10 of Beethoven’s most stirring quotes about music

15 December 2020, 12:01 | Updated: 25 January 2021, 10:43

By Maddy Shaw Roberts

It seems Beethoven was forever reeling off wise, philosophical quotes about music. As the world marks 250 years of the German revolutionary, here are some of his most memorable lines.

A quarter of a millennium after Beethoven’s birth, the world is still hanging on his every word. We remember the notorious LVB’s most inspiring quotes about music...

Click here to listen to our podcast, Beethoven: The Man Revealed on Global Player, the official Classic FM app >

  1. Music is the mediator between the spiritual and the sensual life.

    Music is the mediator between the spiritual and the sensual life.
    Picture: Getty/Classic FM
  2. To play a wrong note is insignificant. To play without passion is inexcusable!

    To play a wrong note is insignificant. To play without passion is inexcusable!
    Picture: Getty/Classic FM
  3. Music should strike fire from the heart of man and bring tears from the eyes of woman.

    Music should strike fire from the heart of man and bring tears from the eyes of woman.
    Picture: Getty/Classic FM
  4. Don’t only practise your art, but force your way into its secrets

    Don’t only practise your art, but force your way into its secrets
    Picture: Getty/Classic FM
  5. Music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy. Music is the electrical soil in which the spirit lives, thinks and invents.

    Music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy. Music is the electrical soil in which the spirit lives, thinks and invents.
    Picture: Getty/Classic FM
  6. The guitar is a miniature orchestra in itself.

    The guitar is a miniature orchestra in itself.
    Picture: Getty/Classic FM
  7. Music is the one incorporeal entrance into the higher world of knowledge which comprehends mankind, but which mankind cannot comprehend.

    Music is the one incorporeal entrance into the higher world of knowledge which comprehends mankind, but which mankind cannot comprehend.
    Picture: Getty/Classic FM
  8. I would rather write 10,000 notes than a single letter of the alphabet.

    I would rather write 10,000 notes than a single letter of the alphabet.
    Picture: Getty/Classic FM
  9. Music is like a dream. One that I cannot hear.

    Music is like a dream. One that I cannot hear.
    Picture: Getty/Classic FM
  10. What you are, you are by accident of birth; what I am, I am by myself. There are and will be a thousand princes; there is only one Beethoven.

    What you are, you are by accident of birth; what I am, I am by myself. There are and will be a thousand princes; there is only one Beethoven.
    Picture: Getty/Classic FM

Join us on 16 December for Classic FM’s Big Beethoven Celebration, as we play the German composer’s music throughout the day on the 250th anniversary of his birth.