Beethoven, Ninth Symphony, Ode to Joy, music quotes
Music Quotes for Contemplation

There is geometry in the humming of the strings. There is music in the spacings of the spheres.
— Pythagoras (580-500 BC)

Let the mind be inspired by poetry, then given a firm foundation by the study of propriety, and finally perfected by music.
— Confucius (551-478 BC)
Analects, VIII.8

The music masters familiarizes children's minds with rhythms and melodies, thus making them more civilized, more balanced, better adjusted in themselves, and more capable in whatever they say or do, for rhythm and harmony are essential to the whole of life.
— Plato (428-348 BC)
Protagoras, 326b

There is music even in the beauty and the silent note which Cupid strikes, far sweeter than the sound of an instrument; for there is a music wherever there is harmony, order, or proportion; and thus far we may maintain the music of the spheres.
— Sir Thomas Browne (1605-1682)
Religio Medici, II.9

We live in this world to compel ourselves industriously to enlighten one another by means of reasoning and to apply ourselves always to carrying forward the sciences and the arts.
—Mozart (1756-1791)
letter to his father, Sept. 4, 1776

Music even in the most awful places must not offend the ear, but give pleasure, that is music must always remain music.

— Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
letter to his father, Sept. 26, 1781

Here, surrounded by the products of Nature, often I sit for hours, while my senses feast upon the spectacle of Nature. Here the majestic sun is not concealed by any dirty roof made by human hands, here the blue sky is my sublime roof. When in the evening I contemplate the sky in wonder and the host of luminous bodies continually revolving within their orbits, suns or earths by name, then my spirit rises beyond these constellations so many millions of miles away to the primeval source from which all creation flows and from which new creations shall flow eternally. When, now and again, I endeavor to formulate my seething emotions in music— oh, then I find that I am terribly deceived; I throw my scrawled paper upon the ground and feel firmly convinced that never shall anyone born on this earth be able to express in sounds, words, colors or stone those heavenly images that hover before his excited imagination in his happiest hours... Yes, it must come from above, that which strikes the heart; otherwise it's nothing but notes, body without spirit, isn't that so? What is body without spirit? Earth or muck, isn't it? The spirit must rise from the earth, in which for a time the divine spark is confined, and much like the field to which the ploughman entrusts precious seed, it must flower and bear many fruits, and, thus multiplied, rise again towards the source from which it has flown. For only by persistent toil of the faculties granted to them do created things revere the creator of infinite Nature.

— Beethoven (1770-1827)
conversation with Johann Stumpff

There is no loftier mission than to approach the Divinity nearer than other men, and to disseminate the divine rays among mankind.
— Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
letter to Archduke Rudolph, August 1823

Poetry, Painting & Music, the three Powers in Man of conversing with Paradise, which the flood did not sweep away.
— William Blake (1757-1827)
A Vision of the Last Judgment (1810)

Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard
Are sweeter; therefore, ye soft pipes, play on;
Not to the sensual ear, but, more endear'd,
Pipe to the spirit ditties of no tone
— John Keats (1795-1821)
Ode on a Grecian Urn, stanza 2

Music is well said to be the speech of angels.
— Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881), The Opera

For me, music is always the language which permits one to converse with the Beyond.
— Robert Schumann (1810-1856)
letter to Ritzhaupt, August 14, 1832

Music springs from and is replenished by a hidden source which lies outside the world or reality. Music ever spoke to me of a mysterious world beyond, which moved my heart deeply and eloquently intimated its transcendental nature.
— Bruno Walter (1876-1962)
Of Music and Music Making (1957)

Music fills the infinite between two souls.
— Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941)

Music heard so deeply
That it is not heard at all,
but you are the music
While the music lasts.

— T. S. Eliot (1888-1965)
The Dry Salvages

compiled by
Peter Y. Chou

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© Peter Y. Chou,
P.O. Box 390707, Mountain View, CA 94039
email: (2-9-1999)