Purpose of the arts

The potential of music to spread peace

A German proverb says: Bose Menschen haben keine Lieder (bad men don't sing) . It is not impossible that out of a tremendous movement of amateur community music a peace movement could spread over the world. Could it not be supported by our high dignitaries? Instead of the president of the United States solitarily playing the piano in Washington and the ruler of the Russians strumming his balalaika (or whatever he strums) in Moscow, could they not, together with their respective governments, join once a week in an orchestra or chorus, thus giving the world an example of common enterprises towards a lofty goal? People who make music together cannot be enemies, at least not while the music lasts.

– Paul Hindemith

Cited in: Paul Hindemith (1952) A composer's world: Horizon's and Limitations. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, chapter 11 (digital edition at held at

By Greg

Australian composer and pianist