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Section 1-ELOCUTION DEFINED,
Page 5 2ARTICULATION,
15 4-SLIDES OF SPEECH,
17 5-WAVES OF THE VOICE,
21 6_FORCE OF VOICE,
24 7-RADICAL STRESS,
25 8–MEDIAN STRESS,
27 9-VANISHING STRESS,
28 10--COMPOUND STRESS,
30 11-QUANTITY OR TIME,
30 12—PLAINTIVENESS OF SPEECH,
34 13—TREMOR OF VOICE,
39 16—THE OROTUND,
41 17– POETRY,
43 18–THE MEANING OF A PASSAGE VARIES WITH THE EMPHASIS,
45 19— MEASURE OF SPEECH,
The importance of the subject under consideration, renders an apology unnecessary for the appearance of the following work. Elocution has now become a science, clothed in all the dignity and amenable to the unbending laws of an inductive philosophy. We, therefore, offer no idle and unmeaning excuses. The only question that can arise is, as to the manner of instruction. If any are disposed to reiterate the hackneyed cry of “innovation," we refer them to high authority. We make no ostentatious pretensions to originality; we claim nothing for ourselves, but walk humbly in the footsteps of our illustrious predecessors. The synopsis we have given, is essentially the system dl i cloped in the elegant and masterly essays of Dr. Rush and Prof. Barber. Fortunate for a science when it can boast such advocates. True, we have consulted numerous other authors on the subject, and have endeavored to collocate and condense their various excellences, so far as different systems would permit; the whole has been arranged and modified as experience has suggested, and adapted to practical instruction. Among those we have examined, are, Rush, Barber, Porter, Austin, Steele, Walker, Sheridan, Abercrombie, Russell and Bronson. We were induced to prepare the Rudiments of Elocution from repeated requests from different quarters. Rush's Philosophy of the Human Voice (the most perfect work of the kind in any language,) was considered too voluminous and expensive, and indeed was never intended as a text book. Prof. Barber's Grammar of Elocution was out of print, and its author in Europe ; and without any invidious references to other distinguished works, all of which have their peculiar excellences, we had a decided preference for the system we have presented. We have chosen, to display the various functions of the voice, selections, not only from the standard writers of the present age, but also from the golden sources of the past-productions which posterity has sanctioned, and over which time has no power. We have spared no labor in the research, and we flatter ourselves they will be found pertinent illustrations. We acknowledge our indebtedness to the invaluable work by Prof. Barber, and have unhesitatingly availed ourselves of his combinations of consonant sounds. The section on “ Measure of Speech,” we have copied entire, from the same work. It is profound, original, and eminently practical, and is the system of “ scoring," as developed by the celebrated elocutionist, Steele ; its principles should be familiar to all.
We would call the attention of the student particularly to the Elementary Exercise, on the tables, This Chart is emphatically a “ working plan,” and affords a complete Gymnasium for the voice, giving it depth, strength, smoothness, flexibility and compass, and enabling it to perform its high office with that energy, beauty, variety, effect, and ease, of which the skilfully modulated, alone, are capable. Once get a complete command over the various functions of speech, and learn to apply them with discrimination and taste, on a few examples, and it is far more advantageous than much reading with careless application.
RUDIMENTS OF ELOCUTION.
SECTION 1. Elocution is the science of reading and speaking, and necessarily implies the use of the following properties of the voice, -Quality, Force, Time, Abruptness, Pitch. There are multiplied combinations of species under these genera, which will be noticed in due order.
By the term Quality, we mean a distinction in the kind of voice employed; as rough, smooth, full, thin, slender, harsh, soft, musical, &c. Full, strong, smooth and sonorous, are the most important distinctions.
Force implies the sounds we utter are strong, weak, feeble, loud, soft, forcible, and faint. Force of voice may be heard at the beginning, middle, termination, and at both ends of a syllable. They are termed the Radical, Vanishing, Median, and Compound Stresses; we shall, hereafter, treat of this function under the head of Stress and Explosion.
Time is divided into long, short, quick, slow, rapid, &c. A person possessed of any skill in sounds, can perceive that a in fal, is shorter than in fate. Time, then, can be long or short, on the same syllable. Some are Immuta. ble, or short, naturally. Others are Mutable, or admit of either long or short time. A third class are called Indefinites, from the fact that they can be prolonged to any extent, without affectation, or injury to the sanctioned pronunciation. This subject will be fully discussed under the head of Quantity.
Abruptness is used to indicate the full and sudden emission of sound, which, in some of its modifications, is heard on the Radical stress.. Execution on the trumpet and bassoon, are instances. It constitutes Explosion, and is opposed to a gradual drawing out of the sound.
Pitch, as used in the science of music, indicates the place the voice occupies in the musical scale. We need not disunite the pitch of the singing and speaking voice, in investigating the subject under consideration. Let the bow be drawn across the strings of a violin, and at the same time suffer the finger to move up or down, with a continued
pressure, and a “mewing sound” will be heard, varying som gravity to acuteness, in ratio of the length of the string. I he shorter the string, the more acute the sound. This rovement, or slide, is termed “Concrele.” Let a person accused of doing an act, ask with a strong spirit of interrogation, “ did you say it was I did it ?”—and the voice will assume on I the movement described.
Now let the bow be drawn, holding the finger stationary, at certain distances, and there will be breaks in the former concrete slide, which will display the “ Discrete” ment. A distinguished writer illustrates the two movements, by a ladder, in which the rails represent the concrete, and the rounds the discrete. The sounds of the piano-forte are discrete ; those of the violin may be either ; the human voice, also, executes both.
The sounds in the Musical Scale are 7 in number, and discrete in their movement. The space between any two notes, is called an interval. ; that between the first and second, and second and third, are tones. The interval between the third and fourth, is but half the space
of a tone, and is called a semitone. The spaces between the fourth and fifth, fifth and sixth, sixth and seventh, are tones; from seventh to eighth is a semitone ; the whole is called the Natural or Diatonic Scale.
Concrete Melody will be used to express the pitch of the slides, either in their ascent or descent; and Discrete Melody the pitch of different words, with reference to each other. Radical Pitch means the place in the scale occupied by the beginning of a syllable or word, in distinction from the place occupied by the vanishing movement. All speaking is either concrete or discrete, and the regulation of the voice according to these movements, constitutes Intonation.
The Key Note, is that pitch with which we commence a discourse, and regulates the modulation of the voice in all succeeding notes. The pitch with which we should commence, will vary with circumstances. We may consider it under three heads, high, middle, and low. The speaker, in ordinary discourse, should commence with the middle, and reserve the low for cadence, monotone and orotund, and as his subject increases in spirit and energy, the pitch will naturally rise with it. Public speakers and readers are not sufficiently particular in this respect. Gracchus, whose stormy eloquence “ arrayed one half of Rome against the