When we speak, in gestures or signs, we fashion a real object in the world; the gesture is seen, the words and the song are heard. The arts are simply a kind of writing, which, in one way or another, fixes words or gestures, and gives body to the invisible.
(Alain [Emile-Auguste Chartier] (1868-1951), French philosopher. The Gods, introduction (1934, trans. 1988). . . .
All official institutions of language are repeating machines: school, sports, advertising, popular songs, news, all continually repeat the same structure, the same meaning, often the same words: the stereotype is a political fact, the major figure of ideology.
(Roland Barthes (1915-1980), French semiologist. "Modern," The Pleasure of the Text (1975).)
I think you overestimate our dear Viennese, my friend. Do you know you didn't even give them a good bang at the end of songs, to let them know when to clap.
(Peter Shaffer (b. 1926), British playwright, screenwriter. Salieri (F. Murray Abraham), Amadeus, to Mozart (Tom Hulce), explaining why the public didn't embrace his opera, The Marriage of Figaro (1984).)
Old age cannot be cured. An epoch or a civilization cannot be prevented from breathing its last. A natural process that happens to all flesh and all human manifestations cannot be arrested. You can only wring your hands and utter a beautiful swan song.
(Renee Winegarten (b. 1922), British author, critic. "The Idea of Decadence," Commentary (New York, Sept. 1974).)
In song and dance man expresses himself as a member of a higher community: he has forgotten how to walk and speak and is on the way toward flying up into the air, dancing.
(Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900), German philosopher, classical scholar, critic of culture. Friedrich Nietzsche, Sämtliche Werke: Kritische Studienausgabe, eds. Giorgio Colli and Mazzino Montinari, Berlin, de Gruyter 1980. Basic Writings of Nietzsche, p. 37, trans. and ed. By Walter Kaufmann, New York, Modern Library (1968). The Birth of Tragedy, section 1 (1872).)
Music is so much a part of their daily lives that if an Indian visits another reservation one of the first questions asked on his return is: "What new songs did you learn?"
(Federal Writers' Project Of The Wor, U.S. public relief program (1935-1943). Minnesota: A State Guide (The WPA Guide to Minnesota), p. 39, in "First Americans," Viking Press (1938).
On the modern Chippewa; drawn from Frances Densmore, Chippewa Music, Bulletin 45, Bureau of American Ethnology.)
Dylan is to me the perfect symbol of the anti-artist in our society. He is against everythingthe last resort of someone who doesn't really want to change the world.... Dylan's songs accept the world as it is.
(Ewan MacColl (1915-1989), British folk singer, songwriter. Also quoted in Robert Shelton, No Direction Home, ch. 8 (1986). Interview in Melody Maker (London, Sept. 1965).)
Here was a place where nothing was crystallized. There were no traditions, no customs, no college songs .... There were no rules and regulations. All would have to be thought of, planned, built up, createdwhat a magnificent opportunity!
(Mabel Smith Douglass (1877-1933), U.S. educator. The Early History of New Jersey College for Women (1929).
Recalling the early years of the New Jersey College for Women; Douglass became its first dean in 1918.)