5 musical quotes that show even the most serious composers have a sense of humor

May 17, 2017 9:13 pm Last Updated: May 17, 2017 9:13 pm

Classical music has a reputation for being stuffy, but some of the most scathing, side-splitting one-liners about music were written by one classical composer about another’s work. Poor reviews aside, classical music was also full of humor if you knew where to look—Haydn, basically the father of the classical form, was notorious for his sense of humor, for instance. Besides writing musical jokes into his works, in his youth he was also known for pranks like arranging for separate for-hire choruses to sing different songs in public too close together—like a flashmob.

Here are a couple of quotes from these long-dead composers themselves that show a little personality:

  1. “It’s easy to play any musical instrument: all you have to do is touch the right key at the right time and the instrument will play itself.” — Johann Sebastian Bach
  2. “I am sure my music has a taste of codfish in it.” – Edvard Grieg
  3. “Never look at the trombones, it only encourages them.” – Richard Strauss
  4. “Nothing primes inspiration more than necessity.” – Giacchino Rossini
  5. “In order to compose, all you need to do is remember a tune that nobody else has thought of.” – Robert Schumann