Category Archives: Blog post #6


Blog Post #6

  1. Ralph Ellison describes how music affects his living experience in his New York City apartment building by telling us how all the sounds disturb him. Ralph’s neighbor is very noisy and disturbing when he tries to get his work done. Not only does his neighbor disturb him but many other noises disturb him as he does live in a New York City apartment. However, Ralph compares his neighbor playing music and singing loudly to him being a child and doing the same, and over time he became inspired to go back and start playing again. Eventually, when he moved out, he actually began to miss his neighbor’s music.
  2. When Ellison says, “In those days it was either live with music or die with noise…” he is implying that either way there will be sound and it is up to you to either value the music or be annoyed every day with noises that are inevitable.
  3. Points of comparison between Ellison’s essay and Schafer’s “The Soundscape” is they both agree that sounds are all around us and are unavoidable.

Blog post #6

In “living with music” Ralph Ellison describes how unpleasant music surrounds him, thus disrupting his peace. To the left who’s blasting lullaby music, to the right with a jukebox playing from a restaurant. Windows which caught city sounds and to the back of the wall with preaching drunks and the neighbor who’s singing seeps through the ceiling. He describes his experience as if he was in a box, trapped, with each side of the wall filling the room with incohesive sounds, further tormenting him. In order to combat the sounds, Ralph bought an audio system that he used as a weapon which he used against his neighbor. His experience has led him to enjoy the music and longed for his previous apartment.

“In those days it was either live with music or die with noise…”

Ralph was trying to convey that music is a part of our lives and in order to enjoy them one must appreciate the sounds to be one with them. 

One similarity between Ellison’s essay and ways of hearing was that both of them took place in a city. It talks about how a sound create a space different from others and how it can terrorized/occupy a space creating s special meaning that only that place has


Blog post #6

In “Living with Music,” Ralph Ellison lives in his New York City apartment and is surrounded by many noises which are provided by his neighbors, associated drunks, and a singer. His apartment is so badly soundproofed that he can’t concentrate on his creation because of the noise around him. Ralph Ellison recalled that his music practice as a child had also caused great pain to his neighbors, and he resonated deeply in a war of decibels against the singer upstairs. Although Ralph Ellison moved out of the apartment away from the noise, he still misses living there because that experience made him realize the importance of music.

At the beginning of the essay, Ralph Ellison wrote “In those days it was either live with music or die with noise”. That sentence shows the influence and importance of music on people. The meaning of this sentence is how we distinguish between sounds. If we think of sound as music, we can enjoy and adapt to it instead of seeing them as noise and live in constant noise.

Ralph Ellison and Krukowski show some methods of reducing noises, and they both believe that noises are everywhere around us. In Ralph Ellison’s experience in a New York apartment, he fights noise with noise. Krukowski shows some New Yorkers use headphones to keep some noisy sounds outside their ear.

Living with music Blog post#6

As New Yorkers, we have fully become accustomed to the loud sounds of the street and the annoying neighbors. We are also used to hearing different songs playing extremely loud at every turn some we don’t mind and some we wish we could tell the person to turn off. Ralph Ellison stated in Living with Music “In those days it was either live with music or die with noise…” Music is our personal way of blocking out unwanted noise that we have no control over. As referred to in soundscape by Murray Schafer is creates our own personal bubble blocking out the sounds we do not want to hear. 

Living in New York City Ralph Ellison upstairs neighbor was a singer. The sounds of her song rang throughout his apartment as she sang. As Damon Krukowski believed the music reflected how he felt singing the words he wouldn’t say to her. He fought music with music the louder she sang the louder he played. The music his neighbor and he shared would go on to create a bond between them the music had “magic with mood and memory”.  Ellison thought he would never be able to get past his writers block but as much as the music tortured  him in the beginning, it reminded him of his love for his music as a child. Music has a way of “reminding us of what we were and of that toward which we aspire” the music Ellison heard in his building stayed with him even after he moved away from his New York City apartment and helped him with his writing.

Blog Post #6

In living with music, Ralph Ellison describes how music affected his experience living in a New York City building by illustrating how the noise his apartment would have was such a regular and frequent thing in his life. Still, at the same time, it influenced him to become part of the music world because sounds provoke emotions that lead to inspiration even though at first he found it annoying.

The sentence “In those days, it was to live with music or die with noise ….” means the world revolves around noises, and it’s up to the person whether they want to take it and appreciate it or neglect it.

The comparison between Ellison’s essay and Episode 2 by Damon Krukowski’s supported the idea of different ways to avoid disturbing sounds. As technology advances, we come up with new ways to ignore them and stay in our bubble.

