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EXAMPLE OF O TREMOR."
And timid, trembling, came he to my side.”
“ Pitch.” The word “ melody” applies, in elocution, as in music, to all those modifications of voice which are founded, not on force or “movement,”
- not on “soft” or “ loud,” “ fast” or “slow,"— but on the relations which sounds bear to each other, as high or low on the musical scale.
“ Melody” necessarily implies, in the first place, an initial or commencing note, high or low, to which the successive sounds of a strain may be referred, as the first of a series, or sequence, taking their departure from it. This initial sound is termed the pitch of the voice. Hence we say that a strain expressive of awe or solemnily, has a low pitch, or that the voice, in giving it utterance, strikes a low note. We say, also, that the sounds expressive of joy have a high pitch.
The word “ pitch,” as used in elocution, is applied, likewise, to the prevailing high or low sounds which pervade an expressive strain of utterance. Thus, when we say that awe has a low pitch, we mean not only that the voice, in giving it utterance, strikes a low note, at the commencement of the strain, but that it continues comparatively low on the scale, during the whole passage which contains that ernotion.
The terms “high” and “low” are liable to a misapplication, in negligent popular usage, which makes them synonymous with “ loud” and “ soft.” But in clocution, as in music, these words should be restricted to the sense of shrill or grave, as in speaking of the difference between the voices of women and of men.
“ High,” « low," and “ middle” pitch, with the addition of the extremes of “highest,” or “ very high,” and “lowest,” or “very low," are the distinctions in current use in elocution.
The deepest emotions of the soul, as despair, horror, and awe, and others of similar character, are distinguished in utterance by a “very low” pitch. Reverence and solemnity, in their usual effect, are ex
pressed by “low” notes of voice. All moderate emotions incline to "middle" pitch; and joyous feeling, is, according to its degree, “ high” or “very high.” Anger, when it is sharp and keen, is highpitched; when grave and stern, it is low.
To observe the varying shades of voice, caused by the changes of emotion, and consequent change of “ pitch,” is indispensable to true expression in reading. Without these variations, the style of utterance becomes flat and dead, from its monotony; and the composition to which this lifeless reading is applied, loses its true character and effect.
The examples and exercises which have been used as illustrations in preceding pages, should be carefully repeated for the distinctions of "pitch," classified as follows: “Lowest,” or “very low,” the 2d example of Solemnity, under “Pure Tone,” “Subdued” Force; - Low," the 3d, 1st, and 4th, of the same, the 3d of Tranquillity, and the 3d, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th of Pathos, and the lst, 3d, and 4th of Solemnity; — “Middle,” the 1st of Pathos, the 1st, 2d, 4th, and 5th of Tranquillity, 1st, 2d, and 3d examples of “ Pure Tone,” “ Moderate” Force, and the example of “Declamatory” Style, under “ Expulsive Orotund;" — High, the 2d example of Pathos under “Pure Tone,” “Subdued” Force, the 4th and 5th of “Pure Tone,” “ Moderate” Force, the examples of “ Expulsive Orotund,” “ Impassioned Expression,” and Shouting; — Very high, the example of “ Purc Tone,” “ Sustained ” Force, in Calling.*
“ MOVEMENT.” The term " movement” applies, in elocution, as in music, to the rate of utterance, as fast, slow, or moderate. The gradations of “ movement,” in elocution, are the following: “Slowest,” or “ Very Slow,” including Awe and deep Solemnity; - “Slow," Reverence, Solemnity, Pathos ; -“Moderate,” Tranquillity, Seriousness, Gravity ; “ Lively,” Animation, Cheerfulness; — " Brisk,” or “ Quick,” Gayety, Humour ; – “Rapid,” or “Very Quick,” Haste, Hurry. Repeat, for practice, the examples already given of the above emotions.
* The other constituents of “melody," beside "pitch," — as the intervals traversed by the voice in skips, “slides” and “waves," together with the effects of " diatonic ” and “ chromatic melody," — may be found exemplified in the volume on Orthophony. Teachers and students who wish for a more extensive course of study, in this and other departments of elocution, as pre. sented by Dr. Rush, are referred to the “ Philosophy of the Voice," for full statements of theory, and to the “ Orthophony," and the “American Elocutionist,” for practical applications.
THE PINE AND THE OLIVE, A FABLE. Mrs. Barbauld.
[This exercise exemplifies “ moderate” force, “middle” pitch, and
“ moderate ” movement. The style of reading, as regards “ expression,” is that of serious convey sation. The common error of young readers, in such pieces, is that of rapidity of utterance, — a fault in consequence of which enunciation is rendered indistinct, and the whole style of reading, unimpressive.]
