20 English Idioms Inspired by Music

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Music not only fills our lives with melody and rhythm but also enriches our language. English is peppered with idioms that have their roots in the musical domain, illustrating various life situations with a musical twist. Whether you’re hitting the right note in a conversation or simply marching to the beat of your own drum, understanding these idioms can add color to your expressions. Let’s dive into 20 musical idioms and discover their meanings and applications through concise examples.

Idioms With Music

1. Face the music

Meaning: To confront the consequences of one’s actions.

Example: After making a mistake, he had to face the music.

2. Music to my ears

Meaning: News or information that one is pleased to hear.

Example: The approval was music to my ears.

3. Change your tune

Meaning: To change your opinion or attitude.

Example: He quickly changed his tune when he saw the evidence.

4. Blow your own trumpet

Meaning: To boast about oneself.

Example: He loves to blow his own trumpet.

5. Ring a bell

Meaning: To sound familiar.

Example: Does that name ring a bell?

6. Strike a chord

Meaning: To evoke an emotional response.

Example: Her speech struck a chord with the audience.

7. Banging the same drum

Meaning: Repeatedly talking about the same topic.

Example: He’s always banging the same drum.

8. Fit as a fiddle

Meaning: To be in good health.

Example: She’s fit as a fiddle at 80.

9. Play it by ear

Meaning: To do something without planning.

Example: We’ll play it by ear for our trip.

10. Drum up

Meaning: To generate interest or support.

Example: They tried to drum up excitement for the event.

11. Set the tone

Meaning: To establish a particular mood or character.

Example: Her welcoming speech set the tone for the evening.

12. Jazz up

Meaning: To make something more interesting or exciting.

Example: They jazzed up the party with decorations.

13. March to the beat of your own drum

Meaning: To do things in one’s own way.

Example: He always marches to the beat of his own drum.

14. Offbeat

Meaning: Unusual or unconventional.

Example: His sense of humor is somewhat offbeat.

15. Fine-tune

Meaning: To make small adjustments to improve something.

Example: They fine-tuned the plan last night.

16. Sing a different tune

Meaning: To change one’s opinion, often contradictorily.

Example: She sang a different tune after the deal fell through.

17. Out of tune

Meaning: Not in agreement or harmony.

Example: Their ideas are out of tune with reality.

18. Hit the right note

Meaning: To do something appropriate or well.

Example: His apology hit the right note with her.

19. Chime in

Meaning: To join a conversation or discussion.

Example: Feel free to chime in with your ideas.

20. Harp on

Meaning: To talk or complain about something persistently.

Example: He tends to harp on minor details.

Idioms With Music


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