Performance: Intonation and Volume

Intonation refers to the rise and fall of our voices when we speak.

Volume refers to the level of sound produced – if it is a lot, then the volume is loud, if it is less, the volume is quiet.

Sometimes poets will give you an idea of how they want their poem to be read or performed… So CAPITALS, for example, might be used to indicate a HIGHER VOLUME. And italics or bold text might be used to suggest intonation or emphasis.

But sometimes, poets don’t give you any hints at all – and you have to decide how to perform the poem for yourself.

Either way, intonation and volume can have a huge impact on a poem’s meaning.

Rachel Rooney’s poem is an example of the way in which the same sentence can be read in different ways – have a listen.