Weekend Word Wrap: On Music

Image credit: 

I thought I'd end the week's ON MUSIC posts by combining one last one with my usual Friday feature. For those who enjoyed the new feature, don't worry, they'll be making periodic appearances in the ensuing weeks. In the meantime, here are a bunch of words and phrases I like that have crossed over from the lexicon of musical terminology into everyday speak.

People are said to act harmoniously, or even in concert with one another.

Someone's last major job or work of art before retirement or death is often referred to as a swan song.

Everyone is always looking for the next gig these days.

Certain instruments have made it into the language as verbs. Trumpet, for instance, as in "I'm home, honey!" he trumpeted from the hallway. Or how about: "Pipe down!" Or, "Go ahead and chime in."

Flute is also a verb, as in to flute a piecrust.

One can also drum up support, and, my personal fav: fiddle around. I also like the phrase: I'm not gonna play second fiddle to her.

The slang, beat, which was coined by the Beatniks, is said to have come from jazz rhythms (though I've also heard it comes from the word beatitude).
People always referred to my brother as the type of guy who walks to the beat of his own drum.

Serenade is often used as a verb meaning "to woo" or "seduce" but obviously comes from the performance of music in the open air at night.

Song lyrics can be traced back to the lyre, an ancient Greek instrument similar to the harp. Lyrics were to be sung to the accompaniment of the lyre.

Hyundai Motors has a car called the Sonata (a musical form). There's a wine out there called Etude (a musical exercise) and a brand of tea called Adagio (Italian for "slowly," as in the musical tempo marking).

I'll end the post by turning the floor over to you all, as always. Know any interesting words or phrases from the world of music that have crossed over?

More from mental_floss...

February 16, 2007 - 2:47am
webby
submit to reddit