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Quotes of the day: Aaron Copland

Published Tuesday, December 01, 2015 @ 3:51 PM EST
Dec 01 2015

Aaron Copland (November 14, 1900 – December 2, 1990) was an American composer, composition teacher, writer, and later in his career a conductor of his own and other American music. Instrumental in forging a distinctly American style of composition, in his later years he was often referred to as "the Dean of American Composers" and is best known to the public for the works he wrote in the 1930s and 1940s in a deliberately accessible style often referred to as "populist" and which the composer labeled his "vernacular" style. Works in this vein include the ballets Appalachian Spring, Billy the Kid, Rodeo, Fanfare for the Common Man, and Third Symphony. The open, slowly changing harmonies of many of his works are archetypical of what many people consider to be the sound of American music, evoking the vast American landscape and pioneer spirit. In addition to his ballets and orchestral works, he produced music in many other genres including chamber music, vocal works, opera and film scores. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A melody is not merely something you can hum.

Composers tend to assume that everyone loves music. Surprisingly enough, everyone doesn’t.

I adore extravagance but I abhor waste.

I object to background music no matter how good it is.

If a literary man puts together two words about music, one of them will be wrong.

If you want to know about the Sixties, play the music of The Beatles.

Inspiration may be a form of superconsciousness, or perhaps of subconsciousness- I wouldn't know. But I am sure it is the antithesis of self- consciousness.

Most people use music as a couch; they want to be pillowed on it, relaxed and consoled for the stress of daily living. But serious music was never meant to be soporific.

Music that is born complex is not inherently better or worse than music that is born simple.

So long as the human spirit thrives on this planet, music in some living form will accompany and sustain it.

The greatest moments of the human spirit may be deduced from the greatest moments in music.

The main thing is to be satisfied with your work yourself. It's useless to have an audience happy if you are not happy.

The melody is generally what the piece is all about.

The whole problem can be stated quite simply by asking, 'Is there a meaning to music?' My answer would be, 'Yes.' And 'Can you state in so many words what the meaning is?' My answer to that would be, 'No.'

There is something about music that keeps its distance even at the moment that it engulfs us. It is at the same time outside and away from us and inside and part of us. In one sense it dwarfs us, and in another we master it. We are led on and on, and yet in some strange way we never lose control.

To stop the flow of music would be like the stopping of time itself, incredible and inconceivable.

Categories: Aaron Copland, Quotes of the day


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