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a high pitch of voice even at the commencement; "as, “How far, 0 Càtiline! wilt thou abuse our patience?”
Any continued address in the same level of tone should be avoided. Monotony is spiritless. The commencement of a sentence or of a paragraph will afford opportunity for changing the modulation, generally to å lower, but it may be to a higher pitch.
Simple narrative generally requires a medium force and rate of utterance; animated description an increase of both; violent passions, a greater increase; and tender emotions, a decrease. Pathos and solemnity require a slow movement. Subordinate clauses and sentences, parentheses, similes, &c., are generally pronounced with less force, and in quicker time than the principal members.
Every change of modulation is usually accompanied by a change of Force and Time. As a general principle, it may be stated, that a change to a low tone requires a slighter degree of Force, and a slower degree of Time ; changes to high tones usually require increased degrees of Force and Time.
$ 35. Imitative Modulation. Very frequently, in descriptive reading or speaking, much expressive beauty may be gained by making the sound seem “an echo to the sense.” In all passages where noise or motion is described, where sublime or awful objects are alluded to or represented, or where harshness or gentleness, beauty or deformity, is portrayed, the voice should adopt that peculiar modulation which approaches nearest to the nature of the object represented. To glide, to drive, to swell, to flow, to skip, to whirl, to turn, to rattle, &c., all partake of a peculiar modification of voice.
Read the description of the opening of the gates of hell and of heaven, from Milton:
On a sudden open fly
Heaven opened wide
On golden hinges moving. Abstractedly from the sense, the sound in these two passages speaks their different meaning. Every well-disciplined ear immediately perceives the grating harshness of the former, and the harmonious moving of the latter.
The articulative construction of the most expressive words is often strikingly imitative of the objects they denote, so that the words not only bear, but seem to require, this illustrative effect by the voice.
36. Force. Force is the volume or loudness of voice used on the same key or pitch, when reading or speaking. Though the degrees of force are numerous, elocutionists generally reduce them to three : loud, moderate, gentle.
No direction can be given for the proper employment of the various degrees of Force : their use is dependent on the meaning of the words spoken, the situation of the supposed speaker, the relative positions and distances of the speaker and hearer, and, principally, on taste and judgment.
$ 37. Time. Modulation includes the consideration of the time which is proper in the pronunciation of certain passages. Time then treats of sounds with respect to their duration. Solemn discourse requires a slow movement; simple narrative, a medium rate of utterance; animated description, as well as all language expressive of quick or sudden passion, a rapid rate of utterance, varying, however, with the intensity of the emotion; clauses or sentences which are very emphatic should be pronounced in small and distinct emphatic portions ; clauses or sentences which convey a flow of uniform meaning, should have a uniform flow of sound.
$ 38. Pause. There are two kinds of pauses, namely, Grammatical pauses and Rhetorical pauses. Grammatical pauses are denoted by the marks of punctuation, such as the comma, semicolon, colon, period, &c.; but ordinary punctuation is no guide for oratorical pausing. The Rhetorical pauses are those stops made by a reader or speaker, which, though frequently not marked, serve to embellish delivery and give expressiveness to meaning. The effective reader will make many more stops than typography allows.
“Pauses," says Knowles, “are essential only where the omission would obscure the sense. The orator who, in the act of delivering himself, is studiously solicitous about parceling his words, is sure to leave the best part of his work undone. He delivers words, not thoughts. Deliver thoughts, and words will take care of themselves. Mind is the thing."
Rules for the pause are more likely to embarrass than to help; but the following few hints may prove of some use :
Pause after the nominative, when it consists of more than one word.
Or a pause may be made after a nominative, when consisting only of one word, if it be a word of importance.
1. Adversity — is the school of piety.
When a member of a sentence comes between a nominative and a verb, it must be separated from both of them by a short pause.
1. Trials --- in this state of being — are the lot of man. 2. Honest endeavors — if persevered in — will finally be successful.
Who, which, when in the nominative case, and the pronoun that, when used for who, or which, require a short pause before them.
1. Death is the season - which brings our affections to the test.
2. A man can never be obliged to submit to any power, unless he can be satisfied — who is the person that has a right to exercise it.
In an elliptical sentence, pause where the ellipsis takes place.
to knowledge — temperance; and to temperance — patience; and to pa. tience — godliness ; and to godliness — brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness - charity. Words placed in opposition to each other must be distinguished by a pause.
Some place their bliss in action, some — in ease;
Those — call it pleasure, and contentment — these. Pausing is one of the chief means of expressing emphasis. The hearer's attention is excited, and curiosity awakened for the word which the speaker pauses to introduce; especially when the syntactical construction is such as to admit of no break in ordinary delivery, as in the following passages : –
“O, Sir, your ... honesty – is — remarkable.”
Are much condemned to have — an ... itching palm.”
There can be no good reading without frequent, and, sometimes, long pauses. They convey an effect of spontaneity, which rivets the attention; while unbroken fluency, especially in the reading of complex sentences, will never sustain attention, because it is manifestly accompanied with little or no thought on the part of the reader.
Perhaps the readiest mode of acquiring a correct idea of Rhetorical Punctuation, is to consider and pronounce every cluster of words, so intimately connected as to admit of no separation, as one oratorical word. Each oratorical word must be separated from every other, by pauses in speech of greater or less duration.
§ 39. Quality. Quality has reference to the kinds of tone used in reading and speaking. They are the Pure Tone, the Orotund, the Aspirated, the Guttural, and the Trembling.
The Pure Tone is clear, smooth, flowing, accompanied with a middle pitch; and is used to express peace, cheerfulness, and all agreeable, though not vehement, emotions.
