Musical Instrument Quotes

We've searched our database for all the quotes and captions related to Musical Instrument. Here they are! All 200 of them:

I'm not an angel, Jace," she repeated. "I don't return library books. I steal illegal music off the internet. I lie to my mom. I am completely ordinary.
Cassandra Clare (City of Glass (The Mortal Instruments, #3))
How is it possible that a being with such sensitive jewels as the eyes, such enchanted musical instruments as the ears, and such fabulous arabesque of nerves as the brain can experience itself anything less than a god.
Alan W. Watts (The Book: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are)
Ginger: You know what the greatest tragedy is in the whole world?... It's all the people who never find out what it is they really want to do or what it is they're really good at. It's all the sons who become blacksmiths because their fathers were blacksmiths. It's all the people who could be really fantastic flute players who grow old and die without ever seeing a musical instrument, so they become bad plowmen instead. It's all the people with talents who never even find out. Maybe they are never even born in a time when it's even possible to find out. It's all the people who never get to know what it is that they can really be. It's all the wasted chances.
Terry Pratchett (Moving Pictures (Discworld, #10; Industrial Revolution, #1))
The body is an instrument which only gives off music when it is used as a body. Always an orchestra, and just as music traverses walls, so sensuality traverses the body and reaches up to ecstasy.
Anaïs Nin
She smiled. Her skin looked whiter than he recalled, and dark spidery veins were beginning to show beneath its surface. Her hair was still the color of spun silver and her eyes were still green as a cat’s. She was still beautiful. Looking at her, he was in London again. He saw the gaslight and smelled the smoke and dirt and horses, the metallic tang of fog, the flowers in Kew Gardens. He saw a boy with black hair and blue eyes like Alec’s, heard violin music like the sound of silver water. He saw a girl with long brown hair and a serious face. In a world where everything went away from him eventually, she was one of the few remaining constants. And then there was Camille.
Cassandra Clare (City of Fallen Angels (The Mortal Instruments, #4))
Sometimes I sensed that the books I read in rapid succession had set up some sort of murmur among themselves, transforming my head into an orchestra pit where different musical instruments sounded out, and I would realize that I could endure this life because of these musicales going on in my head.
Orhan Pamuk (The New Life)
Our species is the only creative species, and it has only one creative instrument, the individual mind and spirit of man. Nothing was ever created by two men. There are no good collaborations, whether in music, in art, in poetry, in mathematics, in philosophy. Once the miracle of creation has taken place, the group can build and extend it, but the group never invents anything. The preciousness lies in the lonely mind of a man.
John Steinbeck (East of Eden)
The alley and the music all fell away, and there was nothing but her and the rain and Jace, his hands on her. . . He made a noise of surprise, low in his throat, and dug his fingers into the thin fabric of her tights. Not unexpectedly, they ripped, and his wet fingers were suddenly on the bare skin of her legs. Not to be outdone, Clary slid her hands under the hem of his soaked shirt, and let her fingers explore what was underneath: the tight, hot skin over his ribs, the ridges of his abdomen, the scars on his back. This was uncharted territory for her, but it seemed to be driving him crazy: he was moaning softly against her mouth, kissing her harder and harder, as if it would never be enough, not quite enough —
Cassandra Clare (City of Fallen Angels (The Mortal Instruments, #4))
...All the shops have been smashed open. There was a whole bunch of people across the street helping themselves to musical instruments, can you believe that?" "Yeah," said Rincewind. "...Luters, I expect.
Terry Pratchett (The Light Fantastic (Discworld, #2; Rincewind #2))
To diminish the worth of women, men had to diminish the worth of the moon. They had to drive a wedge between human beings and the trees and the beasts and the waters, because trees and beasts and waters are as loyal to the moon as to the sun. They had to drive a wedge between thought and feeling...At first they used Apollo as the wedge, and the abstract logic of Apollo made a mighty wedge, indeed, but Apollo the artist maintained a love for women, not the open, unrestrained lust that Pan has, but a controlled longing that undermined the patriarchal ambition. When Christ came along, Christ, who slept with no female...Christ, who played no musical instrument, recited no poetry, and never kicked up his heels by moonlight, this Christ was the perfect wedge. Christianity is merely a system for turning priestesses into handmaidens, queens into concubines, and goddesses into muses.
Tom Robbins (Jitterbug Perfume)
Each woman is like an instrument, waiting to be learned, loved, and finely played, to have at last her own true music made.
Patrick Rothfuss (The Wise Man's Fear (The Kingkiller Chronicle, #2))
And thou, Melkor, shalt see that no theme may be played that hath not its uttermost source in me, nor can any alter the music in my despite. For he that attempteth this shall prove but mine instrument in the devising of things more wonderful, which he himself hath not imagined.
J.R.R. Tolkien (The Silmarillion)
We are the ones who take this thing called music and line it up with this thing called time. We are the ticking, we are the pulsing, we are underneath every part of this moment. And by making the moment our own, we are rendering it timeless. There is no audience. There are no instruments. There are only bodies and thoughts and murmurs and looks. It's the concert rush to end all concert rushes, because this is what matters. When the heart races, this is what it's racing towards.
Rachel Cohn (Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist)
The Harmonica is the world’s best-selling musical instrument. You’re welcome.
Bob Dylan
It's easy to play any musical instrument: all you have to do is touch the right key at the right time and the instrument will play itself.
Johann Sebastian Bach
Musical training is a more potent instrument than any other, because rhythm and harmony find their way into the inward places of the soul.
Plato (The Republic)
Everyone knows that quote because of the Doors." Jace looked at her blankly. "The Doors. They were a band." "If you say so," he said. "I suppose you don't have much time for enjoying music," Clary said, thinking of Simon, for whom music was his entire life, "in your line of work." He shrugged. "Maybe the occasional wailing chorus of the damned.
Cassandra Clare (City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments, #1))
Reese sucked in a breath and played faster, hurling the anger through his fingers until it spun all his fear, all his rage, into the gentle voice of music.
Willowy Whisper (This Hostile Land)
The Christian idea of marriage is based on Christ's words that a man and wife are to be regarded as a single organism - for that is what the words 'one flesh' would be in modern English. And the Christians believe that when He said this He was not expressing a sentiment but stating a fact - just as one is stating a fact when one says that a lock and its key are one mechanism, or that a violin and a bow are one musical instrument.
C.S. Lewis (Mere Christianity)
And the seventh hero…Leo Valdez?” Nico raised his eyebrows. “You remember his name?” “Of course! He invented the Valdezinator. Oh, what a musical instrument! I barely had time to master its major scales before Zeus zapped me at the Parthenon. If anyone could help me, it would be Leo Valdez.
Rick Riordan (The Hidden Oracle (The Trials of Apollo, #1))
Hermes smiled. "I knew a boy once ... oh, younger than you by far. A mere baby, really." Here we go again, George said. Always talking about himself. Quiet! Martha snapped. Do you want to get set on vibrate? Hermes ignored them. "One night, when this boy's mother wasn't watching, he sneaked out of their cave and stole some cattle that belonged to Apollo." "Did he get blasted to tiny pieces?" I asked. "Hmm ... no. Actually, everything turned out quite well. To make up for his theft, the boy gave Apollo an instrument he'd invented-a lyre. Apollo was so enchanted with the music that he forgot all about being angry." So what's the moral?" "The moral?" Hermes asked. "Goodness, you act like it's a fable. It's a true story. Does truth have a moral?" "Um ..." "How about this: stealing is not always bad?" "I don't think my mom would like that moral." Rats are delicious, suggested George. What does that have to do with the story? Martha demanded. Nothing, George said. But I'm hungry. "I've got it," Hermes said. "Young people don't always do what they're told, but if they can pull it off and do something wonderful, sometimes they escape punishment. How's that?
Rick Riordan (The Sea of Monsters (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #2))
Without a human voice to read them aloud, or a pair of wide eyes following them by flashlight beneath a blanket, books had no real existence in our world. Like seeds in the beak of a bird waiting to fall to earth, or the notes of a song laid out on a sheet, yearning for an instrument to bring their music into being. they lie dormant hoping for the chance to emerge.They want us to give them life.
John Connolly (The Book of Lost Things)
Life's a freaking mess. In fact, I'm going to tell Sarah we need to start a new philosophical movement: messessentialism instead of existentialism: For those who revel in the essential mess that is life. Because Gram's right, there's not one truth ever, just a bunch of stories, all going on at once, in our heads, in our hearts, all getting in the way of each other. It's all a beautiful calamitous mess. It's like the day Mr. James took us into the woods and cried triumphantly, "That's it! That's it!" to the dizzying cacophony of soloing instruments trying to make music together. That is it.
Jandy Nelson (The Sky Is Everywhere)
Tell me something boss. What do you think is the highest form of art? 'Literature," he answered without hesitation. 'Painters and sculptors require elaborate supplies and tools. Dancers must have music. Musicians must have instruments. Literature needs nothing but a voice to speak it or sand to scrawl it in.
Tiffany Reisz (The Siren (The Original Sinners, #1))
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Cassandra Clare (City of Heavenly Fire (The Mortal Instruments, #6))
Music- what a powerful instrument, what a mighty weapon!
Maria Augusta von Trapp (The Story of the Trapp Family Singers)
Music does not have a race or a disposition! Every instrument has a voice that contributes. Music is a universal language. A universal religion of sorts. Certainly it's my religion. Music surpasses all distinctions between people" -Father
Pam Muñoz Ryan (Echo)
Simon's band never actually produced any music. Mostly they sat around in Simon's living room, fighting about potential names and band logos. She sometimes wondered if any of them could actually play an instrument. 'What's on the table?' 'We're choosing between Sea Vegetable Conspiracy and Rock Solid Panda.' Clary shook her head. 'Those are both terrible.' 'Eric suggested Lawn Chair Crisis.' 'Maybe Eric should stick to gaming.' 'But then we'd have to find a new drummer.' 'Oh, is that what Eric does?...
Cassandra Clare (City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments, #1))
I like that word,” Pandora mused. “Strumpet. It sounds like a saucy musical instrument.” “It
Lisa Kleypas (Marrying Winterborne (The Ravenels, #2))
The only people I truly envy are those who can play a musical instrument and those who can eat anything they want without gaining weight.
Thomas Sowell
Ourchestra: So you haven't got a drum, just beat your belly. So I haven't got a horn-I'll play my nose. So we haven't any cymbals- We'll just slap our hands together, And though there may be orchestras That sound a little better With their fancy shiny instruments That cost an awful lot- Hey, we're making music twice as good By playing what we've got!
Shel Silverstein
Shiny musical instruments wailed, their mouths open like lilies.
Ismail Kadare (Chronicle in Stone)
The true mission of the violin is to imitate the accents of the human voice, a noble mission that has earned for the violin the glory of being called the king of instruments
Charles-Auguste de Beriot
But Jace", Clary said. "Valentine taught him more than just fighting. He taught him languages, and how to play the piano" "That was Jocelyn's influence." Sebastian said her name unwillingly, as if he hated the sound of it. "She thought Valentine ought to be able to talk about books, art, music...not just killing things. He passed that on to Jace." A wrought iron blue gate rose to their left. Sebastian ducked under it and beckoned Clary to follow him. She didn't have to duck but went after him, her hands stuffed into her pockets. "What about you?" she asked. He held up his hands. They were unmistakably her mother's hands - dexterous, long-fingered, meant for holding a brush or a pen. "I learned to play the instruments of war, " he said, "and paint in blood. I am not like Jace.
Cassandra Clare (City of Lost Souls (The Mortal Instruments, #5))
One of the strangest things is the act of creation. You are faced with a blank slate—a page, a canvas, a block of stone or wood, a silent musical instrument. You then look inside yourself. You pull and tug and squeeze and fish around for slippery raw shapeless things that swim like fish made of cloud vapor and fill you with living clamor. You latch onto something. And you bring it forth out of your head like Zeus giving birth to Athena. And as it comes out, it takes shape and tangible form. It drips on the canvas, and slides through your pen, it springs forth and resonates into the musical strings, and slips along the edge of the sculptor’s tool onto the surface of the wood or marble. You have given it cohesion. You have brought forth something ordered and beautiful out of nothing. You have glimpsed the divine.
Vera Nazarian (The Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration)
Then the musical instruments appeared. Dad’s snare drum from the house, Henry’s guitar from his car, Adam’s spare guitar from my room. Everyone was jamming together, singing songs: Dad’s songs, Adam’s songs, old Clash songs, old Wipers songs. Teddy was dancing around, the blond of his hair reflecting the golden flames. I remember watching it all and getting that tickling in my chest and thinking to myself: This is what happiness feels like.
Gayle Forman (If I Stay (If I Stay, #1))
I watch Jace Herondale play, and I see the ghosts that rise up in the music. Don't you?" "Ghosts are memories, and we carry them because those we love do not leave the world." "Yes," she said. I just wish he were here to see this with us, just here with us one more time.
Cassandra Clare (City of Heavenly Fire (The Mortal Instruments, #6))
I saw a sick man pick up his instrument and be well
Nick Cave (The Sick Bag Song)
It is frighteningly bizarre to hear myself described this way; a set of statistics, a musical instrument, and nothing more.
Amy Ewing (The Jewel (The Lone City, #1))
All music is what awakes within us when we are reminded by the instruments; It is not the violins or the clarinets - It is not the beating of the drums - Nor the score of the baritone singing his sweet romanza; not that of the men's chorus, Nor that of the women's chorus - It is nearer and farther than they
Walt Whitman (Leaves of Grass)
I wouldn't call that an instrument of music," Ragnor observed sourly. "An instrument of torture, perhaps.
Cassandra Clare (What Really Happened in Peru (The Bane Chronicles, #1))
Music shouldn't be just a tune, it should be a touch.
Amit Kalantri (Wealth of Words)
Who needs to be a Phoenix for rebirth? One simply requires themselves and an instrument to clean the slate and start over, perhaps create their own world where everything is better..
