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- I am now satisfied that the future music of this country must be founded upon what are called negro melodies. This must be the real foundation of any serious and original school of composition to be developed in the United States.
- In the negro melodies of America I discover all that is needed for a great and noble school of music. They are pathetic, tender, passionate, melancholy, solemn, religious, bold, merry, gay or what you will. It is music that suits itself to any mood or any purpose. There is nothing in the whole age of composition that cannot be supplied with themes from this source.
- Interviewed by James Creelman, New York Herald, May 21, 1893.
- It cannot be emphasized too strongly that art, as such, does not "pay," to use an American expression – at least, not in the beginning – and that the art that has to pay its own way is apt to become vitiated and cheap.
- "Music in America", Harper's Monthly Magazine, February 1895. 
- The music of the people is like a rare and lovely flower growing amidst encroaching weeds. Thousands pass it, while others trample it under foot, and thus the chances are that it will perish before it is seen by the one discriminating spirit who will prize it above all else. The fact that no one has as yet arisen to make the most of it does not prove that nothing is there.
- "Music in America", Harper's Monthly Magazine, February 1895.