a series of musical notes, especially one that is pleasant and easy to remember
He was humming a tune as he dried the dishes.
a group of musical notes that make a nice sound when you play or sing them together:
I know the tune but I don't know the words.
I. tune1 S3 /tjuːn $ tuːn/ BrE AmE noun
[Date: 1300-1400; Origin: tone]
1. [countable] a series of musical notes that are played or sung and are nice to listen to SYN melody:
That’s a nice tune.
She sang some old classics and a few new tunes.
to the tune of something (=using the same tune as another song)
The song was sung to the tune of "Amazing Grace".
2. in tune playing or singing the correct musical note:
They sang perfectly in tune.
3. out of tune playing or singing higher or lower than the correct musical note:
Greg’s bass guitar was out of tune.
4. in tune with somebody/something, out of tune with somebody/something able or unable to realize, understand, or agree with what someone else thinks or wants:
The industry is changing in tune with changing demand.
5. to the tune of $1,000/£2 million etc informal used to emphasize how large an amount or number is:
Canada is funding the programme to the tune of $30 million.
⇨ call the tune at ↑call1(9), ⇨ change your tune at ↑change1(14), ⇨ dance to sb’s tune at ↑dance2(4), ⇨ ↑fine-tune, ↑signature tune
• • •
▪ play a tune He played a tune on the piano.
▪ hum/whistle a tune She was humming a little tune to herself.
▪ write/compose a tune They wrote many great tunes together in the 80s.
■ ADJECTIVES/NOUN + tune
▪ catchy/memorable (=one that is easy to remember) His songs have simple words and catchy tunes.
▪ the theme tune/signature tune (=the tune at the beginning or end of a television programme etc) the theme tune from the movie 'Titanic'
▪ a show tune (=a tune from a musical) Broadway show tunes
▪ a dance tune The DJ played some bouncy dance tunes.
▪ a hymn tune a rousing hymn tune
tune [tune tunes tuned tuning] noun, verb [tjuːn] [tuːn]
a series of musical notes that are sung or played in a particular order to form a piece of music
• He was humming a familiar tune.
• I don't know the title but I recognize the tune.
• It was a catchy tune (= song).
• a football song sung to the tune of (= using the tune of) ‘When the saints go marching in’
see also signature tune, theme tune
more at call the shots/tune at call v., change your tune at change v., dance to sb's tune at dance v., he who pays the piper calls the tune at pay v., sing a different tune at sing
late Middle English: unexplained alteration of tone. The verb is first recorded (late 15th cent.) in the sense ‘celebrate in music, sing’.
listen to/enjoy/love/be into music/classical music/jazz/pop/hip-hop, etc.
listen to the radio/an MP3 player/a CD
put on/play a CD/a song/some music
turn down/up the music/radio/volume/bass
go to a concert/festival/gig/performance/recital
copy/burn/rip music/a CD/a DVD
download music/an album/a song/a demo/a video
play a musical instrument/the piano/percussion/a note/a riff/the melody/a concerto/a duet/by ear
sing an anthem/a ballad/a solo/an aria/the blues/in a choir/soprano/alto/tenor/bass/out of tune
hum a tune/a theme tune/a lullaby
accompany a singer/choir
strum a chord/guitar
form/start/get together/join/quit/leave a band
give a performance/concert/recital
do a concert/recital/gig
play a concert/gig/festival/venue
perform (BrE) at/in a concert/(especially NAmE) a concert
appear at a festival/live
go on/embark on a (world) tour
write/compose music/a ballad/a melody/a tune/a song/a theme song/an opera/a symphony
land/get/sign a record deal
be signed to/be dropped by a record company
record/release/put out an album/a single/a CD
be top of/top the charts
get to/go straight to/go straight in at/enter the charts at number one
• He hummed a little tune as he washed the dishes.
• He softly hummed the tune to himself.
• He wasn't allowed in the choir because he couldn't hold a tune.
• She gave us a tune on the piano.
• The crowd were singing ‘Give us jobs!’ to the tune of ‘Happy Birthday’.
• The crowd were singing ‘Give us jobs, not more cuts!’ to the tune of ‘Happy Birthday To You’.
• The kids were picking out a popular tune on the old piano.
• a collection of classic tunes
• an old jazz tune
• I don't know the title but I recognize the tune.
• It was a catchy little tune.
• It's sung to the tune of ‘When the saints go marching in’.
Idioms: in of tune ▪ the tune of something
Derived: tune in ▪ tune in to somebody ▪ tune out ▪ tune somebody out ▪ tune something up ▪ tune up
tune / tjuːn / / tuːn / noun (MUSICAL NOTES)
A2 [ C ] a series of musical notes, especially one that is pleasant and easy to remember:
He was humming a tune as he dried the dishes.
a theme tune
That's a very catchy tune (= easy to remember and pleasant) .
