Notes from a Studio


Here is a collection of sayings, bon mots, brief observations about music that I’ve collected over the years.  Perhaps some of them will speak to you…

  • After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.
  • Music is indivisible.  The dualism of feeling and thinking must be resolved to a state of unity in which one thinks with the heart and feels with the brain.
  • Music is a means of giving form to our inner feelings without attaching them to events or objects in the world.
  • The entire pleasure of music consists in creating illusions, and common sense is the greatest enemy of musical appreciation.
  • What gives music its universal appeal is the very fact that it is at the same time the most subtle, intangible and primitive of all arts…it can make a dog howl and silence a crying baby.
  • Too many people are trying to justify the precision with which organized musical sound is produced rather than the energy with which it is manipulated.
  • By concentrating on precision, one arrives at technique; but by concentrating on technique, one does not arrive at precision.
  • Melody is the golden thread running through the maze of tones by which the ear is guided and the heart reached.
  • People compose for many reasons: to become immortal, because the piano happens to be open, because they want to become millionaires, because of the praise of friends, because they have looked into a pair of beautiful eyes, for no reason whatsoever.
  • Every composer knows the anguish and despair occasioned by forgetting ideas which one has no time to write down.
  • The public today must pay its debt to the great composers of the past by supporting the living creators of the present.
  • Time is to the musician what space is to the painter.
  • Psychologists have found that music does things whether you like it or not.  Fast tempos invariably raise our pulse, respiration and blood pressure.  Slow music lowers them.
  • Music hath charms to soothe the savage beast, soften rocks or bend a knotted oak.
  • Good musicians execute their music, but bad ones murder it.
  • Some musicians take pains with music.  Others give them.
  • It is not necessary to understand music, it is only necessary to enjoy it.
  • Of all the arts music is practiced most.
  • Music is a kind of counting performed by the mind without knowing it is counting.
  • The hardest thing in the world is to start an orchestra, and the next hardest, to stop it.
  • There should be music in every home – except the one next door.
  • The more you love music, the more music you love.