Ralph talks to you about the sounds around him where he lives, what he hears and what he see’s in his home in nyc, but he speaks about these negatively. He talks to you about how everyone around him makes noise. He hears the loud music playing or hears the ruckous outside from the people or animals. when he mentions ” live with music or die by noise” he was telling us that youre either going to tolerate and tune out the noise around you and create your own tune your own music or die by everyone else’s sounds and noise that surrounds you. In this case It’s a way of selective hearing you chose what to hear or cancel out. He compares himself to the singer he hears and reminds him of a time where he would practice his instrument and the noise he would make. Ellison would play music to cancel out the noises of his neighbor basically noise against noise.
Ralph & Schaeffer both spoke about the sound and space in there case. Ralph Ellison spoke about his sound and space from his apartment by making noise on top of noise and Schaeffer canceled out noise with a pair of headphones. Both of them from New York City but just different aspects and ways of dealing with their life style.