Thursday, May 30, 2013

Does that even make sense?

It's one of those things that you say all the time that, when you stop and think about it, you wonder, "What the hell does THAT mean?"

Like "That really gets my goat." What goat? Who has a goat to get?

This time, Tori and I were taking a walk and we heard the ice cream truck and I said, "That's music to my ears." Then I stopped in my tracks as it hit me. What other organ would music affect? Why not just say, "That's music?" I mean, if you saw something pretty, I suppose it would make sense to say something like, "That's music to my eyes," although kind of weird. Something delicious could be "music to my tastebuds." But music to my ears? Where else would music go? What other organ would make sense to ascribe music to?

That's rhythm to my colon.

That's a symphony to my liver.

That's a melody to my philtrum.

Music to my ears. Sheesh.


  1. I think the phrase "That's music to my ears" is more for things that aren't, well....musical. It's a way of conveying appreciation for a non-melodic sound or a fantastic idea.

    Appreciating music is something pretty much everyone on the planet does, but we appreciate different styles. I like country, but my brother will lean out my car window when I put it on my stereo. He likes the slowed down crooning of Nikki Minaj, but I'd rather drill a hole in my head with my Dremel.

    So, with that in mind, if I were to say "Oh, that sounds so good, it's country music!" he would think I was being sarcastic because country is his torture. The appreciation for whatever it is being heard is only truly conveyed to those with the exact same love of country I have (which is rather specific...late 80s and newer).

    However, it's going to be a given that the general statement of appreciating music is accepted by all, leaving "music" to stand for whatever is appealing to the individual listener. Thus the phrase "music to my ears" conveys the idea of absolute appreciation for what was said or heard. As opposed to "that's music" which is a simple declarative statement that shows no feeling one way or another toward what's heard.

  2. Good point. It also struck me as I was taking a walk just now that maybe the accent should be on "my." "That's music to MY ears. You may hear blah blah blah blah, but to me it's such good news it's like music."

    But I still think it sounds silly.

  3. My wife Tori also reminds me that the event which prompted this rumination involved actual music – the synthesized jangly tune of the ice cream truck. Saying "That's music to my ears" about music doubles the oddity.

    She also suggests I obsess about silly things and maybe I should relax. She's probably right about that. But I still think it's silly.