tease out

< Previous | Next >

Allegromoderato2

Senior Member
Portuguese
Context:

< --- > The higher version the boys sing is made up of identical notes to the men’s, but at a higher register; so there is a fixed, natural distance between the two identical lines of music. This fixed distance between a note and its higher self is something that occurs in nature – we humans didn’t invent it, we just found it to be lurking behind all musical sounds.

I can tease out this ‘secret’ natural relationship between a note and its higher self by illustrating the magic of musical pitch. If I pluck any string on a guitar, or blow across the end of any piece of tubing, the length of the string or the length of the column of air will determine how high or low my note will be. <--->

Source: The Story of Music, by Goodall.


What does "tease out" mean in this context?

< Text reduced to comply with 4-sentence limit on quotation (Rule 4). Cagey, moderator >
 
Last edited by a moderator:
  • exgerman

    Senior Member
    NYC
    English but my first language was German
    It is a metaphorical use of this meaning of tease:
    to pull apart or separate the adhering fibers of (wool or the like), as in combing or carding;
    comb or card, as wool;
    He likens his discovery of the real meaning of the secret relationship to the laborious process of separating out and then recombining the strands of wool into coherent threads.

    I should add that this metaphorical use is so common that there is rarely a reference to the source of the metaphor when one uses the expression.
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    The term "tease" does still seem to be used fairly widely in the context of hairdressing. That's certainly the first thing that sprang to my mind when I saw the word in this thread. However, here the meaning is of course metaphorical.
     

    Allegromoderato2

    Senior Member
    Portuguese
    It is a metaphorical use of this meaning of tease:
    He likens his discovery of the real meaning of the secret relationship to the laborious process of separating out and then recombining the strands of wool into coherent threads.

    I should add that this metaphorical use is so common that there is rarely a reference to the source of the metaphor when one uses the expression.
    That was what I thought but I was not sure. Thanks! :D:thumbsup:
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    "Tease out" is a perfectly normal thing to say, especially in the sense of teasing out what you need to know from a mass of information or teasing a secret out of someone. There's nothing literary about it.
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top