Quotes on Music & Composition


Hazrat Inayat Khan, The Mysticism of Music, Sound and Word (1923):


Certain resonances are not utterly displeasing to the terrified eardrum.

Some paroxysms are dinning of tambourine, others suggest piano room or organ loft

For the most dissonant night charms us, even after death. This, after all, may be happiness: tuba notes awash on the great flood, ruptures of xylophone, violins, limpets, grace-notes, the musical instrument called serpent, viola de gambas, aeolian harps, clavicles, pinball machines, electric drills, que sais-je encore!

The performance has rapidly reached your ear; silent and tear-stained, in the post-mortem shock, you stand listening, awash

With memories of hair in particular, part of the welling that is you,

The gurgling of harp, cymbal, glockenspiel, triangle, temple block, English horn and metronome! And still no presentiment, no feeling of pain before or after.

The passage sustains, does not give. And you have come far indeed.

from The Skaters by John Ashbery


“Playing and studying Bach convinces us that we are all numskulls.”

–Robert Schumann