The Orotund (from the Latin os, oris, the mouth, and rotundus, round) notes a manner of uttering the elements of speech which conveys them with a fullness, clearness, strength, smoothness, and a ringing or musical quality, rarely heard in ordinary speech. It is the Pure Tone deepened, expanded, and intensified. It is used in energetic and bold forms of speech, and in giving utterance to sentiments grand and dignified.
The Aspirated Tone is an expulsion of the breath more or less strong, the words being all in a half whisper. It is used to express amazement, fear, caution, terror, horror, revenge, loathing, and remorse.
The Guttural is a deep under-tone, used to express hatred, contempt, and loathing. It usually occurs on the emphatic words.
The Trembling Tone, or Tremor, consists of a trembling iteration or a number of impulses of sound of the least assignable duration. It is used
in excessive grief, or any plaintive emotion; but it requires an accomplished vocal artist to use it so as to produce the effect desired.
$40. Personation. By Personation we understand the apt introduction of those modulations or changes of voice necessary to represent two or more persons as speaking; or appropriate to the dramatic character of the person whose language is supposed to be uttered.
$41. Low Pitch. The low pitch is that which falls below the tone of ordinary conversation. Nothing more unequivocally marks the accomplished speaker than a command over the low notes of his voice. To strengthen the voice in its low tones should be a constant endeavor ; but it too often happens that the acquisition of a screaming high note is reckoned the desideratum in speaking. The low pitch is used in expressing awe, reverence, sublimity, and often in the tender emotions. Similes and parentheses in poetry form good examples for its practice.
$42. Middle Pitch. This is the key of common discourse, and that used for the expression of unimpassioned thought and moderate emotion. It is the key in which a speaker must usually deliver the greater part of his speech. A well-formed middle tone, and even a low one, should be capable of filling any room of not extraordinary dimensions. The neglect to strengthen the voice in these tones leads speakers to adopt the high, shouting note which we so often hear. Hamlet's Address to the Players should be mostly delivered in this Middle Pitch.
$ 43. High Pitch. In calling to a person at a distance we generally employ what is called a high pitch of voice. This pitch, though uncommon in level speaking or reading, ought to be practiced, as it tends to give strength to the voice generally, and as it is frequently employed in public speaking and declamation. Every one can speak in a high key, but few do it pleasingly. There is a compression necessary in the high notes, as well as the middle and low; this compression distinguishes the vociferous passion of the clown from that of the accomplished actor or orator.
§ 44. Compass of Voice. For acquiring extent of tone, the best method is for the pupil to practice his voice by raising it to its utmost extent in full tones, and then by semi-tones ; after that let him be taught to fall, by just progression, to its lowest pitch.
For instance, in the passage, “ Hear me, for I will speak,” let the first word hear be uttered in the lowest chest tone that you can render articulate. Speak the whole sentence in that middle range which is only a small degree above a whisper. The next time pronounce the word hear a full note higher than the former, and the whole sentence accordingly. Proceed in this manner till you reach the highest note, and then descend from the highest to the lowest.
After practicing for a time all the varieties of keys of which he is capable, let the pupil cultivate an easy transition from one to the other.
$ 45. Insufficiency of Rules. “Reading fails of half its proper effect, and of its highest and noblest purpose,” says Bell, “if it do not furnish, besides a vocal transcript of the written language, a moral commentary upon its sentiment, and a judgment upon its reasoning. Were man a mere machine, it might be enough that his voice in reading transcribed the words only; but being, as he is, a sensitive and sympathetic agent, the language of emotion must accompany every utterance that he naturally delivers.
“Yet how many merely mechanical speakers there are, whose voices know no thrill of feeling, and who throw off their tame, monotonous oratory, 'coldly correct, and regularly dull,' nerveless and passionless as automata. Nothing can be more unnatural than this insipidity. It is altogether incompatible with heartfelt earnestness.”
Archbishop Whately objects to all systems of instruction in elocution, except that presented in the living example of an accomplished teacher; and maintains that to the adoption of any artificial scheme there are three weighty objections : “first, that the proposed system must necessarily be imperfect; secondly, that if it were perfect, it would be a circuitous path to the object in view ; and, thirdly, that even if both these objections were removed, the object would not be effectually obtained.”
“It is certainly a circuitous path,” he adds, “ when the learner is directed first to consider how each passage ought to be read (that is, what mode of delivering each part of it would spontaneously occur to him, if he were attending exclusively to the matter of it); then to observe all the modulations, &c., of voice, which take place in such a delivery; then to note these down, by established marks, in writing; and, lastly, to pronounce according to these marks.”
A faithful, sympathetic attention to the full meaning, sentiment, and feeling of what we are reading is the one great rule that will best guide us in a right disposition of modulation, emphasis, force, time, and inflection. Make the language your own by sympathy, and be in earnest. If you are so languid and torpid in your attention, that you cannot distinguish between the language or sentiment that requires an animated, emotional delivery, and that which would be best expressed by a tame, moderate utterance (as in repeating the multiplication table), then it is very certain that no rules can help you to be a reader.
$ 46. The Three Stages of Reading. Words uttered without attention to their meaning may be said to be uttered mechanically; and when the sole immediate object is to improve the act itself of articulation, it will be well to confine the attention as much as possible to the mere act. A course of practice in Elocution ought to begin with exercises thus limited in purpose.
To make Reading significant, not only must the words be articulate, and those meant to join in sense be completely joined in pronunciation, but the various relations of clause to clause, and of sentence to sentence, must be made manifest by the inflections of the voice. We must know