TheBakaViolinist
you can run out of garlic, you can't really run out of music
Jace Wayland
There's an expression in classical music. It goes, 'We went out to the meadow.' It's for those evenings that can only be described in that way: There were no walls, there were no music stands, there weren't even any instruments. There was no ceiling, there was no floor, we all went out to the meadow. It describes a feeling. (Tom Waits quote)
John Green (Turtles All the Way Down)
Music is the one art we all have inside. We may not be able to play an instrument, but we can sing along or clap or tap our feet. Have you ever seen a baby bouncing up and down in the crib in time to some music? When you think of it, some of that baby's first messages from his or her parents may have been lullabies, or at least the music of their speaking voices. All of us have had the experience of hearing a tune from childhood and having that melody evoke a memory or a feeling. The music we hear early on tends to stay with us all our lives.
Fred Rogers (The World According to Mister Rogers: Important Things to Remember)
My heartbeat accelerates. I am in the here, in the now. I am also in the future. I am holding her and wanting and knowing and hoping all at once. We are the ones who take this thing called music and line it up with this thing called time. We are the ticking, we are the pulsing, we are the underneath every part of this moment. And by making this moment our own, we are rendering it timeless. There is no audience. There are no instruments. There are only bodies and thoughts and murmurs and looks. It's the concert rush to end all concert rushes, because this is what matters. When the heart races, this is what it's racing toward.
David Levithan (Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist)
[W]e must learn to accommodate ourselves to the discovery that some of those cunningly-fashioned instruments called human souls have only a very limited range of music, and will not vibrate in the least under a touch that fills others with tremulous rapture or quivering agony.
George Eliot (Adam Bede)
You know what the greatest tragedy is in the whole world?... It's all the people who never find out what it is they really want to do or what it is they're really good at. It's all the sons who become blacksmiths because their fathers were blacksmiths. It's all the people who could be really fantastic flute players who grow old and die without ever seeing a musical instrument, so they become bad plowmen instead. It's all the people with talents who never even find out. Maybe they are never even born in a time when it's even possible to find out. It's all the people who never get to know what it is that they can really be. It's all the wasted chances.
Terry Pratchett
HAMLET: I do not well understand that. Will you play upon this pipe? GUILDENSTERN: My lord, I cannot. HAMLET: I pray you. GUILDENSTERN: Believe me, I cannot. HAMLET: I do beseech you. GUILDENSTERN: I know no touch of it, my lord. HAMLET: It is as easy as lying. Govern these ventages with our fingers and thumb, give it breath with your mouth, and it will discourse most eloquent music. Look you, these are the stops. GUILDENSTERN: But these cannot I command to any utterance of harmony. I have not the skill. HAMLET: Why, look you now, how unworthy a thing you make of me! You would play upon me, you would seem to know my stops, you would pluck out the heart of my mystery, you would sound me from my lowest note to the top of my compass, and there is much music, excellent voice, in this little organ, yet cannot you make it speak. 'Sblood, do you think I am easier to be played on than a pipe? Call me what instrument you will, though you can fret me, you cannot play upon me.
William Shakespeare (Hamlet)
There were details like clothing, hair styles and the fragile objects that hardly ever survive for the archaeologist—musical instruments, bows and arrows, and body ornaments depicted as they were worn. … No amounts of stone and bone could yield the kinds of information that the paintings gave so freely.
Mary Leakey
I chose the specialty of surgery because of Matron, that steady presence during my boyhood and adolescence. 'What is the hardest thing you can possibly do?' she said when I went to her for advice on the darkest day of the first half of my life. I squirmed. How easily Matron probed the gap between ambition and expediency. 'Why must I do what is hardest?' 'Because, Marion, you are an instrument of God. Don't leave the instrument sitting in its case my son. Play! Leave no part of your instrument unexplored. Why settle for 'Three Blind Mice' when you can play the 'Gloria'? 'But, Matron, I can't dream of playing Bach...I couldn't read music. 'No, Marion,' she said her gaze soft...'No, not Bach's 'Gloria'. Yours! Your 'Gloria' lives within you. The greatest sin is not finding it, ignoring what God made possible in you.
Abraham Verghese (Cutting for Stone)
At every moment, each instrument knew what to play. Its little bit. But none could see the whole thing like this, all at once, only its own part. Just like life. Each person was like a line of music, but nobody knew what the symphony sounded like. Only the conductor had the whole score.
Janet Fitch (Paint it Black)
Stories come alive in the telling. Without a human voice to read them aloud, or a pair of wide eyes following them by flashlight beneath a blanket, they had no existence in our world. They were like seeds in the beak of a bird, waiting to fall to earth. Or the notes of a song laid out on a sheet, yearning for an instrument to bring their music into being. They lay dormant, hoping for the chance to emerge. Once someone started to read them, they could begin to change. They could take root in the imagination and transform the reader. Stories wanted to be read. They needed it. It was the reason they forced themselves from their world into ours. They wanted us to give them life.
John Connolly (The Book of Lost Things)
Among other things, neuroplasticity means that emotions such as happiness and compassion can be cultivated in much the same way that a person can learn through repetition to play golf and basketball or master a musical instrument, and that such practice changes the activity and physical aspects of specific brain areas.
Andrew Weil (Spontaneous Healing)
Its your decision, Simon Lewis," said Magnus. "Remain in the existence you have, go to college, study music, get married. Live your life. Or---you can have an uncertain life of shadows and dangers. You can have the joy of reading the stories of incredible happenings, or you can be part of the story." "The choice is up to you
Cassandra Clare (City of Heavenly Fire (The Mortal Instruments, #6))
How can you understand the language of music, if you will not be an instrument?”—Zarost
Greg Hamerton (Second Sight (Tales of the Lifesong, #2))
He spoke so effortlessly, as if his mouth were a musical instrument that just let sound out when touched, when opened.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Purple Hibiscus)
In the old law, God was praised both with musical instruments, and human voices. But the church does not use musical instruments to praise God, lest she should seem to judaize.
Thomas Aquinas (Summa Theologica)
From his father, Gansey had gotten a head for logic, an affection for research, and a trust fund the size of most state lotteries. From their father, the Lynch brothers had gotten indefatigable egos, a decade of obscure Irish music instrument lessons, and the ability to box like they meant it. Niall Lynch had not been around very much, but when he had been, he had been an excellent teacher.
Maggie Stiefvater (The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle, #1))
Not all activities are equal in this regard. Those that involve genuine concentration—studying a musical instrument, playing board games, reading, and dancing—are associated with a lower risk for dementia. Dancing, which requires learning new moves, is both physically and mentally challenging and requires much concentration. Less intense activities, such as bowling, babysitting, and golfing, are not associated with a reduced incidence of Alzheimer’s. (254)
Norman Doidge
Mr. Mancini had a singular talent for making me uncomfortable. He forced me to consider things I’d rather not think about – the sex of my guitar, for instance. If I honestly wanted to put my hands on a woman, would that automatically mean I could play? Gretchen’s teacher never told her to think of her piano as a boy. Neither did Lisa’s flute teacher, though in that case the analogy was obvious. On the off chance that sexual desire was all it took, I steered clear of Lisa’s instrument, fearing that I might be labeled a prodigy.
David Sedaris (Me Talk Pretty One Day)
I had never before thought of how awful the relationship must be between the musician and his instrument. He has to fill it, this instrument, with the breath of life, his own. He has to make it do what he wants it to do. And a piano is just a piano. It's made out of so much wood and wires and little hammers and big ones, and ivory. While there's only so much you can do with it, the only way to find this out is to try; to try and make it do everything.
James Baldwin (Sonny's Blues)
Headbangers' are people who like heavy-metal music, which is performed by skinny men with huge hair who stomp around the stage, striking their instruments and shrieking angrily, apparently because somebody has stolen all their shirts.
Dave Barry
I now understood the secret of music and knew what makes it so infinitely superior to all the other arts: its incorporeality. Once it has left an instrument it becomes its own master, a free and independent creature of sound, weightless, incorporeal and perfectly in tune with the universe.
Walter Moers
Once there was a boy,” said Jace. Clary interrupted immediately. “A Shadowhunter boy?” “Of course.” For a moment a bleak amusement colored his voice. Then it was gone. “When the boy was six years old, his father gave him a falcon to train. Falcons are raptors – killing birds, his father told him, the Shadowhunters of the sky. “The falcon didn’t like the boy, and the boy didn’t like it, either. Its sharp beak made him nervous, and its bright eyes always seemed to be watching him. It would slash at him with beak and talons when he came near: For weeks his wrists and hands were always bleeding. He didn’t know it, but his father had selected a falcon that had lived in the wild for over a year, and thus was nearly impossible to tame. But the boy tried, because his father told him to make the falcon obedient, and he wanted to please his father. “He stayed with the falcon constantly, keeping it awake by talking to it and even playing music to it, because a tired bird was meant to be easier to tame. He learned the equipment: the jesses, the hood, the brail, the leash that bound the bird to his wrist. He was meant to keep the falcon blind, but he couldn’t bring himself to do it – instead he tried to sit where the bird could see him as he touched and stroked its wings, willing it to trust him. Hee fed it from his hand, and at first it would not eat. Later it ate so savagely that its beak cut the skin of his palm. But the boy was glad, because it was progress, and because he wanted the bird to know him, even if the bird had to consume his blood to make that happen. “He began to see that the falcon was beautiful, that its slim wings were built for the speed of flight, that it was strong and swift, fierce and gentle. When it dived to the ground, it moved like likght. When it learned to circle and come to his wrist, he neary shouted with delight Sometimes the bird would hope to his shoulder and put its beak in his hair. He knew his falcon loved him, and when he was certain it was not just tamed but perfectly tamed, he went to his father and showed him what he had done, expecting him to be proud. “Instead his father took the bird, now tame and trusting, in his hands and broke its neck. ‘I told you to make it obedient,’ his father said, and dropped the falcon’s lifeless body to the ground. ‘Instead, you taught it to love you. Falcons are not meant to be loving pets: They are fierce and wild, savage and cruel. This bird was not tamed; it was broken.’ “Later, when his father left him, the boy cried over his pet, until eventually his father sent a servant to take the body of the bird away and bury it. The boy never cried again, and he never forgot what he’d learned: that to love is to destroy, and that to be loved is to be the one destroyed.
Cassandra Clare (City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments, #1))
As it is, we are merely bolting our lives—gulping down undigested experiences as fast as we can stuff them in—because awareness of our own existence is so superficial and so narrow that nothing seems to us more boring than simple being. If I ask you what you did, saw, heard, smelled, touched and tasted yesterday, I am likely to get nothing more than the thin, sketchy outline of the few things that you noticed, and of those only what you thought worth remembering. Is it surprising that an existence so experienced seems so empty and bare that its hunger for an infinite future is insatiable? But suppose you could answer, “It would take me forever to tell you, and I am much too interested in what’s happening now.” How is it possible that a being with such sensitive jewels as the eyes, such enchanted musical instruments as the ears, and such a fabulous arabesque of nerves as the brain can experience itself as anything less than a god? And, when you consider that this incalculably subtle organism is inseparable from the still more marvelous patterns of its environment—from the minutest electrical designs to the whole company of the galaxies—how is it conceivable that this incarnation of all eternity can be bored with being?
Alan W. Watts (The Book: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are)
Magnus didn’t look at her; he was looking down at the tent, where Clary sat talking with Tessa, where Alec stood side by side with Maia and Bat, laughing, where Isabelle and Simon were dancing to the music Jace was playing on the piano, the haunting sweet notes of Chopin reminding him of another time, and the sound of a violin at Christmas.
Cassandra Clare (City of Heavenly Fire (The Mortal Instruments, #6))
[The ones made for music are the most beloved of all. Their bodies a container for the spirit within; the best of them is music, the rest only instrument of flesh and bone.]
Lauren Groff (Fates and Furies)
Jay took out his guitar. He was decent at it, but the piano was his best talent. He couldn’t get a certain riff right, so he handed the instrument to Kaidan, and my heart flipped. I recalled him saying he played guitar, but I’d never actually seen or heard him play. Kaidan began to pick at each string, testing and tuning with his full attention. I watched the way his hands moved across the wood and strings, gently, reverently, his body seeming to curl around it as if it were a part of him. . . . I felt my hands getting sweaty, because watching Kaidan get lost in music did crazy things to me. My breathing became ragged and I couldn’t take my eyes off him. He looked up at that moment and caught me staring hard. He knew. He knew what it did to me! I could tell because his badge expanded. He angled himself away from the others and signed to me, I want to be alone with you tonight. Patti did have a lot of guests staying in the house. I signed back, I’ll work on it. “Excellent,” he whispered, a hot grin sliding onto his face.
Wendy Higgins (Sweet Reckoning (Sweet, #3))
Give yourself a winter night, long candles, unfamiliar music, a typewriter, keyboard, an instrument, or canvas, to set fire to your mind. Surrender. Be with art. Let the room become a constellation, trust it and ride.
Victoria Erickson (Rhythms and Roads)
music has, quite literally, saved my life and, I believe, the lives of countless others. It provides company when there is none, understanding where there is confusion, comfort where there is distress, and sheer, unpolluted energy where there is a hollow shell of brokenness and fatigue. And
James Rhodes (Instrumental)
The beauty of the flute was in its simplicity, in its resemblance to the human voice. It always sounded clear. It sounded alone. The piano, on the other hand, was a network of parts—a ship, with its strings like rigging, its case a hull, its lifted lid a sail. Kestrel always thought that the piano didn't sound like a single instrument but a twinned one, with its low and high halves merging together or pulling apart.
Marie Rutkoski (The Winner's Curse (The Winner's Trilogy, #1))
There was something about clowns that was worse than zombies. (Or maybe something that was the same. When you see a zombie, you want to laugh at first. When you see a clown, most people get a little nervous. There's the pallor and the cakey mortician-style makeup, the shuffling and the untidy hair. But clowns were probably malicious, and they moved fast on those little bicycles and in those little crammed cars. Zombies weren't much of anything. They didn't carry musical instruments and they didn't care whether or not you laughed at them. You always knew what zombies wanted.)
