Questions for the Sense of Hearing

When I was in college, my roommate was a young, beautiful, intelligent woman who was deaf.  She and I became very good friends and remain friends, to this day.  I will never forget something she said to me about being deaf:

“Kat, being blind separates you from the world, but being deaf separates you from other people.” 

Imagine the scene you are writing — there are sounds, always.

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to enrich your descriptions by including this richness of sensation that floats around us, all the time.  We become so accustomed to tuning things out that we forget how much beauty there is the sound of a leaf skittering across the pavement, the rain falling against our windows, or that strange, still quiet that seems to pervade everything for the briefest moment, just before the sun rises.  ~ Kat

image by Kat Coe

The Sense of Hearing

a.    Is the scene relatively noisy or relatively quiet?

b.   Can the sound of the scene as a whole be generally classified?

c.    What are the specific sources of sound in the scene?

d.    How might each of these specific sounds be generally classified?

e.    Can any of these sounds be compared to the sound of a more familiar object?

f.    What is the intensity of each specific sound?

g.   Do these sounds form any definite pattern or rhythm?

h.   Can this pattern or rhythm be compared to the pattern or rhythm of the sound made by a
more familiar object?

i.    Are the sounds in any way musical? Can they be associated with the sound of any specific
musical instruments?

j.    Can words be found which in their own sound carry a suggestion of the sound they name?

k.   What are the most striking sounds of the scene? Do they form any common impression?

[From D. Gordon Rohman and Albert O. Wlecke. Pre-Writing: The Construction and Application of Models for Concept Formation in Writing. East Lansing, Michigan.: Michigan State University, 1964, pp. 114-115.]


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