Analysing Sound Devices

What you need to know…

Sound devices are used for a particular effect and for deliberate reasons by poets when writing poetry. You can read more about sound devices here. Just like how we practiced explaining and analysing the effects of figurative language, you are now going to do the same with sound devices.

This is a very challenging task because it’s not always obvious why a poet has used particular sound devices.

The best analyses will be those that connect the sounds to the meaning (e.g. central idea) of the poem in some way.


In Scott’s poem “Ode: I hate that Drum’s Discordant Sound” the poet is describing how he hates the sounds of the drums that the army used in Britain in WWI when going from town to town to collect volunteers for the army. The army used a drum to attract attention so people knew the army was in town so they could sign up. 

Example Analysis:

The”d” sound is repeated in the opening lines in “I hate that drums dischordant sound, / Parading round, and round, and round:” (1-2). The d sound is similar to the sound of a drum  being banged and so the poet uses this in the opening to mimic the sound of the drum that he is describing. The sounds help the reader imagine the scene of the army banging their drum to gather volunteers. The repetition of the “round and round and round” also creates a constant rhythm like that of a drum being beating. In short, the alliteration helps the audience imagine the very thing that Scott is saying how much he hates. (you can read the poem here)

What you need to do…

  • Identify a sound device used in one of the three poems we’ve been studying in class (Caged Bird, Introduction to Poetry or Funeral Blues).
    • i.e. you analyse one poem.
  • Explain the relationship between the sound device used and the meaning in the poem.
    • The sound might also connect to the tone and/or the mood of the poem.
    • Remember to incorporate your quotes into your sentences properly (check here if you’ve forgotten how to do this).
  • Please show the teacher once you’ve finished. I will also be checking your work upon my return.

If you finish the above task…

You can spend the remainder of the time working on your assessment task.


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