I dream of songs. I dream they fall down through the centuries, from my distant ancestors, and come to me. I dream of lullabies and sea shanties and keening cries and rhythms and stories and backbeats.

Rosanne Cash

Music . . . began with man, primitive man, trying to duplicate Nature’s sounds — winds, birds, animals, water, the crescendo of fire — after which great systems of learning were set up, only to discover that music is limitless.

Duke Ellington

Life, true life, was something that was stored in music. True life was kept safe in the lines of Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin while you went out in the world and met the obligations required of you.

Ann Patchett, Bel Canto

Perhaps all music, even the newest, is not so much something discovered as something that reemerges from where it lay buried in the memory, inaudible as a melody cut in a disc of flesh. A composer lets me hear a song that has always been shut up silent within me.

Jean Genet

Floyd made the horn stutter, then played it smooth. It keened and it wailed. It asked the people what their troubles were and blew them back to them. Floyd got out of the way and let his horn carry him out to the edges of himself. There wasn’t anything that horn couldn’t say.

Ayana Mathis, The Twelve Tribes of Hattie

A writer’s heart, a poet’s heart, an artist’s heart, a musician’s heart is always breaking. It is through that broken window that we see the world; more mysterious, beloved, insane, and precious for the sparkling and jagged edges of the smaller enclosure we have escaped.

Alice Walker

Music is the only religion that really delivers the goods.

Frank Zappa

She sings about sore feet, sexual relations, baked goods, killing your lover, being broke, men called Daddy, women who dress like men, working, praying for rain. Jail and trains. Whiskey and morphine. She tells stories between verses and everyone in the place shouts out how true it all is.

Ann-Marie MacDonald, Fall on Your Knees

Music, I suppose, will be the thing that sustains me in the time of my life when I am too old for sex and not quite ready to meet God.

Dolly Parton

If you want to call everybody . . . call them with music. To tell you the truth, music is everybody’s name.

Salif Keita

Under the influence of music I have the illusion of feeling things I don’t really feel, of understanding things I don’t understand, being able to do things I’m not able to do. . . . Can it really be allowable for anyone who feels like it to hypnotize another person, or many other persons, and then do what he likes with them? Particularly if the hypnotist is just the first unscrupulous individual who happens to come along?

Leo Tolstoy, The Kreutzer Sonata

Ah, that shows you the power of music, that magician of magicians, who lifts his wand and says his mysterious word and all things real pass away and the phantoms of your mind walk before you clothed in flesh.

Mark Twain, Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc

It really is a very odd business that all of us, to varying degrees, have music in our heads.

Oliver Sacks

I feel sorry for a culture that depends too much on delegating its musical expression to professionals. It is fine to have heroes, but we should do our own singing first, even if it is never heard beyond the shower curtain.

Linda Ronstadt

I could do with a bit more excess. From now on I’m going to be immoderate — and volatile — I shall enjoy loud music and lurid poetry. I shall be rampant.

Joanne Harris, Chocolat

You must always believe that life is as extraordinary as music says it is.

Rebecca West, The Fountain Overflows