Blog post #6

1-In “living with music”, Ralph Ellison describes how hearing and listening was such a routine thing in his life and how this affected him in his apartment in New York. The noise was so annoying that he didn’t allow her to think clearly.
Ralph Ellison said that when he was little, he sang terribly and that the voice of his neighbor reminded him of that moment in his childhood. However, the music made him doubt since he couldn’t complain to the police.

2-In the first sentence, “In those days, it was to live with music or die with noise …”, that before music was to enjoy it and above all to relax. However, nowadays the music is very annoying as it is very noisy.

3-Damon and Ellison believe that there were different alternatives to block out annoying sounds. However, both stated that people are in their own space. Above all, they claimed that technology had come to create a more significant distraction. Today, we prefer to wear our headphones to avoid the noise around us.

Blog #6

In”Living with the Music” Ellison describes the different sounds you hear in a NYC apartment and how these sounds impacted him.Ellison also believed sound makes us, almost a part of us. He also believed“Art thou troubled, Music will Calm Thee..” implying sound evokes emotion whether people recognize it or not. Ellison goes on describing his German Jazz player neighbor & how it would  distract him from doing things such as writing but besides the fact he was annoyed it eventually inspired Ellison to start playing again.

I feel Ellison was implying that there is always constant sound. In that case either enjoy it, perceive it, appreciate it or “die” just taking it as an annoyance.

Damon and Ellison both believed there were infinite alternatives to block sound.They both believed people were in their own “bubble” and technology was a form of distraction. For example, listening to music blocks yourself from reality and prevents you from listening to your surroundings.



Blog Post #6

Ralph Ellison describes that in his NYC apartment building, music has put him in a dilemma. For example, while the sound of his neighbor disturbs him, he also cannot complain about it due to him being the same when he was younger. By the first sentence, “In those days it was either live with music or die with noise…,” he means that during those days, it was either enjoy the music, take it in and admire it, or consider the music as just an annoying noise and let it disrupt your peace. Schafer and Ellison both seem to be of the same opinion that sounds are something all around us.

Blog Post #6

  1. Ralph Ellison stated that as a child, he sang awfully and frequently, but now his neighbor sings awfully out loud just like him and it makes him hesitant to call the police. Both her and the jazzmen reminds him of the desire to express an affirmative way of life through musical tradition. But when his neighbor does sign well he says he will become upset that he wouldn’t be able to type so well again after they stop. He had also created a music system that would attempt to override the signing noise from his neighbor, but it could also be used to record quality sound as well. Then as time passed, he started to use music less as a defense and more as a way to control his mood and memory.
  2. What I believe live with music or die with noise means is that you can choose to listen to music which can uplift your mood or spirit, “Art thou troubled? Music will not only calm, it will ennoble thee” or you can drown in the endless stream of city noise-pollution.
  3. During Ellison’s time in New York, and the 1970s New York that Krukowski talked about had some similarities. Music from different cultures poured into atmosphere and no would merge together, people were more willing to interpenetrate through each other’s world, and it wasn’t easy to simply put on headphones and listen to your own sound waves in order to block the incoming noise.

Blog post #6- by Wendy Figuereo Mota

In “Living with Music,” Ralph Ellison describes how music affects his living experience so badly. He describes at the beginning how all this noise around him was so annoying. He couldn’t write anything because he could barely hear his thoughts. From his own words, he said:

To our right, separated by a thin wall, was a small restaurant with a juke box the size of the Roxy. To our left, a night-employed swing enthusiast who took his lullaby music so loud that every-morning promptly at nine Basie’s brasses started blasting my typewriter off its stand. Our living room looked out across a small backyard to a rough stone wall to an apartment building which, towering above, caught every passing thoroughfare sound and rifled it straight down to me. (Ralph Ellison 227)

He describes all the separate noises, and we can tell (if we have experience in a neighborhood like this) that the noises themselves aren’t so annoying. Each of the sounds has basically a little art and story behind them. What I mean is, when a person is singing, maybe this person isn’t good at it, but she or he could be singing with such a passion that it makes you think that, in some ways, it is beautiful how the person is giving herself or himself a chance to dream. At the end, he tells us how he feels that the Oklahoma days weren’t so bad at all. He mentions that they were “glorious”. Such a pain he couldn’t figure out early. Now he lives with nostalgia (a good friend of mine).

A type of comparation that I can make within Ellison’s essay and Episode 2 of Damon Krukowski’s is the relevance of the noises. They have this “annoying” experience, but each of them thinks differently. Meanwhile, Krukowski thinks how each person’s bubble of sound is causing people not to socialize as much as in the old days. Ellison thinks and had the experience that in the end, each person’s bubble becomes one.