Page images
PDF
EPUB

other, standing at a distance, and yet exceedingly anxious not to be heard by a third person, still farther off, or, as in the tone of extreme earnestness, uttered by the watcher in the chamber of a sick person.

Examples of Suppression'. 1. “Hark! James, listen! for I must not speak loud. I do not wish John to hear what I am saying !"

2. “Step softly! speak low ! make no noise!”

This mode of voice may be termed a half whisper'; it is the aspirated' and ' impure' tone, which lies half way between the ordinary tone of the voice and a whisper. It is caused by allowing a vast quantity of breath, not vocalized', to rush out along with the sound of the voice. It is, in fact, "explosion', or expulsion', merged, as it were, or drowned, in a stream of aspiration', and made to assume the style of median stress'.

III. VANISHING Stress. Besides the radical', or initial, and the median', or middle, 'stress', there is also a 'vanishing', or final 'stress', which begins softly, swells onward, and bursts out suddenly, and leaves off abruptly, at the very

close of a sound, as in ihe jerking termination of the tone of impatient feeling.

Thus, in the language of maddened impatience, as uttered by Queen Constance, in her frenzy of grief and disappointment, at the overthrow of all her hopes for her son, in consequence of the peace formed between France and England :

Example of Vanishing Stress'. “War! war !-no peace : peace is to me a war!” In tones of this class, the voice withholds its force, and delays the explosion or expulsion, till the last moment of the emphatic sound, and then throws it out with an abrupt, wrenching force, which resembles that of a stone suddenly jerked from the hand. This species of stress, as it lies at the 'vanish’, or last point, of a sound, is termed vanishing stress'.

IV. COMPOUND Stress. The designation of compound stress', is applied to that mode of forming tones, which throws out the force of the voice in such a manner as to mark, with great precision, the radical' and the 'vanish', or the beginning and the end, of each accented or emphatic sound.

Thus, in the tone of surprise, which is marked by a bold, upward slide', beginning very low, and ending very high, the voice strikes with peculiar force on the first and last points of the slide, in order to stamp it more distinctly on the ear, as the vehicle of intense emotion. Å striking example again occurs in the language of Queen Constatee, in the situation mentioned before, when overwhelmed with astonishment at the news she has just received.

Example of Compound Stress'.
“Gone to be married ! gone to swear a peace !

Gone to be friends!” V. THOROUGH STRESS. This designation is applied to that species of force, which marks all the forms of 'stress', 'radi. cal', median', and 'vanishing', with intense power, on the same sound; so as to cause the character of all to be deeply felt, as in a bold shout, or any other very impressive form of voice, which indicates intense emotion.

Example of Thorough Stress '.

“Awake! arise! or be for ever fallen!In this shout of the arch-fiend to his fallen host, the tone, it will be perceived, is not that of mere volume or quantity, of mere loudness or physical force, as in the mechanical act of calling, or the voice of a public crier. It has the wide ' falling inflection of authority and command, and the forcible . radical' stress and 'expulsive' utterance of courage; and to preserve the effect of all these, it must not only begin and close vividly, but exhibit a “median'swell', and a distinct "vanish'. It must, in other words, give distinctive force and character to the beginning, the middle, and the end of each accented sound.

VI. INTERMITTENT Stress, OR TREMOR. The 'tremor', (trembling,) or intermittent' stress, takes place in the utterance of all those emotions which enfeeble the voice, by their overpowering effect on feeling; as, for example, in fear and grief, and sometimes joy, when extreme. This mode of utterance characterizes, also, the feeble voice of age, or the tone of a person shivering with cold.

Examples of the former will be found in the section on 'Expressive Tones'. * Of the latter we have instances in the language, both of the old woman and the farmer, in Wordsworth's ballad, "Goody Blake and Harry Gill'.

Examples of Tremor.
1. “She prayed, her withered hand uprearing,

While Harry held her by the arm,-
'God! who art never out of hearing,

Oh ! may he never more be warm !""
2. “No word to any man he utters,

Abed or up, to young or old ;

But ever to himself he mutters,
[tr] *Poor Harry Gill is very cold!""

[Tremor) {

Exact discrimination and disciplined facility, in distinguishing and executing the different forms of stress', are indispensable to the life and appropriateness of good reading. Without the command of clear and full radical stress', the voice has no efficacy: without the expression embodied in the median' and vanishing' forms, it is destitute of feeling. The preceding examples should be practised till they become perfectly familiar. The importance of this branch of elocution, in connexion with expressive tones, will be yet more distinctly perceived, when the student arrives at that stage of the subject, in which frequent references are inade to the distinctions of 'stress'.

♡ X.-EXPRESSIVE TONES.

The word 'tone', in elocution, may be used, as in music to signify the interval which exists in successive sounds of the voice, as they occur in the gamut, or musical scale. But it is commonly used as equivalent, nearly, to the term 'expression', in music, by which is meant the mode of voice as adapted, or not adapted, to feeling. Thus we speak of the 'tones' of passion, -of a 'false' tone, -of a school' tone.

