Musical Quotes

“The only thing better than singing is more singing.”   ELLA FITZGERALD

Someone in the know once said, “Writing about music, is like dancing about architecture.”

In many ways I agree, but some of the most inspirational, beautiful and funny things ever said, have been inspired by music. A good thought is like a good song, it can change the moment, your day or your world. Or at the very least, distract you.

So in no particular order or categories, here are some of my favourites. I try to avoid the cheese.

Please feel free to submit some, maybe we could get a “Daily Quote” going!


Shouting and fighting didn’t do them any good” said Moose. “Perhaps one day they will discover that it is much more fun to sing.”  MOOSE (in MICHEAL FOREMAN’S MOOSE)

“I would teach children music, physics, and philosophy; but most importantly music, for the patterns in music and all the arts are the keys to learning.”  PLATO

“If you pour some music onto whatever’s wrong, it’ll sure help”  LEVON HELM

“Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire”  W. B. YEATS

“To listen is an effort, and just to hear is no merit. A duck hears also.”  IGOR STRAVINSKY

“Ah, music,” he said, wiping his eyes. “A magic beyond all we do here!”  PROFESSOR DUMBLEDORE

“I believe that racism, hatred and evil can be overcome by music”  ROBERT NESTA MARLEY

“The fact that children can make beautiful music is less significant than the fact that music can make beautiful children.”  CHERLY LAVENDER

“There are times when I feel like I’m a traveling minister. I’m trying to go out and get kids to pick-up yard sale instruments and change the world.”  DAVE GROHL

“We all can dance,” he said, “if we find the music that we love.”  GERALD THE GIRAFFE (GIRAFFES CAN’T DANCE, GILES ANDRAE)

“Music is a world within itself. It is a language we all understand”  STEVIE WONDER

“If you cannot teach me to fly, teach me to sing.”  PETER PAN

Master you instrument. Master your music. Then forget all that bull and just play” CHARLIE PARKER

“Simplicity is a most complex form”  DUKE ELLINGTON

“In order to compose, all you need to do is remember a tune that nobody else has thought of.”  ROBERT SCHUMANN

“You know, I always when people ask me, like, what is my most favourite song, I quote Duke Ellington, when they would ask him, what’s his favourite composition? And I say, I haven’t written it yet. Because, you know, there are different songs for different occasions.”  STEVIE WONDER

“One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain.”  BOB MARLEY

No one has been a greater advocate for the power of love in this world than I; both in my life and in my music.”  STEVIE WONDER

“Lately I’ve been believing that music predates speech”  DEBBIE HARRY

“Music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy. Music is the electrical soil in which the spirit lives, thinks and invents”  LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN

“Do you know our soul is composed of harmony?”  LEONARDO DA VINCI
“After silence, that which comes closest to expressing the inexpressible is music.”  ALDOUS HUXLEY

“I don’t know anything about music, In my line you don’t have to.”  ELVIS PRESLEY

“You are the music while the music lasts.”  T.S. ELIOT

“Music has given me peace. I can remember occasions when music instantly tranquillized my mind, when I was greatly agitated over something. Music has helped me overcome anger” MAHATMA GHANDI

“I never thought innovation as such was very important. Not when you have to think about it… If you’re going to come up with a new direction or a really new way to do something, you’ll do it by just playing your stuff and letting it ride. The real innovators did their innovating by just being themselves” COUNT BASIE

“When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.”  JIMI HENDRIX

“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

“If you play a tune and a person don’t tap their feet, don’t play the tune”  COUNT BASIE

“Music produces a kind of pleasure which human nature cannot do without.”  CONFUCIOUS

“If we communicated with something like music, we would never be misunderstood, because there is nothing in music to understand…… But until we find this new way of speaking, until we can find a nonapproximate vocabulary, nonsense words are the best thing we’ve got. Ifactifice is one such word.”  JONATHAN SAFRAN FOER

“A problem is a chance for you to do your best.”  DUKE ELLINGTON

” You have to stop listening in categories. The music is either good or its bad”  DUKE ELLINGTON

“If being an egomaniac means I believe in what I do and in my art or music, then in that respect you can call me that… I believe in what I do, and I’ll say it.”  JOHN LENNON
“All music is folk music. I ain’t never heard a horse sing a song.”  LOUIS ARMSTRONG

“The wise musicians, are the ones that play what they can master”  COUNT BASIE

Keep on listening and tapping your feet”  COUNT BASIE

“Music is the movement of sound to reach the soul for the education of its virtue.”  COUNT BASIE

“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

“Music is the mediator between the spiritual and the sensual life.”  LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN

“Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.”  VICTOR HUGO

“Without music, life would be a mistake.”  FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE

“Music has always been a matter of Energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel. I have always needed Fuel. I am a serious consumer. On some nights I still believe that a car with the gas needle on empty can run about fifty more miles if you have the right music very loud on the radio.”  HUNTER S THOMPSON
“The pause is as important as the note.” TRUMAN FISHER

“A painter paints pictures on canvas. But musicians paint their pictures on silence.” LEOPOLD STOKOWSKI

“Take a music bath once or twice a week for a few seasons. You will find it is to the soul what a water bath is to the body.”

“A person does not hear sound only through the ears;
he hears sound through every pore of his body.
It permeates the entire being,
and according to its particular influence either slows
or quickens the rhythm of the blood circulation;
it either wakens or soothes the nervous system.
It arouses a person to greater passions
or it calms him by bringing him peace.
According to the sound and its influence
a certain effect is produced.
Sound becomes visible in the form of radiance.
This shows that the same energy which goes into the form of sound
before being visible is absorbed by the physical body.
In that way the physical body recuperates
and becomes charged with new magnetism.”


“We are the music-makers,
And we are the dreamers of dreams,
Wandering by lone sea-breakers,
And sitting by desolate streams.
World-losers and world-forsakers,
Upon whom the pale moon gleams;
Yet we are the movers and shakers,
Of the world forever, it seems.”


“My young daughter was sitting at the piano randomly pecking away at a few keys when I walked by. “Hey Daddy, do you want to hear something pretty?” She tapped a couple individual keys at the far right and said “these sound nice” and tapped a couple individual keys to the far left and said “and these sound nice.” She then spread her hands as far left and right as they would reach, very carefully spread her fingers so that each hand was poised over multiple keys at the same time, and said “but it sounds the prettiest when you play the grumpy ones with the happy ones” while pressing all the keys she could simultaneously. I smiled and said that was very pretty, but that I’d never heard of grumpy keys before. She patiently explained, “well yeah, this is grumpy” (while tapping a far left key) “and this is happy” (while pressing a far right key). “Hear the difference?” I gave her a hug and told her I liked it when she taught me new things.”  STEVEN D. WOODHULL