, but we don't handle it freely, we don't really make anything new out of it, we merely overload it.
- Johannes Brahms
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Composing is like driving down a foggy road toward a house. Slowly you see more details of the house-the color of the slates and bricks, the shape of the windows. The notes are the bricks and the mortar of the house.
- Benjamin Britten
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It is cruel, you know, that music should be so beautiful. It has the beauty of loneliness of pain: of strength and freedom. The beauty of disappointment and never-satisfied love. The cruel beauty of nature and everlasting beauty of monotony.
- Benjamin Britten
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The old idea of a composer suddenly having a terrific idea and sitting up all night to write it is nonsense. Nighttime is for sleeping.
- Benjamin Britten
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Blues is a natural fact, is something that a fellow lives. If you don't live it you don't have it. Young people have forgotten to cry the blues. Now they talk and get lawyers and things.
- Big Bill Broonzy
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There is no music that can't be used politically, but the motives behind the creation of that music can be non-political.
- Earle Brown
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What is a good performance? It lies in the hands and head of a performer... the shortest way between two people is not a straight line.
- Earle Brown
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I remember once, when I started writing for the alto saxophone, a saxophonist told me to think of it as being like a cross between an oboe and a viola, but louder.
- Gavin Bryars
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Music history has flowed under the bridges for many years.
- Gavin Bryars
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People like Arvo Part would not have been taken seriously 20 years ago.
- Gavin Bryars
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There's another way of making music, by touching the lives and feelings of ordinary people.
- Gavin Bryars
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Writing tonal music now, you are not writing into the 19th Century.
- Gavin Bryars
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I had to get out of America to get a professional life going where I could actually make a living.
- Harold Budd
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I'm not really a pianist. I'm somebody who plays the piano... sometimes.
- Harold Budd
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I sing to the realists; people who accept it like it is.
- Aretha Franklin
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If a song's about something I've experienced or that could've happened to me it's good. But if it's alien to me, I couldn't lend anything to it. Because that's what soul is all about.
- Aretha Franklin
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I don't think anybody steals anything; all of us borrow.
- B. B. King
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I've said that playing the blues is like having to be black twice. Stevie Ray Vaughan missed on both counts, but I never noticed.
- B. B. King
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Jazz is the big brother of the blues. If a guy's playing blues like we play, he's in high school. When he starts playing jazz it's like going on to college, to a school of higher learning.
- B. B. King
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Rap is poetry set to music. But to me it's like a jackhammer.
- Bette Midler
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My entire life has really revolved around music that was written about the time that I was born, 1908, to just before the First World War and shortly after it. This music I've always known, and it is that music that's most important to me.
- Elliot Carter
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Aaron Copland was a man that had a very specific point of view about what music should be which was that, he felt that new music should have the composer should show a personality in his music.
- Elliott Carter
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After Harvard Walter Piston was then a young man teaching at Harvard, had studied with Nadia Boulanger and he advised that I should go study with her because she at that particular time, which is 1932, there were very few teachers that could stand modern music.
- Elliott Carter
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Almost every one of my various zero numbered birthdays has had a big concert in London and often in Paris.
- Elliott Carter
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As I say I was a friend with Charles Ives, and Henry Cowell, and I knew Aaron right up to the very end of his life.
- Elliott Carter
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My musical life started with hearing and being fascinated by contemporary music.
- Elliott Carter
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That was one of the big problems when I was at Harvard studying music. We had to write choral pieces in the style of Brahms or Mendelssohn, which was distressing because in the end you realized how good Brahms is, and how bad you are.
- Elliott Carter
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The first thing that struck me about contemporary music in general had been that there was not much interest in rhythm.
- Elliott Carter
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When I studied in Paris with Nadia Boulanger I had to go through up to eight parts of counterpoint. I learned all about how to do that. That sticks in your head and it has an effect on the way I think about music still although I don't write anything like that now.
- Elliott Carter
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There are no bridges in folk songs because the peasants died building them.
- Eugene Chadbourne
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Simplicity is the final achievement. After one has played a vast quantity of notes and more notes, it is simplicity that emerges as the crowning reward of art.
- Frederic Chopin
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I decided during my teens that I wasn't going to have the life of a concert pianist, much to the chagrin of a lot of people who had put a lot of money into me!
- Cy Coleman
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Someone skipped on the rent and they left behind a huge upright piano, which got moved into our apartment so the other apartment could get rented out. I took to it and started playing.
- Cy Coleman
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So long as the human spirit thrives on this planet, music in some living form will accompany and sustain it and give it expressive meaning.
- Aaron Copland
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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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There is something about music that keeps its distance even at the moment that it engulfs us. It is at the same time outside and away from us and inside and part of us. In one sense it dwarfs us, and in another we master it. We are led on and on, and yet in some strange way we never lose control.
- Aaron Copland
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To stop the flow of music would be like the stopping of time itself, incredible and inconceivable.
- Aaron Copland
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When I speak of the gifted listener, I am thinking of the nonmusician primarily, of the listener who intends to retain his amateur status. It is the thought of just such a listener that excites the composer in me.
- Aaron Copland
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If you take a violin, you can make it sound 50 different ways. Not just pizzicato and played by the bow, but ponticello, and harmonics, and tremolos. If you take an oboe and play it, there's about one way you can make it sound: like an oboe.
- John Corigliano
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I knew I could never be accepted as a straight-ahead jazz musician, nor would I accept myself as that. I would never be accepted as a minimalist. I wouldn't be a downtown composer. Because I find all orthodoxies, all doctrines to be ultimately banal.
- Anthony Davis
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Only one music comes out of me.
- Anthony Davis
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Music is an outburst of the soul.
- Frederick Delius
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My heyday is over, and another must take my place. The world wants something new. Others have ceded their places to us and we must cede ours to still others... I am more than happy to give mine to people of talent like Verdi.
- Gaetano Donizetti
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We'll take a five-minute break while I go give myself hell.
- Antal Dorati
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I think that music has an endless life.
- Anne Dudley
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My favorite work is The Full Monty because I got an Oscar for it. But it was really hard work at the time. Sometimes comedy is not a bundle of laughs to actually do.
- Anne Dudley
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Mozart is sweet sunshine.
- Antonin Dvorak
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A composer knows that music is written by human beings for human beings and that music is a continuation of life, not something separated from it.
- Hanns Eisler
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Someone who knows only music, understands nothing about it.
- Hanns Eisler
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Everywhere in the world, music enhances a hall, with one exception: Carnegie Hall enhances the music.
- Isaac Stern
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Music is like making love: either all or nothing.
- Isaac Stern
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Playing a concerto with Zubin [Mehta] is like being surrounded by a well-loved, cashmere-lined silk glove.
- Isaac Stern
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Above all, I am an opera singer. This is how people will remember me.
- Luciano Pavarotti
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I can tell you which aria the audience like. Nessun Dorma, from Turandot.
- Luciano Pavarotti
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I'm inspired by music. Sometimes more than I want to be.
- Ben Savage
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The way I feel about music is that there is no right and wrong. Only true and false.
- Fiona Apple
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I like jazz, but I could never play it. You just sit there with a guitar the size of a Chevy on your chest, wearing a stupid hat, playing the same solo for an hour.
- Dave Mustaine
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I have a love-hate relationship with performing.
- Sarah Brightman
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The irrepressible spirit that made his playing seem like good conversation is the Rubinstein legacy for pianists, if they can pick up their heads from the keyboard long enough to claim it.
- Donal Henahan
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Giving jazz the Congressional seal of approval is a little like making Huck Finn an honorary Boy Scout.
- Melvin Maddocks
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