A Year of Creating Dangerously, Day 59: Words About Music By…

“Music is a world within itself”, Stevie sang. Musicians share a common bond but have such different ways of expressing it. Here are some quotes from famous musicians, describing music, their experience of it, their perspectives and opinions. I was struck by what vast variety of commentary there is here yet such a unity of spirit. It made me think that Beethoven would totally get Henry Rollins, and vice versa, or that Leonard Bernstein would have loved to work with Lady Gaga.

Enjoy musicians’ words about music…

“Music is a safe kind of high.” – Jimi Hendrix

“Music should strike fire from the heart of man, and bring tears from the eyes of woman.” – Ludwig von Beethoven

“Music, at its essence, is what gives us memories. And the longer a song has existed in our lives, the more memories we have of it.” – Stevie Wonder

“Music is such a balm. Always has been. It’s such a heartbeat, like blood thrumming through the womb. That’s why music appeals to people.” – Al Jarreau

“Rock and roll music, if you like it, if you feel it, you can’t help but move to it. That’s what happens to me. I can’t help it.” – Elvis Presley

“Music is the arithmetic of sounds as optics is the geometry of light.” – Claude Debussy

“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 believe that music is a spiritual language. My everyday self is pretty mundane and boring, but when I’m making music it allows for me to communicate a kind of transcendence that I can’t communicate otherwise.” – Sufjan Stevens

“I think music in itself is healing. It’s an explosive expression of humanity. It’s something we are all touched by. No matter what culture we’re from, everyone loves music.” – Billy Joel

“Music is a lady that I still love because she gives me the air that I breathe. We need all sorts of nourishment. And music satisfies and nourishes the hunger within ourselves for connection and harmony.” – Cat Stevens

“The music is the message, the message is the music. So that’s my little ministry that the Big Man upstairs gave to me – a little ministry called love and happiness.” – Al Green

“Once a song’s out there, it’s no longer mine. And that’s the whole purpose of music: to belong to people.” – Sade Adu

“The reason I play music is to touch people – for selfish reasons, as well. It feels good to make someone else feel something, whether it’s a kiss, a painting, good idea or it’s a song.” – Dave Matthews

“I’ve always felt music is the only way to give an instantaneous moment the feel of slow motion. To romanticize it and glorify it and give it a soundtrack and a rhythm.” – Taylor Swift

“Normally, things are viewed in these little segmented boxes. There’s classical, and then there’s jazz; romantic, and then there’s baroque. I find that very dissatisfying. I was trying to find the thread that connects one type of music – one type of musician – to another, and to follow that thread in some kind of natural, evolutionary way.’ – Jerry Lee Lewis

“I try to give to my music the spiritual quality, very deep in the soul, which does something even if you are not realizing it or analyzing it – that’s the duty of the music.” – Ravi Shankar

“…what I like my music to do to me is awaken the ghosts inside of me. Not the demons, you understand, but the ghosts.” – David Bowie

“I don’t care much about music. What I like is sounds.” – Dizzy Gillespie

“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

“God had to create disco music so I could be born and be successful.” – Donna Summer

“Jazz is a white term to define black people. My music is black classical music.” – Nina Simone

“Music is probably the only real magic I have encountered in my life. There’s not some trick involved with it. It’s pure and it’s real. It moves, it heals, it communicates and does all these incredible things.” – Tom Petty

“I think music is the most phenomenal platform for intellectual thought.” – Annie Lennox

“It doesn’t matter the kind of music, it doesn’t matter whether it’s a cowboy hat or a yarmulke. I don’t care if it’s outer space or pop, the spirit is the same.” – David Lee Roth

“I frequently hear music in the very heart of noise.” – George Gershwin

“All music is folk music. I ain’t never heard a horse sing a song.” – Louis Armstrong

“I hope to refine music, study it, try to find some area that I can unlock. I don’t quite know how to explain it but it’s there. These can’t be the only notes in the world, there’s got to be other notes some place, in some dimension, between the cracks on the piano keys.” – Marvin Gaye

“As you begin to realize that every different type of music, everybody’s individual music, has its own rhythm, life, language and heritage, you realize how life changes, and you learn how to be more open and adaptive to what is around us.” – Yo-Yo Ma

“Tones sound, and roar and storm about me until I have set them down in notes.” – Ludwig von Beethoven

“This will be our reply to violence: to make music more intensely, more beautifully, more devotedly than ever before.” – Leonard Bernstein

“If architecture is frozen music then music must be liquid architecture.” – Quincy Jones

“I was born with music inside me. Music was one of my parts. Like my ribs, my kidneys, my liver, my heart. Like my blood. It was a force already within me when I arrived on the scene. It was a necessity for me – like food or water.” – Ray Charles

“Why be in music, why write songs, if you can’t use them to explore life or an idealized vision of life? I believe a lot of our lives are spent asleep, and what I’ve been trying to do is hold on to those moments when a little spark cuts through the fog and nudges you.” – Rufus Wainwright

“One person’s roar is another’s whine, just as one person’s music is another’s unendurable noise.” – Henry Rollins

“What’s great about music is it takes so many kinds of people, including me. Everybody is in a different place.” – Jewel

“What I’ve discovered is that in art, as in music, there’s a lot of truth-and then there’s a lie. The artist is essentially creating his work to make this lie a truth, but he slides it in amongst all the others. The tiny little lie is the moment I live for, my moment. It’s the moment that the audience falls in love.” – Lady Gaga

“Music is gathering. Taking our scattered thoughts and senses and coalescing us back into our core. Music is powerful. The first few chords can change us where no self-help books can.” – Jane Siberry

“Music is always a commentary on society.” – Frank Zappa

“Music was your real passion, this thing you held dear even above family. It was this relationship that never betrayed you. Once it became your job – this thing that was highly visible, this thing that became about commerce – that’s when you were holding onto music like it was a palm tree in a hurricane.” – Eddie Vedder

“Change is an internal thing. Different things happen or transform, and music and art is a documentation of that.” – Matisyahu

“I found music to be the therapy of choice. I guess it is for a lot of people.” – David Byrne

“They teach you there’s a boundary line to music. But, man, there’s no boundary line to art.” – Charlie Parker

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s