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Purpose of the arts

A poet is a nightingale

A poet is a nightingale who sits in darkness and sings to cheer its own solitude with sweet sounds; his auditors are as men entranced by the melody of an unseen musician, who feel that they are moved and softened, yet know not whence or why. Percy Shelley, A Defence of Poetry, 1821

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Purpose of the arts

Art is a crucial, dangerous operation

If a man teaches composition in a university, how can he not be a composer? He has worked hard, learned his craft. Ergo, he is a composer. A professional. Like a doctor. But there is that doctor who opens you up, does exactly the right thing, closes you up—and you die. He failed to take […]

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Purpose of the arts

How we decorate space and time

“Art is how we decorate space; music is how we decorate time.” Jean-Michel Basquiat,  street artist

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Purpose of the arts

Arthur Schopenhauer on music

Now the nature of man consists in this, that his will strives, is satisfied and strives anew, and so on for ever. Indeed, his happiness and well-being consist simply in the quick transition from wish to satisfaction, and from satisfaction to a new wish. For the absence of satisfaction is suffering, the empty longing for […]

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Purpose of the arts

The benefits of musical instruments

Many studies are now discovering that learning a musical instrument is something positive in itself – a discipline that helps a person to acquire skills of co-ordination. concentration, and perseverance. It shares these with sport, of course, but there is more. What makes playing a musical instrument worthy of special attention is that its physical […]

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Purpose of the arts

Why we read

We read books to find out who we are. What other people, real or imaginary, do and think and feel—or have done and thought and felt; or might do and think and feel—is an essential guide to our understanding of what we ourselves are and may become. A person who had never known another human […]

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Purpose of the arts

Dostoyevsky on beauty

“Beauty will save the world.” – The Idiot, Fyodor Dostoyevsky

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Purpose of the arts

Without music

“Without music, life would be a mistake.” — Friedrich Nietzsche, in Twilight of the Idols

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Purpose of the arts

Capturing the experience of being alive

In attempting to capture something of the experience of being alive, the words themselves must be alive. Words, when living and breathing are like musical chords. The full resonance of the chord or phrase must be allowed to be heard in all of its suggestive imprecision. We must attempt in our use of language in…our […]

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Purpose of the arts

The essence of music

I believe that there is no one the world so insensitive, so leaden, that he is not moved by song. Theophrastus rightly said in the second book concerning music that the essence of music is the movement of the soul, driving away the evils and troubles that have invaded it. If music did not have […]