A literary dozen: quotations about music

According to Aaron Copland, “If a literary man puts together two words about music, one of them will be wrong.” What do you think about the following examples?

buy classical musicTake a music bath once or twice a week for a few seasons, and you will find that it is to the soul what the water bath is to the body. – Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

Music with dinner is an insult both to the cook and the violinist – G. K. Chesterton

Of all noises, I think music is the least disagreeable. – Samuel Johnson

Beethoven always sounds to me like the upsetting of a bag of nails, with here and there an also dropped hammer. – John Ruskin

Words are something; but to be exposed to an endless battery of mere sounds; to be long a-dying, to lie stretched upon a rack of roses; to keep up languor by unintermitted effort; to pile honey upon sugar, and sugar upon honey to an interminable tedious sweetness; to fill up sound with feeling, and strain to keep pace with it; to gaze on empty frames and be forced to make the pictures for yourself; to read a book all stops, and be obliged to supply the verbal matter; to invent extempore tragedies to answer to the vague gestures of an inexplicable rambling mime – these are faint shadows of what I have undergone from a series of the ablest-executed pieces of this empty instrumental music. – Charles Lamb

Music makes one feel so romantic – at least it always gets on one’s nerves – which is the same thing nowadays. – Oscar Wilde

My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music. – Vladimir Nabokov

Though music oft hath such a charm to make bad good, and good provoke to harm. – William Shakespeare

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

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

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

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


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