Each of the quotations presented below have been chosen for the possibilities they bring to some aspect of the musical experience, even if music or sound is not directly mentioned. _______________________________________________________________
Where words fail, music speaks. – Anon.
Song opens a window to the secret places of the soul. – Habad
You may travel far and wide but never will you find the boundaries of the soul. – Heraclitus 5th c. BC
Folk Music is the map of singing. – Alan Lomax
Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything. – Plato
If you bring forth that which is within you,
Then that which is within you
Will be your salvation.
If you do not bring forth that which is within you,
Then that which is within you
Will destroy you. – The Gnostic Gospels
Throughout history the leaders of the countries have been very particular about what songs should be sung. We know the power of songs. – Pete Seeger b. 1919 In 1955 he was called before the House on Un-American activity. In 1961 he was indicted for contempt of Congress and sentenced to 10 years in jail, but was dismissed on appeal by a technicality.
Man has to awaken to wonder….. Science is a way of sending him to sleep again. – Ludwig Wittgenstein
You can’t hear God speak to someone else, you can hear him only when you are being addressed. – Ludwig Wittgenstein
There is no truer truth obtainable by man than comes of music.– – Lord Alfred Tennyson, I think….
Ring the bells that still can ring.
Forget your perfect offering.
There is a crack in everything.
That’s how the light gets in. – Leonard Cohen
Music is spiritual. The music business is not. – Van Morrison
Music is the best means we have of digesting time. – W.H. Auden
Writing about music is like dancing about architecture. – Laurie Anderson
Whoever wants music instead of noise, joy instead of pleasure,
soul instead of gold, creative work instead of business, passion instead of foolery, finds no home in this trivial world of ours. – Hermann Hesse
Even though you can’t expect to defeat the absurdity of the world, you must make that attempt. That’s morality, that’s religion. That’s art. That’s life. – Phil Ochs
The aim and final end of all music should be none other than the glory of God and the refreshment of the soul. – Johann Sebastian Bach
Music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy. Music is the electrical soil in which the spirit lives, thinks, and invents. – Ludwig Van Beethoven
Many saints and scholars believe that music is the greatest form of tapasya (penance) and the easiest way to reach godhead or to attain salvation. Most of the Carnatic musical compositions are either philosophical in content or describe the various deities or incidents from Hindu mythology. There are others who believe that music itself is divine and that the perfect synchronisation of the performer with the musical sound, Nada, is the real divine bliss. This practice is called Nadopasana. Many musicians and music lovers visualise divine forms in the Ragas or the melodic entities of Carnatic music. – Anonymous
There is a pinciple in the heart of music which has yet to be discovered. – astronomer, Sir John Herschel
If you look deep enough you will see music; the heart of nature being everywhere music. – Thomas Carlyle
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
Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world. Percy Bysshe Shelley, (1792 – 1822)
Music is the wine that fills the cup of silence. – Robert Fripp
Music is the soul of language. – Max Heindel
Music in the soul can be heard by the universe. – Lao Tzu
In traditional Bali there was no word for ‘artist’. It was simply a part of everyday life to make all things as beautiful as possible. – Joseph Blacking, ethnomusicologist
Life is a guy trying to play a violin solo in public, while learning the music and his instrument at the same time.– Joseph Campbell
A composer is a guy who goes around forcing his will on unsuspecting air molecules, often with the assistance of unsuspecting musicians. – Frank Zappa
I have come to understand that music is not part of “arts and entertainment” as the newspaper section would have us believe. It’s not a luxury, a lavish thing that we fund from leftovers of our budgets, not a plaything or an amusement or a pass time. Music is a basic need of human survival. Music is one of the ways we make sense of our lives, one of the ways in which we express feelings when we have no words, a way for us to understand things with our hearts when we can’t with our minds. – Karl Paulnack, Director of Music Division, Boston Conservatory, from a speech to incoming first year students
Some Baha’i Thoughts on Music:
We, verily, have made music as a ladder for your
souls, a means whereby they may be lifted up unto the
realm on high; make it not, therefore, as wings to
self and passion. Truly, We are loath to see you
numbered with the foolish. Bahá’u’lláh, The Kitáb-i-Aqdas, p.38
The art of music is divine and effective. It is the food of the soul and spirit. Through the power and charm of music the spirit of man is uplifted. It has wonderful sway and effect in the hearts of children, for their hearts are pure, and melodies have great influence in them. The latent talents with which the hearts of these children are endowed will find expression through the medium of music. Therefore, you must exert yourselves to make them proficient; teach them to sing with excellence and effect. It is incumbent upon each child to know something of music, for without knowledge of this art the melodies of instrument and voice cannot be rightly enjoyed. Likewise, it is necessary that the schools teach it in order that the souls and hearts of the pupils may become vivified and exhilarated and their lives be brightened with enjoyment. – Abdu’l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 52
Music, as one of the arts, is a natural cultural development, and the Guardian does not feel that there should be any cultivation of Bahá’í Music any more than we are trying to develop a Bahá’í school of painting or writing. The believers are free to paint, write and compose as their talents guide them. If music is written, incorporating the sacred Writings, the friends are free to make use of it, but it should never be considered a requirement at Bahá’í meetings to have such music. The further away the friends keep from any set forms, the better, for they must realize that the Cause is absolutely universal, and what might seem beautiful addition to their mode of celebrating a Feast, etc, would perhaps fall on the ears of people of another country as unpleasant sound – and vice versa. As long as they have music for its own sake it is all right, but they should not consider it Bahá’í music.” – From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States and Canada, July 20, 1946: Ibid (Compilations, Lights of Guidance, p. 411 )
O servant of Baha!
Music is regarded as a praiseworthy science at the Threshold of the Almighty … By virtue of this, consider how much the
art of music is admired and praised. Try, if thou canst, to use spiritual melodies, songs and tunes, and to bring the earthly music into harmony with the celestial melody. Then thou wilt notice what a great influence music hath and what heavenly joy and life it conferreth. Strike up such a melody and tune as to cause the nightingales of divine mysteries to be filled with joy and ecstasy. – ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, from a recently translated Tablet to an individual believer; Bahá’í Writings on Music, a compilation of the Universal House of Justice (Compilations, Lights of Guidance, p. 411 )