Fiddle Quotes

"In the evening as she (Mary Queen of Scots) wished to sleep, five or six hundred scoundrels of the town serenaded her with wretched violins and small rebecs, of which there is no lack in this country, and they began to sing psalms than which nothing more badly sung or out of tune could be imagined. Alas, what music and what repose for her night!"

Abbe de Brantome (1527-1614)
"The violin requires beautiful passages, distinct and long, with playful figures and little echoes and imitations repeated in several places, passionate accents."

Agazzari (1607)
"In order to play well, many repetitions are needed. .. The secret, of course, is to make the repetitions interesting.. But don't kid yourself, there is no other way to learn other than repeating things."

Alinta Thornton (1983)
"To regard one's immortality as an exchange of matter is as strange as predicting the future of a violin case once the expensive violin it held has broken and lost its worth."

Anton Chekov (1860 - 1904)
"Prize intensity more than extensity. Perfection resides in quality, not quantity."

B.Gracian (1601 - 1638)
"The Irish hate our order, our civilization, our enterprising industry, our pure religion. This wild, reckless, indolent, uncertain and superstitious race have no sympathy with the English character. Their ideal of human felicity is an alternation of clannish broils and coarse idolatry. Their history describes an unbroken circle of bigotry and blood."

Benjamin Disraeli (1804-1881)
"It is all about the bow, it is like a paintbrush."

David Game
"The preacher wants his flock to see the light. I want mine to feel the groove."
"We follow the groove and accent it regardless of bow direction."
"The preacher wants his flock to see the light, I want mine to feel the groove."

Donna Hebert
"Dance on Sir; and after a while you will dance down the red hot pavements of perdition to the tune of damnation played upon the violin of destruction with the Devil for a fiddler."

Dr Rozelle ( Quote by: Dr Rozelle (From a chapter entitled 'Go Forth and Preach the Gospel' Lewisburg, West Virginia 1845))
"Music is a great gift, one of the greatest anybody can have, because it's something nobody can take away from you. Money can't buy it. It's a very precious thing, I think, very precious."

Ernie Carpenter (1909 - 1997)
"Music rots when it gets too far from dance and poetry atrophies when it gets too far from music."

Ezra Pound
"Pipes, fiddles, men of no valour, bone players and pipe players; a crowd hideous, noisy, profane, shriekers and shouters."

From the Fair of Carmen in the book of Leinster c.1160
"Music with dinner is an insult both to the cook and violinist"

G.K.Chesterton (1874 - 1936)
"The love of music does not require perfection. It waits to be surprised by it, but does not expect it in every case."

Garrison Keilor (b.1942)
"I lived in the wood until I was slain by the relentless axe. In life I was silent, but in death my melody is exquisite."

Gasper Duiffoprugcar (1514 - 1572)
"Habit is stronger than reason."

George Santayana (1863 - 1952)
"Early reliance on memory is very important for developing a sense of security in playing in public."

Harlow Mills
"When Charles II had come to the throne, one of his first acts was the bringing over to England a band of 24 fiddlers, each a prodigy in his own way, but immeasurably inferior to their leader Baltzar. This man performed such marvels on the four slender strings of the violin that an honest gentleman of the period suggested his identity with Satan and seriously examined his feet in the expectation of finding them cloven."

Irish Minstrels and Musicians, O'Neill c.1913
"Tone, pitch and rhythm are the basic elements of all music. It is only logical then, that the technique of the violin be firmly founded on these three elements in terms of beauty of tone, accuracy of intonation and precise control of rhythm."

Ivan Galamian (1903-1981)
"A group of beggars used to whine in a series of dissonances which Bach thought contained an interesting set of intervals. He first made as if to give them something but pretended he could not find any money. As their complaint rose to a high pitch, he gave them serveal times a very small donation which slightly lowered their cry. Finally he gave them an exceptionally large sum which, to his delight produced a full resolution of the chord and a satisfying cadence."

J F Reichardt Musikalischer Almanach (1796)
"Better the pain and loss and labour should smite upon our hearts with ineffaceable strokes, than that we go down to the grave with a life half lived, a soul half starved, and eyes that have seen no harvest."

J Henderson Williams
"The original idea of the composition (The Deil's Concert) was that I had descended to Hades, and there held converse with His Majesty of the Tail and Cloven Hoof."

J. Scott Skinner (1843 - 1927)
"The old musicians in them days, they would take music from anything. They would take music from the sound of the sea, or they would go alongside of the river at the time of the flood and they would take music from that. They would take music from the chase of the hound and hare."

John Doherty (Donegal fiddler) (1903-1980)
"I must shut my ears. The man of sin rubbeth the hair of the horse to the bowels of the cat."

John O'Keefe (1747 - 1833)
"The truth of the matter is, though violin playing is very close to singing, one feels rather exposed standing up and playing a melody alone. To do this takes a special kind of talent."
"The major goal of all violinists is an effortless and beautiful tone."

