call the tune

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Related to calling the tune: He who pays the piper calls the tune

call the tune

To dictate how a situation or agenda proceeds, as from a position of authority. The phrase is a shortened version of "Who pays the piper calls the tune," which means that the person who pays for something assumes control over it. My staff has to do what I say because I'm the boss, and I call the tune here! Mom calls the tune for Thanksgiving dinner, so you better get her approval for any dish you want to bring.
See also: call, tune

call the tune

Make important decisions, exercise authority, as in Nancy said that it's her turn to call the tune. The full term is Who pays the piper calls the tune, meaning whoever bears the cost of an enterprise should have authority over it. [Late 1800s] Also see the synonym call the shots.
See also: call, tune

call the tune

COMMON If someone calls the tune, they are in control of a situation and make all the important decisions. If managers tried to get players to come back in the afternoon they'd have a riot on their hands. The players call the tune these days. Whether you're talking plant-breeding or choice of seed, supermarkets call the tune. Note: This expression comes from the proverb `he who pays the piper calls the tune'.
See also: call, tune

call the ˈshots/the ˈtune

(informal) be in control: Ask Jenny — she’s the one who calls the shots around here.
See also: call, shot, tune
References in periodicals archive ?
The Argentinian, a Wimbledon finalist in 2002 and seeded four for this event, was always calling the tune and won 6-2, 6-4 in one hour and 24 minutes.
I think we really captured that on the record, you know, really trying to create the music instead of just calling the tune and re-creating it.
Although physicians would like to say they remain loyal to the patient, it is the payer that is increasingly calling the tune.
NEWSBOY 1-2-3 1 HAMELIN 2 GROUNDBREAKING 3 HAVANA COOLER HAMELIN, lightly raced and with every chance of taking another step forward back on quicker terrain, is capable of calling the tune.
CORONATION Street leading lady Elsie Tanner is back - and, as usual, she's calling the tune.
Satellite telly's twin pillars, Sky and ESPN, are calling the tune and fitting in Scottish football wherever they can.