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John Updike’s poem “Player Piano” effectively uses sound to mimic the rhythms and movements of a piano playing. The speaker’s voice is used to simulate the sounds of a piano, as he speaks each line in a tempo that reflects the notes and chords being played by an actual instrument. He also employs onomatopoeia, such as “ticktocking” and “pop-pop-pop”, to further imitate the sound of a player piano while simultaneously conveying his feelings of nostalgia for simpler times

when people still had to manually play music on their own instruments. Through this use of sound, John Updike creates an atmosphere full of melancholy but also filled with admiration for those who can truly appreciate its beauty.

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