Kelly Link (The Living Dead (The Living Dead, #1))
Our hearts resonate at the same frequency as the earth and the universe. Therefore, we are all valuable instruments in the orchestration of the world and its harmony. We must always be aware of the vibrations we emit individually and collectively. Always be in command of your music. Only you can control and shape its tone. If life throws you a few bad notes or vibrations, don't let them interrupt or alter your song.
Suzy Kassem
Music is the fastest motivator in the world.
Amit Kalantri (Wealth of Words)
Some people look like they sound better than they actually sound, because they look confident and have good posture," once musician, a veteran of many auditions, says. "Other people look awful when they play but sound great. Other people have that belabored look when they play, but you can't hear it in the sound. There is always this dissonance between what you see and hear" (p.251).
Malcolm Gladwell (Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking)
Each woman is like an instrument, waiting to be learned, loved, and finely played, to have at last her own true music made. Some might take offense at this way of seeing things, not understanding how a trouper views his music. They might think I degrade women. They might consider me callous, or boorish, or crude. But those people do not understand love, or music, or me.
Patrick Rothfuss (The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle, #1))
She sang, as requested. There was much about love in the ballad: faithful love that refused to abandon its object; love that disaster could not shake; love that, in calamity, waxed fonder, in poverty clung closer. The words were set to a fine old air -- in themselves they were simple and sweet: perhaps, when read, they wanted force; when well sung, they wanted nothing. Shirley sang them well: she breathed into the feeling, softness, she poured round the passion, force: her voice was fine that evening; its expression dramatic: she impressed all, and charmed one. On leaving the instrument, she went to the fire, and sat down on a seat -- semi-stool, semi-cushion: the ladies were round her -- none of them spoke. The Misses Sympson and the Misses Nunnely looked upon her, as quiet poultry might look on an egret, an ibis, or any other strange fowl. What made her sing so? They never sang so. Was it proper to sing with such expression, with such originality -- so unlike a school girl? Decidedly not: it was strange, it was unusual. What was strange must be wrong; what was unusual must be improper. Shirley was judged.
Charlotte Brontë (Shirley)
What - what - what are you doing?" he demanded. "I am almost six hundred years old," Magnus claimed, and Ragnor snorted, since Magnus changed his age to suit himself every few weeks. Magnus swept on. "It does seem about time to learn a musical instrument." He flourished his new prize, a little stringed instrument that looked like a cousin of the lute that the lute was embarrassed to be related to. "It's called a charango. I am planning to become a charanguista!" "I wouldn't call that an instrument of music," Ragnor observed sourly. "An instrument of torture, perhaps." Magnus cradled the charango in his arms as if it were an easily offended baby. "It's a beautiful and very unique instrument! The sound box is made from an armadillo. Well, a dried armadillo shell." "That explains the sound you're making," said Ragnor. "Like a lost, hungry armadillo." "You are just jealous," Magnus remarked calmly. "Because you do not have the soul of a true artiste like myself." "Oh, I am positively green with envy," Ragnor snapped. "Come now, Ragnor. That's not fair," said Magnus. "You know I love it when you make jokes about your complexion." Magnus refused to be affected by Ragnor's cruel judgments. He regarded his fellow warlock with a lofty stare of superb indifference, raised his charango, and began to play again his defiant, beautiful tune. They both heard the staccato thump of frantically running feet from within the house, the swish of skirts, and then Catarina came rushing out into the courtyard. Her white hair was falling loose about her shoulders, and her face was the picture of alarm. "Magnus, Ragnor, I heard a cat making a most unearthly noise," she exclaimed. "From the sound of it, the poor creature must be direly sick. You have to help me find it!" Ragnor immediately collapsed with hysterical laughter on his windowsill. Magnus stared at Catarina for a moment, until he saw her lips twitch. "You are conspiring against me and my art," he declared. "You are a pack of conspirators." He began to play again. Catarina stopped him by putting a hand on his arm. "No, but seriously, Magnus," she said. "That noise is appalling." Magnus sighed. "Every warlock's a critic." "Why are you doing this?" "I have already explained myself to Ragnor. I wish to become proficient with a musical instrument. I have decided to devote myself to the art of the charanguista, and I wish to hear no more petty objections." "If we are all making lists of things we wish to hear no more . . . ," Ragnor murmured. Catarina, however, was smiling. "I see," she said. "Madam, you do not see." "I do. I see it all most clearly," Catarina assured him. "What is her name?" "I resent your implication," Magnus said. "There is no woman in the case. I am married to my music!" "Oh, all right," Catarina said. "What's his name, then?" His name was Imasu Morales, and he was gorgeous.
Cassandra Clare (The Bane Chronicles)
Rush-hour on the A rain. A blind man staggers forth, his cane tapping lightly own the aisle. He leans against the door, raises a violin to chin, and says I’m sorry to bother you, folks. But please. Just listen. And it kills me, the word sorry. As if something like music should be forgiven. He nuzzles into the wood like a lover, inhales, and at the first slow stroke, the crescendo seeps through our skin like warm water, we who have nothing but destinations, who dream of light but descend into the mouths of tunnels, searching. Beads of sweat fall from his brow, making dark roses on the instrument. His head swooning to each chord exhaled through the hollow torso. The woman beside me has put down her book, closed her eyes, the baby has stopped crying, the cop has sat down, and I know this train is too fast for dreaming, that these iron jaws will always open to swallow a smile already lost. How insufficient the memory, to fail before death. how will hear these notes when the train slides into the yard, the lights turned out, and the song lingers with breaths rising from empty seats? I know I am too human to praise what is fading. But for now, I just want to listen as the train fills completely with warm water, and we are all swimming slowly toward the man with Mozart flowing from his hands. I want nothing but to put my fingers inside his mouth, let that prayer hum through my veins. I want crawl into the hole in his violin. I want to sleep there until my flesh becomes music.
Ocean Vuong
You are a valuable instrument in the orchestration of your own world, and the overall harmony of the universe. Always be in command of your music. Only you can control and shape its tone. If life throws you a few bad notes or vibrations, don't let them interrupt or alter your song.
Suzy Kassem (Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem)
What an unfortunate instrument the guitar is! An instrument of such great nobility, a genuine monarch of music-- reduced to a pitiful lump of wood with six strings, constantly abused by people with no ear and no voice.
Sergei Lukyanenko (Day Watch (Watch #2))
It was like stepping onstage at your first piano recital and realizing that you’d never played anything but an instrument with broken keys. Your world shifts, but you’re asked to adjust and overcome, to play your music the same as everyone else.
Michelle Obama (Becoming)
Music is one of the most forceful instruments for governing the mind and spirit of man.
William F. Gladstone
I have no objection to instruments of music in our worship, provided they are neither seen nor heard.
John Wesley
Music is the Universal Language that allows all people to communicate with each other.
Ellen J. Barrier
My words are like a musical instrument, softly & seductively playing under the moonlight as they penetrate the depths of your loins!
Rokk-I La' VON
I was usually on xylophone. On my worst days she gave me a wooden block and a drumstick and tried to convince me that was a valid musical instrument.
Corey Ann Haydu (Eventown)
My code of life and conduct is simply this: work hard, play to the allowable limit, disregard equally the good and bad opinion of others, never do a friend a dirty trick, eat and drink what you feel like when you feel like, never grow indignant over anything, trust to tobacco for calm and serenity, bathe twice a day . . . learn to play at least one musical instrument and then play it only in private, never allow one's self even a passing thought of death, never contradict anyone or seek to prove anything to anyone unless one gets paid for it in cold, hard coin, live the moment to the utmost of its possibilities, treat one's enemies with polite inconsideration, avoid persons who are chronically in need, and be satisfied with life always but never with one's self.
George Jean Nathan
Tonight I will suck the marrow from your bones!” it said. “I will dry them and work them most cunningly into instruments of music! Whenever I play upon them, your spirit will writhe in bodiless agony!” “You burn prettily,” I said.
Roger Zelazny (The Guns of Avalon (The Chronicles of Amber #2))
The Frays had never been a religiously observant family, but Clary loved Fifth Avenue at Christmas time. The air smelled like sweet roasted chestnuts, and the window displays sparkled with silver and blue, green and red. This year there were fat round crystal snowflakes attached to each lamppost, sending back the winter sunlight in shafts of gold. Not to mention the huge tree at Rockefeller Center. It threw its shadow across them as she and Simon draped themselves over the gate at the side of the skating rink, watching tourists fall down as they tried to navigate the ice. Clary had a hot chocolate wrapped in her hands, the warmth spreading through her body. She felt almost normal—this, coming to Fifth to see the window displays and the tree, had been a winter tradition for her and Simon for as long as she could remember. “Feels like old times, doesn’t it?” he said, echoing her thoughts as he propped his chin on his folded arms. She chanced a sideways look at him. He was wearing a black topcoat and scarf that emphasized the winter pallor of his skin. His eyes were shadowed, indicating that he hadn’t fed on blood recently. He looked like what he was—a hungry, tired vampire. Well, she thought. Almost like old times. “More people to buy presents for,” she said. “Plus, the always traumatic what-to-buy-someone-for-the-first-Christmas-after-you’ve-started-dating question.” “What to get the Shadowhunter who has everything,” Simon said with a grin. “Jace mostly likes weapons,” Clary sighed. “He likes books, but they have a huge library at the Institute. He likes classical music …” She brightened. Simon was a musician; even though his band was terrible, and was always changing their name—currently they were Lethal Soufflé—he did have training. “What would you give someone who likes to play the piano?” “A piano.” “Simon.” “A really huge metronome that could also double as a weapon?” Clary sighed, exasperated. “Sheet music. Rachmaninoff is tough stuff, but he likes a challenge.” “Now you’re talking. I’m going to see if there’s a music store around here.” Clary, done with her hot chocolate, tossed the cup into a nearby trash can and pulled her phone out. “What about you? What are you giving Isabelle?” “I have absolutely no idea,” Simon said. They had started heading toward the avenue, where a steady stream of pedestrians gawking at the windows clogged the streets. “Oh, come on. Isabelle’s easy.” “That’s my girlfriend you’re talking about.” Simon’s brows drew together. “I think. I’m not sure. We haven’t discussed it. The relationship, I mean.” “You really have to DTR, Simon.” “What?” “Define the relationship. What it is, where it’s going. Are you boyfriend and girlfriend, just having fun, ‘it’s complicated,’ or what? When’s she going to tell her parents? Are you allowed to see other people?” Simon blanched. “What? Seriously?” “Seriously. In the meantime—perfume!” Clary grabbed Simon by the back of his coat and hauled him into a cosmetics store that had once been a bank. It was massive on the inside, with rows of gleaming bottles everywhere. “And something unusual,” she said, heading for the fragrance area. “Isabelle isn’t going to want to smell like everyone else. She’s going to want to smell like figs, or vetiver, or—” “Figs? Figs have a smell?” Simon looked horrified; Clary was about to laugh at him when her phone buzzed. It was her mother. where are you? It’s an emergency.
Cassandra Clare (City of Heavenly Fire (The Mortal Instruments, #6))
When I was a little girl I wanted to be a reindeer-the flying kind. I spent a couple years galloping around looking for lichen and fantasizing about boy reindeer. Then one day I saw Peter Pan and my reindeer phase was over. I didn't understand the allure of not growing up, because every little girl got boobs and go steady. I did understand that a flying Peter Pan was better than a flying reindeer. Mary Lou had seen Peter Pan too, but Mary Lou's ambition was to be Wendy, so Mary Lou and I made a good pair. On most any day we could be seen holding hands, running through the neighborhood singing, "I can fly! I can fly!" If we'd been older this probably would have started rumors. The Peter Pan stage was actually pretty short-lived because a few months into Peter Pan I discovered Wonder Woman. Wonder Woman couldn't fly, but she had big, fat bulging boobs crammed into a sexy Wondersuit. Barbie was firmly entrenched as role model in the burg, but Wonder Woman gave her a good run for her money. Not only did Wonder Woman spill over her Wondercups but she also kicked serious ass. If I had to name the single most influential person in my life it would have to be Wonder Woman. All during my teens and early twenties I wanted to be a rock star. The fact that I can't play a musical instrument or carry a tune did nothing to diminish the fantasy. During my more realistic moments I wanted to be a rock star's girlfriend.
Janet Evanovich (Three to Get Deadly (Stephanie Plum, #3))
[On Chopin's Preludes:] "His genius was filled with the mysterious sounds of nature, but transformed into sublime equivalents in musical thought, and not through slavish imitation of the actual external sounds. His composition of that night was surely filled with raindrops, resounding clearly on the tiles of the Charterhouse, but it had been transformed in his imagination and in his song into tears falling upon his heart from the sky. ... The gift of Chopin is [the expression of] the deepest and fullest feelings and emotions that have ever existed. He made a single instrument speak a language of infinity. He could often sum up, in ten lines that a child could play, poems of a boundless exaltation, dramas of unequalled power.
George Sand (Story of My Life: The Autobiography of George Sand)
Think of those fingers as abilities. A creative person may write, paint, sculpt, or think up math formulae; he or she might dance or sing or play a musical instrument. Those are the fingers, but creativity is the hand that gives them life. & just as all hands are basically the same - form follows function - all creative people are the same once you get down to the place where the fingers join.
Stephen King
MUSIC OF THE UNIVERSE Without the orchestra of the universe, There would be no ether. And without its instrumentation By the ether, There would be no waves. And without any waves, There would be no sound. And without sound, There would be no music. And without music, There would be no life. And without a life force, There would be no matter. But it does not matter - Because what is matter, If there is no light?
Suzy Kassem (Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem)
When Rosencrantz asks Hamlet, "Good my lord, what is your cause of distemper? You do surely bar the door upon your own liberty, if you deny your grief to your friends"(III, ii, 844-846), Hamlet responds, "Why, look you now, how unworthy a thing you make of me! You would play upon me; you would seem to know my stops; you would pluck from my lowest note to the top of my compass; and there is much music, excellent voice, in this little organ, yet cannot you make it speak. 'Sblood, do you think I am easier to be played on than a pipe? Call me what instrument you will, though you can fret me, you cannot play upon me." (III,ii, 371-380)
William Shakespeare (Hamlet)
I'm here!" I said..."I'm read to go home!" As if they couldn't see me. As if I couldn't remember what it had been like, fluttering next to someone's ear and whispering into it. How the whole earth was like a musical instrument that we could play effortlessly. ...I could not fly. My sister was not there. My heart was broken.
