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must decide where emphasis is to be placed; his perception and good taste must determine what inflection, form of stress, and move. ment of the voice will best express the thought; and these should at all times be obedient to his will, when occasion calls for their use.” — Tower.
“By the term Vocal Gymnastics, may be understood the principles of the human voice as employed in speech and song, as well as the training of the organs by which this voice is produced. The principles are the science of the voice, – the training, the exercise of the organs, necessary to develop their powers, and enable them to act with rapidity, precision, and effect.
“Vocal gymnastics give the pupil complete command of the muscles of articulation, extend the compass of the voice, and render it smooth, powerful, and melodious. They not only call forth all the energies of the vocal organs, correct stammering, lisping, &c., but they invigorate the lungs, and consequently fortify them against the invasion of disease." — Comstock.
"The methods of practical training, founded on the theory and suggestions of Dr. Rush, are attended by a permanent salutary influence of the highest value. They produce a free and powerful exertion of the organs of respiration, a buoyancy of animal life, an exhilaration of spirits, and an energetic activity of the whole corporeal frame, — all highly conducive to the well-being of the juvenile pupil, not less than to his attainment of a spirited, effective, and graceful elocution. The correspondent benefits conferred on adults, by a vigorous course of vocal gymnastics, are of perhaps still higher moment, for the immediate purposes of life and usefulness. The sedentary habits of students and professional men render them liable not only to organic disability of utterance, and to injury of the lungs, but to numerous faults of habit in their modes of exerting the organs of speech, — faults which impair or counteract the intended effect of all their efforts in the form of public reading or speaking. The daily practice of vocal exercises is the only effectual means of invigorating the organic system, or correcting faults of habit in utterance, and the surest means, at the same time, of fortifying the inward frame against the exhausting effects of professional exertion.” — Russell.
The following movements, breathings, and exercises of the voice suitable for the school-room, by expanding the chest, quickening the circulation, and imparting energy and pliancy to the respiratory and vocal organs, are of great service in developing the student's powers of elocution.
MOVEMENTS. First :- Remembering the proper standing position, (head er ect, shoulders thrown back and down, chest expanded, and feet at an angle of about seventy-five degrees, — the weight of the body resting on the left foot, the right foot a little in advance of the left,) place the hands upon the hips, and move the elbows forcibly backward and forward.
Second:— After letting the hands fall at the side, move them briskly up and down.
Third:- Let the arms be placed in a vertical position; then drawn down, and projected upward with force.
Fourth :— Extend the arms horizontally forward; then move them back and forth quickly and with force.
Fifth :— Place the arms horizontally forward, with the palms of the hands together; then throw them apart forcibly, bringing the back of the hands as nearly as possible behind the back.
There may be also a variety of exercises in gestures, descriptive or passionate, for the purpose of acquiring freedom and grace in movement. These must be suggested by the ingenuity and good taste of the teacher. (See page 381.)
BREATHINGS. First:-Full breathing.- Place the arms and hands as required in the first movement; slowly draw in the breath until the chest is fully expanded; emit it with the utmost slowness. (Repeat.)
Second:- Audible Effusive breathing.– Draw in the breath as in full breathing, and expire it audibly in a prolonged sound of the letter h. In this style of respiration, the breath merely effuses itself into the surrounding air.
Third:— Expulsive or Forcible breathing.- Draw in a very full breath, as before, and send it forth with a lively expulsive force, in the sound of h, but little prolonged — as in a moderate, whispered cough. The breath is thus projected into the air.
Fourth:— Explosive or Abrupt breathing.– Fill the lungs, and then emit the breath suddenly and forcibly, in the manner of an abrupt and whispered cough. Thus the breath is thrown out with abrupt violence.
Fifth:-Sighing.–Suddenly fill the lungs with a full breath, and emit it as quickly as possible.
Sixth:-Gasping.— With a convulsive effort, inflate the lungs; then send forth the breath more gently.
Seventh:- Panting. — Breathe quickly and violently, making the emission of the breath loud and forcible.
