Cacophony is the combination of harsh and discordant noises while dissonance refers to harsh, jarring sounds or lack of harmony. Both terms refer to loud and harsh sounds that are unpleasant to the ear. Thus, there is not much of a difference between cacophony and dissonance.
Moreover, these jarring sound are used deliberately to create an unpleasant, jarring effect.
1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What is Cacophony
3. What is Dissonance
4. Similarities Between Cacophony and Dissonance
5. Side by Side Comparison – Cacophony vs Dissonance in Tabular Form
What is Cacophony?
Cacophony is a combination of harsh and discordant noises. In other words, this includes using a mixture of loud and harsh sounds. The origin of the word cacophony is a Greek word meaning “bad sound.” The use of cacophony is in both pieces of literature as well as in everyday life. For example, the combination of different sounds you hear in a busy city street or market (sound of vehicles, the chatter of people, music from a shop, dogs barking, etc.) is an example of cacophony.
Moreover, in literature, cacophony is the opposite of euphony, which refers to the use of pleasant, melodious-sounding words. Therefore, writers usually use explosive consonants to create a cacophony in their work. Consonants like B, B, D, K, P, and, T are examples of such consonants. Let’s now look at some examples of cacophony in literature.
“’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.”
– “The Jabberwocky” by Lewis Carroll
“And being no stranger to the art of war, I gave him a description of cannons, culverins, muskets, carabines, pistols, bullets, powder, swords, bayonets, battles, sieges, retreats, attacks, undermines, countermines, bombardments, sea fights, ships sunk with a thousand men, twenty thousand killed on each side, dying groans, limbs flying in the air…”
– “Gulliver’s Travels” by Johnathan Swift
“There’s a stake in your fat black heart
And the villagers never liked you.
They are dancing and stamping on you.
They always knew it was you.
Daddy, daddy, you bastard, I’m through”
– “Daddy” by Sylvia Plath
What is Dissonance?
Dissonance refers to harsh, jarring sounds or lack of harmony. It involves the deliberate use of inharmonious syllables, words and phrases with the intention of creating a harsh sound. However, dissonance is very similar to a cacophony.
In music, dissonance is a sound created when two discordant notes are played in unison. Thus, it may make some listeners feel uneasy as it creates tension and gives a sense of motion to the composition. In music, dissonance is the opposite of consonance, which refers to complementary sounds in music.
What are the Similarities Between Cacophony and Dissonance?
- Cacophony and dissonance refer to loud and harsh sounds that are unpleasant to the ear.
- Also, both words can be used as synonyms as there is not much of a difference between cacophony and dissonance.
What is the Difference Between Cacophony and Dissonance?
Cacophony is the combination of harsh and discordant noises while dissonance refers to harsh, jarring sounds or lack of harmony. Also, the word cacophony is used in day to day life and in literature but, the word dissonance is used in various fields including music, literature and psychology. Therefore, this is a key difference between cacophony and dissonance.
Summary – Cacophony vs Dissonance
In summary, both cacophony and dissonance refer to loud and harsh sounds that are unpleasant to the ear. However, these two effects are used deliberately to create a harsh sound or a tensed feeling. Thus, there is not much of a difference between cacophony and dissonance.
1.”1669158″ by Oleg Magni (CC0) via Pexels
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