Music Lover's Quotation Book: A Lyrical Companion


119 pages
Contains Index
ISBN 0-920151-12-4
DDC 780





Edited by Kathleen Kimball, Robin Petersen, and Kathleen Johnson
Illustrations by Trudy Binder
Reviewed by Desmond Maley

Desmond Maley is a librarian with the J.W. Tate Library, Huntington
College, Laurentian University.


“There is nothing to it. You only have to hit the right note at the
right time, and the instrument plays itself” was Johann Sebastian
Bach’s laconic comment about keyboard performance. It is one of the
many apt quotations included in this collection, which brings together
observations on music-related topics.

The comments range from witty to profound. “Without music, life would
be a mistake,” wrote Friedrich Nietzsche. Mark Twain said,
“Wagner’s music is better than it sounds.” “Bed is the poor
man’s opera,” according to an Italian proverb. And, about popular
music, Mitch Miller said, “Keep it simple, keep it sexy, keep it

Editors Kimball, Petersen, and Johnson describe themselves as musicians
and lovers of literature. The illustrations are by Binder, a freelance
illustrator who is also a rock singer and performer.

The collection is arranged by subject, with an author index. It is not
intended as an exhaustive or scholarly tome, though it provides
occasional notes about sources and context. Rather, it is a compilation
of personal favorites, with an eye toward amusement and pithiness.

A disappointment is that the book includes so few quotations from the
celebrated pen of George Bernard Shaw. Shaw was a music critic before
becoming the second leading playwright in the English language, but only
two of his quotations were chosen.

Nevertheless, this pocket-sized collection is recommended to anyone
with an interest in musical aphorisms.


“Music Lover's Quotation Book: A Lyrical Companion,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 30, 2024,