Carolyn Turgeon (Godmother: The Secret Cinderella Story)
Girls, be good to these spirits of music and poetry that breast your threshold with their scented gifts. Lift the lyre, clear and sweet, they leave with you. As for me, this body is now so arthritic I cannot play, hardly even hold the instrument. Can you believe my white hair was once black? And oh, the soul grows heavy with the body. Complaining knee-joints creak at every move. To think I danced as delicate as a deer! Some gloomy poems came from these thoughts: useless: we are all born to lose life, and what is worse, girls, to lose youth. The legend of the goddess of the dawn I’m sure you know: how rosy Eos madly in love with gorgeous young Tithonus swept him like booty to her hiding-place but then forgot he would grow old and grey while she in despair pursued her immortal way.
Sappho
It's called a gui-tar. It's used to perform American rural music. It's said to be especially popular in Texas," he told her. "It's also the instrument of choice for playing 'the blues,' which is a form of American music that chronicles the pain caused by poor decision making.
Adam Johnson (The Orphan Master's Son)
My mouth blooms like a cut. I've been wronged all year, tedious nights, nothing but rough elbows in them and delicate boxes of Kleenex calling crybaby crybaby, you fool! Before today my body was useless. Now it's tearing at its square corners. It's tearing old Mary's garments off, knot by knot and see - Now it's shot full of these electric bolts. Zing! A resurrection! Once it was a boat, quite wooden and with no business, no salt water under it and in need of some paint. It was no more than a group of boards. But you hoisted her, rigged her. She's been elected. My nerves are turned on. I hear them like musical instruments. Where there was silence the drums, the strings are incurably playing. You did this. Pure genius at work. Darling, the composer has stepped into fire.
Anne Sexton (Love Poems)
Say it's true: It is what it is. We're social, tribal, musical animals, walking percussion instruments. Most of us do the best we can. We show up. We strive for gratitude, and try not to be such babies.
Anne Lamott (Stitches: A Handbook on Meaning, Hope, and Repair)
Oh don’t concern yourself about that,” Cassandra said earnestly. “Pandora’s not going to marry at all. And I certainly wouldn’t want a man who would scorn me just because my sister was a strumpet.” “I like that word,” Pandora mused. “Strumpet. It sounds like a saucy musical instrument.” “It would liven up an orchestra,” Cassandra said. “Wouldn’t you like to hear the Vivaldi Double Strumpet Concerto in C?
Lisa Kleypas (Marrying Winterborne (The Ravenels, #2))
She remembered what Jem, the ex-Silent Brother who'd helped preside over her parabatai ceremony, had said about what Julian was to her, that there was an expression for it in his native Chinese, zhi yin. "The one who understands your music." Emma couldn't play a note on any instrument , but Julian understood her music.
Cassandra Clare (Lady Midnight (The Dark Artifices, #1))
New Rule: Stop calling bagpipes a musical instrument. They're actually a Scottish Breathalyzer test. You blow into one end, and if the sound that comes out the other end doesn't make you want to kill yourself--you're not drunk enough.
Bill Maher (The New New Rules: A Funny Look At How Everybody But Me Has Their Head Up Their Ass)
It is easier to understand if you think of it in terms of music. Sometimes a man enjoys a symphony. Elsetimes he finds a jig more suited to his taste. The same holds true for lovemaking. One type is suited to the deep cushions of a twilight forest glade. Another comes quite naturally tangled in the sheets of narrow beds upstairs in inns. Each woman is like an instrument, waiting to be learned, loved, and finely played, to have at last her own true music made. Some might take offense at this way of seeing things, not understanding how a trouper views his music. They might think I degrade women. They might consider me callous, or boorish, or crude. But those people do not understand love, or music, or me.
Patrick Rothfuss (The Wise Man's Fear (The Kingkiller Chronicle, #2))
I have sent books and music there, and all / Those instruments with which high spirits call / The future from its cradle, and the past / Out of its grave, and make the present last / In thoughts and joys which sleep, but cannot die, / Folded within their own eternity.
Percy Bysshe Shelley (Shelley's Poetry and Prose)
There is no need to be worried by facetious people who try to make the Christian hope of ‘Heaven’ ridiculous by saying they do not want ‘to spend eternity playing harps’. The answer to such people is that if they cannot understand books written for grown-ups, they should not talk about them. All the scriptural imagery (harps, crowns, gold, etc.) is, of course, a merely symbolical attempt to express the inexpressible. Musical instruments are mentioned because for many people (not all) music is the thing known in the present life which most strongly suggests ecstasy and infinity. Crowns are mentioned to suggest the fact that those who are united with God in eternity share His splendour and power and joy. Gold is mentioned to suggest the timelessness of Heaven (gold does not rust) and the preciousness of it. People who take these symbols literally might as well think that when Christ told us to be like doves, He meant that we were to lay eggs.
C.S. Lewis (Mere Christianity)
For my first recital ever, they gave me a cello. And for this one, they gave me you.
Gayle Forman (Where She Went (If I Stay, #2))
When something seems unbalanced and out of rhythm, just a song can tune things up in a moment. The power of music is therapy.
Anthony Liccione
Today, like every other day, we wake up empty and frightened. Don’t open the door to the study and begin reading. Take down a musical instrument. Let the beauty we love be what we do. There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.
Rumi (A Year With Rumi)
People who seek psychotherapy for psychological, behavioral or relationship problems tend to experience a wide range of bodily complaints...The body can express emotional issues a person may have difficulty processing consciously...I believe that the vast majority of people don't recognize what their bodies are really telling them. The way I see it, our emotions are music and our bodies are instruments that play the discordant tunes. But if we don't know how to read music, we just think the instrument is defective.
Charlette Mikulka
You know what punk is? a bunch of no-talent guys who really, really want to be in a band. Nobody reads music, nobody plays the mandolin, and you're too dumb to write songs about mythology or Middle-earth. So what's your style? Three chords, cranked out fast and loud and distorted because your instruments are crap and you can't play them worth a damn. And you scream your lungs out to cover up the fact that you can't sing. It should suck, but here's the thing - it doesn't. Rock and roll can be so full of itself, but not this. It's simple and angry and raw.
Gordon Korman (Born to Rock)
Poets represent love as sculptors design beauty, as musicians create melody; that is to say, endowed with an exquisite nervous organization, they gather up with discerning ardor the purest elements of life, the most beautiful lines of matter, and the most harmonious voices of nature. There lived, it is said, at Athens a great number of beautiful girls; Praxiteles drew them all one after another; then from these diverse types of beauty, each one of which had its defects, he formed a single faultless beauty and created Venus. The man who first created a musical instrument, and who gave to harmony its rules and its laws, had for a long time listened to the murmuring of reeds and the singing of birds. Thus the poets, who understand life, after knowing much of love, more or less transitory, after feeling that sublime exaltation which real passion can for the moment inspire, eliminating from human nature all that degrades it, created the mysterious names which through the ages fly from lip to lip: Daphnis and Chloe, Hero and Leander, Pyramus and Thisbe. To try to find in real life such love as this, eternal and absolute, is but to seek on public squares a woman such as Venus, or to expect nightingales to sing the symphonies of Beethoven.
Alfred de Musset (The Confession of a Child of the Century)
In the years since, I learned that when I am missing Berk or Asta, I can play my tears through my instruments. And the Monitors think I am just improving. They don't know the truth. I play laughter and frustration. I play feelings I cannot define. But the music defines them for me.
Krista McGee (Anomaly (Anomaly, #1))
You know what the greatest tragedy is in the whole world?” said Ginger, not paying him the least attention. “It’s all the people who never find out what it is they really want to do or what it is they’re really good at. It’s all the sons who become blacksmiths because their fathers were blacksmiths. It’s all the people who could be really fantastic flute players who grow old and die without ever seeing a musical instrument, so they become bad plowmen instead. It’s all the people with talents who never even find out. Maybe they are never even born in a time when it’s even possible to find out.
Terry Pratchett (Moving Pictures (Discworld, #10))
Art should be linked to abstract things - color, line, tone. It is not an instrument to improve social conditions and chase ugliness. Painting is like music and it has to separate from everyday reality.
Irving Stone (Lust for Life)
There comes a time in a man's life, if he is unlucky and leads a full life, when he has a secret so dirty that he knows he never will get rid of it. (Shakespeare knew this and tried to say it, but he said it just as badly as anyone ever said it. 'All the perfumes of Arabia' makes you think of all the perfumes of Arabia and nothing more. It is the trouble with all metaphors where human behavior is concerned. People are not ships, chess men, flowers, race horses, oil paintings, bottles of champagne, excrement, musical instruments or anything else but people. Metaphors are all right to give you an idea.)
John O'Hara (BUtterfield 8)
Today, like every other day, we wake up empty and frightened. Don't open the door of your study and begin reading. Take down a musical instrument. Let the beauty we love be what we do. There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.
Rumi
His touch was like a bard's on his instrument, and it awakened a deep and mysterious music in my body.
Juliet Marillier (Heir to Sevenwaters (Sevenwaters, #4))
You are a valuable instrument in the orchestration of your own world, and the overall harmony of the universe.
Suzy Kassem (Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem)
Apart from Tony Iommi – who I’d never seen again since leaving school – I didn’t even know anyone who could play a musical instrument. So, instead, I decided to grow my hair long and get some tattoos. At least I’d look the part. The hair was easy. The tattoos stung like a f**king bastard.
Ozzy Osbourne (I Am Ozzy)
Charles Wallace and the unicorn moved through the time-spinning reaches of a far glazy, and he realized that the galaxy itself was part of a mighty orchestra, and each star and planet within the galaxy added its own instrument to the music of the spheres. As long as the ancient harmonies were sung, the universe would not entirely lose its joy.
Madeleine L'Engle (A Swiftly Tilting Planet (Time Quintet, #3))
Violinists wear the imprint on their necks with pride For they are the players of harmony. Pilgrims, too, wear the imprint on their foreheads with pride For they are the conductors of unity. And Lovers? Why, they are made humble by the imprint on their hearts For they are merely the instruments of rhapsody.
Kamand Kojouri
If you find yourself pulled beyond all practicality toward doing something -- writing poetry, building a business, restoring old cars, planting a secret garden; if at four in the morning the right word comes to you, the perfect flower to plant in that particular spot -- you are playing your invisible instrument.
Joan Oliver Goldsmith (How Can We Keep from Singing: Music and the Passionate Life)
So sweet is this song that no one could resist it. For in it is all the passionate ache for the moonlight, and the great hunger of the sea, and the terror of desolate places,—all things that lure men to the unattainable. Omari tessala marax, tessala dodi phornepax amri radara poliax armana piliu amri radara piliu son; mari narya barbiton madara anaphax sarpedon andala hriliu Translation: I am the harlot that shaketh Death. This shaking giveth the Peace of Satiate Lust. Immortality jetteth from my skull, And music from my vulva. Immortality jetteth from my vulva also, For my Whoredom is a sweet scent like a seven-stringed instrument, Played unto God the Invisible, the all-ruler, That goeth along giving the shrill scream of orgasm. Every man that hath seen me forgetteth me never, and I appear oftentimes in the coals of the fire, and upon the smooth white skin of woman, and in the constancy of the waterfall, and in the emptiness of deserts and marshes, and upon great cliffs that look seaward; and in many strange places, where men seek me not. And many thousand times he beholdeth me not. And at last I smite myself into him as a vision smiteth into a stone, and whom I call must follow.
Aleister Crowley (The Vision and the Voice: With Commentary and Other Papers (Equinox IV:2))
I'm convinced that the world, more than ever, needs the music only you can make. And if it takes extra courage to keep playing in spite of your loss, many will applaud the effort. And who knows? Others may be inspired to pick up their broken instruments, their broken lives, and begin again.
Steve Goodier
Destiny does not mean that your life has been strictly predetermined. Therefore, to leave everything to fate and to not actively contribute to the music of the universe is a sign of sheer ignorance. The music of the universe is all-pervading and it is composed on...different levels. Your destiny is the level where you will play your tune. You might not change your instrument but how well you play is entirely in your hands.
Elif Shafak (The Forty Rules of Love)
La verdadera compasión nace cuando se entiende que lo que alguien percibe como la verdad es, a todos los efectos, la verdad. Da exactamente igual que esto sea manifiestamente incierto para ti y para todos los demás.
James Rhodes (Instrumental: A Memoir of Madness, Medication and Music)
Look, the easiest thing in the world is to cut and run. From anything, not just relationships. It neatly avoids taking responsibility for things, learning lessons that have to be learned at some point, reinforces blame, and, in my case at least, ensured I would simply repeat the same shit with someone else.
James Rhodes (Instrumental: A Memoir of Madness, Medication, and Music)
Why would you want to stand there waving a stick when you could be playing an instrument?
Nigel Kennedy
and what struck my heart almost as much as the song itself was the way that he seemed with his whole body to lean into the music, to press his soul like an ear to the instrument.
Anne Rice (The Vampire Lestat (The Vampire Chronicles, #2))
The horn . . . is the joint hardest instrument to learn. . . . (The other is the oboe).
Jasper Rees (A Devil to Play: One Man's Year-Long Quest to Master the Orchestra's Most Difficult Instrument)
The guitar breathed. It inhaled and exhaled, and music filled the shop as the instrument picked the heartbreak of generations.
Brenda Sutton Rose
Where, My Lord, is music bred—upon the instrument or within the ear that listens? The loveliness of woman is created in the eye of man.
Karen Blixen (Seven Gothic Tales)
Bad music is what will ruin music, not the instruments musicians choose to play.
Miles Davis (Miles: The Autobiography)
I was used, fucked, broken, toyed with and violated from the age of six.
