Music Quotes

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Music is a part of every known society, past and present, and is common to all human cultures across the globe.

The emotions caused by music, the attitudes of its composers and players, and the venues it is played can also vary from time to time and place to place. The music one person loves might be painful for another to listen to, and vice versa!

These music quotes tell us what music is, how it makes us feel when we play or listen to it, and how powerful it can be.

Whether you love Classical, Jazz, Country, Rock, or Pop, you’ll also find music quotes from some of your favorite musicians and composers. Put on your favorite playlist and enjoy!

Quotes About Music

Music is the language of the spirit. It opens the secret of life bringing peace, abolishing strife.

Kahlil Gibran

Music is the only language in which you cannot say a mean or sarcastic thing.

John Erskine
Louis Armstrong music quote "Music is life itself"
“Music is life itself.” – Louis Armstrong

Music is the moonlight in the gloomy night of life.

John Paul Friedrich Richter

If Music is a Place — then Jazz is the City, Folk is the Wilderness, Rock is the Road, Classical is a Temple.

Vera Nazarin

Love is friendship set to music.

Jackson Pollock

Music is the universal language of mankind.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Music is the literature of the heart; it commences where speech ends.

Alphonse de Lamartine

Music is the art which is most nigh to tears and memory.

Oscar Wilde
Dick Clark quote "Music is the soundtrack of your life"
“Music is the soundtrack of your life.” – Dick Clark

Music is nothing else but wild sounds civilized into time and tune.

Thomas Fuller

Music is your own experience, your thoughts, your wisdom. If you don’t live it, it won’t come out of your horn.

Charlie Parker

One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain.

Bob Marley

Music produces a kind of pleasure which human nature cannot do without.


Where words fail, music speaks.

Hans Christian Anderson

How is it that music can, without words, evoke our laughter, our fears, our highest aspirations?

Jane Swan
Reagan music quote "Life is one grand sweet song so start the music"
“Life is one grand, sweet song so start the music.” – Ronald Reagan

Music expresses feeling and thought, without language; it was below and before speech, and it is above and beyond all words.

Robert G. Ingersoll

Music is the only thing I’ve ever known that doesn’t have any rules at all.

Josh Homme

A strange art – music – the most poetic and precise of all the arts, vague as a dream and precise as algebra.

Guy de Maupassant

Music is good to the melancholy, bad to those who mourn, and neither good nor bad to the deaf.

Baruch Spinoza
Sidney Lanier quote "Music is love in search of a word"
“Music is love in search of a word.” – Sidney Lanier

Music cleanses the understanding; inspires it, and lifts it into a realm which it would not reach if it were left to itself.

Henry Ward Beecher

Without music, life would be a blank to me.

Jane Austen

Music – not just the lyrics, but the music itself – expresses confused or illicit passions: rage, lust, envy, frustration, channeling these energies and creating an outlet for them.

Sarah Churchwell

Music is the great uniter. An incredible force. Something that people who differ on everything and anything else can have in common.

Sarah Dessen

Philosophy is the highest music.


A quiet secluded life in the country, with the possibility of being useful to people to whom it is easy to do good, and who are not accustomed to have it done to them; then work which one hopes may be of some use; then rest, nature, books, music, love for one’s neighbor — such is my idea of happiness.

Leo Tolstoy
Tolstoy music quote "Music is the shorthand of emotion"
“Music is the shorthand of emotion.” – Leo Tolstoy

Music is what tells us that the human race is greater than we realize.

Napoleon Bonaparte

Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.

Berthold Auerbach

Music with dinner is an insult both to the cook and the violinist.

G.K. Chesterton

Music can name the unnameable and communicate the unknowable.

Leonard Bernstein

Music is the strongest form of magic.

Marilyn Manson

Music gives color to the air of the moment.

Karl Lagerfeld
Jack Kerouac quote about music "The only truth is music"
“The only truth is music.” – Jack Kerouac

Some people have lives; some people have music.

