Music is…

Music is acknowledged by many of the world’s greatest thinkers and creators to be the most powerful and mysterious of the arts. This page is houses a selection of wonderful quotes that illustrate this. If you have any suggested additions, please send them to me via the comments.

Music always wins.   Samuel Beckett

Music is the deepest of the arts, and deep beneath all arts.  EM Forster

See deep enough and you can see musically; the heart of nature being everywhere music, if you can only reach it.  Thomas Carlyle

Without music, life would be an error.   Friedrich Nietzsche

Music exemplifies nature’s harmony – it balances man and heaven.   Ancient Chinese tract

Music to me is proof of the existence of God.   Kurt Vonnegut

If I were not a physicist, I would probably be a musician. I often think in music. I live my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of music.   Albert Einstein

Music is well said to be the speech of Angels.   Thomas Carlyle

Music is the language that permits me to converse with the beyond.   Robert Schumann

Music and rhythm find their way into the secret places of the soul.  Plato

Music is the hidden arithmetical exercise of a mind unconscious that it is calculating.  Leibniz

Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent.   Victor Hugo

Music is the universal language of mankind.   Longfellow

The effect of music is so very much more powerful and penetrating than is that of the other arts, for these others speak only of the shadow, but music of the essence.   Schopenhauer

Music gives soul to the universe, wings to the wind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything.   Plato

Though music be a universal language, it is spoken with all sorts of accents.  George Bernard Shaw

After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.   Aldous Huxley

Life seems to go on without effort when I am filled with music.   George Elliot

Music alone with sudden charms can bind the wand’ring sense, and calm the troubled mind.  William Congreve

Music, when soft voices die, vibrates in the memory.   Shelley

It’s a music that grew out of the black experience. Jazz speaks about the human condition. It’s an expression of the capacity for human beings to take average circumstances and turn them into medicine.   Blue Note documentary

If you want to test the spiritual temperature of a nation, and individual, look to the music.   Plato

Musical training is a more potent instrument than any other, because rhythm and harmony find their way into the inward places of the soul, on which they mightily fasten, imparting grace, and making the soul of him who is rightly educated graceful, or of him who is ill-educated ungraceful.   Socrates

You’ve got to realize. In the western world, regardless of what color you are, what title the music is, it’s all played by the same notes.   Ornette Colman

The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There’s also a negative side.   Hunter S Thompson

Music has always been healing for me, and spiritual.   Miles Davis 

When I hear music, I fear no danger.   Henry David Thoreau

Extraordinary how potent cheap music is.   Noel Coward

There is something suspicious about music, gentlemen. I insist that she is, by her nature, equivocal. I shall not be going too far in saying at once that she is politically suspicious.    Thomas Mann

Remember, information is not knowledge; knowledge is not wisdom; wisdom is not truth; truth is not beauty; beauty is not love; love is not music; music is the best.   Frank Zappa

Music was invented to confirm human loneliness.   Laurence Durrell

You are the music while the music lasts.   T S Eliot

Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness.   Maya Angelou

Music is the undercurrent to our collective subconscious; it reflects the zeitgeist. Musicians make music, but above all, they make things happen. The power of music is transformative.   Satish Kumar

Music moves us beyond intellect to the heart centre.   Annie Lennox

Much of music’s power comes from the expression of emotional openness, and indeed hurt. Healers from all cultures, and shamans in particular, derive knowledge and power from their experience of being wounded – in many cultures you cannot heal if you have not ‘died’ in some way, or at the very least spent some time in the underworld. You cannot win if you have not lost, and perhaps felt as if you had forsaken everything.   Mark Kidel

Just as breath is shared, so the autonomic systems communicate with each other without our conscious knowledge. When the singer holds his breath, so does the audience, and when that breath goes free, so does the audience. By connecting into the autonomic  systems within our body we can reach this place we all share. Singing is one of the main crossing points.   Howard Milner

Medicine may heal the soul through the body, but music heals the body through the soul.   Pico della Mirandola

Is there a heart that music cannot melt?  James Beattie

And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.   Nietzsche

Music gives more joy and mirth than all the pleasures on the earth.  Luther

The prophets did not make use of any art except music: when setting forth their theology they did it not as geometry, not as arithmetic, not as astronomy but as music, so they held theology and music most tightly connected, and proclaimed truth through psalms and songs.   Luther

Music to me is sound with thought, and as Spinoza believed that rationality was the saving grace of the human being, then we must learn to look at music like this too. This is why music in the end is so powerful, because it speaks to all parts of the human being, all sides – the animal, the emotional, the intellectual, and the spiritual. How often in life we think that personal, social and political issues are independent, without influencing each other. From music we see that this cannot occur, it is an objective impossibility, because in music there are no independent elements. Logical thought and intuitive emotions are permanently united. Music teaches us that everything is connected.   Barenboim

I can’t listen to music because it makes me want to say sweet, silly things and pat people on the head. In my job you have to beat people’s heads, and beat them mercilessly!   Lenin

Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.  Berthold Auerbach

Music in the soul can be heard by the universe. Lao Tzu

The purpose of music is to quiet and sober the mind, making it susceptible to divine influences, to create moments in life that are complete and fulfilled. Gita Sarabhai

Our ancestors believed that music had the power to harmonize one’s soul in ways that [traditional] medicine could not. In ancient China, one of the earliest uses of music was healing. The Chinese character for medicine actually comes from the character for music.?  Gao Yuan

A musician is dealing with a fabric that is as near as man can get to an expression of the invisible. Peter Brook

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