What Does Euphony Mean
The term euphony refers to the quality of being pleasing to the ear. In literature, euphony serves as a literary device which refers to the harmonious fusion of words and sounds. It is the opposite of cacophony which refers to the production of jarring and discordant sounds. The study of euphony and cacophony is called phonaesthetics. It creates a pleasing and soothing effect due to repeated vowel sounds and soft consonant sounds. The term euphony is derived from euphonos, meaning pleasant sound or sweet voice. The term itself sounds harmonious due to the ‘ph’ consonant sound.
Euphony can be created in different ways. Alliteration, assonance, consonance, rhyme, etc. are some literary devices that help to add euphony to a text. Though euphony is more commonly used in poetry, it can also be observed in prose. Euphony can be created by using a lot of vowel sounds, harmonious consonants such as l, m, n, r and soft consonants like ‘f’, ‘w’, ‘s’, ‘y’ and ‘th’ or ‘wh’.
Examples of Euphony
“Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells.”
John Keat’s Ode to Autumn is a perfect example of euphony. He uses many melodious sounds and words to create the effect of euphony. This description of autumn has a soothing and calming effect on the readers. It also reflects the nature of autumn.
“But soft! What light through yonder window breaks?
It is the east, and Juliet is the sun.
Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon,
Who is already sick and pale with grief,…”
This excerpt from William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet is also an example of euphony. Here, Shakespeare uses rhythm and different consonants like w, n, l, r, and f to create a euphonic effect.
“Some day Love shall claim his own
Some day Right ascend his throne,
Some day hidden Truth be known;
Some day—some sweet day.”
In Some Sweet Day by Lewis J. Bates, euphony has been created by the repeated use of ‘s’ sound, and rhyme. Note how the last three syllables of the first three lines rhyme.
“The Lotos blooms below the barren peak:
The Lotos blows by every winding creek:
All day the wind breathes low with mellower tone:
Thro’ every hollow cave and alley lone
Round and round the spicy downs the yellow Lotos-dust is blown.”
In this excerpt from Lord Tennyson’s The Lotos-eaters, the euphonic effect has been created by the repeated use of l and b sounds, and the repetition of long vowel (o) sounds. This creates a lulling and calming effect.