John Green

Music acts like a magic key, to which the most tightly closed heart opens.

Maria von Trapp

Music, once admitted to the soul, becomes a sort of spirit, and never dies.

Edward Bulwar Lytton

Music, when soft voices die, vibrates in the memory.

Percy Bysshe Shelley

When I hear music, I fear no danger. I am invulnerable. I see no foe. I am related to the earliest times, and to the latest.

Henry David Thoreau

Music touches us emotionally, where words alone can’t.

Johnny Depp
Robert Fripp quote "Music is the wine that fills the cup of silence"
“Music is the wine that fills the cup of silence.” – Robert Fripp

Without music, life would be a mistake.

Friedrich Nietzsche

Country music is three chords and the truth.

Harlan Howard

Music is the divine way to tell beautiful, poetic things to the heart.

Pablo Casals

Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent.

Victor Hugo

There are two means of refuge from the misery of life — music and cats.

Albert Schweitzer
Frederick Delius quote "Music is an outburst of the soul"
“Music is an outburst of the soul.” – Frederick Delius

Quotes About Writing, Playing, and Listening to Music

Most people die with their music still locked up inside them.

Benjamin Disraeli

I like beautiful melodies telling me terrible things.

Tom Waits
"He who sings frightens away his ills"
“He who sings frightens away his ills.” – Miguel de Cervantes

When we listen to music we are not listening to the past, we are not listening to the future, we are listening to an expanded present.

Alan Watts

Melody is the essence of music. I compare a good melodist to a fine racer, and counterpointists to hack post-horses; therefore be advised, let well alone and remember the old Italian proverb: Chi sa più, meno sa – Who knows most, knows least.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Even if you can’t sing well, sing. Sing to yourself. Sing in the privacy of your home. But sing.

Rebbe Nachman

Some days there won’t be a song in your heart. Sing anyway.

Emory Austin
"As long as we live, there is never enough singing"
“As long as we live, there is never enough singing.” – Martin Luther

A fine work of art – music, dance, painting, story – has the power to silence the chatter in the mind and lift us to another place.

Robert McKee

I don’t sing because I’m happy; I’m happy because I sing.

William James

The easiest way to avoid wrong notes is to never open your mouth and sing. What a mistake that would be.

Pete Seeger

The most exciting rhythms seem unexpected and complex, the most beautiful melodies simple and inevitable.

W.H. Auden

I’ve always thought people would find a lot more pleasure in their routines if they burst into song at significant moments.

John Barrowman
"Those who wish to sing always find a song"
“Those who wish to sing always find a song.” – Unknown

I believe that a person’s taste in music tells you a lot about them. In some cases, it tells you everything you need to know.

Leila Sales

There are not more than five musical notes, yet the combinations of these five give rise to more melodies than can ever be heard.

Sun Tzu

Music is the art of the prophets and the gift of God.

Martin Luther

The true beauty of music is that it connects people. It carries a message, and we, the musicians, are the messengers.

Roy Ayers

Music sounds different to the one who plays it. It is the musician’s curse.

Patrick Rothfuss
"The wise musicians are those who play what they can master"
“The wise musicians are those who play what they can master.” – Duke Ellington

The times you lived through, the people you shared those times with – nothing brings it all to life like an old mix tape. It does a better job of storing up memories than actual brain tissue can do. Every mix tape tells a story. Put them together, and they can add up to the story of a life.

Rob Sheffield

Somebody just gave me a shower radio. Thanks a lot. Do you really want music in the shower? I guess there’s no better place to dance than a slick surface next to a glass door.

Jerry Seinfeld

Music is a language that doesn’t speak in particular words. It speaks in emotions, and if it’s in the bones, it’s in the bones.

Keith Richards

Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.

Psy quote "The world’s most famous and popular language is music"
“The world’s most famous and popular language is music.” – Psy

Music has a poetry of its own, and that poetry is called melody.

Joshua Logan

We’re musicians. We make music for a living. It’s that simple. Nothing else matters.

