Thomas Stevens

Favorite Answers to Questions about Music

  • General Quotes

The Answers to Questions about Music

As Quotables:

Favorite answers to music questions.

“There are no answers…[There are] only questions in music. The most important thing for you to know is the right questions to ask”- Leonard Bernstein, in 1981, speaking out of a sense of frustration responding to a student who was relentless in his insistence that he be instructed by Mr. Bernstein exactly as to how to deal with a certain musical passage.

“I don’t know what that means-it’s something they do in the schools.”- Jazz composer, Bill Holman, answering a question posed by this writer regarding a notation issue in a big band chart.

Favorite answer about answers to music questions.

“The number of one's definitive answers is inversely proportional to one’s education and experience.”- West Coast impresario and musicologist, Lawrence Morton. (This is a variation on an old Bertrand Russell quote: "The trouble with the world is that the stupid are always cocksure and the intelligent are always filled with doubt."

Favorite answer to an answer to a music question.

"Who has known [this] better than Richard Strauss himself?"-Maestro Kurt Sanderling (1991) attempting to answer a music notation question in an orchestral work of Richard Strauss. "You'd be surprised," responded the orchestra's concertmaster.