- Which is more musical, a truck passing by a factory or a truck passing by a music school?
- John Cage, "Communication", the third of the Composition as a Process lectures given in Darmstadt in 1958 and published in Silence. Many of Cage's works use sounds traditionally regarded as unmusical (radios not tuned to any particular station, for instance): he really did believe that the sound of a truck and the sounds made in a factory had just as much musical worth as the sounds made in a music school. There is also a suggestion expressed in the quote that in order to determine the artistic worth of something, it is necessary to examine the context in which it exists.
- A sound does not view itself as thought, as ought, as needing another sound for its elucidation, as etc.; it has not time for any consideration--it is occupied with the performance of its characteristics: before it has died away it must have made perfectly exact its frequency, its loudness, its length, its overtone structure, the precise morphology of these and of itself.
- Music has no subject beyond the combinations of notes we hear, for music speaks not only by means of sounds, it speaks nothing but sound.
- You know the sound of two hands clapping; tell me, what is the sound of one hand?
- Whenever you wash dishes, cook, or clean, if you make no sound, this is smartness itself. A person who enters a house and makes a lot of noise is revealing a lack of spirituality; even cats and dogs do not make unnecessary sounds, and man as he naturally is does not make any either.
- Michio Kushi (1926), Spiritual Journey (1994), p. 4.
- Could we not imagine that noise...is itself nothing more than the sum of a multitude of different sounds which are being heard simultaneously?
- Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Dictionnaire de Musique (1767).
- If a tree falls in a forest, and no-one is around to hear it, does it make a noise?
- Source unknown, but apparently originating in the twentieth century; a 1910 physics book asks "When a tree falls in a lonely forest, and no animal is near by to hear it, does it make a sound? Why?" Charles Riborg Mann, George Ransom Twiss, Physics (1910), p. 235. See also: If a tree falls in a forest.
Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations 
- Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 740.
- A thousand trills and quivering sounds
In airy circles o'er us fly,
Till, wafted by a gentle breeze,
They faint and languish by degrees,
And at a distance die.
- Joseph Addison, An Ode for St. Cecilia's Day, VI.
- A noise like of a hidden brook
In the leafy month of June,
That to the sleeping woods all night
Singeth a quiet tune.
- Samuel Taylor Coleridge, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner (1798; 1817), Part V, Stanza 18.
- By magic numbers and persuasive sound.
- William Congreve, Mourning Bride, Act I, scene 1.
- I hear a sound so fine there's nothing lives
'Twixt it and silence.
- James Sheridan Knowles, Virginius, Act V, scene 2.
- Parent of sweetest sounds, yet mute forever.
- Thomas Babington Macaulay, 1st Baron Macaulay, Enigma. "Cut off my head, etc." Last line.
- Sonorous metal blowing martial sounds,
At which the universal host up sent
A shout that tore hell's concave, and beyond
Frighted the reign of Chaos and old Night.
- Their rising all at once was as the sound
Of thunder heard remote.
- To all proportioned terms he must dispense
And make the sound a picture of the sense.
- Christopher Pitt, translation of Vida's Art of Poetry.
- The murmur that springs
From the growing of grass.
- Edgar Allen Poe, Al Aaraaf, Part II, line 124.
- The empty vessel makes the greatest sound.
- What's the business,
That such a hideous trumpet calls to parley
The sleepers of the house? Speak, speak!
- Hark! from the tombs a doleful sound.
- Isaac Watts, Hymns and Spiritual Songs, Book II. Hymn 63.
- My eyes are dim with childish tears,
My heart is idly stirred,
For the same sound is in my ears
Which in those days I heard.
- William Wordsworth, The Fountain.
- Noise proves nothing. Often a hen who has merely laid an egg cackles as if she has laid an asteroid