Sound Devices In Poetry: Exploring The Different Techniques Of Sound In Poems

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You may think that poetry is just a bunch of words thrown together with fancy language, but oh, how wrong you are! Poetry is a beautiful art form that uses different techniques to create a rhythm and flow that is pleasing to the ear.

One of the most important techniques that poets use is sound devices. These devices add an extra layer of depth and meaning to the words, making them more than just a bunch of letters on a page.

Have you ever read a poem that just made you feel something deep inside? That’s the power of sound devices. Rhyme, alliteration, assonance, onomatopoeia, and other sound devices are used to create a musical quality in poetry that makes it stand out from other forms of writing.

In this article, we’ll explore each of these techniques and how they are used to create different effects in poems. Get ready to dive into the world of sound devices and discover the magic they bring to poetry!

Key Takeaways

  • Sound devices, such as rhyme, alliteration, assonance, and onomatopoeia, create a musical quality in poetry and add depth and meaning to words.
  • Slant rhyme can change the tone and meaning of a poem, while alliteration emphasizes certain words or phrases and creates a familiar quality.
  • Assonance creates mood and atmosphere, and onomatopoeia adds playfulness and vividness to poetry.
  • Experimenting with different sound devices enhances writing and adds layers of meaning and associations, making them an essential tool for every poet.


You’ll notice how rhyme adds a musical quality to a poem, making it sound like a song that you can hum along to. It’s a technique used by poets to create a rhythm that’s pleasing to the ear and to reinforce the meaning of their words.

Rhyme occurs when two or more words sound the same at the end of a line, or within a line. Examples of internal rhyme are found in the poem ‘The Raven’ by Edgar Allan Poe, where he uses the words ‘lore’ and ‘floor’ in the same line, and ‘muttered’ and ‘fluttered’ in another. This technique enhances the musicality of the poem, making it more memorable, and helping the reader to focus on the words being used.

Another type of rhyme is slant rhyme, which is when the words have a similar but not exact sound. The use of slant rhyme can change the tone and meaning of a poem. For example, in the poem ‘The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock’ by T.S. Eliot, he uses the words ‘room’ and ‘doom’ in a slant rhyme. This creates a sense of unease and adds to the mood of the poem.

The use of slant rhyme is a way for poets to create a more complex and nuanced sound, and to add depth to their work. Overall, the use of rhyme is a powerful tool for poets, and can greatly enhance the impact of their words.


When you read a poem with repeated consonant sounds, it creates a feeling of familiarity and comfort that draws you in. Alliteration is a poetic device that relies on repeating the same consonant sound at the beginning of neighboring words. It’s often used to emphasize certain words or phrases and create a musical quality in the text.

Exploring alliteration’s impact on mood and tone can provide insights into the way poets use sound to convey their message. Analyzing the use of alliteration in famous poems for emphasis and effect can help you understand how it can be used to heighten the emotional impact of a poem.

Using alliteration in Edgar Allan Poe's poem
Using alliteration in Edgar Allan Poe’s poem

For example, in Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven, “the repeated ‘n’ sound in the phrase “nodded, nearly napping”creates a sense of weariness and exhaustion in the reader. Similarly, in William Shakespeare’s “Sonnet 18,” the repeated ‘s’ sound in the phrase “summer’s lease hath all too short a date”creates a sense of sadness and inevitability.

By paying attention to alliteration in poetry, you can gain a deeper appreciation for the way sound can be used to convey meaning and emotion.


Hey there, have you ever noticed how repeating vowel sounds can create a sense of harmony and melody in a piece of writing? That’s exactly what assonance does in poetry!

Assonance is the repetition of vowel sounds in nearby words, regardless of whether the consonants that follow them are the same or not. By using assonance, poets can create an effect that resembles a musical quality in their poems.

Exploring the effectiveness of assonance in creating musicality in poetry is a fascinating journey. Poets use assonance to add a layer of emotion to their work, by enhancing the emotional impact of their poems. By repeating the same vowel sound, poets can create a sense of mood and atmosphere that can affect the reader on a subconscious level.

Assonance can be used to create a sense of calmness or tension, depending on the poet’s intention. So, the role of assonance in enhancing the emotional impact of poems is undeniable, and it’s an essential sound device that every poet should consider using in their work.


Have you ever noticed how words that imitate sounds can add a playful and vivid quality to writing? That’s precisely what onomatopoeia accomplishes in literature, referencing everything from animal noises to everyday sounds.

In fact, onomatopoeia is a sound device that’s designed to create an auditory experience for the reader, using words that sound like the thing they represent. This technique adds a creative dimension to poetry, making it more expressive and engaging.

Examples of famous onomatopoeic poems include ‘Jabberwocky’ by Lewis Carroll, which features nonsense words that mimic the sounds of strange creatures. Another example is ‘The Bells’ by Edgar Allan Poe, which uses the repetition of onomatopoeic words like ‘tinkle’ and ‘jingle’ to create a musical effect.

The role of sound symbolism in onomatopoeia is also significant, as it allows words to convey more than just their literal meaning. For instance, the sound of a word like ‘buzz’ can evoke the sensation of a buzzing insect, creating a sensory experience for the reader.

Overall, onomatopoeia is a valuable tool in the poet’s toolkit, adding a layer of creativity and depth to their work.

Other Sound Devices

You can elevate your writing by incorporating various sound devices, such as alliteration, consonance, and assonance. These add musicality to your prose.

Alliteration, the repetition of the initial consonant sound, adds a rhythmic quality to your writing. It creates a pleasing effect on the reader’s ear.

Consonance, on the other hand, is the repetition of consonant sounds within a phrase or sentence. It’s subtler than alliteration, but it helps to create a sense of continuity and harmony in your writing.

Assonance, the repetition of vowel sounds, also adds a musical quality to your writing. It can be used to create a sense of unity and coherence in your writing, as well as to evoke a particular mood or emotion.

using other sound devices in poetry
Using other sound devices in poetry

Sound symbolism is also an important aspect of incorporating sound devices in your writing. This refers to the idea that certain sounds carry particular meanings or associations, beyond their literal definition. By using sound symbolism, you can add depth and richness to your writing, helping to convey your intended message more effectively.

Incorporating sound devices in your poetry can help to create a musicality that engages your reader’s subconscious desire for innovation. By using alliteration, consonance, and assonance, you can create a rhythm that is pleasing to the ear, making your writing more interesting and memorable. Additionally, by using sound symbolism, you can add layers of meaning and associations to your writing, evoking a particular mood or emotion.

So, why not try experimenting with different sound devices in your poetry and see how they can enhance your writing?


You’ve just unlocked the secrets of sound devices in poetry. You’re now equipped with the knowledge of rhyme, alliteration, assonance, onomatopoeia, and other sound devices that poets use to create a symphony of words.

You can now read and appreciate poems in a whole new way, understanding the intricate techniques that the poets use to create a rich and memorable experience for the reader.

But wait, there’s more! You can now also use these sound devices in your own writing to create powerful and impactful poems that’ll leave your readers in awe. You can play with the sounds of words to create a musical and rhythmic effect that’ll bring your poetry to life.

So go ahead and experiment with these sound devices, and who knows, you might just create the next masterpiece that the world will remember forever.

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Jessica started off as an avid book reader. After reading one too many romance novels (really... is it ever really enough?), she decided to jump to the other side and started writing her own stories. She now shares what she has learned (the good and the not so good) here at When You Write, hoping she can inspire more up and coming wordsmiths to take the leap and share their own stories with the world.