A sound does not view itself as thought, as ought, as needing another sound for its elucidation, as etc.; it has not time for any consideration--it is occupied with the performance of its characteristics: before it has died away it must have made perfectly exact its frequency, its loudness, its length, its overtone structure, the precise morphology of these and of itself.
There is no surer mark of a low and unregenerate nature than this tendency of power to loudness and wantonness instead of quietness and reverence. To souls baptized in Christian nobleness the largest sphere of command is but a wider empire of obedience, calling them, not to escape from holy rule, but to its full impersonation.
All birds during the pairing season become more or less sentimental, and murmur soft nothings in a tone very unlike the grinding-organ repetition and loudness of their habitual song. The crow is very comical as a lover; and to hear him trying to soften his croak to the proper Saint-Preux standard has something the effect of a Mississippi boatman quoting Tennyson.
James Russell Lowell
Strange, how such a small realization can affect everyone's life forever. In movies there is always a carefully staged moment - a big crescendo of music, close- ups of the actors' faces, the camera slowly pulling away to let all this sink in for the viewer...but, in real life, most all of the extraordinary things happen with no more loudness than a whisper.
Please let him come, and give me the resilience & guts to make him respect me, be interested, and not to throw myself at him with loudness or hysterical yelling; calmly, gently, easy baby easy. He is probably strutting the backs among crocuses now with seven Scandinavian mistresses. And I sit, spiderlike, waiting, here, home; Penelope weaving webs of Webster, turning spindles of Tourneur. Oh, he is here; my black marauder; oh hungry hungry. I am so hungry for a big smashing creative burgeoning burdened love: I am here; I wait; and he plays on the banks of the river Cam like a casual faun.
The loudness of tone in Jane Eyre is undoubtedly effective in communicating tension and frustration, but the style does of course have its related limitations. It precludes the use of the small suggestive detail or the quiet but telling observation that Mrs Gaskell and George Eliot are so good at. In such a fortissimo performance as this, the pianissimo gets drowned out, or noted only as an incongruity (which helps to account for the book's moments of unintended comic bathos). Again, it makes the whole question of modulation of tone a difficult one, 6 and it is also hard to manage irony elegantly, as the Brocklehurst and Ingram portraits show. There is unconscious ambiguity but little deliberate irony in Jane Eyre. Hence the remarkable unity of critical interpretation of the book-the reader knows all too well what he is meant to think about the heroine and the subsidiary characters. The novel does not merely request our judicious sympathy for the heroine, it demands that we see with her eyes, think in her terms, and hate her enemies, not just intermittently (as in David Copperfield) but in toto. It was, incidentally, because James Joyce recognised the similar tendency of Stephen Hero that he reshaped his autobiographical material as A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, retaining the 'first-person effect' but building in stylistic and structural irony that would guard against the appearance of wholesale authorial endorsement of Stephen.
Bowman was aware of some changes in his behavior patterns; it would have been absurd to expect anything else in the circumstances. He could no longer tolerate silence; except when he was sleeping, or talking over the circuit to Earth, he kept the ship's sound system running at almost painful loudness. / At first, needing the companionship of the human voice, he had listened to classical plays-especially the works of Shaw, Ibsen, and Shakespeare-or poetry readings from Discovery's enormous library of recorded sounds. The problems they dealt with, however, seemed so remote, or so easily resolved with a little common sense, that after a while he lost patience with them. / So he switched to opera-usually in Italian or German, so that he was not distracted even by the minimal intellectual content that most operas contained. This phase lasted for two weeks before he realized that the sound of all these superbly trained voices was only exacerbating his loneliness. But what finally ended this cycle was Verdi's Requiem Mass, which he had never heard performed on Earth. The "Dies Irae, " roaring with ominous appropriateness through the empty ship, left him completely shattered; and when the trumpets of Doomsday echoed from the heavens, he could endure no more. / Thereafter, he played only instrumental music. He started with the romantic composers, but shed them one by one as their emotional outpourings became too oppressive. Sibelius, Tchaikovsky, Berlioz, lasted a few weeks, Beethoven rather longer. He finally found peace, as so many others had done, in the abstract architecture of Bach, occasionally ornamented with Mozart. / And so Discovery drove on toward Saturn, as often as not pulsating with the cool music of the harpsichord, the frozen thoughts of a brain that had been dust for twice a hundred years.
Arthur C. Clarke
When it begins it is like a light in a tunnel, a rush of steel and steam across a torn up life. It is a low rumble, an earthquake in the back of the mind. My spine is a track with cold black steel racing on it, a trail of steam and dust following behind, ghost like. It feels like my whole life is holding its breath. By the time she leaves the room I am surprised that she can't see the train. It has jumped the track of my spine and landed in my mothers' living room. A cold dark thing, black steel and redwood paneling. It is the old type, from the western movies I loved as a kid. He throws open the doors to the outside world, to the dark ocean. I feel a breeze tugging at me, a slender finger of wind that catches at my shirt. Pulling. Grabbing. I can feel the panic build in me, the need to scream or cry rising in my throat. And then I am out the door, running, tumbling down the steps falling out into the darkened world, falling out into the lifeless ocean. Out into the blackness. Out among the stars and shadows. And underneath my skin, in the back of my head and down the back of my spine I can feel the desperation and I can feel the noise. I can feel the deep and ancient ache of loudness that litters across my bones. It's like an old lover, comfortable and well known, but unwelcome and inappropriate with her stories of our frolicking. And then she's gone and the Conductor is closing the door. The darkness swells around us, enveloping us in a cocoon, pressing flat against the train like a storm. I wonder, what is this place? Those had been heady days, full and intense. It's funny. I remember the problems, the confusions and the fears of life we all dealt with. But, that all seems to fade. It all seems to be replaced by images of the days when it was all just okay. We all had plans back then, patterns in which we expected the world to fit, how it was to be deciphered. Eventually you just can't carry yourself any longer, can't keep your eyelids open, and can't focus on anything but the flickering light of the stars. Hours pass, at first slowly like a river and then all in a rush, a climax and I am home in the dorm, waking up to the ringing of the telephone. When she is gone the apartment is silent, empty, almost like a person sleeping, waiting to wake up. When she is gone, and I am alone, I curl up on the bed, wait for the house to eject me from its dying corpse. Crazy thoughts cross through my head, like slants of light in an attic. The Boston 395 rocks a bit, a creaking noise spilling in from the undercarriage. I have decided that whatever this place is, all these noises, sensations - all the train-ness of this place - is a fabrication. It lulls you into a sense of security, allows you to feel as if it's a familiar place. But whatever it is, it's not a train, or at least not just a train. The air, heightened, tense against the glass. I can hear the squeak of shoes on linoleum, I can hear the soft rattle of a dying man's breathing. Men in white uniforms, sharp pressed lines, run past, rolling gurneys down florescent hallways.