James Rhodes (Instrumental: A Memoir of Madness, Medication, and Music)
Diplomacy without arms is like music without instruments.
Frederick the Great
When the music is birthed from a place of worship it carries a spirit of worship.
Temi Peters (Instruments of Praise & Acts of Worship)
First you learn the instrument, then you learn the music, then you forget all that s**t and just play.
Charlie Parker
Listening over and over to the voices through a family of instruments allowed us to recognize and appreciate the dignity and uniqueness of each living thing in the meadow and forest.
Terry Tempest Williams (When Women Were Birds: Fifty-four Variations on Voice)
My advice to women who habitually gravitate toward musicians is that they learn how to play an instrument and start making music themselves. Not only will they see that it's not that hard, but sometimes I think women just want to be the very thing they think they want to sleep with. Because if you're bright enough--no offense, Tawny Kitaen--sleeping with a musician probably won't be enough for you to feel good about yourself. Even if he writes you a song for your birthday. Don't you know that a musician who writes a song for you is like a baker you're dating making you a cake? Aim higher.
Julie Klausner (I Don't Care About Your Band: Lessons Learned from Indie Rockers, Trust Funders, Pornographers, Felons, Faux-Sensitive Hipsters, and Other Guys I've Dated)
To enter into that karaoke mindset, you have to leave behind all your notions of good or bad, right or wrong, in tune or out of tune. The kara in the word karaoke is the same as the one in karate, which means 'empty hand.' They're both 'empty' arts because you have no weapons and no musical instruments to hide behind--only courage, your heart, and your will to inflict pain.
Rob Sheffield (Turn Around Bright Eyes: The Rituals of Love & Karaoke)
The Qu'ran is God's song, not ours, not even Muhammad's. To allow such a song to pass through one's body, however imperfectly, is to discover that the instrument is transformed by the music.
George Dardess (Meeting Islam: A Guide for Christians)
I was ten when I heard the music that ended the first phase of my life and cast me hurtling towards a new horizon. Drenched to the skin, I stood on Dunoon’s pier peering seawards through diagonal rain, looking for the ferry that would take me home. There, on the everwet west coast of Scotland, I heard it: like sonic scalpels, the sounds of electric guitars sliced through the dreich weather. My body hairs pricked up like antennae. To my young ears these amplified guitars sounded angelic, for surely no man-made instrument could produce that tone. The singer couldn't be human. His voice was too clean, too pure, too resonant, as though a robot larynx were piping words through vocal chords of polished silver. The overall effect was intoxicating - a storm of drums, earthquake bass, razor-sharp guitar riffs, and soaring vocals of astonishing clarity. I knew that I was hearing the future.
Mark Rice (Metallic Dreams)
Music is formed by instruments, framed with notes, paced by our hands playing with Time, but above all, it is made up of emotions. It transports you back to moments when you felt most alive. If it doesn’t release your locked feelings, music is just air.
Joseph Legaspi (A Three-Year Minute (The Three-Year Trilogy, #1))
In the hands of someone who does not appreciate or understand music, the instrument is just a lump of wood, but in the hands of a skilled musician who knows how to coax the sweetest notes, that violin becomes something capable of the most beautiful music, the most moving sounds, the most uplifting melody.
Jason Luke (In Love with a Master (Interview with a Master, #2))
From the first note I knew it was different from anything I had ever heard.... It began simply, but with an arresting phrase, so simple, but eloquent as a human voice. It spoke, beckoning gently as it unwound, rising and tensing. It spiraled upward, the tension growing with each repeat of the phrasing, and yet somehow it grew more abandoned, wilder with each note. His eyes remained closed as his fingers flew over the strings, spilling forth surely more notes than were possible from a single violin. For one mad moment I actually thought there were more of them, an entire orchestra of violins spilling out of this one instrument. I had never heard anything like it--it was poetry and seduction and light and shadow and every other contradiction I could think of. It seemed impossible to breathe while listening to that music, and yet all I was doing was breathing, quite heavily. The music itself had become as palpable a presence in that room as another person would have been--and its presence was something out of myth.
Deanna Raybourn (Silent in the Grave (Lady Julia Grey, #1))
We are all beautiful instruments of God. He created many notes in music so that we would not be stuck playing the same song. Be music always. Keep changing the keys, tones, pitch, and volume of each of the songs you create along your journey and play on. Nobody will ever reach ultimate perfection in this lifetime, but trying to achieve it is a full-time job. Start now and don't stop. Make your book of life a musical. Never abandon obligations, but have fun leaving behind a colorful legacy. Never allow anybody to be the composer of your own destiny. Take control of your life, and never allow limitations implanted by society, tell you how your music is supposed to sound — or how your book is supposed to be written.
Suzy Kassem (Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem)
There have been, of course, many other insatiable polymaths, and even the Renaissance produced other Renaissance Men. But none painted the Mona Lisa, much less did so at the same time as producing unsurpassed anatomy drawings based on multiple dissections, coming up with schemes to divert rivers, explaining the reflection of light from the earth to the moon, opening the still-beating heart of a butchered pig to show how ventricles work, designing musical instruments, choreographing pageants, using fossils to dispute the biblical account of the deluge, and then drawing the deluge. Leonardo was a genius, but more: he was the epitome of the universal mind, one who sought to understand all of creation, including how we fit into it.
Walter Isaacson (Leonardo Da Vinci)
More so than with any other instrument, the violin becomes part of the body. Good musicians are physically dissolved when playing, and for violinists, who cannot see where to place their fingers and have nothing to guide them through touch, music must be more than ever about memory than fingertips and breath; the ventage is deeper, more of the self, closer to singing.
Lavinia Greenlaw (The Importance of Music to Girls)
It was not the sorrowful, lovely piece she had once played for Dorian, and it was not the light, dancing melodies she'd played for sport; it was not the complex and clever pieces she had played for Nehemia and Chaol. This piece was a celebration—a reaffirmation of life, of glory, of the pain and beauty in breathing. Perhaps that was why she'd gone to hear it performed every year, after so much killing and torture and punishment: as a reminder of that she was, of what she struggled to keep. Up and up it built, the sound breaking from the pianoforte like the heart-song of a god, until Rowan drifted over to stand beside the instrument, until she whispered to him, “Now,” and the crescendo shattered into the world, note after note after note. The music crashed around them, roaring through the emptiness of the theater. The hollow silence that had been inside her for so many months now overflowed with sound. She brought the piece home to its final explosive, triumphant chord. When she looked up, panting slightly, Rowan's eyes were lined with silver, his throat bobbing. Somehow, after all this time, her warrior-prince still managed to surprise her. He seemed to struggle for words, but he finally breathed, “Show me—show me how you did that.” So she obliged him.
Sarah J. Maas (Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass, #4))
For some young artists, it can take a bit of time to discover which tools (which medium, or genre, or career pathway) will truly suit them best. For me, although many different art forms attract me, the tools that I find most natural and comfortable are language and oil paint; I've also learned that as someone with a limited number of spoons it's best to keep my toolbox clean and simple. My husband, by contrast, thrives with a toolbox absolutely crowded to bursting, working with language, voice, musical instruments, puppets, masks animated on a theater stage, computer and video imagery, and half a dozen other things besides, no one of these tools more important than the others, and all somehow working together. For other artists, the tools at hand might be needles and thread; or a jeweller's torch; or a rack of cooking spices; or the time to shape a young child's day.... To me, it's all art, inside the studio and out. At least it is if we approach our lives that way.
Terri Windling
Music hath its land of origin; and yet it is also its own country, its own sovereign power, and all may take refuge there, and all, once settled, may claim it as their own, and all may meet there in amity; and these instruments, as surely as instruments of torture, belong to all of us.
M.T. Anderson (The Pox Party (The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, #1))
Playing an instrument says you have passion. Taking the time to teach someone else, especially someone younger, says you’re not only sweet, but patient. It told me you obviously like music. Musicians typically appreciate all music, so it told me you were more open. The fact that your little brother thought you were good meant you’re dedicated. And the way he looked at you, like you hung the moon, spoke loudest of all. It told me that someone loved you. That you had to be a good person to have so much respect from your brother when most brothers can’t seem to get along. It told me you were special.
Cheryl McIntyre (Sometimes Never (Sometimes Never, #1))
Music was a kind of penetration. Perhaps absorption is a less freighted word. The penetration or absorption of everything into itself. I don't know if you have ever taken LSD, but when you do so the doors of perception, as Aldous Huxley, Jim Morrison and their adherents ceaselessly remind us, swing wide open. That is actually the sort of phrase, unless you are William Blake, that only makes sense when there is some LSD actually swimming about inside you. In the cold light of the cup of coffee and banana sandwich that are beside me now it appears to be nonsense, but I expect you to know what it is taken to mean. LSD reveals the whatness of things, their quiddity, their essence. The wateriness of water is suddenly revealed to you, the carpetness of carpets, the woodness of wood, the yellowness of yellow, the fingernailness of fingernails, the allness of all, the nothingness of all, the allness of nothing. For me music gives access to everyone of these essences, but at a fraction of the social or financial cost of a drug and without the need to cry 'Wow!' all the time, which is LSD's most distressing and least endearing side effects. ...Music in the precision of its form and the mathematical tyranny of its laws, escapes into an eternity of abstraction and an absurd sublime that is everywhere and nowhere at once. The grunt of rosin-rubbed catgut, the saliva-bubble blast of a brass tube, the sweaty-fingered squeak on a guitar fret, all that physicality, all that clumsy 'music making', all that grain of human performance...transcends itself at the moment of its happening, that moment when music actually becomes, as it makes the journey from the vibrating instrument, the vibrating hi-fi speaker, as it sends those vibrations across to the human tympanum and through to the inner ear and into the brain, where the mind is set to vibrate to frequencies of its own making. The nothingness of music can be moulded by the mood of the listener into the most precise shapes or allowed to float as free as thought; music can follow the academic and theoretical pattern of its own modality or adhere to some narrative or dialectical programme imposed by a friend, a scholar or the composer himself. Music is everything and nothing. It is useless and no limit can be set to its use. Music takes me to places of illimitable sensual and insensate joy, accessing points of ecstasy that no angelic lover could ever locate, or plunging me into gibbering weeping hells of pain that no torturer could ever devise. Music makes me write this sort of maundering adolescent nonsense without embarrassment. Music is in fact the dog's bollocks. Nothing else comes close.
Stephen Fry (Moab Is My Washpot (Memoir #1))
Keep creating new chapters in your personal book and never stop re-inventing and perfecting yourself. Try new things. Pick up new hobbies and books. Travel and explore other cultures. Never stay in the same city or state for more than five years of your life. There are many heavens on earth waiting for you to discover. Seek out people with beautiful hearts and minds, not those with just beautiful style and bodies. The first kind will forever remain beautiful to you, while the other will grow stale and ugly. Learn a new language at least twice. Change your career at least thrice, and change your location often. Like all creatures in the wild, we were designed to keep moving. When a snake sheds its old skin, it becomes a more refined creature. Never stop refining and re-defining yourself. We are all beautiful instruments of God. He created many notes in music so we would not be stuck playing the same song. Be music always. Keep changing the keys, tones, pitch, and volume of each of the songs you create along your journey and play on. Nobody will ever reach ultimate perfection in this lifetime, but trying to achieve it is a full-time job. Start now and don't stop. Make your book of life a musical. Never abandon obligations, but have fun leaving behind a colorful legacy. Never allow anybody to be the composer of your own destiny. Take control of your life, and never allow limitations implanted by society, tell you how your music is supposed to sound — or how your book is supposed to be written.
Suzy Kassem (Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem)
Musical instruments in celebrating the praises of God would be no more suitable than the burning of incense, the lighting of lamps, and the restoration of the other shadows of the law. The Papists therefore, have foolishly borrowed, this, as well as many other things, from the Jews. Men who are fond of outward pomp may delight in that noise; but the simplicity which God recommends to us by the apostles is far more pleasing to him. Paul allows us to bless God in the public assembly of the saints, only in a known tongue (1 Corinthians 14:16) What shall we then say of chanting, which fills the ears with nothing but an empty sound?
John Calvin
Then at last the opening music came again, with all the different instruments bunched together for each note like a hard, tight fist that socked at her heart. And the first part was over. This music did not take a long time or a short time. It did not have anything to do with time going by at all. She sat with her arms held tight around her legs, biting her salty knee very hard. It might have been five minutes she listened or half the night. The second part was black-colored--a slow march. Not sad, but like the whole world was dead and black and there was no use thinking back how it was before. One of those horn kind of insturments played a sad and silver tune. Then the music rose up angry and with excitement underneath. And finally the black march again.
Carson McCullers (The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter)
Mac Rebennack, better known as Dr. John, once told me that when a brass band plays at a small club back up in one of the neighborhoods, it's as if the audience--dancing, singing to the refrains, laughing--is part of the band. They are two parts of the same thing. The dancers interpret, or it might be better to say literally embody, the sounds of the band, answering the instruments. Since everyone is listening to different parts of the music--she to the trumpet melody, he to the bass drum, she to the trombone--the audience is a working model in three dimensions of the music, a synesthesic transformation of materials. And of course the band is also watching the dancers, and getting ideas from the dancers' gestures. The relationship between band and audience is in that sense like the relationship between two lovers making love, where cause and effect becomes very hard to see, even impossible to call by its right name; one is literally getting down, as in particle physics, to some root stratum where one is freed from the lockstop of time itself, where time might even run backward, or sideways, and something eternal and transcendent is accessed.
Tom Piazza (Why New Orleans Matters)
At the end of our visit, Fleisher agreed to play something on my piano, a beautiful old 1894 Bechstein concert grand that I had grown up with, my father's piano. Fleisher sat at the piano and carefully, tenderly, stretched each finger in turn, and then, with arms and hands almost flat, he started to play. He played a piano transcription of Bach's "Sheep May Safely Graze," as arranged for piano by Egon Petri. Never in its 112 years, I thought, had this piano been played by such a master-I had the feeling that Fleisher has sized up the piano's character and perhaps its idiosyncrasies within seconds, that he had matched his playing to the instrument, to bring out its greatest potential, its particularity. Fleisher seemed to distill the beauty, drop by drop, like an alchemist, into flowing notes of an almost unbearable beauty-and, after this, there was nothing more to be said.
