Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

of the tone, third and fifth, endeavoring throughout to make the sound as long as they can. The second table contains some mutable syllables, which will require quantity on the closing subtonic elements. The third consists of a few indefinite syllables, whose quantity is to be shared between the tonics and the subtonics which follow it.

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

II.

sob, sad, dog, tell, him, son, song, her, or,

live, his.

III. old, aid, all, heal, bound, end, known, aim, fair, our, save, raise, soothe, hol-y.

The bad effect of trying to lengthen any of the subtonic or atouic elements, at the beginning of a word, may be shown on any of the words in these tables which have consonants before the tonic element.

It is very important to recollect that an atonic element must never be lengthened at all, either at the beginning or end of a syllable.

F-i'-t (fit), S-a-v (save), SH-a-p (shape), TH-i’-ng-k (think), a'-F (off), h-i'-s (hiss), p-u-SH (push). We must always try to give to this class of elements a very short, as well as very distinct, sound.

CHAPTER XI.

ON QUALITY.

We have now arrived at the consideration of the elements of expression, viz. quality, or the kind of voice we are to use for different purposes. As might be supposed, the human voice is capable of a great many varieties of quality. The words, harsh, smooth, hoarse, full, musical, aspirated, whispering, and many others, are employed to denote them.

When we are speaking on subjects of no great interest, we use that kind of voice which is most easy and natural to us. This is nearly, though not quite the same, with almost every one.

We can always recognize it when we hear it, as the natural tone of common conversation.

There are some persons whose ordinary quality of voice is bad; but it ought to be remembered, in speaking on this subject, that we do not mean by this expression what is commonly meant by it. If a person pronounces indistinctly, or talks monotonously, wbines, drawls, or talks either too fast or too slow, it is common to say that he has a bad kind of voice. None of these faults are, however, really faults of quality. Bad pronunciation must be amended by practising in the vocal elements, monotony, by attending to the proper modes of using pitch and accent, whining, by avoiding the use of the semitone slides and waves, drawling, by the proper use of stress, too quick or too slow utterance, by the study and practice of quantity. So, also, if the voice be

too full or too loud, the fault is rather in the misemployment of the element of force. None of these belong really to the head of quality.

Real faults of quality are those only which cannot be brought under any of the other elements of expression. Like all other faults, they are to be amended only by careful practice. In almost every case they may be removed by this means.

As soon as the nature of the fault, whatever it may be, has been ascertained, let the pupil direct his attention to it for a few weeks in all his reading, and even, if he can, whenever he is talking, and he will soon find that he is overcoming it, For example, if his speaking voice be too harsh, let him be continually aiming to make it sound less harshly when he reads; if it be too husky, let him try to make it clear and distinct; if he have fallen into a habit of speaking too much through the nose, or through the teeth, let it be his endeavor to avoid the peculiar effect of this way of talking, by trying to speak as other people do, through the throat. It will be the office of the instructer to point out such defects, whenever he finds them to.exist. They are not of very common occurrence, and do not therefore require any very detailed explanation.

We are not, however, to be always using this natural quality of voice, of which we have been speaking. Almost every emotion of the mind has its peculiar quality of voice, which is employed to express it, and no other. It will not, however, be necessary to describe them all, as it is not very often that we find them used improperly. A few may be noticed

you see it?'

with advantage, as they will serve to explain "more thoroughly what we mean by quality of voice.

When a person speaks with great authority, or in a very angry manner, his voice is commonly harsher than usual. The come here, sir,' which we should address to a dog who did not mind the whistle, may serve as an example.

Grief or pity, on the other hand, require a milder quality of voice. "Poor fellow,' even to a dog, , would never be spoken harshly.

Secrecy will employ a whisper! This needs no example.

Fear is expressed by a quality of voice a good deal like the whisper. We call it aspiration. What's the matter?' • Didn't

The same quality of voice in combination with great force is used to express extreme violence, and sometimes contempt. "Coward!'

There is a quality of voice much used in acting, and, indeed, often of great importance in good public speaking. Dr. Rush has given it the name of the orotund.' Its uses, and the modes of obtaining a command over it, are explained in the Grammar. As it is not easy of acquisition, it has been thought best not to attempt to give directions for its employment in this book. It will be found of great importance to the more advanced student of Elocution. In an introductory course of instruction, the teacher would hardly ever require to do more, than to correct the faults which may be found in the natural quality of the voice.

CHAPTER XII.

ON ACCENT.

In the eighth chapter (p. 64), an example was given of a sentence in which some of the syllables, though unemphatic, were to be read with a somewhat greater degree of force or loudness than the others.

And Na'than sa'id unto Da'vid.' It was also shown in what respect the unemphatic increase of force on these syllables differs from the emphatic use of that element, which we have called stress, and of which a number of examples have been given. We have now, under the head of accent, to explain the purposes which it is employed to serve in speech.

The human voice and ear are so formed by nature, as always to require a variety in the force of the successive syllables in a sentence. Take any sentence whatever, and, whether there be emphatic words in it or not, this will be seen to be the case.

· Then they went out of the ci'ty, and came' unto him'.'

And when' he had said this, he fell asleep'.'

A li'ar has need of a good mem'ory.'

In the above examples those syllables which require the heavy sound, and which are called accented syllables, are all marked thus ('). The other syl

« AnteriorContinuar »