A Stoic, swelling with the proud consciousness of his own worth, took a solitary walk; and, straying amongst the groves of Academus,* he sat down between an olive and a pine tree. His attention was soon excited by a murmur which he heard, among the leaves. The whispers increased; and, listening attentively, he plainly heard the pine say to the olive as follows:
“Poor tree! I pity thee. Thou now spreadest thy green leaves, and exultest in all the pride of youth and spring. But how soon.will thy beauty be tarnished! The fruit which thou exhaustest thyself to bear, shall hardly be shaken from thy boughs, before thou shalt grow dry and withered; thy green veins, now so full of juice, shall be frozen; naked and bare, thou wilt stand exposed to all the storms of winter; whilst my firmer leaf shall resist the change of the seasons. “Unchangeable,' is my motto; and, through the various vicissitudes of the year, I shall continue equally green and vigorous as I am at present.”
The olive, with a graceful wave of her boughs, replied: “ It is true thou wilt always continue as thou art at present. Thy leaves will keep that sullen and gloomy green in which they are now arrayed; and the stiff regularity of thy branches,
* Accented, Académus
will not yield to those storms which will bow down many of the feebler tenants of the grove. Yet I wish not to be like thee. I rejoice when nature rejoices; and, when I am desolate, nature mourns with me. I fully enjoy pleasure in its season; and I am contented to be subject to the influences of those seasons and that economy of nature by which I flourish. When the spring approaches, I feel the kindly warmth; my branches swell with young buds, and my leaves unfold; crowds of singing birds, which never visit thy noxious shade, sport on my boughs; my fruit is offered to the gods, and rejoices men; and, when the decay of nature approaches, I shed my leaves over the funeral of the falling year, and am well contented not to stand a single exemption from the mournful desolation I see everywhere around me.”
The pine was unable to frame a reply; and the philosopher turned away his steps, rebuked and humbled.
THE TWO MOTHERS.
Translated from De Custine.
[The first part of this piece requires 6 moderate” utterance, merely; but
the latter part, the vivid style of deep and earnest emotion, with all its natural changes of “ expression.” The common fault exemplified in the reading of such pieces, is a monotony which indicates the absence of feeling.]
During the darkest period of the French Revolution, occurred the following incident, so characteristic of the sympathy of one mother with another, in whatever condition of life. The grandfather of the present Marquis De Custine, was on trial before one of the sanguinary tribunals of the day. The father of the marquis, was absent, as ambassador in Prussia; and his mother hastened to Paris, to save, if possible, the life of her father-in-law.
“Every day,” says the marquis, “ she was present in the court, during my grandfather's trial, — sitting at his feet. Mornings and evenings, she visited personally the members of the revolutionary tribunal, and the niembers of the committee; and so great was the power of her beauty, and the interest excited by her presence, that, at one of the last sittings of the tribunal, the women in the gallery, though unused to tears, were seen to weep. The marks of sympathy which these furies gave to the daughter-in-law of Custine, irritated the president so much, that, during the session, he gave private orders, that the life of my mother should be secretly taken, by the public assassins, as she descended the steps of the hall.
“ The accused was reconducted to his prison. - His daughter-in-law, on leaving the tribunal, prepared to descend the steps of the palace, to regain, alone, and on foot, the carriage which was awaiting her, in a distant street. No one dared to accompany her, at least openly, for fear of increasing the danger. Timid and shy as a hare, she had, all her life, an instinctive dread of a crowd. Imagine the steps of the Palace of Justice, – that long flight of stairs, covered with the crowded masses of an angry populace, gorged with blood, and already too much accustomed to performing their horrid office, to draw back from one murder more.
“My mother, trembling, stopped at the head of the steps. Her eyes commanded the place where Madame Lamballe had been murdered some months before. A friend of my father had succeeded in getting a note to her, while in court, to warn her to redouble her prudence; but this advice increased the danger, instead of averting it. My mother's alarm being greater, she had less presence of mind; she thought herself lost; and this idea was almost fatal to her. If I tremble and fall, as Madame Lamballe did, thought she, it is all over with ine. The furious mob thickened incessantly about her path. • It is Custine, it is the daughter-in-law of the traitor!' cried they, on every side. Every outcry was seasoned with oaths and atrocious imprecations.
“How should she descend, - how should she pass through this fiendlike crowd? Some, with drawn swords, placed themselves before her; others, without vests, their shirt sleeves turned up, were driving away their wives. — This was the precursor of an execution. - The danger increased. My mother thought that if she exhibited the slightest weakness, she should be thrown to the ground, and her fall would be the signal for her death.
“At last, casting her eyes around, she perceived one of the fish-women, a most hideous-looking creature, advancing in the middle of the crowd. This woman had a nursing infant in her arms. Impelled by the God of mothers, the daughter of the traitor' approached this mother, — a mother is some