Oliver Sacks (Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain)
The music came through clearly. The new instrument had a much purer tone, she thought, than the old one. She decided that tone was most important and that she could conceal the cabinet behind a sofa. But as soon as she had made her peace with the radio, the interference began.
John Cheever (The Stories of John Cheever)
Bruce Miller, a neurologist at the University of California, San Francisco, studies elderly patients with a relatively common form of brain disease called frontotemporal dementia, or FTD. He’s found that in some cases where the FTD is localized on the left side of the brain, people who had never picked up a paintbrush or an instrument can develop extraordinary artistic and musical abilities at the very end of their lives. As their other cognitive skills fade away, they become narrow savants.
Joshua Foer (Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything)
Our species is the only creative species, and it has only one creative instrument, the individual mind and spirit of a man. Nothing was ever created by two men. There are no good collaborations, whether in music, in art, in poetry, in mathematics, in philosophy. Once the miracle of creation has taken place, the group can build and extend it, but the group never invents anything. The preciousness lies in the lonely mind of a man. And now the forces marshaled around the concept of the group have declared a war of extermination on that preciousness, the mind of man. By disparagement, by starvation, by repressions, forced direction, and the stunning hammerblows of conditioning, the free, roving mind is being pursued, roped, blunted, drugged. It is a sad suicidal course our species seems to have taken. And this I believe: that the free, exploring mind of the individual human is the most valuable thing in the world. And this I would fight for: the freedom of the mind to take any direction it wishes, undirected. And this I must fight against: any idea, religion, or government which limits or destroys the individual. This is what I am and what I am about. I can understand why a system built on a pattern must try to destroy the free mind, for this is one thing which can by inspection destroy such a system. Surely I can understand this, and I hate it and I will fight against it to preserve the one thing that separates us from the uncreative beasts. If the glory can be killed, we are lost.
John Steinbeck (East of Eden)
The study of Scripture I find to be quite like mastering an instrument. No one is so good that they cannot get any better; no one knows so much that they can know no more. A professional can spot an amateur or a lack of practice or experience a mile away. His technicality, his spiritual ear is razor-sharp. He is familiar with the common mistakes, the counter-arguments; and insofar as this, he can clearly distinguish the difference between honest critics of the Faith and mere fools who criticize that which they know nothing.
Criss Jami (Healology)
But should a sensation from the distant past-like those musical instruments that record and preserve the sound and style of the various artists who played them-enable our memory to make us hear that name with the particular tone it then had for our ears, even if the name seems not to have changed, we can still feel the distance between the various dreams which its unchanging syllables evoked for us in turn. For a second, rehearing the warbling from some distant springtime, we can extract from it, as from the little tubes of color used in painting, the precise tint-forgotten, mysterious, and fresh-of the days we thought we remembered when, like bad painters, we were in fact spreading our whole past on a single canvas and painting it with the conventional monochrome of voluntary memory.
Marcel Proust (The Guermantes Way)
The mysterious manner in which this growing sense of unity commingles with a sense of utter goodness is worth noting. It arises by no effort of mine; rather does it come to me out of I know not where. Harmony appears gradually and flows through my whole being like music. An infinite tenderness takes possession of me, smoothing away the harsh cynicism which a reiterated experience of human ingratitude and human treachery has driven deeply into my temperament. I feel the fundamental benignity of Nature despite the apparent manifestation of ferocity. Like the sounds of every instrument in an orchestra that is in tune, all things and all people seem to drop into the sweet relationship that subsists within the Great Mother's own heart.
Paul Brunton (A Hermit in the Himalayas: The Journal of a Lonely Exile)
Fasting By Mevlana Jelaluddin Rumi (1207 - 1273) English version by Coleman Barks There's hidden sweetness in the stomach's emptiness. We are lutes, no more, no less. If the soundbox is stuffed full of anything, no music. If the brain and belly are burning clean with fasting, every moment a new song comes out of the fire. The fog clears, and new energy makes you run up the steps in front of you. Be emptier and cry like reed instruments cry. Emptier, write secrets with the reed pen. When you're full of food and drink, Satan sits where your spirit should, an ugly metal statue in place of the Kaaba. When you fast, good habits gather like friends who want to help. Fasting is Solomon's ring. Don't give it to some illusion and lose your power, but even if you have, if you've lost all will and control, they come back when you fast, like soldiers appearing out of the ground, pennants flying above them. A table descends to your tents, Jesus' table. Expect to see it, when you fast, this table spread with other food, better than the broth of cabbages.
Rumi (The Illuminated Rumi)
You can't kill a minuet de la coeur. You may shut up the music book... but surely the minuet-- the minuet itself is dancing itself away into the furthest stars, even as our minuet of the Hessian bathing places must be stepping itself still. Isn't there any heaven where old beautiful dances, old beautiful intimacies prolong themselves? Isn't there any Nirvana pervaded by the vain thrilling of instruments that have fallen into the dust of wormwood but that yet had frail, tremulous, and everlasting souls?
Ford Madox Ford (The Good Soldier)
The god abandons Antony When at the hour of midnight an invisible choir is suddenly heard passing with exquisite music, with voices ― Do not lament your fortune that at last subsides, your life’s work that has failed, your schemes that have proved illusions. But like a man prepared, like a brave man, bid farewell to her, to Alexandria who is departing. Above all, do not delude yourself, do not say that it is a dream, that your ear was mistaken. Do not condescend to such empty hopes. Like a man for long prepared, like a brave man, like the man who was worthy of such a city, go to the window firmly, and listen with emotion but not with the prayers and complaints of the coward (Ah! supreme rapture!) listen to the notes, to the exquisite instruments of the mystic choir, and bid farewell to her, to Alexandria whom you are losing.
Constantinos P. Cavafy (Selected Poems)
When Magnus looked at Imasu, he saw Imasu had dropped his head into his hands. "Er," Magnus said. "Are you quite all right?" "I was simply overcome," Imasu said in a faint voice. Magnus preened slightly. "Ah. Well." "By how awful that was," Imasu said. Magnus blinked. "Pardon?" "I can't live a lie any longer!" Imasu burst out. "I have tried to be encouraging. Dignitaries of the town have been sent to me, asking me to plead with you to stop. My own sainted mother begged me, with tears in her eyes - " "It isn't as bad as all that - " "Yes, it is!" It was like a dam of musical critique had broken. Imasu turned on him with eyes that flashed instead of shining. "It is worse than you can possibly imagine! When you play, all of my mother's flowers lose the will to live and expire on the instant. The quinoa has no flavor now. The llamas are migrating because of your music, and llamas are not a migratory animal. The children now believe there is a sickly monster, half horse and half large mournful chicken, that lives in the lake and calls out to the world to grant it the sweet release of death. The townspeople believe that you and I are performing arcane magic rituals - " "Well, that one was rather a good guess," Magnus remarked. " - using the skull of an elephant, an improbably large mushroom, and one of your very peculiar hats!" "Or not," said Magnus. "Furthermore, my hats are extraordinary." "I will not argue with that." Imasu scrubbed a hand through his thick black hair, which curled and clung to his fingers like inky vines. "Look, I know that I was wrong. I saw a handsome man, thought that it would not hurt to talk a little about music and strike up a common interest, but I don't deserve this. You are going to get stoned in the town square, and if I have to listen to you play again, I will drown myself in the lake." "Oh," said Magnus, and he began to grin. "I wouldn't. I hear there is a dreadful monster living in that lake." Imasu seemed to still be brooding about Magnus's charango playing, a subject that Magnus had lost all interest in. "I believe the world will end with a noise like the noise you make!" "Interesting," said Magnus, and he threw his charango out the window. "Magnus!" "I believe that music and I have gone as far as we can go together," Magnus said. "A true artiste knows when to surrender." "I can't believe you did that!" Magnus waved a hand airily. "I know, it is heartbreaking, but sometimes one must shut one's ears to the pleas of the muse." "I just meant that those are expensive and I heard a crunch.
Cassandra Clare (The Bane Chronicles)
Music, like the visual arts, is rooted in our experience of the natural world," said Schwartz. "It emulates our sound environment in the way that visual arts emulate the visual environment." In music we hear the echo of our basic sound making instrument-the vocal tract. This explanation for human music is simpler still than Pythagoras's mathematical equations: we like the sounds that are familiar to us-specifically, we like sounds that remind us of us.
Christine Kenneally (The First Word: The Search for the Origins of Language)
Bowman was aware of some changes in his behavior patterns; it would have been absurd to expect anything else in the circumstances. He could no longer tolerate silence; except when he was sleeping, or talking over the circuit to Earth, he kept the ship's sound system running at almost painful loudness. / At first, needing the companionship of the human voice, he had listened to classical plays--especially the works of Shaw, Ibsen, and Shakespeare--or poetry readings from Discovery's enormous library of recorded sounds. The problems they dealt with, however, seemed so remote, or so easily resolved with a little common sense, that after a while he lost patience with them. / So he switched to opera--usually in Italian or German, so that he was not distracted even by the minimal intellectual content that most operas contained. This phase lasted for two weeks before he realized that the sound of all these superbly trained voices was only exacerbating his loneliness. But what finally ended this cycle was Verdi's Requiem Mass, which he had never heard performed on Earth. The "Dies Irae," roaring with ominous appropriateness through the empty ship, left him completely shattered; and when the trumpets of Doomsday echoed from the heavens, he could endure no more. / Thereafter, he played only instrumental music. He started with the romantic composers, but shed them one by one as their emotional outpourings became too oppressive. Sibelius, Tchaikovsky, Berlioz, lasted a few weeks, Beethoven rather longer. He finally found peace, as so many others had done, in the abstract architecture of Bach, occasionally ornamented with Mozart. / And so Discovery drove on toward Saturn, as often as not pulsating with the cool music of the harpsichord, the frozen thoughts of a brain that had been dust for twice a hundred years.
Arthur C. Clarke (2001: A Space Odyssey (Space Odyssey, #1))
He was woken by music. It beckoned him, lilting and insistent; delicate music, played by delicate instruments that he could not identify, with one rippling, bell-like phrase running through it in a gold thread of delight. There was in this music so much of the deepest enchantment of all his dreams and imaginings that he woke smiling in pure happiness at the sound.
Susan Cooper (The Dark Is Rising (The Dark is Rising, #2))
Coleridge wrote a poem called ‘The Eolian Harp,’ in which he explored the notion of music slumbering on its instrument. It's a gorgeous poem! It moves through thoughts and moods of the soul as if we're all but harps waiting for a breeze to pass through us to animate us. I feel the same way about art: that it is something that on many levels colonises you, gets inside you and changes you from the inside out. I find that happens with books, too. After I’ve read a book, for a couple of days afterwards I think in the patterns of the book’s writing, because the act of reading is an act of organising your own thought process. If you are reading someone else’s writing, you are having to organise your perception along someone else’s structure. So if I read a book by Terry Pratchett, a few days later there is still a little Terry Pratchettness to my thoughts. When I read something by Catherynne Valente, for quite a few days there is a kind of ‘jewelled’ quality to my thoughts. To read a book is to let someone else reach inside me and reorganise me. As a writer, I find it very difficult to start writing immediately after having read another writer's book. I have to digest it first, and let the influence pass…
Amal El-Mohtar
I stared at him, baffled. But at that moment Gideon began to play, and I entirely forgot what I had been going to ask the count. Oh, my god! Maybe it was the punch—but wow! That violin was really sexy! Even the way Gideon raised it and tucked it under his chin! He didn’t have to do more than that to carry me away with him. His long lashes cast shadows on his cheeks, and a lock of hair fell over his face as he began passing the bow over the strings. The first notes filling the room almost took my breath away, they made such tender, melting music, and suddenly I was close to tears. Until now, violins had been way down on my list of favorite instruments, and I really liked them only for accompanying certain moments in films. But this was just incredibly wonderful—well, all of it was: the bittersweet melody and boy enticing it out of the instrument. All the people in the room listened with bated breath, and Gideon played on, immersed in the music as if there were no one else there. I didn’t notice that I was crying until the count touched my cheek and caught a tear gently with his finger. Then I jumped in alarm. He was smiling down at me, and I saw a warm glow in his dark brown eyes. “Nothing to be ashamed of,” he said quietly. “If it were otherwise, I’d have been very disappointed.
Kerstin Gier (Saphirblau (Edelstein-Trilogie, #2))
Whether you are five years old and irresistibly drawn to the piano in your home, or you are an adult who suddenly falls in love with music and decides to take lessons, the knowledge that you belong in the world of music is deep and indestructible. It is part of your basic nature, as much as the color of your eyes or the sound of your voice. Even your choice of instrument might feel choiceless; you hear a piano or a cello and somehow know that that is the instrument you must play.
Madeline Bruser (The Art of Practicing: A Guide to Making Music from the Heart)
“So, he’s pouting, right? That’s why he missed the ceremony,” I say over the instruments. “He’s been away from his home for some time. He had things to do. To prepare for your night together.” Gossamer’s furred wings buzz into action, lifting her off my shoulder. “Sure.” I smother a smile. “We both know he didn’t come because he would’ve been bored to tears. There’s too much orderliness for his liking.” She giggles in agreement—a tinkling sound that blends with the music.
A.G. Howard (Ensnared (Splintered, #3))
Josie examined the booklet, candelabra on the cover, a program. Brahms, and then Psalm 16, Psalm 32, Bach. A prayer, the Mourner's Kaddish, in the flamelike Hebrew, followed by an English pronunciation, a translation. At least she would not clap in the wrong part. She remembered that night at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Michael so handsome in his iridescent thrift-store suit and green silk tie, she in her Lana Turner black lace and spike heels. How they peered down from their seats in the top balcony at the horseshoe of musicians with their stands and instruments. When the music stopped, Michael caught hold of her hand. Lacing his fingers in hers, he tenderly bit her knuckles. She would have been the only one applauding.
