Composers on music: 10 quotations

Many musicians have observed that if everything could be expressed with words, music would be unnecessary. That doesn’t mean that musicians can’t use words. Composers have talked or written about music for centuries. They have had opinions about their own music and musical abilities, praise or disdain for other composers, and philosophical musings about the nature and importance of music in general. Here are some interesting quotations.

  • Give me a laundry list and I’ll set it to music. — Gioacchino Antonio Rossini
  • My music is best understood by children and animals. — Igor Stravinsky
  • Truly there would be reason to go mad were it not for music. — Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
  • Why waste money on psychotherapy when you can listen to the B Minor Mass? — Michael Torke
  • 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 is the mediator between the spiritual and the sensual life. — Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Most people use music as a couch; they want to be pillowed on it, relaxed and consoled for the stress of daily living.  But serious music was never meant to be soporific. — Aaron Copland
  • Music is a performance and needs the audience. — Michael Tippett
  • All talk of method and style seemed suddenly trivial; I became interested in meaning. I wanted to say something musically about life and living. —  Ellen Taaffe Zwilich
  • To be a great composer requires immense experience One acquires this by listening not only to other men’s work, but above all to one’s own! — Frederic Chopin

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