Monday, November 19, 2018

Hug a musician...

Courtesy Pixabay
I've been re-typing my old journals so that I have a digital copy on the Cloud. In one entry dating from January 1993, I mention that we'd cleared out some clutter from our bedroom. We decided to get rid of a poster we'd had for some time because it was fading badly and become hard to read. 

I'd copied the words into the journal entry, but couldn't read the author's name, at the time. The words are probably reasonably well-known, though I'm not sure that the author, Kenneth Gisoms is. The only thing that seems to come up in relation to his name are the words that appeared on the poster, which all relate to music, and which are both humorous and wise. It's possible that the order of the statements I have here isn't as in the original. 

Furthermore, the statements may have been collected together by Gisoms: the first one appears to be by Aldous Huxley.


  • After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.
  • Music is indivisible. The dualism of feeling and thinking must be resolved to a state of unity in which one thinks with the heart and feels with the brain.
  • Music is a means of giving form to our inner feelings without attaching them to events or objects in the world.
  • The entire pleasure of music consists in creating illusions, and commonsense is the greatest enemy of musical appreciation.
  • What gives music its universal appeal is the very fact that it is at the same time the most subtle and intangible and the most primitive of all arts…it can make a dog howl and silence a crying baby.
  • The trouble with music appreciation in general is that people are taught to have too much respect for music. They should be taught to love it instead.
  • Too many people are trying to justify the precision with which organised musical sound is produced rather than the energy with which it is manipulated. By concentrating on precision, one arrives at technique; but by concentrating on technique, one does not arrive at precision. Melody is the gold thread running through the maze of tones by which the ear is guided and the heart reached.
  • People compose for many reasons: to become immortal; because the piano happens to be open; because they want to become millionaires; because of the praise of friends; because they have looked into a pair of beautiful eyes; for no reason whatsoever.
  • Every composer knows the anguish and despair occasioned by forgetting ideas one has no time to write down.
  • The public today must pay its debt to the great composers of the past by supporting the living creators of the present.
  • All human activity must pass through its periods of rise, ripeness and decline; and music has been to a certain extent the fortunate in that it is the last of the great arts to suffer this general expense.
  • You cannot have critics with standards; you can only have music with standards which critics may observe.
  • Time is to the musician what space is to the painter.
  • Psychologists have found that music does things whether you like it or not. Fast tempos invariably race your pulse, respiration and blood pressure. Slow music lowers them.
  • Music hath charms to sooth the savage breast, soften rocks, or bend a knotted oak.
  • Good musicians execute their music, but bad ones murder it.
  • Some musicians take pains with music, others give them.
  • We can look away from pictures, but we cannot listen away from sounds.
  • It is not necessary to understand music, it is only necessary to enjoy it.
  • Of all the arts, music is practiced most.
  • Music is a kind of counting, performed by the mind, without knowing that it is counting.
  • The hardest thing in the world is to start an orchestra, and the next hardest to stop it.
  • There should be music in every house, except the one next door.
  • The more you love music, the more music you love.
  • Hug a musician, they never get to dance.


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