The Importance Of Sound In Poetry

1302 Words6 Pages
Contextualisation and problem statement
“All sounds, all colours, all forms, either because of their pre-ordained energies or because of long association, evoke indefinable and yet precise emotions, or, as I prefer to think, call down among us certain disembodied powers, whose footsteps over our hearts we call emotions; and when sound, and colour, and form are in a musical relation, a beautiful relation to one another, they become as it were one sound, one colour, one form and evoke an emotion that is made out of their distinct evocations and yet is one emotion. The same relation exists between all portions of every work of art, whether it be an epic or a song…” (Masson, 1953:219; Yeats, 1900)

Why does Shakespeare’s poetry grasp hold of our
…show more content…
According to Perloff & Dworkin there has been large-scale indifference with regards to the current discourse of sound in poetry (Perloff & Dworkin, 2009:2). Thus, it is important that we look closely at the sounds in poetry in order to identify its relationship with music, to see whether it contains musical characteristics. Sound is perhaps, of all topics, the most closely connected with poetic feeling, “not only because it comprehends within its widely extended sphere, the influence of music, so powerful over the passions and affections of our nature; but because there is in poetry itself, a cadence – a perceptible harmony, which delights the ear while the eye remains unaffected” (Perloff & Dworkin, 2009:15). Sound portrays emotions, feelings and atmosphere, which correlate closely with the sound of music, where different sounds will enhance meaning and sense. Thus “each sound has a distinct quality or character” (Shimane, 1983:51). In view of the aforementioned, “the sound should be an echo to the sense...” (Shimane, 1983:51). Sound, therefore, plays an important role in the meaning and sense of poetry where the “perfect agreement of sound and sense in rhyme chains…encouraged belief that words alike in sound naturally agree in sense, or that sound originates sense much as noise begets an echo” (Ferry, 2002:173). The interpreter will thus…show more content…
And as so aptly stated by Schoenfeldt, “Shakespeare’s sonnets, with their unequaled idiomatic language-contours (written, after all, by a master in dramatic speech who shaped that speech into what C.S. Lewis called their lyric cantabile), are preeminently utterances for us to utter as ours” (Schoenfeldt, 2010:28). The study will endeavour to see if there is any relationship between song lyrics, i.e., words deliberately set to music, and the sonnets. Furthermore, it will investigate how and to what extent there is a musical relationship between the song lyrics and the sonnets in order to come closer to the beauty of Shakespeare’s language. There is a certain musicality “inherent in Shakespeare’s sonnets, whether [through] the combination of rhythm, rhyme, assonance, alliteration and imagery that is common to much poetry, or some idiosyncratic quality residing in the specific sonnets, that are selected for musical setting” (Ingham, 1972:220). While the dissertation focuses on one sonnet in particular, a wide acquaintance with the other sonnets by Shakespeare also informs the
Open Document