25 quotations on music

buy classical musicI started out looking for a comment I remember reading about music and humor and couldn’t find it. I wound up collecting more musical quotations to use on Twitter. I might as well share some of them here–especially some too long to tweet. Enjoy!

  • 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. — J. S. Bach
  • A composer is a guy who goes around forcing his will on unsuspecting air molecules, often with the assistance of unsuspecting musicians. — Frank Zappa
  • 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 equaled the purity of the sound achieved by the pig. — Alfred Hitchcock
  • 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
  • “He played like he was in jail – behind a few bars and couldn’t find the key” -Anonymous
  • Life is like music; it must be composed by ear, feeling, and instinct, not by rule. — Samuel Butler
  • Music must never offend the ear, but must please the listener, or, in other words, must never cease to be music.” – Mozart
  • People who make music together cannot be enemies, at least not while the music lasts — Paul Hindemith
  • No good opera plot can be sensible, for people do not sing when they are feeling sensible. — W H Auden
  • Music is forever; music should grow and mature with you, following you right on up until you die. — Paul Simon
  • God tells me how the music should sound, but you stand in the way. — Arturo Toscanini to a trumpet player
  • Opera is where a guy gets stabbed in the back, and instead of dying, he sings. — Robert Benchley
  • When she started to play, Steinway came down personally and rubbed his name off the piano. — Bob Hope
  • Oh how wonderful, really wonderful opera would be if there were no singers! — Gioacchino Rossini
  • If a composer could say what he had to say in words he would not bother trying to say it in music. — Gustav Mahler
  • I don’t know anything about music. In my line you don’t have to. — Elvis Presley
  • He has Van Gogh’s ear for music. — Billy Wilder
  • One bites into the brass mouthpiece of his wooden cudgel, and the other blows his cheeks out on a French horn. Do you call that Art? — Franz Schubert
  • Above all things, I must not get angry. If I do get angry I knock all the teeth out of the mouth of the poor wretch who has angered me. — Franz Schubert (who, BTW, was all of 5′ 2″ tall!)
  • If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. — Henry David Thoreau
  • Without music, life would be an error. — Friedrich Nietzsche
  • The aim and final end of all music should be none other than the glory of God and the refreshment of the soul. — J. S. Bach
  • Great music is that which penetrates the ear with facility and leaves the memory with difficulty. Magical music never leaves the memory. — Sir Thomas Beecham
  • Beautiful music is the art of the prophets that can calm the agitations of the soul; it is one of the most magnificent and delightful presents God has given us — Martin Luther

Oh, and if anyone remembers Franz Schubert, or any other 19th-century composer, saying anything to the effect that nothing about music is humorous funny, please pass it on! Thanks.


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