Writing About Literature 14. Figures of Sound
Figures of Sound • In addition to meter and end rhymes, poetry can make use of many other sounds of human speech, or phonetics • Called figures of sound, or sound devices, they may enhance, alter or simply work alongside the meaning of the poem • Like meter and rhyme, these techniques depend upon repetition Kjell Hansen’s sculpture, Upon the Universe Horizon, integrated into a Sound Poetry Performance here at the Frye Museum
Other Figures of Sound: Consonance • A sound device characterized by the repetition of the same consonant two or more times in short succession, such as pitter patter • Examples: • While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.“Tis some visitor,” I muttered, “tapping at my chamber door –Only this, and nothing more.”from The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe • And for you biting zealots, your raps are cacophonicHypocrite, critic, but deep inside you wish you had the pop hit. from Zealots by The Fugees
Other Figures of Sound: Alliteration • Alliteration is a special type of consonance where the repeated consonant sound is at the beginning of each neighboring word, in any syllables that, according to the poem's meter, are stressed • Also called head rhyme or initial rhyme • Example: • A wedding dress, or something white,To wear upon her swollen appetitefrom Joan of Arc by Leonard Cohen • Alliteration has a gratifying effect on the sound, gives a reinforcement to stresses, and can also serve as a subtle connection or emphasis of key words in the line
Other Figures of Sound: Assonance • The repetition of similar vowels (with different end consonants) in the stressed syllables of successive words to create internal rhyming within phrases or sentences • Example: • somewhere i have never traveled, gladly beyondany experience, your eyes have their silence:by e e cummings • And the moon rose over an open fieldfrom America by Paul Simon • Bass! How low can you go?Death row. What a brother knows.from Bring the Noise by Public Enemy
Other Figures of Sound: Phonaesthetics • The study of inherent pleasantness or beauty (euphony) or unpleasantness (cacophony) of the sound of certain words and sentences • Cacophany often uses harsher sounds, including the "plosives" (b, d, hard g, k, p, t) • Example of cacophony: • New verities, new inklings in the velvet hummedOf dynamos, where hearing’s leash is strummed….Power’s script, - wound, bobbin-bound, refined-Is stopped to the slap of belts on booming spools, spurredInto the bulging bouillon, harnessed jelly of the stars.from The Bridge by Hart Crane • Ultimately, euphony and cacophony are in the ear of the listener
Other Figures of Sound: More Rhymes • Full Rhyme (Perfect or True): A repetition of similar sounds in the last stressed vowel and of all the speech sounds following that vowel in two or more words. • Example: láte-fáte-gráte; fóllow-hóllow; ascénd-depénd • Also, the consonant that precedes the vowel sound must differ or it is simply repetition, not rhyme • A feminine rhyme matches two or more syllables in which the final syllable or syllables are unstressed.
Other Figures of Sound: More Rhymes • Slant Rhyme (half, sprung, near, oblique, off or imperfect): A repetition of similar sounds in the final consonants but not the vowels (although they are generally close in sound) in two or more words • Example: through-throw; watch-match • When have I last looked onThe round green eyes and the long wavering bodiesOf the dark leopards of the moon?All the wild witches, those most noble ladies,from Lines Written in Dejection by W.B. Yeats • On-moon and bodies-ladies slant because the vowels of the accented syllables do not match perfectly.
Other Figures of Sound: Sound Poetry • When the phonetic aspects of poetry are given greater weight than the semantic meanings f fr frau ffrau fffraauu ffffraaauuu fffffraaaauuuu fffffraaaaauuuuu ffffffraaaaaauuuuuu fffffffraaaaaaauuuuuuu ffffffffraaaaaaaauuuuuuuu fffffffffraaaaaaaaauuuuuuuuu Fffffffffffraaaaaaaaaauuuuuuuuuu Pain Through Friction by Ernst Jandl
Other Figures of Sound: Soundless Poetry: Concrete • When the typographic aspects of poetry are expanded to give visual reference
Other Figures of Sound: Soundless Poetry: Concrete • George Herbert, Easter Wings/ The Temple (1633)
Other Figures of Sound: Soundless Poetry: Concrete • Temperance poetry
Other Figures of Sound: Soundless Poetry: Concrete • Eugen Gomringer's 1954 poem "Schweigen," which consists of iterations of the word "schweigen," a German word relating to silence, which surround an empty, silent space in the third line: schweigen schweigen schweigen schweigen schweigen schweigen schweigen schweigen schweigen schweigen schweigen schweigen schweigen schweigen
Other Figures of Sound: Soundless Poetry: Concrete
Other Figures of Sound: Soundless Poetry: Concrete
Other Figures of Sound: Concrete By John Cage Dada poem
Other Figures of Sound: Concrete By Kurt Schwitters Untitled (With Red 4) Collage, pen, pencil, ink and paper on paper 176 x 152 mm
Other Figures of Sound: Concrete By Brion Gysin Ink-painted letters in Asian and Arabic scripts. The artist, who spoke Japanese and Arabic, played with the opposition between the Japanese vertical script and horizontal Arabic writing with an interest in painting these figures to make crossings and grids.
Other Figures of Sound: Concrete By Kenneth Patchen