Janet Fitch (Paint it Black)
She realized now that she had been expecting old-fashioned instruments – pipes, fifes, fiddles and tinny drums. Instead there came the cocksure, brassy warble of a saxophone, the blare of a cornet and the squeak and trill of a clarinet being made to work for its living. Not-Triss had heard jazz with neatly wiped shoes and jazz with gritty soles and a grin. And this too was jazz, but barefoot on the grass and blank-eyed with bliss, its musical strands irregular as wind gusts and unending as ivy vines.
Frances Hardinge (Cuckoo Song)
Professional musicians, in general, possess what most of us would regard as remarkable powers of musical imagery. Many composers, indeed, do not compose initially or entirely at an instrument but in their minds. There is no more extraordinary example of this than Beethoven, who continued to compose (and whose compositions rose to greater and greater heights) years after he had become totally deaf. It is possible that his musical imagery was even intensified by deafness, for with the removal of normal auditory input, the auditory cortex may become hypersensitive, with heightened powers of musical imagery (and sometimes even auditory hallucinations).
Oliver Sacks (Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain)
Then I told her what I didn’t see. Namely, that I didn’t see her. You could be standing a few feet away—Clara’s dance partner, or across the street taking a picture of Rudolph before he takes �ight. I could have sat next to you on the subway, or brushed beside you as we went through the turnstiles. But whether or not you are here, you are here—because these words are for you, and they wouldn’t exist if you weren’t here in some way. This notebook is a strange instrument—the player doesn’t know the music until it’s being played.
David Levithan (Dash & Lily's Book of Dares (Dash & Lily, #1))
I am a confused Musician who got sidetracked into this goddamn Word business for so long that I never got back to music - except maybe when I find myself oddly alone in a quiet room with only a typewriter to strum on and a yen to write a song. Who knows why? Maybe I just feel like singing - so I type. These quick electric keys are my Instrument, my harp, my RCA glass-tube microphone, and my fine soprano saxophone all at once. That is my music, for good or ill, and on some nights it will make me feel like a god. Veni, Vidi, Vici... That is when the fun starts...
Hunter S. Thompson (Kingdom of Fear: Loathsome Secrets of a Star-Crossed Child in the Final Days of the American Century)
Art is a kind of magic. Creativity is mysterious, even to artists, who might be able to name their inspiration but can't always explain how their influences and experiences came together to create this new thing- this painting, this story, this song. If you break art down to its base elements, there's nothing miraculous about the letters of the alphabet or a drop of paint. But an artist can put those elements together to create something powerful, something that moves us and withstands the test of time. A work that no one but that artist could have imagined, let alone created.
Sarah Cross (Shadowhunters and Downworlders: A Mortal Instruments Reader)
And therefore, I said, Glaucon, musical training is a more potent instrument than any other, because rhythm and harmony find their way into the inward places of the soul, on which they mightily fasten, imparting grace, and making the soul of him who is rightly educated graceful, or of him who is ill-educated ungraceful; and also because he who has received this true education of the inner being will most shrewdly perceive omissions or faults in art and nature, and with a true taste, while he praises and rejoices over and receives into his soul the good, and becomes noble and good, he will justly blame and hate the bad, now in the days of his youth, even before he is able to know the reason why; and when reason comes he will recognize and salute the friend with whom his education has made him long familiar… …Thus much of music, which makes a fair ending; for what should be the end of music if not the love of beauty?
Plato (The Republic)
Driving to pick up his son, Bennie alternated between the Sleepers and the Dead Kennedys, San Francisco bands he'd grown up with. He listened for muddiness, the sense of actual musicians playing actual instruments in an actual room. Nowadays the quality (if it existed at all) was usually an effect of analogue signaling rather than bona fide tape - everything was an effect in the bloodless constructions Bennie and his peers were churning out. He worked tirelessly, feverishly, to get things right, stay on top, make songs that people would love and buy and download as ring tones (and steal, of course) - above all, to satisfy the multinational crude-oil extractors he'd sold his label to five years ago. But Bennie knew that what he was bringing into the world was shit. Too clear, too clean. The problem was precision, perfection; the problem was digitization, which sucked the life out of everything that got smeared through its microscopic mesh. Film, photography, music: dead. An aesthetic holocaust!
Jennifer Egan (A Visit from the Goon Squad)
Then the woman in the bed sat up and looked about her with wild eyes; and the oldest of the old men said: 'Lady, we have come to write down the names of the immortals,’ and at his words a look of great joy came into her face. Presently she, began to speak slowly, and yet eagerly, as though she knew she had but a little while to live, and, in English, with the accent of their own country; and she told them the secret names of the immortals of many lands, and of the colours, and odours, and weapons, and instruments of music and instruments of handicraft they held dearest; but most about the immortals of Ireland and of their love for the cauldron, and the whetstone, and the sword, and the spear, and the hills of the Shee, and the horns of the moon, and the Grey Wind, and the Yellow Wind, and the Black Wind, and the Red Wind. ("The Adoration of the Magi")
W.B. Yeats
Welsh Incident 'But that was nothing to what things came out From the sea-caves of Criccieth yonder.' What were they? Mermaids? dragons? ghosts?' Nothing at all of any things like that.' What were they, then?' 'All sorts of queer things, Things never seen or heard or written about, Very strange, un-Welsh, utterly peculiar Things. Oh, solid enough they seemed to touch, Had anyone dared it. Marvellous creation, All various shapes and sizes, and no sizes, All new, each perfectly unlike his neighbour, Though all came moving slowly out together.' Describe just one of them.' 'I am unable.' What were their colours?' 'Mostly nameless colours, Colours you'd like to see; but one was puce Or perhaps more like crimson, but not purplish. Some had no colour.' 'Tell me, had they legs?' Not a leg or foot among them that I saw.' But did these things come out in any order?' What o'clock was it? What was the day of the week? Who else was present? How was the weather?' I was coming to that. It was half-past three On Easter Tuesday last. The sun was shining. The Harlech Silver Band played Marchog Jesu On thrity-seven shimmering instruments Collecting for Caernarvon's (Fever) Hospital Fund. The populations of Pwllheli, Criccieth, Portmadoc, Borth, Tremadoc, Penrhyndeudraeth, Were all assembled. Criccieth's mayor addressed them First in good Welsh and then in fluent English, Twisting his fingers in his chain of office, Welcoming the things. They came out on the sand, Not keeping time to the band, moving seaward Silently at a snail's pace. But at last The most odd, indescribable thing of all Which hardly one man there could see for wonder Did something recognizably a something.' Well, what?' 'It made a noise.' 'A frightening noise?' No, no.' 'A musical noise? A noise of scuffling?' No, but a very loud, respectable noise --- Like groaning to oneself on Sunday morning In Chapel, close before the second psalm.' What did the mayor do?' 'I was coming to that.
Robert Graves
While the Eternal Feminine in Faust II still appears in personalized form as the Madonna, she works her effects in The Magic Flute as an invisible spiritual power, as music. But this music is the expression of divine love itself, which unites law and freedom, above and below, in the wisdom of the heart and of love. As harmony, it grants humankind divine peace and rules the world as the highest divinity. From the earliest times, magic and music have stood under the rule of the Archetypal Feminine, which in myth and fairy tale is also the mistress of transformation, intoxication, and enchanting sound. Thus it is quite understandable that it is precisely this feminine principle that bestows the magical instruments. The Orpheus motif of the magical taming of the animal energies through music belongs to her, for as mistress of the animals the Great Goddess rules the world of wild as well as tame creatures. She can transform things and people into animal form, tame the animal, and enchant it because, like music, she is able to make the tame wild and the wild tame with the power of her magic.
Erich Neumann (The Fear of the Feminine and Other Essays on Feminine Psychology)
There's hidden sweeteness in the stomach's emptiness. We are lutes, no more no less. If the soundbox is stuffed full of anything, no music. If the brain and the belly are burning clean with fasting, every moment a new song comes out of the fire. The fog clears, and new energy makes you run up the steps in front of you. Be emptier and cry like reed instruments cry. Emptier, write secrets with the reed pen. When you're full of food and drink, an ugly metal statue sits where your spirit should. When you fast, good habits gather like friends who want to help. Fasting is Solomon's ring. Don't give it to some illusion and lose your power, but even if you have, if you've lost all will and control, they come back when you fast, like soldiers appearing out of the ground, pennants flying above them. A table descends to your tents, Jesus' table. Expect to see it, when you fast, this table spread with other food, better than the broth of cabbages.
Rumi (The Essential Rumi)
After two or three stanzas and several images by which he was himself astonished, his work took possession of him and he experienced the approach of what is called inspiration. At such moments the correlation of the forces controlling the artist is, as it were, stood on its head. The ascendancy is no longer with the artist or the state of mind which he is trying to express, but with language, his instrument of expression. Language, the home and dwelling of beauty and meaning, itself begins to think and speak for man and turns wholly into music, not in the sense of outward, audible sounds but by virtue of the power and momentum of its inward flow. Then, like the current of a mighty river polishing stones and turning wheels by its very movement, the flow of speech creates in passing, by the force of its own laws, rhyme and rhythm and countless other forms and formations, still more important and until now undiscovered, unconsidered and unnamed. At such moments Yury felt that the main part of his work was not being done by him but by something which was above him and controlling him: the thought and poetry of the world as it was at that moment and as it would be in the future. He was controlled by the next step it was to take in the order of its historical development; and he felt himself to be only the pretext and the pivot setting it in motion. ... In deciphering these scribbles he went through the usual disappointments. Last night these rough passages had astonished him and moved him to tears by certain unexpectedly successful lines. Now, on re-reading these very lines, he was saddened to find that they were strained and glaringly far-fetched.
Boris Pasternak (Doctor Zhivago)
Ultimately, the roast turkey must be regarded as a monument to Boomer's love. Look at it now, plump and glossy, floating across Idaho as if it were a mammoth, mutated seed pod. Hear how it backfires as it passes the silver mines, perhaps in tribute to the origin of the knives and forks of splendid sterling that a roast turkey and a roast turkey alone possesses the charisma to draw forth into festivity from dark cupboards. See how it glides through the potato fields, familiarly at home among potatoes but with an air of expectation, as if waiting for the flood of gravy. The roast turkey carries with it, in its chubby hold, a sizable portion of our primitive and pagan luggage. Primitive and pagan? Us? We of the laser, we of the microchip, we of the Union Theological Seminary and Time magazine? Of course. At least twice a year, do not millions upon millions of us cybernetic Christians and fax machine Jews participate in a ritual, a highly stylized ceremony that takes place around a large dead bird? And is not this animal sacrificed, as in days of yore, to catch the attention of a divine spirit, to show gratitude for blessings bestowed, and to petition for blessings coveted? The turkey, slain, slowly cooked over our gas or electric fires, is the central figure at our holy feast. It is the totem animal that brings our tribe together. And because it is an awkward, intractable creature, the serving of it establishes and reinforces the tribal hierarchy. There are but two legs, two wings, a certain amount of white meat, a given quantity of dark. Who gets which piece; who, in fact, slices the bird and distributes its limbs and organs, underscores quite emphatically the rank of each member in the gathering. Consider that the legs of this bird are called 'drumsticks,' after the ritual objects employed to extract the music from the most aboriginal and sacred of instruments. Our ancestors, kept their drums in public, but the sticks, being more actively magical, usually were stored in places known only to the shaman, the medicine man, the high priest, of the Wise Old Woman. The wing of the fowl gives symbolic flight to the soul, but with the drumstick is evoked the best of the pulse of the heart of the universe. Few of us nowadays participate in the actual hunting and killing of the turkey, but almost all of us watch, frequently with deep emotion, the reenactment of those events. We watch it on TV sets immediately before the communal meal. For what are footballs if not metaphorical turkeys, flying up and down a meadow? And what is a touchdown if not a kill, achieved by one or the other of two opposing tribes? To our applause, great young hungers from Alabama or Notre Dame slay the bird. Then, the Wise Old Woman, in the guise of Grandma, calls us to the table, where we, pretending to be no longer primitive, systematically rip the bird asunder. Was Boomer Petaway aware of the totemic implications when, to impress his beloved, he fabricated an outsize Thanksgiving centerpiece? No, not consciously. If and when the last veil dropped, he might comprehend what he had wrought. For the present, however, he was as ignorant as Can o' Beans, Spoon, and Dirty Sock were, before Painted Stick and Conch Shell drew their attention to similar affairs. Nevertheless, it was Boomer who piloted the gobble-stilled butterball across Idaho, who negotiated it through the natural carving knives of the Sawtooth Mountains, who once or twice parked it in wilderness rest stops, causing adjacent flora to assume the appearance of parsley.
Tom Robbins (Skinny Legs and All)
The travelers emerged into a spacious square. In the middle of this square were several dozen people on a wooden bandstand like in a public park. They were the members of a band, each of them as different from one another as their instruments. Some of them looked round at the approaching column. Then a grey-haired man in a colorful cloak called out and they reached for their instruments. There was a burst of something like cheeky, timid bird-song and the air – air that had been torn apart by the barbed wire and the howl of sirens, that stank of oily fumes and garbage – was filled with music. It was like a warm summer cloud-burst ignited by the sun, flashing as it crashed down to earth. People in camps, people in prisons, people who have escaped from prison, people going to their death, know the extraordinary power of music. No one else can experience music in quite the same way. What music resurrects in the soul of a man about to die is neither hope nor thought, but simply the blind, heart-breaking miracle of life itself. A sob passed down the column. Everything seemed transformed, everything had come together; everything scattered and fragmented -home, peace, the journey, the rumble of wheels, thirst, terror, the city rising out of the mist, the wan red dawn – fused together, not into a memory or a picture but into the blind, fierce ache of life itself. Here, in the glow of the gas ovens, people knew that life was more than happiness – it was also grief. And freedom was both painful and difficult; it was life itself. Music had the power to express the last turmoil of a soul in whose blind depths every experience, every moment of joy and grief, had fused with this misty morning, this glow hanging over their heads. Or perhaps it wasn't like that at all. Perhaps music was just the key to a man's feelings, not what filled him at this terrible moment, but the key that unlocked his innermost core. In the same way, a child's song can appear to make an old man cry. But it isn't the song itself he cries over; the song is simply a key to something in his soul.
