Improvising on Chord Changes (click the image for a larger view)

1) The construction of melodies in the framework of harmonically related tones is probably the most powerful principle of musical creation that has ever been found. — Susanne Langer


2) Military justice is to justice what military music is to music. — Georges Clemenceau


3) Life is playing a violin solo in public and learning the instrument as one goes on. — Samuel Butler


4) Though the distance between Grammar and Rhetoric is great enough, the distance between musical notation and the art of playing well is infinitely greater. -- François Couperin


5) Rap is blacker than jazz. -- Anonymous rapper, as heard on radio


6) Writing about music is like dancing about architecture. – Anonymous


7) It’s not the notes that you play, or even how you play them, that’s important. What matters is the spiritual intent behind your playing. -- John Coltrane


8) Who amongst present-day historians realizes that between contrapuntal music and credit economics, there are deep uniformities? — Oswald Spengler


9) A painter paints pictures on canvas. But musicians paint their pictures on silence. -- Leopold Stowkowski


10) The necessity of conversation is felt by all classes in France; speech is not there, as elsewhere, merely a means of communication: it is an instrument on which they are fond of playing. — Germaine de Staël (1766-1817)


11) Music is an agreeable harmony for the honor of God and the permissible delights of the soul. -- Johann Sebastian Bach


12) Before Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis: Let yourself not be misled by the notes that fall to you from the generous wind. Wait watchfully. Hands that are eternal may come to play upon your strings. -- Rainer Maria Rilke


13) [Vladimir Horowitz believed that the notes of a score do not tell us what the music is. The music exists behind the notes:] I play, so to speak, from the other side of the score, looking out.


14) [On the British attitude toward serious music:] They don't much like music, but they rather like the sound it makes. -- Thomas Beecham


15) Wagner says, in his most beautiful opera, that art is only a way of remembering youth. -- Willa Cather


16) Music is another planet. -- Alphonse Daudet

17) "No artist deserves the title of virtuoso unless his extemporizations could pass for written compositions. —Beethoven


18) "Beethoven" by Albrecht Haushofer

Shackled hand and foot in a Gestapo prison, awaiting a sham trial for his participation in the anti-Nazi resistance movement, Haushofer surveys his culture and his own past life. Here is one of the 80 “Moabit Sonnets” in which Haushofer remembers the past:



Albrecht Haushofer (translated by M.D. Herter Norton)


At sixteen I was subject to rebuke,

having already, instead of strictly repeating

the throbbing triplets of Opus two, ventured

to try Opus a hundred and eleven.


My teacher, white-haired mistress of the art,

let me play on, just nodded and -- in reflection:

“The man who wrote that way was a deaf man.

You’ll understand it only in later years.”


She was silent. “When someday your heart is broken

and goes on beating and has to go on beating.”

Those big eyes of hers were full of kindness.


She seated herself. The piano sounded. Often

during these days it comes into my mind

 the way she played that time, my dead teacher.


As the Soviets entered Berlin, his captors released him and a number of his fellow prisoners. But right outside the prison gates, a gang of SS troopers took Haushofer and the others to a vacant lot, shot them all, and left the bodies where they lay. Three weeks later his brother found him, the sonnet sheets clutched to his chest.

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