Music, Composition and Theory

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Quotes by the Great Masters

1. Confidence and courage are special skills to the art ... Within the four walls of his study, the artist should be modest, work diligently and conscientiously. While for the public, he'll show himself audacious, yes even into cheerful boldness. And so a new publics darling has arisen. - Robert Schumann

2. Even when I can play Europe's most precious keyboard, to have to listen to people who don't understand, or do not want to understand, and who are incapable of grasping my intent, whatever I play, does surely forfeit my lust for playing at all. - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

3. Only by pairing knowledge with inspiration will art evolve. Without these conditions any musician will remain a flawed artist, if one may speak of an artist at all. - Hector Berlioz

4. It is my belief one should not belittle the artist; while, however glorious his fame may seem, his time on Mount Olympus as an honorable guest of Zeus is short. It's a pity, but all too eager will the common folk drag him from this ethereal heights to the low and trodden earth. - Ludwig van Beethoven

5. The life's story of great geniuses is a sad one, without much tangible reward, which does not inspire future generations to face a similar fate. Alas also, it stands to reason why so many talent will not come to sparkle on the artistic firmament. - Joseph Haydn

6. You should diligently play scales and fingerpractices. There are many, however, who believe they'll achieve all, by practicing daily on technique for hours on end, up till high age. It's like practicing every day to enumerate the alphabet faster and faster. One would think one could make better use of their valuable time. - Robert Schumann

7. No one can bar me from joyfully proceeding on what the great masters have left us; after all, to rediscover everything again, should be understood to be unfounded. But one should however proceed on merit, and not simply repeat what was. All genius, sincere, deserves his place, even though maybe later in life. - Felix Mendelssohn

8. No fate holds more splendor for an artist, than the one which greets his effort with such enthusiasm! - Carl Maria von Weber

9. When young, one learns his craftsmanship, may become a young master, and it is youth that is most auspicious for developing certain skills. - Robert Schumann

10. The hardest thing is to endure the applause of fools, and patiently suffer the booing, while with the bravissimo of the foolish one would rather strike them between the ears. - Carl Maria von Weber

11. The essence of higher instrumental music lays herein that one is able to express in tones that what one is unable to say in words. - Richard Wagner

12. First and foremost an artist should pay homage to grandness, honor and bow to it, and not try to extinguish the fierce flames of such, in an attempt to have his own feeble light shine brighter. When one isn't able to acknowledge greatness, I would really want to know how he endeavours to make me experience it. - Felix Mendelssohn

13. "We liked it" or "I didn't like it" people say. As if it were nothing higher than to please the people! - Robert Schumann

14. Only art and science make us suspect the existence of life to a higher level, and maybe also instill hope thereof. - Ludwig van Beethoven

15. The art of music, rather more daughter than imitator of nature, in her impressive and mysterious language minding and educating us, rouses directly our temper and rules us to the depths of our souls. - Carl Maria von Weber

16. Perhaps only a Genius can truly understand Genius. - Robert Schumann

17. "One only hears what one understands", Goethe tells us. We add to this: One only understands just how, as one does understand. - Hans von Bülow

18. Those who grasp the whole, will also comprehend all parts of that whole, even when immediate technical understanding is lacking, and recognize and marshal these. - Richard Wagner

19. The new, though engaging at times, may often start as offensive to us. The latter is often proof of the worth of this, while in the long run it will receive more recognition, than some, of what we liked so much in the beginning. - Philipp Emanuel Bach

20. The only form of music is melody, without melody music is not feasible, and music and melody are quite inseparable. - Richard Wagner

21. Figured Bass (Harmony) and Religion are self-contained things, one should not argue these. - Ludwig van Beethoven

22. An artist must first endure the sour of effort, before he may enjoy the sweet taste of the fruits of his achievements. - Moritz Hauptmann

23. There is much more intellectual work in any composition than will be admitted to by your average 'divinely inspired artist'. Take Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven where Harmony is pretty level in all parts! These are the results of tranquil reflection as well as from moments of innermost enthusiasm. - Robert Franz

24. That first concept is always the most naturally and best. The mind errs, the emotion never. - Robert Schumann

25. Blessed be, the genius who never knew good fortune! Genius in itself already means so much; what meaning does luck still hold for him? - Richard Wagner

26. Such a divine profession is art! When everything else looks so stale and disgustingly vacuous, so enthrals even the littlest real effort of art our innermost and carries us from town, from country, from earth, as that it must be truly a blessing of the Gods. - Felix Mendelssohn

27. Music truly has to all other arts the same relation as religion to the church. - Richard Wagner

28. The harsh, maybe even partly frightful scholastic, regulations that students are to be teached, and can not bear without, are for the master of arts no unbreakable laws; even so he can not stray at random, for the basic foundation of the arts may not be torn. - August Wilhelm Ambroß

29. One must learn all there is to learn, and then make their own way. - Georg Friedrich Händel

30. We shouldn't repeat the same for ages on end, but look into the new as well. - Robert Schumann