Vasily Grossman (Life and Fate)
Why do you choose to write about such gruesome subjects? I usually answer this with another question: Why do you assume that I have a choice? Writing is a catch-as-catch-can sort of occupation. All of us seem to come equipped with filters on the floors of our minds, and all the filters have differing sizes and meshes. What catches in my filter may run right through yours. What catches in yours may pass through mine, no sweat. All of us seem to have a built-in obligation to sift through the sludge that gets caught in our respective mind-filters, and what we find there usually develops into some sort of sideline. The accountant may also be a photographer. The astronomer may collect coins. The school-teacher may do gravestone rubbings in charcoal. The sludge caught in the mind's filter, the stuff that refuses to go through, frequently becomes each person's private obsession. In civilized society we have an unspoken agreement to call our obsessions “hobbies.” Sometimes the hobby can become a full-time job. The accountant may discover that he can make enough money to support his family taking pictures; the schoolteacher may become enough of an expert on grave rubbings to go on the lecture circuit. And there are some professions which begin as hobbies and remain hobbies even after the practitioner is able to earn his living by pursuing his hobby; but because “hobby” is such a bumpy, common-sounding little word, we also have an unspoken agreement that we will call our professional hobbies “the arts.” Painting. Sculpture. Composing. Singing. Acting. The playing of a musical instrument. Writing. Enough books have been written on these seven subjects alone to sink a fleet of luxury liners. And the only thing we seem to be able to agree upon about them is this: that those who practice these arts honestly would continue to practice them even if they were not paid for their efforts; even if their efforts were criticized or even reviled; even on pain of imprisonment or death. To me, that seems to be a pretty fair definition of obsessional behavior. It applies to the plain hobbies as well as the fancy ones we call “the arts”; gun collectors sport bumper stickers reading YOU WILL TAKE MY GUN ONLY WHEN YOU PRY MY COLD DEAD FINGERS FROM IT, and in the suburbs of Boston, housewives who discovered political activism during the busing furor often sported similar stickers reading YOU'LL TAKE ME TO PRISON BEFORE YOU TAKE MY CHILDREN OUT OF THE NEIGHBORHOOD on the back bumpers of their station wagons. Similarly, if coin collecting were outlawed tomorrow, the astronomer very likely wouldn't turn in his steel pennies and buffalo nickels; he'd wrap them carefully in plastic, sink them to the bottom of his toilet tank, and gloat over them after midnight.
Stephen King (Night Shift)
Bradley Headstone, in his decent black coat and waistcoat, and decent white shirt, and decent formal black tie, and decent pantaloons of pepper and salt, with his decent silver watch in his pocket and its decent hair-guard round his neck, looked a thoroughly decent young man of six-and-twenty. He was never seen in any other dress, and yet there was a certain stiffness in his manner of wearing this, as if there were a want of adaptation between him and it, recalling some mechanics in their holiday clothes. He had acquired mechanically a great store of teacher's knowledge. He could do mental arithmetic mechanically, sing at sight mechanically, blow various wind instruments mechanically, even play the great church organ mechanically. From his early childhood up, his mind had been a place of mechanical stowage. The arrangement of his wholesale warehouse, so that it might be always ready to meet the demands of retail dealers history here, geography there, astronomy to the right, political economy to the left—natural history, the physical sciences, figures, music, the lower mathematics, and what not, all in their several places—this care had imparted to his countenance a look of care; while the habit of questioning and being questioned had given him a suspicious manner, or a manner that would be better described as one of lying in wait. There was a kind of settled trouble in the face. It was the face belonging to a naturally slow or inattentive intellect that had toiled hard to get what it had won, and that had to hold it now that it was gotten. He always seemed to be uneasy lest anything should be missing from his mental warehouse, and taking stock to assure himself.
Charles Dickens (Our Mutual Friend)
things were created by God and for God, no exceptions. Every note of music. Every color on the palette. Every flavor that tingles the taste buds. Arnold Summerfield, the German physicist and pianist, observed that a single hydrogen atom, which emits one hundred frequencies, is more musical than a grand piano, which only emits eighty-eight frequencies. Every single atom is a unique expression of God’s creative genius. And that means every atom is a unique expression of worship. According to composer Leonard Bernstein, the best translation of Genesis 1:3 and several other verses in Genesis 1 is not “and God said.” He believed a better translation is “and God sang.” The Almighty sang every atom into existence, and every atom echoes that original melody sung in three-part harmony by the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Did you know that the electron shell of the carbon atom produces the same harmonic scale as the Gregorian chant? Or that whale songs can travel thousands of miles underwater? Or that meadowlarks have a range of three hundred notes? But the songs we can hear audibly are only one instrument in the symphony orchestra called creation. Research in the field of bioacoustics has revealed that we are surrounded by millions of ultrasonic songs. Supersensitive sound instruments have discovered that even earthworms make faint staccato sounds! Lewis Thomas put it this way: “If we had better hearing, and could discern the descants [singing] of sea birds, the rhythmic tympani [drumming] of schools of mollusks, or even the distant harmonics of midges [flies] hanging over meadows in the sun, the combined sound might lift us off our feet.” Someday the sound will lift us off our feet. Glorified eardrums will reveal millions of songs previously inaudible to the human ear.
Mark Batterson (All In: You Are One Decision Away From a Totally Different Life)
And so we weep for the fallen. We weep for those yet to fall, and in war the screams are loud and harsh and in peace the wail is so drawn-out we tell ourselves we hear nothing. And so this music is a lament, and I am doomed to hear its bittersweet notes for a lifetime. Show me a god that does not demand mortal suffering. Show me a god that celebrates diversity, a celebration that embraces even non-believers and is not threatened by them. Show me a god who understands the meaning of peace. In life, not in death. Show— 'Stop,' Gesler said in a grating voice. Blinking, Fiddler lowered the instrument. 'What?' 'You cannot end with such anger, Fid. Please.' Anger? I am sorry. He would have spoken that aloud, but suddenly he could not. His gaze lowered, and he found himself studying the littered floor at his feet. Someone, in passing – perhaps Fiddler himself – had inadvertently stepped on a cockroach. Half-crushed, smeared into the warped wood, its legs kicked feebly. He stared at it in fascination. Dear creature, do you now curse an indifferent god? 'You're right,' he said. 'I can't end it there.' He raised the fiddle again. 'Here's a different song for you, one of the few I've actually learned. From Kartool. It's called "The Paralt's Dance".' He rested the bow on the strings, then began. Wild, frantic, amusing. Its final notes recounted the triumphant female eating her lover. And even without words, the details of that closing flourish could not be mistaken. The four men laughed. Then fell silent once more.
Steven Erikson (The Bonehunters (Malazan Book of the Fallen, #6))
And barbarians were inventors not only of philosophy, but almost of every art. The Egyptians were the first to introduce astrology among men. Similarly also the Chaldeans. The Egyptians first showed how to burn lamps, and divided the year into twelve months, prohibited intercourse with women in the temples, and enacted that no one should enter the temples from a woman without bathing. Again, they were the inventors of geometry. There are some who say that the Carians invented prognostication by the stars. The Phrygians were the first who attended to the flight of birds. And the Tuscans, neighbours of Italy, were adepts at the art of the Haruspex. The Isaurians and the Arabians invented augury, as the Telmesians divination by dreams. The Etruscans invented the trumpet, and the Phrygians the flute. For Olympus and Marsyas were Phrygians. And Cadmus, the inventor of letters among the Greeks, as Euphorus says, was a Phoenician; whence also Herodotus writes that they were called Phoenician letters. And they say that the Phoenicians and the Syrians first invented letters; and that Apis, an aboriginal inhabitant of Egypt, invented the healing art before Io came into Egypt. But afterwards they say that Asclepius improved the art. Atlas the Libyan was the first who built a ship and navigated the sea. Kelmis and Damnaneus, Idaean Dactyli, first discovered iron in Cyprus. Another Idaean discovered the tempering of brass; according to Hesiod, a Scythian. The Thracians first invented what is called a scimitar (arph), -- it is a curved sword, -- and were the first to use shields on horseback. Similarly also the Illyrians invented the shield (pelth). Besides, they say that the Tuscans invented the art of moulding clay; and that Itanus (he was a Samnite) first fashioned the oblong shield (qureos). Cadmus the Phoenician invented stonecutting, and discovered the gold mines on the Pangaean mountain. Further, another nation, the Cappadocians, first invented the instrument called the nabla, and the Assyrians in the same way the dichord. The Carthaginians were the first that constructed a triterme; and it was built by Bosporus, an aboriginal. Medea, the daughter of Æetas, a Colchian, first invented the dyeing of hair. Besides, the Noropes (they are a Paeonian race, and are now called the Norici) worked copper, and were the first that purified iron. Amycus the king of the Bebryci was the first inventor of boxing-gloves. In music, Olympus the Mysian practised the Lydian harmony; and the people called Troglodytes invented the sambuca, a musical instrument. It is said that the crooked pipe was invented by Satyrus the Phrygian; likewise also diatonic harmony by Hyagnis, a Phrygian too; and notes by Olympus, a Phrygian; as also the Phrygian harmony, and the half-Phrygian and the half-Lydian, by Marsyas, who belonged to the same region as those mentioned above. And the Doric was invented by Thamyris the Thracian. We have heard that the Persians were the first who fashioned the chariot, and bed, and footstool; and the Sidonians the first to construct a trireme. The Sicilians, close to Italy, were the first inventors of the phorminx, which is not much inferior to the lyre. And they invented castanets. In the time of Semiramis queen of the Assyrians, they relate that linen garments were invented. And Hellanicus says that Atossa queen of the Persians was the first who composed a letter. These things are reported by Seame of Mitylene, Theophrastus of Ephesus, Cydippus of Mantinea also Antiphanes, Aristodemus, and Aristotle and besides these, Philostephanus, and also Strato the Peripatetic, in his books Concerning Inventions. I have added a few details from them, in order to confirm the inventive and practically useful genius of the barbarians, by whom the Greeks profited in their studies. And if any one objects to the barbarous language, Anacharsis says, "All the Greeks speak Scythian to me." [...]
Clement of Alexandria (Stromateis, Books 1-3 (Fathers of the Church))
Turn it beautiful. His words came faintly at first, but they came again and again, always softly, always with the insistence of an elder commanding wisdom. Turn it all to beauty. She walked to the rail. When she turned and sat upon it, she heard a sailor in the crowd murmur that she might play them a tune. She hoped he was right. She needed the voices to be wrong. Fin raised the instrument to the cleft of her neck and closed her eyes. She emptied her mind and let herself be carried back to her earliest memory, the first pain she ever knew: the knowledge that her parents didn’t want her. The despair of rejection coursed through her. It fathered a knot of questions that bound her, enveloped her. Waves of uncertainty and frailty shook her to the bones. Her body quivered with anger and hopelessness. She reeled on the edge of a precipice. She wanted to scream or to throw her fists but she held it inside; she struggled to control it. She fought to subjugate her pain, but it grew. It welled up; it filled her mind. When she could hold it no more, exhausted by defiance and wearied by years of pretending not to care, Bartimaeus’s words surrounded her. Got to turn it beautiful. She dropped her defenses. She let weakness fill her. She accepted it. And the abyss yawned. She tottered over the edge and fell. The forces at war within her raced down her arms and set something extraordinary in motion; they became melody and harmony: rapturous, golden. Her fingers coaxed the long-silent fiddle to life. They danced across the strings without hesitation, molding beauty out of the miraculous combination of wood, vibration, and emotion. The music was so bright she felt she could see it. The poisonous voices were outsung. Notes raged out of her in a torrent. She had such music within her that her bones ached with it, the air around her trembled with it, her veins bled it. The men around fell still and silent. Some slipped to the deck and sat enraptured like children before a travelling bard.
A.S. Peterson (Fiddler's Green (Fin's Revolution, #2))
We know, however, that the mind is capable of understanding these matters in all their complexity and in all their simplicity. A ball flying through the air is responding to the force and direction with which it was thrown, the action of gravity, the friction of the air which it must expend its energy on overcoming, the turbulence of the air around its surface, and the rate and direction of the ball's spin. And yet, someone who might have difficulty consciously trying to work out what 3 x 4 x 5 comes to would have no trouble in doing differential calculus and a whole host of related calculations so astoundingly fast that they can actually catch a flying ball. People who call this "instinct" are merely giving the phenomenon a name, not explaining anything. I think that the closest that human beings come to expressing our understanding of these natural complexities is in music. It is the most abstract of the arts - it has no meaning or purpose other than to be itself. Every single aspect of a piece of music can be represented by numbers. From the organization of movements in a whole symphony, down through the patterns of pitch and rhythm that make up the melodies and harmonies, the dynamics that shape the performance, all the way down to the timbres of the notes themselves, their harmonics, the way they change over time, in short, all the elements of a noise that distinguish between the sound of one person piping on a piccolo and another one thumping a drum - all of these things can be expressed by patterns and hierarchies of numbers. And in my experience the more internal relationships there are between the patterns of numbers at different levels of the hierarchy, however complex and subtle those relationships may be, the more satisfying and, well, whole, the music will seem to be. In fact the more subtle and complex those relationships, and the further they are beyond the grasp of the conscious mind, the more the instinctive part of your mind - by which I mean that part of your mind that can do differential calculus so astoundingly fast that it will put your hand in the right place to catch a flying ball- the more that part of your brain revels in it. Music of any complexity (and even "Three Blind Mice" is complex in its way by the time someone has actually performed it on an instrument with its own individual timbre and articulation) passes beyond your conscious mind into the arms of your own private mathematical genius who dwells in your unconscious responding to all the inner complexities and relationships and proportions that we think we know nothing about. Some people object to such a view of music, saying that if you reduce music to mathematics, where does the emotion come into it? I would say that it's never been out of it.
Douglas Adams (Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency (Dirk Gently, #1))