Why is the poem "The Frog and the Nightingale" considered a musical poem?

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booboosmoosh's profile pic

booboosmoosh | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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A poem is musical in nature. This is most apparent when a poem is read out loud so that the literary devices that have been employed by the author are easier to hear. For example, the rhyming of a poem is much more noticeable when we hear the poem. For instance, Edgar Allan Poe's poetry, including "Annabel Lee" and "The Raven" both make excellent use of the rhyme (as well as repetition). In "The Frog and the Nightingale" by Vikram Seth, the end rhyme is heard with "frog" and "bog," "dawn" and "awn," etc.

Sometimes a poem will sound musical because of the rhythm the writer creates within it. Most of the poem's lines have either three or four accented syllables. This gives the poem a rocking feeling when it is read—aloud. The stress of the first two lines, as noted below, provides a sense of motion back and forth—the words/syllables that are bolded carry the stress and create movement:

Once-u-pon-a-time-a-frog

Croaked-a-way-in-Bin-gle-Bog

It is these elements that make the poem musical, as well as the fact that it is all about music. However, other types of devices will also add to the musical quality of a poem: especially when the ear picks up patterns, such as repetition, alliteration, consonance, assonance, and onomatopoeia. A few of these are used in the poem. For example, alliteration, which the repetition of a [consonant] sound repeated in a group of words—at the beginning of each word—is heard with:

"crass cacophony," "foot the frog" and "Toads and teals and tiddlers"

Onomatopoeia, a word that represents or mimics the sound it stands for, is heard with "clapped" and "croak."

We hear assonance in the following phrases: the "i" provides repetition of the same vowel sound, which is assonance:

"night a nightingale" and "splendid baritone"

Consonance, the repetition of a consonant sound in, or at the end of, words in a group, is found in the following line:

"had ended, clapped" and "Greatly flattered"

All of these examples provide sounds that the ear catches, that make the poem musical.

 

 

xdheex's profile pic

xdheex | Student, Grade 10 | (Level 1) eNoter

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This poem, then, is warning to people against giving over their talents, self-confidence and "moral courage" into the charge of those who have little knowledge himself, and shares no worthwhile advice. In essence the poem encourages people to "listen to the beat of their own drum," while avoiding those who are full of themselves and/or who feel threatened by a sense of competition. The frog here represents the voices in the world that rob those who are more innocent or weaker—of their voice. They are not at all interested in the success of other people, and when the other fails, the first guy happily continues to do his own "thing," though his competition is gone now. Written in the 1920s, and reintroduced during the 1960s, "Desiderata," by Max Ehrmann, echoes the story's theme: This poem, then, is warning to people against giving over their talents, self-confidence and "moral courage" into the charge of those who have little knowledge himself, and shares no worthwhile advice. In essence the poem encourages people to "listen to the beat of their own drum," while avoiding those who are full of themselves and/or who feel threatened by a sense of competition. The frog here represents the voices in the world that rob those who are more innocent or weaker—of their voice. They are not at all interested in the success of other people, and when the other fails, the first guy happily continues to do his own "thing," though his competition is gone now. Written in the 1920s, and reintroduced during the 1960s, "Desiderata," by Max Ehrmann, echoes the story's theme:
yamunasaryam's profile pic

yamunasaryam | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

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First of all the poem is a musical poem as the theme is partly based on music. Also the use large number of musical words in the poem is a sign of a musical poem. In the first stanza the poet stretches the word 'on' to form 'awn', a imaginary word to make the poem more musical and also the use of rhythmic words at the end of each line in a stanza makes the poem as a whole musical.

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