Eddie Van Halen

Musicians don’t retire; they stop when there’s no more music in them.

Louis Armstrong

The music we listen to may not define who we are. But it’s a damn good start.

Jodi Picoult

Music and silence combine strongly because music is done with silence, and silence is full of music.

Marcel Marceau

A painter paints pictures on canvas. But musicians paint their pictures on silence.

Leopold Stokowski
Thomas Carlyle quote "Music is well said to be the speech of angels"
“Music is well said to be the speech of angels.” – Thomas Carlyle

Music is pleasing not only because of the sound but because of the silence that is in it: without the alternation of sound and silence there would be no rhythm.

Thomas Merton

A gentleman is someone who knows how to play the banjo and doesn’t.

Mark Twain

For me there is something primitively soothing about this music, and it went straight to my nervous system, making me feel ten feet tall.

Eric Clapton

My personal hobbies are reading, listening to music, and silence.

Edith Sitwell

Quotes from Musicians and Composers

Music is enough for a lifetime, but a lifetime is not enough for music.

Sergei Rachmaninov

Music is everybody’s business. It’s only the publishers who think people own it.

John Lennon

Music is feeling. You can try to verbalize it. It really just hits you or it doesn’t.

Gene Simmons
Beethoven quote "Music can change the world"
“Music can change the world.” – Ludwig van Beethoven

The best music is essentially there to provide you something to face the world with.

Bruce Springsteen

If you’ve lost your faith in love and music then the end won’t be long.

Pete Doherty

Writing music is not so much inspiration as hard work.

George Gershwin

Musicians want to be the loud voice for so many quiet hearts.

Billy Joel

I would rather write 10,000 notes than a single letter of the alphabet.

Ludwig van Beethoven

There was no one near to confuse me, so I was forced to become original.

Franz Joseph Haydn

Works of art make rules; rules do not make works of art.

Claude Debussy
Beethoven quote "To play without passion is inexcusable!"
“To play without passion is inexcusable!” – Ludwig van Beethoven

A creative artist works on his next composition because he was not satisfied with his previous one.

Dmitri Shostakovich

A musician should only sound like what they do, and no two musicians sound the same. It’s an individual-feel thing, you know?

Dave Grohl

I believe musicians have a duty, a responsibility to reach out, to share your love or pain with others.

James Taylor

My idea is that there is music in the air, music all around us; the world is full of it, and you simply take as much as you require.

Edward Elgar

My music will go on forever. Maybe it’s a fool say that, but when me know facts me can say facts. My music will go on forever.

Bob Marley
Bono quote "Music can change the world because it can change people"
“Music can change the world because it can change people.” – Bono

Music – that’s been my education. There’s not a day that goes by that I take it for granted.

Billie Joe Armstrong

I’ve always said music should make you laugh, make you cry or make you think.

Kenny Rogers

I think music in itself is healing. It’s an explosive expression of humanity. It’s something we are all touched by. No matter what culture we’re from, everyone loves music.

Billy Joel

Music kept me off the streets and out of trouble and gave me something that was mine that no one could take away from me.

Eddie Van Halen

Bach is an astronomer, discovering the most marvelous stars. Beethoven challenges the universe. I only try to express the soul and the heart of man.

Frédéric Chopin
Leonard Cohen quote "Music is the emotional life of most people"
“Music is the emotional life of most people.” – Leonard Cohen

Music is an agreeable harmony for the honor of God and the permissible delights of the soul.

Johann Sebastian Bach

Music is like a dream. One that I cannot hear.

Ludwig van Beethoven

Music is a great natural high and a great natural escape.

Shania Twain

Music is my religion.

Jimi Hendrix

If, while at the piano, you attempt to form little melodies, that is very well; but if they come into your mind of themselves, when you are not practicing, you may be still more pleased; for the internal organ of music is then roused in you. The fingers must do what the head desires; not the contrary.

