Here are words for what is beyond words—pointers to the magnificence and mystery that is music.
“Music washes away from the soul
the dust of everyday life.”
“Music is the medicine of the breaking heart.” —Leigh Hunt
“Music is love in search of a word.” —Sidney Lanier
“Music fills the infinite (space) between two souls.”
“By reading the scriptures I am so renewed that all nature seems renewed around me and with me. The sky seems to be a pure, a cooler blue, the trees a deeper green. The whole world is charged with the glory of God and I feel fire and music under my feet.” —Thomas Merton
“There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats.” —Albert Schweitzer
“Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.” —Victor Hugo
“Music is an outburst of the soul.” —Frederick Delius
“Joy is more joyful, given a tune.” —Jane Swan
“In ancient times the greatest of the prophets were great musicians.” —Hazrat Inayat Khan
“Bach opens a vista to the universe. After experiencing him, people feel there is meaning to life after all.” —Helmut Walcha
“To know a man is not to know his name but to know his melody.”
—Unknown Asian philosopher
“Are we not formed, as notes of music are,
For one another, though dissimilar?”
—Percy Bysshe Shelley
“To enter into the initiation of sound, of vibration and mindfulness, is to take a giant step toward consciously knowing the soul.”
—Don G. Campbell
“Without music, life is a journey through a desert.” —Pat Conroy
“Do you know that our soul is composed of harmony?”
“Life is a symphony, and the action of every person in this life
is the playing of his particular part in the music.”
—Hazrat Inayat Khan
“Rhythm and harmony find their way into the secret places of the soul.”
“Music is a spiritual doorway. …
Its power comes from the fact that
It plugs directly into the soul.”
“Music seems to be the bridge
over the gulf between
form and the formless.”
—Hazrat Inayat Khan
“Music gives a soul to the universe,
wings to the mind,
flight to the imagination,
a charm to sadness,
gaiety and life to everything.”
“Music is a language,
a language of the intangible,
a kind of soul-language”
“Then the singing enveloped me.
It was furry and resonant, coming from everyone’s very heart.
There was no sense of performance or judgment,
only that the music was breath and food.”
“All one’s life is a music,
if one touches the notes rightly, and in time.”
“When we feel, a kind of lyric is sung in our heart.
When we think, a kind of music is played in our mind.
In harmony, both create a beautiful symphony of life.”
“Our light is a voice;
with our song we make a road,
a road for the spirit to cross over.”
—A Passamaqoddy song
“All true and deeply felt music,
whether sacred or profane,
journeys to heights
where art and religion
can always meet.”
“If you want the truth, I’ll tell you the truth:
Listen to the secret sound, the real sound, which is inside you..
The music from the strings no one touches.”
“A person should stir self with poetry, stand firm in ritual, and complete self in music.” —Li Yu
“There is really only one song,
and it’s the Great Song, the cosmic song,
the song that all things, animals, plants and humans
sing in their deepest heart
And every song that a human sings with his or her voice
is only an expression of that one Great Song
that is there from the beginning
and will be there after the end.”
—Brother David Steindl-Rast
“Sound is the nature of Creation, as spoken through so many cultures, from Aboriginal to Biblical to Hindu. When we attune to our own sacred nature, and voice this in resonance with clarity and trust, we come into contact with our very essence.”
—Zacciah, The Center of Light
“For a musician, music is
the best way to unite with God.”
—Hazrat Inayat Khan
“Music… will help dissolve your perplexities and purify your character and sensibilities, and in time of care and sorrow, will keep a fountain of joy alive in you.” ―Dietrich Bonhoeffer
“Music can name the unnamable
and communicate the unknowable.”
“The music flows within me like pure spirit.
What a wonderful conversation within the flow of universal energy!
…O Great One, I give thanks for this and for all music—
a power line fed into my heart from the universal grid.”
—Modern prayer from Vienna, Austria
1. Spirit into Sound: The Magic of Music, written and compiled by Mickey Hart and Fredric Lieberman (Grateful Dead Books, Novato, California, 1999).
2. Music, by Hazrat Inayat Khan (Sufi Publishing Company, 1962).
3. The Sacred Art of Chant, by Ana Hernández (Woodstock, Vermont, Skylight Paths Publishing, 2005).
4. Chanting, by Robert Gass (New York, Broadway Books, 1999).
5. Music of the Soul: Composing Life Out of Loss, Joy S. Berger (New York, Routledge, 2006).
6. Music Therapy at the End of Life, ed. Cheryl Dileo and Joanne Loewy (Cherry Hill, New Jersey, Jeffrey Books, 2005).