If Music be the Food of Love – Meaning, Origin and Usage

Are you looking for a way to tell someone that a song reminds you of someone you love and makes you feel heartsore for them? You could use the saying “if music be the food of love, play on” to describe your emotional state. This post unpacks the meaning and origin of this expression.

Meaning

The expression “if music be the food of love, play on” means that the sound of music reminds you of love in a heartbreaking way. The best way to get over lost love is to embrace the heartache and overcome it by listening to music that spurs the emotion.

Example Usage

“It hurts me every time I hear that track. It was my ex’s favorite song. You know what they say. If music be the food of love, play on.”

“This was the song we had our first dance to all those years ago. If music be the food of love, play on.”

“I was going to ask you to turn that song off, but it doesn’t bother me as much anymore. I think I’m getting over my ex. If music be the food of love, play on.”

“I don’t know why this song makes me think of my ex so much. I always get teary and start thinking of him while it plays. Oh well, if music be the food of love, play on.”

“This song is the worst ever. It reminds me of my ex-boyfriend, and I don’t know if I’ll ever get over him sometimes. If music be the food of love, play on.”

“I know this track makes you feel down, but you need to get over him sooner or later. If music be the food of love, play on.”

“If the only way to get over someone is to numb yourself to the pain, then, if music be the food of love, play on.”

Origin

The expression “If music be the food of love, play on” originates from the English playwright William Shakespeare. The line opens his iconic play, “The Twelfth Night,” and it’s one of Shakespeare’s most-quoted lines.

The Twelfth Night is a play about love and being in love. It starts with Orsino, the Duke of Illyria, being in love. He’s listening to music being played in his garden, and the musicians pause due to his display of emotion. Orsino tells the band to play on until he becomes sick of it so that he can forget about the woman he loves.

Phrases Similar to If Music be the Food of Love

  • Love sick.
  • Moonstruck.
  • Emotionally vulnerable.

Phrases Opposite to If Music be the Food of Love

  • If music be the food of love, let it die.

What is the Correct Saying?

  • If music be the food of love, play on.

Ways People May Say If Music be the Food of Love Incorrectly

The phrase has nothing to do with food. In this expression, the word food means “to inspire.” Food fuels our body and its functions, sustaining our lives.

“If music be the food of love” means that music provides sustenance for the emotion of love due to the powerful response it invokes in our mind when we create memories around people and music, such as the first dance at a wedding.

Acceptable Ways to Phrase If Music be the Food of Love

The Shakespeare quote, “if music be the food of love, play on,” suits social conversations where you want to tell a person to keep playing music if it inspires them. It can also mean that you’re playing a song that reminds you of the person you love, bringing emotion to the surface. Or, you can use the phrase to point out that music has a powerful impact on love and your emotional response.

You could say the phrase to someone you love or to other people thinking about their loved ones while playing music. The expression can also suit situations where you say you want to play “your song” that reminds you of your partner or ex.

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