Robert Schumann
"You can cage the singer but not the song"
“You can cage the singer but not the song.” – Harry Belafonte

Music is a weapon in the war against unhappiness.

Jason Mraz

If a composer could say what he had to say in words he would not bother trying to say it in music.

Gustav Mahler

Music is forever; music should grow and mature with you, following you right on up until you die.

Paul Simon

I wanted to prove the sustaining power of music.

David Bowie

Music comes from a place we don’t know.

Chris Martin

Music is a safe kind of high.

Jimi Hendrix

Jazz is not just music, it’s a way of life, it’s a way of being, a way of thinking.

Nina Simone
"If you have to ask what jazz is, you’ll never know"
“If you have to ask what jazz is, you’ll never know.” – Louis Armstrong

Music is powerful. As people listen to it, they can be affected. They respond.

Ray Charles

I merely took the energy it takes to pout and wrote some blues.

Duke Ellington

Music – what a powerful instrument, what a mighty weapon!

Maria von Trapp

Music is the mediator between the spiritual and the sensual life.

Ludwig van Beethoven

Music should be your escape.

Missy Elliot

My music isn’t just music – its medicine.

Kanye West
Taylor Swift quote "People haven't always been there for me but music always has"
“People haven’t always been there for me but music always has.” – Taylor Swift

The music is not in the notes, but in the silence between.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

People ask me how I make music. I tell them I just step into it. It’s like stepping into a river and joining the flow. Every moment in the river has its song.

Michael Jackson

Life and love go on, let the music play.

Johnny Cash

To stop the flow of music would be like the stopping of time itself, incredible and inconceivable.

Aaron Copland

Music is the tool to express life – and all that makes a difference.

Herbie Hancock
"I haven't understood a bar of music in my life, but I have felt it"
“I haven’t understood a bar of music in my life, but I have felt it.” – Igor Stravinsky

To live is to be musical, starting with the blood dancing in your veins. Everything living has a rhythm. Do you feel your music?

Michael Jackson

Pop music often tells you everything is OK, while rock music tells you that it’s not OK, but you can change it.


Without music to decorate it, time is just a bunch of boring production deadlines or dates by which bills must be paid.

Frank Zappa

Words on The Power of Music

If I should ever die, God forbid, let this be my epitaph: THE ONLY PROOF HE NEEDED FOR THE EXISTENCE OF GOD WAS MUSIC.

Kurt Vonnegut

My heart, which is so full to overflowing, has often been solaced and refreshed by music when sick and weary.

Martin Luther
Mary Gaitskill music quote "My ambition was to live like music"
“My ambition was to live like music.” – Mary Gaitskill

He took his pain and turned it into something beautiful. Into something that people connect to. And that’s what good music does. It speaks to you. It changes you.

Hannah Harrington

Take a music bath once or twice a week for a few seasons. You will find it is to the soul what a water bath is to the body.

Oliver Wendell Holmes

Music is critical in our lives and culture. It’s the inspiration that drives us. It’s also the window to our souls. It’s a reflection as to who we are, what we stand for and where we’re going.

Bill Walton

Music has healing power. It has the ability to take people out of themselves for a few hours.

Elton John

Music does a lot of things for a lot of people. It’s transporting, for sure. It can take you right back, years back, to the very moment certain things happened in your life. It’s uplifting, it’s encouraging, it’s strengthening.

Aretha Franklin
Lao Tzu music quote "Music in the soul can be heard by the universe"
“Music in the soul can be heard by the universe.” – Lao Tzu

Music should be an essential part of every analysis.

Carl Jung

Music can lift us out of depression or move us to tears – it is a remedy, a tonic, orange juice for the ear. But for many of my neurological patients, music is even more – it can provide access, even when no medication can, to movement, to speech, to life. For them, music is not a luxury, but a necessity.

Oliver Sacks

Beethoven tells you what it’s like to be Beethoven and Mozart tells you what it’s like to be human. Bach tells you what it’s like to be the universe.

