Understanding the Idiom 'Strike a Chord': Its Significance in Creativity

The English language is enriched with numerous idioms and expressions that convey more than the sum of their words. One such phrase that resonates deeply within various contexts is 'strike a chord.' Originally stemming from the world of music, where a chord is a combination of notes played simultaneously, this idiom transcends its roots to encapsulate a broader range of human experience, particularly within the realm of creativity.

The Essence of 'Strike a Chord'

To 'strike a chord' means to elicit a strong emotional response or to resonate with someone on a personal level. The idiom reflects the power of something—be it words, art, music, or even an idea—to touch the very core of our being, triggering feelings, memories, or thoughts that are deeply held within us.

When an artist creates a piece, be it a painting, a musical composition, or a piece of literature, they are often hoping to 'strike a chord' with their audience. The magic lies in the moment when the audience connects with the creation on an emotional or intellectual level. This connection is the hallmark of a truly impactful piece of creative work.

'Strike a Chord' in Literary and Artistic Creativity

In the literary world, authors strive to 'strike a chord' with their readers through relatable characters, evocative descriptions, and scenarios that mirror real-life complexities. When readers find themselves empathizing deeply with a character or situation, it can be said that the writer has successfully 'struck a chord.'

Consider the following usage in a literary critique:

J.K. Rowling's ability to 'strike a chord' with readers of all ages is a testament to her storytelling prowess, as she weaves themes of love, loss, and friendship throughout the Harry Potter series.

Similarly, in visual arts, an artist might produce a painting that speaks volumes without uttering a single word. The colors, textures, and subject matter can all work in harmony to 'strike a chord' with those who view it, often leaving a lasting impression.

For example:

The mural's vivid depiction of community life managed to 'strike a chord' with locals, echoing the vibrant spirit and cultural unity of the neighborhood.

'Strike a Chord' in Music and Creativity

Naturally, the idiom 'strike a chord' is at home in the world of music. Musicians and composers aim to touch their listeners emotionally, crafting melodies and harmonies that resonate within the soul. A certain progression of chords or a poignant lyric can become a timeless expression of human emotion because it 'strikes a chord' with a wide audience.

Consider the following commentary on a piece of music:

The haunting melody at the end of the symphony 'struck a chord' with the audience, leaving many in tears as the final note lingered in the air.

'Strike a Chord' in Innovative Thought and Creativity

Creativity is not limited to the arts; it permeates every field of human endeavor. Innovators and thought leaders aim to 'strike a chord' with their audience by presenting ideas that challenge conventional wisdom or propose novel solutions to problems. When a fresh idea resonates and motivates people to think differently or take action, it has indeed 'struck a chord.'

An example in the context of a TED Talk:

The speaker's radical approach to environmental conservation 'struck a chord' with the listeners, inspiring many to become more proactive in their sustainable practices.


The idiom 'strike a chord' beautifully encapsulates the essence of what many creative individuals aspire to achieve: a deep, resonant connection with others through their work. Whether through words, images, sounds, or ideas, the ultimate goal is to touch the heart and mind of the audience in a meaningful way. When something 'strikes a chord,' it is a clear sign that it has transcended the ordinary and entered the realm of the extraordinary, leaving an indelible mark on our human experience.