SOUND IN LITERATURE
A. MUSICAL DEVICES THROUGH THE SOUND OF LANGUAGE
• All art consists of giving structure to two elements: repetition and variation; the combination makes us enjoy art greatly and lastingly. If we get too much sameness, the result is monotony and tedium(feeling bored); if we get too much variety, the result is bewilderment and confusion. • In good poems, repetition will serve several purposes: it will please the ears, emphasize the words in which the repetition occurs and give structure to the poems. • Consider the following examples:
The turtle lives ‘twixt plated decks
Which practically conceal its sex.
I think it clever of the turtle
In such a fix to be so fertile.
(Ogden Nash, 1902)
| | | |Because he lives between two decks, |The turtle lives ‘twixt plated decks | |It’s hard to tell a turtle’s gender. |Which practically conceal its sex. | |The turtle is a clever beast |I think it clever of the turtle | |In such a plight to be so fertile. |In such a plight to be so fertile |
• The popularity and initial impresiveness of repetitions is evidenced in the language as cliches, like wild and wooly, sink or swim, do or die, harum-scarum and hocus-pocus. • A syllable consist of a vowel that may be preceded or followed by consonant sounds. Any of these sounds may be repeated. a. The repetition of initial consonants is alliteration, such as in “safe and sound”, “fish or fowl”, “rime or reason” b. The repetition of vowel sounds is assonance, like in “mad as a hatter”, “free and easy”, “time out of mind” c. The repetition of final consonants is consonance, like in “last but not least’, “odds and ends”, a stroke of luck” • The combination of assonance and consonance is rime. We have several kinds: masculine, feminine; internal, end;
B. RHYTHM AND METER
• Rhythm is any wavelike recurrence of motion and sound. In speech it is the rise and fall of language. It involves some kind of alternation between accented and unaccented syllables. • Meter is the kind of rhythm we can tap our foot to. In language that is metrical the accents are arranged as to occur at apparently equal intervals of time, and it is this interval we mark off with the tap of our foot. Metrical language is called VERSE. • In every word of more than one syllable, one syllable is accented or stressed. Ex: today, tomorrow, yesterday, daily, intervene.
• Foot (the basic metrical unit) consists normally of one accented syllable plus one or more unaccented syllables.
THE BASIC KINDS OF FEET
|Example |Name of Foot |Name of Meter | |today |Iamb |Iambic | |daily |Trochee |Trochaic | |intervene |Anapest |Anapestic | |yesterday |Dactyl |Dactylic | |day-break |Spondee |(Spondaic) | |day |Monosyllabic foot |...
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