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Thirty Musical Idioms


  1. a song and dance – a fuss
  2. and all that jazz – and other similar things
  3. as clean as a whistle – very clean or clear/without any incriminating evidence
  4. clear as a bell – perfectly clear/very clear
  5. fit as a fiddle – very fit/in perfect health
  6. for a song – very cheaply
  7. it takes two to tango – both people/parties involved are equally responsible
  8. like a broken record – annoyingly repetitive (usually used to describe someone constantly repeating an unwanted or unpleasant opinion)
  9. music to my ears – welcome good news
  10. rings a bell – sounds familiar
  11. to call a tune – to take initiative/to decide what to do on behalf of a group
  12. to change your tune – to behave differently/express a different opinion than before
  13. to chime in – to interject
  14. to drum up – to solicit or canvass in order to gain support/interest
  15. to face the music – to confront the consequences of your actions
  16. to fine tune – to perfect something by making small adjustments
  17. to give someone a bell – to telephone someone
  18. to hit the right note – to say something in a way that its suitable/appropriate for the listening audience
  19. to march to the beat of your own drum – to do things your own way (by disregarding convention)
  20. to play it by ear – to act on instinct rather than according to a previously-made plan
  21. to play second fiddle – to have/take a subordinate role to someone
  22. to pull out all the stops – to make a great effort to produce/achieve something
  23. to sing for your supper – to earn something by providing a service in return
  24. to strike a chord – to evoke a particular emotion (usually sympathy or enthusiasm) in someone
  25. to toot/blow your own horn/trumpet – to boast about your achievements/talents
  26. to whistle in the dark – to pretend you are not afraid
  27. to whistle in the wind – to try to influence something that cannot be changed
  28. whistle stop – quick, with only brief pauses/breaks
  29. with bells and whistles – with all the desired features/with extra desirable features
  30. with bells on – enthusiastically/ excitedly

If you’ve found this post useful, why not check out our other articles on idioms?


04 Aug 2015
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