For exercise of the voice, especially in articulation, the table of elementary sounds and the preliminary exercises should be used daily and with most assiduous practice.
The table should be used:
Second, - in an explosive and forcible manner of making each sound.
Third, — in the application of all the elements of elocution wbile producing the several sounds; as, Emphasis, Inflection, Pitch, Force, Tone (especially the Orotund), Movement, &c. (See page 21.)
Articulation is the act of forming with the organs of speecb, the elements of vocal language.
“Without good articulation, it is impossible to be a correct reader of speaker. Those who have been accustomed to pronounce their words in a careless or slovenly manner, will find it difficult, even with their best efforts, to utter them distinctly. The organs of articulation, for the want of proper exercise, become, as it were, paralyzed. The pupil, therefore, at the very commencement of his studies, should be conducted through a series of exercises, calculated to strengthen the muscles of articulation.”- Comstock.
“In just articulation, the words are not to be hurried over, nor precipitated syllable upon syllable; nor, as it were, melted together in a mass of confusion : they should not be trailed, nor drawled, nor permitted to slip out carelessly, so as to drop unfinished. They should be delivered from the lips as beautiful coins newly issued from the mint, deeply and accurately impressed, neatly struck by the proper organs, distinct, in due succession, and of due weight." — Austin.
A vowel or tonic is a sound which has full and distinct vocality, being uninterrupted in its passage through the vocal organs.
A sub-vowel or sub-tonic is a sound which has vocality, though not so perfect as that of the vowel, being partially interrupted in its passage through the vocal organs.
An aspirate or atonic is a mere current of whispering breath.
Cognates are letters whose elements are produced by the same organs, in a similar manner; thus, p is a cognate of b, t of d, &c.
English philologists have, according to their real or affected nicety of ear, differed on the subject of the number of elements of their language. The differences refer to the character of the sounds, or to the time or manner of pronouncing them.
The arrangement by Dr. Comstock is deemed the best adapted for practical purposes of illustration and comparison. The alphabet thus consists of thirty-eight elements; these being divided into vowels, sub-vowels, and aspirates, — or, into tonics, sub-tonics, and atonics.
SIMPLE ELEMENTS. Vowels or Tonics. Sub-vowels or Sub- | Aspirates or Atonios.
pas in pit
t • tin
k " kite
th " thin
8 " sin
azure sh « shade i " in 1 " light
h « hush o oo old
r " roll
wh 66 what lose
(r " car)
n 66 no ů " up
ng " song ů " full
woe ou " out
y " yoke
COMPOUND ELEMENTS. The sound of oi as in oil The sound of j as in job The sound of tch as in etch ai « air I gz “ tugs 1
ks “ oaks. Pronounce each word in the three columns clearly and distinctly. • Make a full inspiration, and dwell for two or three seconds on the initial element; utter the remainder of the word with a sudden and forcible expulsion of the breath.
(In the second and third columns -- omitting the words song and hut this exercise will serve to designate the separate sound of erch sub-vowe: and aspirate.)
Utter each element with the falling slide of the voice, — the vowels with explosive force.
Continue at pleasure any of the following exercises.
bả, bả, bả, bả; bể, bề; bi, bị; bồ; &c. Continue the exercise, prefixing to every vowel, each sub-vowel and aspirate in succession.
ab, ab, ab, ab; eb, eb; ib, ib; ob, &c., &c. Continue the exercise, affixing to every vowel, each sub-vowel and aspirate in succession. ba-pa da-ta va-fa tha-tha | ja-tcha
va-fa tha-tha ja-tcha gsa-ksa
da-ta va-fa tha-tha ja-tcha gsa-ksa
bu-pu bou-pou boi-poi bai-pai
.. .. vu-fu vou-fou voi-foi vai-fai
thu-thu | ju-tchu g su-ksu | thou-thou jou-tchou | gsou-ksoo
thoi-thoi | joi-tchoi | gsoi-ksoi 1 thai-thai jai-tchai Igsai-ksai