24. Music Idioms

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Learn English! Some music idioms for you to use. Luke’s English Podcast is a free service for everyone in the whole world to use. Download the podcast, listen, laugh and learn. Get new vocabulary, listening practice, pronunciation drills for speaking and some interesting cultural information. Email me at luketeacher@hotmail.com. You can also find me on Facebook and Twitter.

This podcast is about music idioms. Idioms are difficult because they are fixed expressions. The individual words mean something different on their own. You have to learn the meaning of the complete expression. Here are some useful ones that relate to music in some way. You can use them to talk about anything.

The idioms:

  1. it rings a bell
  2. to pull out all the stops
  3. to play it by ear
  4. it’s music to my ears
  5. to be fit as a fiddle
  6. to face the music
  7. to change your tune
  8. to blow your own trumpet

Here are the transcipts of the badly acted dialogues (sorry about the terrible American accents):

A: Have you ever met Jack Miller?
B: Well the name rings a bell
A: He work in the Nakatomi Plaza
B: Oh yes, I remember. He was the guy who sealed the OCP contract. He wouldn’t stop blowing his own trumpet about it.
A: Yes, he kept going on about how he’d closed the deal, saying how Cyberdine were going to be the number 1 agency in the country.
B: Yeah, what a pain in the neck

OK guys! Summer is the busiest time of year for us. Lots of tourists with their £50 notes. What they really need, is London souvenirs. OK, so pull out all the stops this month. I want you to SELL SELL SELL. More British flags, more models of Big Ben, more photos of the Queen, more toy London busses, more postcards of punks, more Beatles T-shirts, more London Eye photos, more We Will Rock You tickets, and more umbrellas!!

A: Sir?
B: Yes?
A: It’s Miller. We’ve closed the OCP deal.
B: Oh, that is music to my ears! I can’t tell you how important it is to Cyberdine.
A: No sir, you don’t have to tell me.
B: Excellent!

A: Hey Miller!
B: Yeah?
A: Are you going into the OCP negotiation?
B: Well, yes I am.
A: Don’t you need your notes? Where’s your file?
B: Oh, I don’t really need them
A: How are you going to manage the negotiation without them?
B: Oh, I’ll just play it by ear

A: Well Miller…
B: Yes Doctor?
A: I’m pleased to tell you that you have a clean bill of health. You’re fit as a fiddle! It’s quite surprising really considering your age. I expect you have the body of someone half your age. How do you do it?
B: Well, just lucky I suppose
[terrible, unforgivable acting]

A: Hey Miller! The board is furious! They say you screwed up the OCP deal. They say Cyberdine is in jeopardy.
B: Damn it! Did they say anything else?
A: Yeah, they say they want to see you immediately. Time to face the music Miller.
B: I suppose so…

Serious APOLOGIES for the bad acting and for the slightly offensive American accent. I do like America, and mimicry is the sincerest form of flattery (apparently).

Here are the idioms and their definitions:

it rings a bell - it’s familiar, or it reminds me of something

to pull out all the stops - to do everything you can to achieve a result

to play it by ear - to improvise, to not follow a plan

it’s music to my ears - it’s exactly what I wanted to hear

to be fit as a fiddle - to be in perfect health

to face the music – to accept the negative consequences of what you have done

to change your tune - to change your opinion of something, and the way you talk about it

to blow your own trumpet – to go on about or boast about something you did well or are good at
That’s it folks! Cheers, bye bye bye bye bey bye bey bey bye bye bey bey bey bey bey

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