A strain of music reminds me of a passage of the Vedas, and I associate with it the idea of infinite remoteness, as well as of beauty and serenity, for to the senses that is farthest from us which addresses the greatest depth within us. It teaches us again and again to trust the remotest and finest as the divinest instinct, and makes a dream our only real experience. — A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers—A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers
A thrumming of piano-strings beyond the gardens and through the elms. At length the melody steals into my being. I know not when it began to occupy me. By some fortunate coincidence of thought or circumstance I am attuned to the universe, I am fitted to hear, my being moves in a sphere of melody, my fancy and imagination are excited to an inconceivable degree. This is no longer the dull earth on which I stood.—Journal, 3 August 1852
All music is only a sweet striving to express character.—Journal, 12 December 1841
As Anacreon says "the works of men shine," so the sounds of men and birds are musical.—Journal, 8 March 1853
But let us hear a strain of music, we are at once advertised of a life which no man had told us of, which no preacher preaches. Suppose I try to describe faithfully the prospect which a strain of music exhibits to me. The field of my life becomes a boundless plain, glorious to tread, with no death nor disappointment at the end of it. All meanness and trivialness disappear. I become adequate to any deed. No particulars survive this expansion; persons do not survive it. In the light of this strain there is no thou nor I. We are actually lifted above ourselves.—Journal, 15 January 1857
But such only as spring heavenward, and I may catch from steeples and hilltops in their upward course, which are the more refined parts of the former, are the true sphere music,—pure, unmixed music,—in which no wail mingles.—Journal, 8 July 1838
Each more melodious note I hear Brings this reproach to me, That I alone afford the ear, Who would the music be.—"The Service"