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< Mendelssohn: cute kid, and multi-media artist | Main | Reflections on Aaron Copland's "Lincoln Portrait" >


Posted at 1:27 PM on February 4, 2009 by Fred Child (3 Comments)

My favorite Mendelssohn quote, and one of my favorite music quotations ever:


"People often complain that music is too ambiguous, that what they should think when they hear it is so unclear, whereas everyone understands words. With me, it is exactly the opposite, and not only with regard to an entire speech but also with individual words. These too seem to me so ambiguous, so vague, so easily misunderstood in comparison to genuine music, which fills the soul with a thousand things better than words."

(For more pics of Mendelssohn, and for more on Mendelssohn as a visual artist...here's an entry from earlier this week.)

Comments ( 3 )

I like the one about writing, music, dancing, and architecture.

It's one of those quotes that has been attributed to many many people:

I also think that who ever came up with that quote agrees with Mendelssohn - words (especially words about music) are vague and easily misunderstood.


Posted by Alex Coppock | February 6, 2009 12:03 PM

Musical moments that are ineffable and indescribable:

The return of the Aria in Bach's Goldberg Variations

The choral double fugue in the final movement of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony

The transition between the second and third movements of Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto

The fugal finale of Mozart's Jupiter Symphony

The return of the muted, rapid scales in the final movement of Prokofiev's Violin Sonata in F Minor

And so many others.

Posted by Fills the soul | February 6, 2009 2:49 PM

I'm often made fun of , because I prefer music without words. And if the music does have words,I prefer it be in a language I do not understand. That way the voice can be listened to as an instrument. Words get in the way of understanding the music.

Posted by Doc H | February 12, 2009 2:18 PM

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