Douglas Adams

If I were not a physicist, I would probably be a musician. I often think in music. I live my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of music.

Albert Einstein
"Songs won’t save the planet, but neither will books or speeches"
“Songs won’t save the planet, but neither will books or speeches.” – Pete Seeger

If I had my life to live over again, I would have made a rule to read some poetry and listen to some music at least once every week.

Charles Darwin

After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.

Aldous Huxley

Live your truth. Express your love. Share your enthusiasm. Take action towards your dreams. Walk your talk. Dance and sing to your music. Embrace your blessings. Make today worth remembering.

Steve Maraboli

Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness.

Maya Angelou

Music makes one feel so romantic – at least it always gets on one’s nerves – which is the same thing nowadays.

Oscar Wilde

A great song should lift your heart, warm the soul and make you feel good.

Colbie Caillat
"Everything in the universe has a rhythm, everything dances"
“Everything in the universe has a rhythm, everything dances.” – Maya Angelou

Who hears music, feels his solitude
Peopled at once.

Robert Browning

‘Ah, music,’ he said, wiping his eyes. ‘A magic beyond all we do here!’

J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

I’ve found that no matter what life throws at me, music softens the blow.

Bryce Anderson

Words make you think. Music makes you feel. A song makes you feel a thought.

Yip Harburg

If music be the food of love, play on,
Give me excess of it; that surfeiting,
The appetite may sicken, and so die.

William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night
"I think there is a song out there to describe just about any situation"
“I think there is a song out there to describe just about any situation.” – Criss Jami

My music fights against the system that teaches to live and die.

Bob Marley

Music is very spiritual, it has the power to bring people together.

Edgar Winter

Music Sayings

To me, the greatest pleasure of writing is not what it’s about, but the music the words make.

Truman Capote

A bird does not sing because it has an answer. It sings because it has a song.

Chinese Proverb

You are the music while the music lasts.

T.S. Eliot

We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams.

Arthur O’Shaughnessy
Music saying "Life is like a beautiful melody, only the lyrics are messed up"
“Life is like a beautiful melody, only the lyrics are messed up.” – Hans Christian Anderson

A man should hear a little music, read a little poetry, and see a fine picture every day of his life, in order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of the beautiful which God has implanted in the human soul.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

To be creative means to be in love with life. You can be creative only if you love life enough that you want to enhance its beauty, you want to bring a little more music to it, a little more poetry to it, a little more dance to it.


Music could ache and hurt, that beautiful music was a place a suffering man could hide.

Pat Conroy

Music isn’t just a pleasure, a transient satisfaction. It’s a need, a deep hunger; and when the music is right, it’s joy. Love. A foretaste of heaven.

Orson Scott Card
Peter Pan music quote "If you cannot teach me to fly, teach me to sing"
“If you cannot teach me to fly, teach me to sing.” – J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan

And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.

Friedrich Nietzsche

Life seems to go on without effort when I am filled with music.

George Eliot, The Mill on the Floss

Life, he realized, was much like a song. In the beginning there is mystery, in the end there is confirmation, but it’s in the middle where all the emotion resides to make the whole thing worthwhile.

Nicholas Sparks, The Last Song

Life is for the living.
Death is for the dead.
Let life be like music.
And death a note unsaid.

Langston Hughes
Tom Moon music quote "The more you love music, the more music you love"
“The more you love music, the more music you love.” – Tom Moon

We hope you’ve enjoyed this collection of music quotes!

Everyone in the world, from the most isolated tribal groups to the most technologically advanced societies, has a form of music that they can relate to and experience.

Reflect on yours and enjoy the benefits of good music today. We’d love to hear about them in the comments below!

Photo of author

Quincy Seale

Quincy is KIM's editor, and has collected and shared inspiring quotes and stories since 2005. Quincy holds an MBA from the University of Dundee and an MSc from the University of Edinburgh, and lives in San Antonio with his wife Natalie, son Alex, and his dog Oban.

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