Kato Havas (b.1920)
"One occassionally hears dire warnings against the dangers of 'over ornamentation.' Generally, those who level such accusations are unable to perform much ornamentation, either because of an ignorance of what to do or an inability to do it."

L.E. McCullough (1976)
"The pleasure we obtain from music comes from counting, but counting unconsciously. Music is nothing but unconscious arithmetic."

Leibniz (1646 - 1716)
"A violinist without rhythm is no violinist, he is as helpless as a painter who is colour blind. Rhythm is a principle underlying all life, and all the arts, not that of music alone."

Leopold Auer (1845 - 1930)
"A painter paints pictures on canvas but musicians paint their pictures on silence"

Leopold Stokowski (1882 - 1977)
"There are in the music of the violin-if one does not see the instrument itself, and so cannot relate what one hears to form, which modifies the tone-accents so closely akin to those of certain contralto voices that one has the illusion that a singer has taken her place amid the orchestra. One raises one's eyes, and sees only the wooden case, delicate as a Chinese box, but, at moments, one is tricked by the siren's deceiving call; at times, too, one thinks one is listening to a captive genie, struggling in the darkness of the sapient, quivering and enchanted box, like a devil immersed in a stoup of holy water; sometimes, again, it is in the air, at large, like a pure and supernatural being that unfolds its invisible message as it goes by."

Marcel Proust (1871-1922)
"We consider the man who can fiddle all through one of those Virginia reels without losing his grip, may be depended upon in any kind of emergency."
"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do then by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."

Mark Twain (1835 - 1910)
"It took me several years to get a few tunes together."
"You can network your way to opportunity but you can't network your way to success."

Martin Hayes (12/03/2008)
"Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness."

Maya Angelou
"The tone of the violin is the most ravishing, for those who play it perfectly..sweeten it as they wish and render it inimitable by certain tremblings which delight the mind."

Mersenne (1588 - 1648)
"The violin is one of the most perfect instruments acoustically and has extraordinary musical versatility. In beauty and emotional appeal its tone rivals that of its model, the human voice, but at the same time the violin is capable of particular agility and brilliant figuration, making possible in one instrument the expression of moods and effects that may range, depending on the will and skill of the player, from the lyric and tender to the brilliant and dramatic. Its capacity for sustained tone is remarkable, and scarcely another instrument can produce so many nuances of expression and intensity. The violin can play all the chromatic semitones or even micro-tones over a four octave range, and, to a limited extent, the playing of chords is within its powers. In short, the violin represents one of the greatest triumphs of instrument making. Composers, inspired by its potential, have written for it as a solo instrument, accompanied and unaccompanied, and also in connection with the genres of orchestral and chamber music. Possibly no other instrument can boast a larger and musically more distinguished repertory, if one takes into account all forms of solo and ensemble music in which the violin has been assigned a part."

New Grove Dictionary of Musical Instruments (1984)
"King Frederick VII of Denmark asked where the violinist Ole Bull had learned to play. Bull replied "The pine forests of Norway and the beautiful fiords taught me!" The King replied "What rubbish!"

Ole Bull (1810-1880)
"Music is the art which is most nigh to tears and memory."
"If one hears bad music, it is one's duty to drown it by one's conversation"

Oscar Wilde (1854 - 1900)
"It is a kind of disparagement to be a cunning fiddler. It argues his neglect of better employment and that he has spent much time on a thing unnecessarie."

Owen Feltham (1631)
"For over a third of a century I have been waiting, watching, hoping and praying, that God might inspire some Irishman, or association of Irishmen, to collect and publish just such a work as "The Music of Ireland"- the grand old music-the weird, wild and mournful reel tunes that entranced me when a child, a youth, and a man, in the street or barn, at the bonfire or on the hilltop; the music, the never to be forgotten strains that often alternately flame or freeze-that made me when a child, sitting beneath the fiddler's chair, weep with delight or sadness, a condition of mind impossible to describe."

Patrick O'Leary writing to O'Neill about his collection of Irish melodies (1903)
"And since everyone knows about the violin family, it is unnecessary to indicate or write anything further about it."

Praetorius (1619)
"Organs are broken up, their pipes are redistributed and their identity destroyed; horns are battered and broken and get out of date; flutes have undergone all kinds of modifications; clarionets are things of yesterday; harps warp and rot; piano-fortes are essentially short lived but the sturdy violin outlasts them all."

Rev. H.R. Haweis (Music and Morals) (c.1871)
"The violin is the Princess but the cello is the Queen."

Russians
"Life is like learning a violin in public and learning as one goes along."