Every tone of the voice implics, 1. a certain force', or •quantity', of sound ;-2. a particular «note', or "pitch';3. a given time', or movement ';-4. a peculiar stress ';5. a special quality', or character ;-6. a predominating 'inflection. Thus, the tone of awe, has a very soft force', a "very low pitch', a 'very slow movement', 'median stress', and pectoral quality', or that decp murmuring resonance, which makes the voice seem as it were partially muffled in the chest, together with a partial monotone', prevailing at the opening of every clause, and every sentence. All these properties belong to the natural utterance of awe ; take away any one, and the effect of emotion is lost,--the expression sounds deficient to the ear. [xx] Example 1. “The bell | strikes | one.-We take [..] nö nõte of time, [=] But from its lòss: to give it, thēn, a tongue, [m.s.] Is wise | in man. As if an angel | spokell [p.q.] I feel the sõlemn sound. If heard aright,

It is the kněll of my departed hòurs.
Whēre are they ?- With the years beyond the Aldod."

* These marks indicate [xx] \very soft,' [. ] very low', [=] 'very slow'; [m. s.] 'median stress'; [p. 4.] pectoral quality'. See Key to the Notation of Expressive Tone', on next page.

[ocr errors]

The first five of the properties of voice which have been enumerated, are the ground of the following classification and notation. KEY TO THE NOTATION OF EXPRESSIVE TONE.'

· Force'. [1] loud '; [11] ‘very loud '; [x] 'soft'; [xx] 'very soft '; [3] increase'; [>] decrease'.

Pitch'. [°] 'high'; [oo] ' very high '; [o] • low '; [oo] “very low'.

Key'. [#] 'lively',-(full tone ;) [b] “plaintive',-(semitone'.)

Time'. [u] 'quick '; [u u] 'very quick'; 6-1 slow'; [=] 'very slow'.

Stress'.* [r. s.] 'radical stress '; [m. s.] ‘median stress '; [v. s.] 'vanishing stress '; [c. s.] 'compound stress '; [th. s.) thorough stress '; [s. s.] suppressed stress '; [tr.] * tremor'; [ef. s.]

effusive stress '; (expul. s.] expulsive stress '; [explo. s.]'explosive stress'.

Quality'.t [h.q.] 'harsh quality ; [sm.q.] 'smooth quality'; [a.q.) “aspirated quality'; [pu. t.] pure tone'; [p. 9.) pectoral quality'; [8. 9.] 'guttural quality'; [0.9.] 'oral quality'; [oro. 9.] orotund quality'.

Combinations. [h.g.q.] harsh guttural quality'; [sm. p.q.] smooth pectoral quality', &c

The above Key, though, at first sight, intricate, will occasion no serious difficulty to students who have read attentively the Sections on “Stress' and Quality.' The notation will be found of great service, not only by suggesting appropriate expression', which a young reader might otherwise overlook, but by enabling the pupil to prepare for the exercise of reading or declaiming, by previous study and practice.

It is a humiliating fact, that, in many schools, the sublimest and most beautiful strains of poetry,—take, for example, Milton's invocation, “Hail holy Light!”-are, from the neglect of 'expressive tone', called out in the same voice with which a clerk repeats the number or the mark on a bale of goods, or read with the free and easy' modulation of a story told by the fireside,

-or perhaps, with

[ocr errors]
[merged small][ocr errors]

the pompous mouthing of the juvenile hero of a spouting club, with the languishing tone of a sick person, or with the suppressed, half-whispering utterance of a conscious culprit.

The notation of expression' has been adopted with a view to the early formation of correct habit.

[ocr errors]

RULES ON EXPRESSIVE TONE.

[ocr errors]

Rule I. The tones of anger, vexation, alarm, fear, and terror, have an utterance 'extremely loud, high, and quick',

abrupt', and 'explosive',ếor, sometimes marked by expul.
sive' and by vanishing stress,-an 'aspirated', 'harsh', and
'guttural' voice, and are characterized, throughout, by the ‘fall-
ing inflection'.

Example of Anger.
Notation. “ He hath disgraced me, and hindered me of half

a million; laughed at my lòsses, mocked at my gàins, [oo] scorned my nàtion, thwarted my bàrgains, cooled my

Cu u] friends, heated mine ènemies : and what's his rèa[h. 8. 9.] son ? I AM A JÈw.—Hath not a Jew eyes, hath not [explo.s.) a Jew hands, órgans, dimensions, sénses, affections,

pássions ? fed with the same food, hurt with the See Key same weapons, subject to the same diséases, healed by

to the same méans, warmed and cooled by the same winNotation. ter and summer as a CHRÍSTIAN is?"

Vexation. Say you so ? sÁY you so ?ẠI say unto you tooj again, you are a shallow, cowardly, hind, and you

[uu] Lie. Our plot is a good plot as ever was làid; our [explo.s.) friends true and CÒNSTANT; a GÒOD PLOT, good [a. p. friends, and full of expectàtion: an ÈXCELLENT plot,

8 VÈRY good friends. What a FRÒSTY-SPIRITED rogue g. 9.] is this !--An I were now by this rascal, I could brain

him with his LADY'S FÀN.-Oh! I could divide my-
self, and go to BÙFFETS, for moving such a DISH of
SKIMMED MÌLK with so honorable an action!"

Alarm. [11] [° °] [uu]

“Strike on the tìmden, Hò ! [expul. s.] Give me a TÀPER ; call up my

PEOPLE! [a. & oro. q.]

Get MÒRE tapers ;
[Shouting, Raise all my KÌNDREDS
Calling.)

Call up my BROTHER!
Some one way, some ANOTHER !

Get WÈAPONS, HO!
And raise some special officers of night!"

all

« PreviousContinue »