Monday, December 15, 2008

Thirty-nine quotations about music....


"Music is, by its very nature, essentially powerless to express anything at all. Music expresses itself." - Igor Stravinsky

"Never look at the trombones, it only encourages them." - Richard Strauss

"God tells me how the music should sound, but you stand in the way." - Arturo Toscanini to a trumpet player

"One of the perks of being an unemployed musician is that you get to play much less bad music." - Jack Daney

"In opera, there is always too much singing." - Claude Debussy

"Oh how wonderful, really wonderful opera would be if there were no singers!" - Gioacchino Rossini

"Hell is full of musical amateurs." - George Bernard Shaw

"The drummer drives. Everybody else rides!" - Panama Francis

"Some days you get up and put the horn to your chops and it sounds pretty good and you win. Some days you try and nothing works and the horn wins. This goes on and on and then you die and the horn wins." - Dizzy Gillespie on playing the trumpet

"Music is my mistress, and she plays second fiddle to no one." - Duke Ellington

"Jazz is the only music in which the same note can be played night after night but differently each time." - Ornette Coleman

"We never play anything the same way once." - Shelly Manne's definition of jazz musicians

"Someone who knows how to play the accordion, and doesn't." - Al Cohn's definition of a gentleman

"Music is a very hard instrument." - Vido Musso

"The only tune they play in 4/4 is 'Take Five!'" - unknown, talking about the Don Ellis band

"If I could play like Wynton (Marsalis), I wouldn't play like Wynton." - Chet Baker

"I'm too old to pimp and too young to die so I'm just gon' keep playin'." - Clark Terry

"Don't bother to look, I've composed all this already." - Gustav Mahler, to Bruno Walter who had stopped to admire mountain scenery in rural Austria.

"I would rather play Chiquita Banana and have my swimming pool than play Bach and starve." - Xavier Cugat

"Musicians talk of nothing but money and jobs. Give me businessmen every time. They really are interested in music and art." - Jean Sibelius, explaining why he rarely invited musicians to his home

"Only become a musician if there is absolutely no other way you can make a living." - Kirke Mecham, on his life as a composer

"I am not handsome, but when women hear me play, they come crawling to my feet." - Nicolo Paganini

"What is the voice of song, when the world lacks the ear of taste?" - Nathaniel Hawthorne

"Flint must be an extremely wealthy town: I see that each of you bought two or three seats." - Victor Borge, playing to a half-filled house in Flint, Michigan

"If one hears bad music it is one's duty to drown it by one's conversation." - Oscar Wilde [FINALLY! SOMEONE EXPLAINS ALL THE TALKING AT NET SHOWS!]

"Critics can't even make music by rubbing their back legs together." - Mel Brooks

"Life can't be all bad when for ten dollars you can buy all the Beethoven sonatas and listen to them for ten years." - William F. Buckley, Jr.

"You can't possibly hear the last movement of Beethoven's Seventh and go slow." - Oscar Levant, explaining his way out of a speeding ticket

"Wagner's music is better than it sounds." - Mark Twain

"Berlioz says nothing in his music, but he says it magnificently." - James Gibbons Hunekar

"If a young man at the age of twenty-three can write a symphony like that, in five years he will be ready to commit murder." - Walter Damrosch on Aaron Copland

"There are still so many beautiful things to be said in C major." - Sergei Prokofiev

"I never use a score when conducting my orchestra. Does a lion tamer enter a cage with a book on how to tame a lion?" - Dimitri Mitropolous

"Already too loud!" - Bruno Walter at his first rehearsal with an American orchestra, on seeing the players reaching for their instruments

"I really don't know whether any place contains more pianists than Paris, or whether you can find more asses and virtuosos anywhere." - Frederic Chopin

"When she started to play, Steinway himself came down personally and rubbed his name off the piano." - Bob Hope, on comedienne Phyllis Diller

"I think popular music in this country is one of the few things in the twentieth century that has made giant strides in reverse." - Bing Crosby

"A ponderous orchestral absurdity." - Frank Zappa on his rock symphony debuted by the Los Angeles Philharmonic

"The bottom line of any country is, what did we contribute to the world? We contributed Louis Armstrong." - Tony Bennet

5 comments:

jim reilley said...

here's a few of my faves:

Writing about music is like dancing about architecture - it's really a stupid thing to want to do. - Elvis Costello

There's a basic rule which runs through all kinds of music, kind of an unwritten rule. I don't know what it is. But I've got it.~ Ron Wood ~

The radio makes hideous sounds. -Bob Dylan

There are only two kinds of songs; there’s the blues, and there’s Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah.” - - Townes Van Zandt (1944-1997)

Music should never be harmless.
Author: Robbie Robertson

Music is everybody's possession. It's only publishers who think that people own it.
John Lennon

Stan Denski said...

"Music should never be harmless." - Robbie Robertson. This makes me wonder how he'd ever explain his solo records?

"Music is everybody's possession. It's only publishers who think that people own it." - John Lennon. Use one of John's song's without permission and then share that quote with Yoko. And let me know how that works out for you. [insert smiley emoticon]

I also like the following:

"I have outlived my dick" - Willie Nelson (2008)

"More bass." - Jerry Wexler

"I still have all my vinyl. You can’t roll a joint on an iPod.” - Shelby Lynne

"I'm as country as a dozen eggs." - Elvin Bishop

"The problem with history is, the folks who were there ain't talking. And the ones who weren't there, you can't shut 'em up." - Tom Waits

"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

"I want my more money & I want my more fame" - Chubby Checker

"When you don't know where you're going, you have to stick together just in case someone gets there." - Ken Kesey

"I smash guitars because I like them." - Pete Townshend

"It's a good thing I had a bag of marijuana instead of a bag of spinach. I'd be dead by now." - Willie Nelson

"I liked the first sixties better...." - Al Kooper, 62

"You can learn something, both good or bad, watching any guitar player. You learn what to do or what not to do. Over the years I've learned things from Carlos, Mike Bloomfield, Clapton, George, Garcia, Knopfler and let's not forget Robbie Robertson." - Bob Dylan, 2002

"There 'is' a difference between rock and rock and roll; beware of inferior imitations (avoid contact with any musician who doesn't know how to play Chuck Berry music)." - Cub Koda

"This heah is Rufus Thomas....I'm young and loose and full of juice. I got the goose, so what's the use." - Rufus Thomas

"Mike Love, not war." - Scott Mathews

Steve said...

"To have impact in two minutes and thirty nine seconds--that's very hard to do. It's much easier to write Pink Floyd's 'The Wall' than to write 'Louie, Louie'
Steve Van Zandt

"You can't go into a store and buy a good ear and rhythm."
Les Paul

ericbkk said...

"If rap is music then falling off a roof is travelling." - ilovemusic.

I especially enjoyed the Victor Borge one.

Cheers.

Stan Denski said...

OK, but these things, too:

"When you talk about rap you have to understand that rap is part of the Hip-Hop culture." - Afrika Bambaataa

"Rap actually comes out of punk rock, not black music." - Stanley Crouch

"Rap is only one end of a whole spectrum of verbal play and virtuosity. Rap is geared for aural pleasure." - Rita Dove

"Back in the day, if someone said that hip-hop and rap was a fad, that was a joke to me because they just didn't know what they were talking about." - Jam Master Jay