"It is the stretched soul that makes music, and souls are stretched by the pull of opposites--opposite bents, tastes, yearnings, loyalties. Where there is no polarity--where energies flow smoothly in one direction--there will be much doing but no music."
"Is it the breath, merely, of the performer on a wind- instrument, or the skillful, supple fingers of the performer on a stringed instrument which evoke those tones which lay upon us a spell of such power, and awaken that inexpressible feeling, akin to nothing else on earth--the sense of a distant spirit world, and of our own higher life in it? Is it not, rather, the mind, the soul, the heart, which merely employ those bodily organs to give forth into our external life what we feel in our inner depths?"
"How are we to know that a Dracula is a key-pounding pianist who lifts his hands up to his face, or that a bass fiddle is the doghouse, or that shmaltz musicians are four-button suit guys and long underwear boys?"
"If there is a gratification which I envy any people in this world it is to your country [Italy] its music. This is the favorite passion of my soul, and fortune has cast my lot in a country where it is in a state of deplorable barbarism."
"I traveled and made money and I wouldn't let anybody get between me and my music. If I belong to anything, I belong to my music. ...What you were born to do, you don't stop to think, should I? could I? would I? I only think, will I? And, I shall!"
"My friends you want a speech, but I cannot make one at this time. I must have opportunity to think. Undue importance might be given to what I said. However, there is one thing I will do. You have a band with you. There's one piece of music I've always liked. Heretofore, it hasn't seemed the proper thing to use it in the North. But now by virtue of my prerogative as President and Commander-In-Chief of the Army and Navy, I declare it contraband of war and our lawful prize. I ask the band to play "Dixie."
"The musical emotion springs precisely from the fact that at each moment the composer withholds or adds more or less than the listener anticipates on the basis of a pattern that he thinks he can guess, but that he is incapable of wholly divining.... If the composer withholds more than we anticipate, we experience a delicious falling sensation; we feel we have been torn from a stable point on the musical ladder and thrust into the void.... When the composer withholds less, the opposite occurs: he forces us to perform gymnastic exercises more skillful than our own."
"Since music is a language with some meaning at least for the immense majority of mankind, although only a tiny minority of peopleare capable of formulating a meaning in it, and since it is the only language with the contradictory attributes of being at once intelligible and untranslatable, the musical creator is a being comparable to the gods, and music itself the supreme mystery of the science of man, a mystery that all the various disciplines come up against and which holds the key to their progress."