Blog post #6


In “Living with Music”, Ralph Ellison describes how music affects his living experience in his New York City apartment building. After moving from Oklahoma City to New York city, he learned what the singer faced. In addition, he came to know that many famous musician’s motivation was neither for money nor frame because it was to achieve the most eloquent expression and emotions through the technical mastery of their instruments. At the beginning, his life in New York was hard because of loud noises near his apartment and everywhere surrounding him. Therefore, he decided to fight noise with noise. Since then, he started listening to music and lived with it daily. He was so passionate about music. He said that music is constant, reminding us of what we were and of what we aspire. He says, “Music will not only calm, it will ennoble thee”.

In “Living with Music” Ralph Ellison says “in those days it was either live with music or die with noise” means you need to find some kind of noise (Music) to avoid noise (unnecessary loud noise) because the neighborhood that he lived in was filled with drunk people and a singer. His apartment was next to a small restaurant with a jukebox.  And also, there was a singer, who would play music so loud every morning. Moreover, there were hauling cats and barking dogs. There was no option for him to live his life in peace without noise that is why he says live with music or die with noise.

In “Living with Music”, Ralph Ellison tells us how music has changed his living experience of New York City’s noisy life and the importance of music. Similarly, in “The Soundscape” R. Murray Schafer’s tells us how to classify sounds, appreciating their beauty or ugliness to help us become more aware of sounds around us. In addition, he says that we can avoid unnecessary background noises by listening to music using devices like headphones and earphones.

1 thought on “Blog post #6

  1. Paul Fess

    Usha, interesting connection between Schafer and Ellison. What does it change–if anything–that Schafer focuses on the landscape/soundscape whereas Ellison focuses on the built environment/soundscape? I also like your idea that music (as noise) combats noise.

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