« PreviousContinue »
delicate emission of the breath. The “ orotund” utterance, on the contrary, is the appropriate mode of expressing full, forcible, and sublime emotions. It requires special attention to the wide erprision and full projection of the chest, the free and powerful action of the organs of respiration and of speech, with the peculiar round and ringing effect of voice which belongs to inspiring and expressive feeling. It demands, in addition to the expanding of the chest, a peculiar enlargement and tension of the interior of the mouth, a full and energetic raising of the veil of the palate, somewhat as in the act of coughing, and a wider opening of the lips, than in the ordinary use of the voice.
This "quality" of tone is naturally produced in uttering a shout of joy, of triumph, of courage, or of admiration, and extends throughout the poetic expression of such emotions. It is the natural mode of expressing all feelings characterized by force, sublimity, or grandeur. It accordingly takes the place of “pure tone,” when utterance passes from mere pathos, repose, or solemnity, to powerful excitement. — The “orotund quality” is, in a word, the full and perfect form of the human voice, when under the influence of strong feeling. Eloquence and poetry adopt this mode of utterance, in all their characteristic forms of expression which do not imply excess, or unchecked preponderance of passion, — a mood which is indicated by the addition of “ aspiration,” or a partially hoarse and whispering sound.
It is to the “orotund” form of voice, as the appropriate mode of full and vivid effect, that culture and training should bring the action of the organs in every individual. It is only when brought to this mode of utterance, as a habit, that the vocal capacities of a learner may be justly said to be cultivated ; and instruction and practice should never stop short of this full development of organic power; as it is only when “orotund quality” is perfectly at command, that the voice is entirely secured against the disagreeable effects of nasa), guttural, and other false or defective properties of tone.*
The principal object of attention, in the practice of the following exercises, should be, to give up the feelings entirely to the “expression," — to enter with full and vivid sympathy into the predominating emotion of each passage. It is in this way that the “orotund " quality will be most effectually secured, and most expressively uttered. No extent of mere artificial repetition can ever yįeld the fresh and living effect of actual feeling:
* An extensive course of practice on!! orotund” yoice, is prescribed in the volume entitled "Qrthophony, or Vocal Culture in Elocution.”
EXERCISES IN “OROTUND QUALITY.”
1. — Pathos and Sublimity.
[From a Dirge.] Moir. “ Weep not for her!– Her span was like the sky, · Whose thousand stars shine beautiful and bright; Like flowers that know not what it is to die;
Like long-linked, shadeless months of polar light; Like music floating o'er a waveless lake, While echo answers from the flowery brake:
Weep not for her!
"Weep not for her!-- She is an angel now,
And treads the sapphire floor of Paradise ;
Sin, sorrow, suffering, banished from her eyes;
Weep not for her!”
2. — Repose and Sublimity.
The starry host, rode brightest ; till the Moon,
* That mode of voice in which sound is effused, or gently emitted, in a smooth and even stream, without energetic expulsion or abrupt explosion.
3. — Solemnity and Sublimity.
4. — Repose, Solemnity, and Sublimity, exemplified in Prose Compo
sition. [Sound of Sabbath Bells, in the City.] Willis. “I know few things more impressive than to walk the streets of a city, when the peal of the early bells is just beginning. The deserted pavements, the closed windows of the places of business, the decent gravity of the solitary passenger, and, over all, the feeling in your own bosom, that the fear of God is brooding, like a great shadow, over the thousand human beings who are sitting still in their dwellings around you, were enough, if there were no other circumstance, to hush the heart into a religious fear. But when the bells peal out suddenly with a summons to the temple of God, and their echoes roll on through the desolate streets, and are unanswered by the sound of any human voice, or the din of any human occupation, the effect has sometimes seemed to me more solemn than the near thunder."
* The letter e when sounded in final syllables, is distinguished by a dot, instead of the acute or the grave accent, to avoid confusion, in the notation of elocution
11.-*« EXPULSIVE” UTTERANCE.
1. — “IMPASSIONED EXPRESSION.”
Joy, Sublimity, and Adoration..
“ Ye living flowers, that skirt the eternal frost!
11. — “DECLAMATORY” STYLE.
Wonder and Admiration. [Results from the Sufferings of the Pilgrims.) Everett. “Student of history, compare for me the baffled projects, the deserted settlements, the abandoned adventures of other times, and find the parallel of this. — Was it the winter's storm, beating upon the houseless heads of women and children,- was it hard labour and spare meals, - was it disease, was it the tomahawk,- was it the deep malady of a blighted hope, a ruined enterprise, and a broken
* In this mode of voice, the sound is not mere.y suffered to escape in a delicate and gentle current, as in “pure tone,” nor emitted, in a full but soft stream, as in “effusive orotund :" it is expelled, though not violently, by a special force of the will, acting upon the organs, and producing a partial “ swell,” or slightly perceptible increase and diminution of volume, on accented and emphatic syllables.
+ The term “impassioned” is employed, in elocution, in its poetic sense of high-wrought feeling, transcending all limits of ordinary emotion, but has no reference to violence or ungoverned excess. It designates the ecstasy of poetic inspiration. The “expression” of malignant emotion, though sometimes comprehended under the word “ impassioned,” is not necessarily implied by it.
The word “declamatory” is here used as a technical term of elocution It designates the full-toned utterance of eloquent public speaking.
heart, aching in its last moments, at the recollection of the loved and left beyond the sea ; — was it some or all of these united,that hurried this forsaken company to their melancholy fate ?
“ And is it possible that not one of these causes, that not all combined, were able to blast this bud of hope? Is it possible that from a beginning so feeble, so frail, so worthy, not so much of admiration as of pity, there has gone forth a progress so steady, a growth so wonderful, an expansion so ample, a reality so important, a promise yet to be fulfilled, so glorious ?”
III. — SHOUTING.
And let the young lambs bound
III.- *« EXPLOSIVE” UTTERANCE.
The mustering squadron, and the clattering car,
While the deep thunder, peal on peal, afar,
Roused up the soldier ere the morning star; .
While thronged the citizens, with terror dumb, Or whispering, with white lips, · The foe! they come, – they come!'”
“ Aspirated” Ulterance. When the intensity of emotion is such that the organs of speech are, as it were, partially paralyzed, for the moment, and unable to
* The voice, in this style of expression, bursts forth with the force of abrupt and instantaneous explosion. This is the usual mode of utterance, in the highest moods of excitement arising from emotions which have a sudden and startling effect, as anger, alarm, fear, &c.