Monday, May 21, 2012
Pulling Out the Stops
This descriptive English language of ours is loaded with idioms. After more than a week of listening to pipe organs and learning about the mechanics of how an organ works, I have a revised picture of the English idiom, "pulling out all the stops."
Organists have been geniuses at multitasking long before computers and smartphones came along. The organist's eye darts from page to keyboard to pedals to stops. The feet dance along the pedals. Hands lift and lower from one keyboard to another as fingers pull and push the stops.
Watching an organist pull out all the stops with speed and grace makes one realize that to "pull out all the stops" is a compelling, all encompassing event in music. It's a great idiom, this phrase that comes from music into general use in our colorful language.
Wanda Hayes Eichler