Literary consonance

Consonance is a stylistic device, often used in poetry characterized by the repetition of two or more consonants using different vowels, for example, the "i" and "a" followed by the "tter" sound in "pitter patter." It repeats the consonant sounds but not vowel sounds. This is not to be confused with Assonance. Assonance is the repetition of only vowel sounds. Alliteration differs from consonance insofar as alliteration requires the repeated consonant sound to be at the beginning of each word, where in consonance it is anywhere within the word, although often at the end. In half rhyme, the terminal consonant sound is repeated. A special species of consonance is using a series of sibilant sounds (/s/ and /sh/ for example); this is sometimes known simply as sibilance.

Several examples of sibilance come from Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven" For example: "And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain" (note that this example also contains assonance around the "ur" sound). Another example of consonance is the word 'sibilance' itself. However, not to be confused with assonance. Further examples can be found in modern Hip-hop music, for example in the song Zealots by the popular group the Fugees: 'Rap rejects my tape deck, ejects projectile/Whether jew or gentile I rank top percentile.'

It is also necessary to identify and recognize the difference between alliteration and consonance. Consonance is the repetition of consonant sounds within the words, while alliteration is the repetition of beginning consonant sounds. They are similar, but produce a different effect, and are interpreted into two completely different things in poetic analysis. For example, the sentence "Few flocked to the fight" is considered to display alliteration, because the only repetition occurs in the "f" sounds at the beginnings of the words. On the other hand, "All mammals named Sam are clammy" shows consonance, as the repeating consonant sound "m" is found within the word.

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