"As if the musicians did not so much play the little phrase as execute the rites required by it to appear, and they proceeded to the necessary incantations to obtain and prolong for a few instants the miracle of its evocation, Swann, who could no more see the phrase than if it belonged to an ultraviolet world ... Swann felt it as a presence, as a protective goddess and a confidante to his love, who to arrive to him ... had clothed the disguise of this sonorous appearance."
"Perhaps it is nothingness which is real and our dream which is non-existent, but then we feel think that these musical phrases, and the notions related to the dream, are nothing too. We will die, but our hostages are the divine captives who will follow our chance. And death with them is somewhat less bitter, less inglorious, perhaps less probable."
"On the first days, like a piece of music that one will later be mad about, but that one does not yet distinguish, that which I wasto love so much in [Bergotte's] style was not yet clear to me. I could not put down the novel that I was reading, but I thought that I was only interested in the subject, as in the first moments of love when one goes every day to see a woman at some gathering, or some pastime, by the amusements to which one believes to be attracted."
"At first, he savored only the material quality of the sounds secreted by the instruments. And it had already been a great pleasurewhen, beneath the tiny line of the violin, slender, resistant, dense and driving, he noticed the mass of the piano's part seeking to arise in a liquid splashing, polymorphous, undivided, level and clashing like the purple commotion of wave charmed and flattened by the moonlight."
"The mastery of one's phonemes may be compared to the violinist's mastery of fingering. The violin string lends itself to a continuous gradation of tones, but the musician learns the discrete intervals at which to stop the string in order to play the conventional notes. We sound our phonemes like poor violinists, approximating each time to a fancied norm, and we receive our neighbor's renderings indulgently, mentally rectifying the more glaring inaccuracies."
"We not only grew up on Be-Bop; Be-Bop raised us. For my generation, Be-Bop came on like a light bulb going flash behind the eyes.For us, it was not only an intellectual movement, but a way of life. We walked, dressed, and rapped Be-Bop."
"The blues women had a commanding presence and a refreshing robustness. They were nurturers, taking the yeast of experience, kneading it into dough, molding it and letting it grow in their minds to bring the listener bread for sustenance, shaped by their sensibilities."
"The old men of the village of Mahotière say that the Mistress of the Water is a mulatto woman. At midnight she comes out of the spring and sings while combing her dripping long hair, which makes a sound sweeter than a violin. It is a song of perdition for whomever hears it. There is no sign of the Cross, no "Our Father" to save him. Her curse takes him like a fish in a net and the Mistress of the Water awaits him on the edge of the spring and smiles upon him and tells him to follow her to the depths, from which he will never return."
"Nearly all the bands are mustered out of service; ours therefore is a novelty. We marched a few miles yesterday on a road where troops have not before marched. It was funny to see the children. I saw our boys running after the music in many a group of clean, bright-looking, excited little fellows."
"Music and dancing (the more's the pity) have become so closely associated with ideas of riot and debauchery among the less cultivated classes, that a taste for them, for their own sakes, can hardly be said to exist, and before they can be recommended as innocent or safe amusements, a very great change of ideas must take place."
"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?"