→ Synonym melody
C1 singing or playing notes that are at the right pitch (= level) or that agree with others being sung or played
out of tune C1 singing or playing notes that are at the wrong pitch (= level) or that do not agree with others being sung or played:
I'm afraid the piano is out of tune.
[tju͟ːn, AM tu͟ːn]
tunes, tuning, tuned
1) N-COUNT A tune is a series of musical notes that is pleasant and easy to remember.
She was humming a merry little tune.
2) N-COUNT You can refer to a song or a short piece of music as a tune.
She'll also be playing your favourite pop tunes.
3) VERB When someone tunes a musical instrument, they adjust it so that it produces the right notes.
[V n] `We do tune our guitars before we go on,' he insisted.
Tune up means the same as tune. V P n (not pron) Others were quietly tuning up their instruments.
4) VERB: usu passive When an engine or machine is tuned, it is adjusted so that it works well.
[be V-ed] Drivers are urged to make sure that car engines are properly tuned.
Tune up means the same as tune. V P n (not pron) The shop charges up to $500 to tune up a Porsche.
5) VERB: usu passive If your radio or television is tuned to a particular broadcasting station, you are listening to or watching the programmes being broadcast by that station.
[be V-ed to n] A small colour television was tuned to an afternoon soap opera.
6) → See also fine-tune, signature tune, tuning fork
7) PHRASE: V inflects If you say that a person or organization is calling the tune, you mean that they are in a position of power or control in a particular situation.
Who would then be calling the tune in Parliament?
8) PHRASE: V inflects (disapproval) If you say that someone has changed their tune, you are criticizing them because they have changed their opinion or way of doing things.
You've changed your tune since this morning, haven't you?...
Yesterday he changed his tune, saying the fare increase was experimental.
9) PHRASE: V inflects (disapproval) If you say that someone is dancing to someone else's tune, you mean that they are allowing themselves to be controlled by the other person.
The danger of commercialism is that the churches end up dancing to the tune of their big business sponsors.
10) PHRASE: PHR after v, v-link PHR A person or musical instrument that is in tune produces exactly the right notes. A person or musical instrument that is out of tune does not produce exactly the right notes.
It was just an ordinary voice, but he sang in tune...
Many of the notes are out of tune...
It's no wonder the piano kept going out of tune.
11) PHRASE: v-link PHR, PHR n If you are in tune with a group of people, you are in agreement or sympathy with them. If you are out of tune with them, you are not in agreement or sympathy with them.
Today, his change of direction seems more in tune with the times...
The peace campaigners were probably out of tune with most Britons.
12) PHR-PREP: PREP amount To the tune of a particular amount of money means to the extent of that amount.
They've been sponsoring the World Cup to the tune of a million and a half pounds.
13) he who pays the piper calls the tune → see piper
- tune in
- tune out
- tune up
1tune /ˈtuːn, Brit ˈtjuːn/ noun, pl tunes [count] : a series of musical notes that produce a pleasing sound when played or sung
• I can't get that tune [=song] out of my head.
• an upbeat dance tune
• He played a delightful little tune [=melody] on the piano.
• The concert featured popular Broadway show tunes. [=songs from musicals]
call the tune informal : to be in charge or control of something
• She called the tune all through the meeting.
change your tune or sing a different tune informal : to change the way you talk about something : to have a different opinion about something
• He bragged that the test was easy, but when he saw his grade he changed his tune.
• Now he's singing a different tune.
• They say they're not worried about money, but once they see how much the new equipment will cost, they'll be singing a different tune.
dance to someone's tune
- see 1dance
1 : in a state in which the correct musical sound is played or sung
• The guitar was in tune.
2 a : in a state in which people agree with or understand one another
• The president and his followers were clearly in tune.
- usually + with
• They were clearly in tune with each other.
• The speaker was very much in tune with our concerns. [=understood and shared our concerns]
• The new supervisor is not in tune with the needs of the staff. [=does not understand/appreciate the needs of the staff]
b : in a state in which one thing agrees with or matches another - usually + with
• His formal clothing was in tune with the occasion.
out of tune
1 : in a state in which the correct musical sound is not played or sung
• The piano was out of tune.
2 a : in a state in which people do not agree with or understand one another - usually + with
• His speech was completely out of tune with our concerns.
b : in a state in which one thing does not agree with or match another - usually + with
• His values are out of tune with the times.
to the tune of
1 : using the tune of (a particular song)
• Amusing lyrics were sung to the tune of [=to the music of the song] “New York, New York.”
- used to emphasize a large amount of money
• A telecommunications company funded the event to the tune of [=at a cost of] several million dollars.