Samuel Butler (1835 - 1902)
"There is nothing, I think, in which the power of art is shown so much as in playing on the fiddle. In all other things we can do something at first. Any man will forge a bar of iron, if you give him a hammer; not so well as a smith, but tolerably. A man will saw a piece of wood, and make a box, though a clumsy one; but give him a fiddle and a fiddle stick and he can do nothing."

Samuel Johnson (1709 - 1784)
"The focus of the teacher's and student's attention is to be focused on the sound: beautiful tone and accurate intonation."
"I have held that there is no such thing as an innate aptitude for music. I believe the same for other cultural skills. I have insisted that it is a mistake to think that hereditary aptitudes exist for literature or mathematics."
"For someone to complain, "But I studied for five years" means nothing. It all depends how much he did each day. "I spent five years on it", someone says. But five minutes a day for five years is only 150 hours. What that person should have said is, "I did it for one hundred and fifty hours and still I am no better." That makes some sense. It is no wonder he got no better. To put your talent up on the shelf and then say you were born without any is utter nonsense."
"If our ability was not developed for us, we have to develop it ourselves. Instead of being defeated by misfortune, we have to make something good of our lives. There is no need to give up in discouragement; it is possible for every person to improve himself."
"While playing violin, finishing a phrase is the spiritual attitude in music; it is an important matter of time. Although the piece has ended, the music has not (for a certain instant). Bach, for example, used to write 'Fermate' in ink into his music textbooks of the eighteenth century. The tranquility during prayers, dropping silently to one's knees, is like this important moment."
"Knowledge is not skill. Knowledge plus ten thousand times is skill."
"Talent is not inherited"
"Musical ability is not an inborn talent but an ability that can be developed"

Shinichi Suzuki (1898 - 1998)
"I heard Paganini with the greatest interest in the two concerts he gave in Kassel. His left hand, with the purity of his intonation, and his G string are admirable. In his compositions and his style of interpretation there is a strange mixture of consummate genius, childishness, and lack of taste, so that one is alternately charmed and repelled. In my own case the total impression, especially after frequent hearings, was by no means satisfying and I've no desire to hear him again."

Spohr, Louis. (1784-1859)
"The function of music is to release us from the tyranny of conscious thought."

Thomas Beecham
"High-priz'd Noise...rather fit to make a Man's Ears Glow, and fill his Brains full of Frisks, &c. than to Season and Sober his Mind, or Elevate his Affection to Goodness."

Thomas Mace (1620-1710)
"Over the greater part of the world the viola (fiddle) with a bow is used in the recitation of epics."

Tinctoris (1487 )
"The greatest pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do."

Walter Bagehot (1826 - 1877)
"A Hungarian Gypsy prisoner will die of melancholy in gaol unless he is given wood to make himself a fiddle. I gave them wood and took leave of them. Ten days later I went to see the five gypsies , and to my surprise I found that out of the packing cases they had fashioned violins and bows and they were playing away like demons."

Walter Starkie (1894 - 1976)
"Danger is a good teacher and makes apt pupils. So are disgrace, defeat, exposure to immediate scorn and laughter."

William Hazlitt (1778-1830)
"While she did call me rascal fiddler, And twangling Jack, with twenty such vile terms." Taming of the Shrew Act II Scene I"
"Is it not strange that sheep's guts should hale the souls out of men's bodies?"

William Shakespeare (1564-1616)
"Music and the violin are a great protection… If I descended by parachute on to a country unknown to me, without my violin, with no money, and unable to speak the local language, I don't know how long I could survive. That would be a real test - one that I am not particularly keen to try!"
"The violinist is that peculiarly human phenomenon distilled to a rare potency, half tiger, half poet."
"Teaching is a matter of launching a student on the search, in the right direction."
"The violin is one of the most beautiful artifacts ever created by man and one of the most elusive to handle. It is this elusiveness that adds to its magic, for unless you become its slave the violin will take its revenge and withold its manifold voices and you will be left holding a lovely piece of musical furniture, offended and inert."
"Music is an art of time, and playing is a relationship, shaping time and being shaped by time."

Yehudi Menuhin (1916 - 1999 )
Upcoming Events
Fiddle Group Meetings 2017
First Saturday of each month.
3.00 pm to 5.00 pm
72 Church Street Maldon Vic 3463
Sean's fiddle students play tunes they are working on.
The student sessions are followed by an Irish session at the Kangaroo Hotel Maldon from 7.00 pm to 9.00 pm.
Dates for 2017
5th August
2nd September
7th October
4th November
2nd December.


"Thanks for the Fiddle Camp. I think the tutors were great and the programme and numbers really good. It was a bit like a fiddle boot-camp in terms of accelerated learning."
Peter Middleton

"I had a great time, learned some great tunes and picked up some good tips."
Dan Simpson

"I had a great time. The main attraction for me was the intensiveness of a full weekend of playing Irish music with like minded people. Was nice to catch up with fellow previous fiddle campers also. Keep up the good work. "
Phil Sell

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