James Rush.

The philosophy of the human voice : embracing its physiological history; together with a system of principles, by which criticism in the art of elocution may be rendered inteligible [i.e. intelligible], and instruction, definite and comprehensive to which is added a brief analysis of song and recita online

. (page 17 of 59)
Online LibraryJames RushThe philosophy of the human voice : embracing its physiological history; together with a system of principles, by which criticism in the art of elocution may be rendered inteligible [i.e. intelligible], and instruction, definite and comprehensive to which is added a brief analysis of song and recita → online text (page 17 of 59)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

every sylable consists of the rising equable-concrete of a tone.
The sucesion of these concretes has a variation of pitch, in which
the radicals of any two never difer from each other more than the
interval of a tone.

To distinguish these two forms of melodial progresion by short
and referable terms, let us call the concrete rise of each sylablej
the Concrete Pitch of melody ; and the place asumed by the radical
of each concrete, above or below tliat of the precedingj the Radi-
cal Pitch. In the foregoing notation, every one of the sylables
has the concrete pitch of a tone, pasing from line to space, or from
space to line. The two, respectively composing the words nature,
and book of, difer a discrete tone from each other in their radical
pitch; the radical pitch of the three sylables in infinite is the

It will be shown, in its proper places the melody employed at
some of the pauses in discourse requires a certain order of radical
pitch, for justly and agreeably denoting both its meaning, and the
diferent degrees of conection between its divisions. The parts
within the divisions made by these pauses, have in general, no
fixed sucesion : for the efect will be both proper and agreeable, if
the melody of these parts is made by avoiding a continuation of
the same radical pitch, or of an alternate rising and faling, or
any other course of too remarkable a regularity. I ofer three
diferent notations of the same sentence ; where the order of radical
pitch in each reading is varied ; the above caution observed ; and
where the melody has a simple construction.


He nc vcr drinks, but Ti mon's sil ver

^ ^4 ^ i^ "^ ^ ^ -^-1

treads up on his lip.

He ne ver drinks, but Ti mon's sil ver



d 4 ^ ^


\x\i on his



'f d 4




He ne ver drinks, but Ti mon's sil ver



up on




J- ^


Other arangements of a proper and agreeable melody might be
made for this sentence, on the principles of the varied sucesion of
radical pitch here exemplified. But, however varied the sucesion,
its forms are all reducible to a limited number of agregates of the
radical and vanish. These may be caled tlie Phrases of Melody.
They are shown in the notation of the folowing lin&s ; where
the curent is constructed in a maner not unsuitable to the simi)le
narative of the couplet ; tho here, as in some other inst;\nccs of



this esay, the melody is designed to ihistrate description, rather
than to furnish examples of apropriate elocution.

That quar — ter

most the

skil — ful Greeks an noy,

^ d d

^ ^


^ "

V w w


Monotone. Faling Ditone. Eising Tritone. Rising Ditone.
Where yon wild fig trees join the walls of Troy.

^f-^ j\^ ^ 4 ^ I •^^


Faling Tritone.


Triad of the Cadence.

When two or more sylables as in the above example, ocur
sucesively on the same place of radical pitch, it may be caled the
j)hrase of the Monotone.

When the radical pitch is a tone above that of a preceding
sylable, the phrase may be termed the Rising Ditone.

When the radical pitch is a tone below that of a preceding
sylable, the Faling Ditone.

When the radicals of three sylables sucesively ascend a tone,
the Rising Tritone.

When three radicals sucesively descend a tone, the Faling Tri-

A train of three or more sylables, alternately a tone above and
below each other, may be caled an Alternation or the Alternate
phrase. This distinction may seem to be unecesary, as the alter-
nate phrase is no more than a repeated use of the rising or the
faling ditone ; yet as it frequently ocurs in speech, the term Al-
ternation is for brevity here asigned to this particular phrase of

AVhen three sylables sucesively descend in their radical pitch,
at the close of a sentence, the phrase may be caled the Cadence,
or Triad of the Cadence ; which always has a faling vanish from
its lowest radical. This is indeed, a faling tritone, but since the
vanish of the lowest radical in the tritone of the cadence always


descends, as will be shown presently, I have thot proper to con-
tradistinguish and to specify it, as the Triad.

It is to be remarkal, that the names, and construction of the
phrases of melody are the same, when the sylabic vanish has the
doicmcard course ; the movements of the radical pitch, especialy
constituting the phrases, not being afected by the direction of the
concrete pitch.

I have not been able to resolve the melody of plain narative,
or thotive discourse, into more than these seven phrases. It
would seem to be part of the ordination of the diatonic melody,
not to admit a sucesive rise, or a fall of radical pitch to any
great extent, by proximate degrees. It is here limited to the tri-
tone, in both directions, because it apears to mej a further pro-
gresion, though it may be ocasionaly used, is not agreeable.
Whether the propriety of excluding sucesively rising and faling
phrases of more than three concretes from diatonic or thotive
speech, might be grounded on the perceptionj that the efect of such
phrases somewhat resembles the efect of song, particularly in
ascending the scale, whereby the semitone is traversedj I leave to
be determined by the observation of others.

The three examples given in a preceding page, of the varied
curent melody of the same sentence j and the statement that the
phrases might be even further agreeably diversified, enable us
to percevej how a speaker, under the direction of the science of
melody, and with the habit of aplying it, may readily avoid a
monotonous continuation of the same radical pitch, and of formal
returns of similar progresions. For notwithstanding the pitch is
necesarily limited to the change aforded by the rise and the fall
of a single tone, yet the diferent phrases of melody, and their
practicable interchanges, furnish varied sequences of dissimilar
pasages, quite suficient to prevent a recognition of identity in the
sucesion. The ear of a skilful speaker j directed by the unering
habit which science, in time asumes, will be always on the watch,
against the too frequent repetition of the same phrases : and the
variety in their several forms, afords an easy exemption from this
cause of monotony. The principles that govern the succsions of
pitch in the melody of speech, are similar to those for the arange-
mcnt of varied acent and quantity', in the rythmus of well ad-


justed prose. Excelence in each is the work of an educated, and
discerning ear; and its habitual and almost involuntary perception
is not less efective in one instancej by securing the beauties of a
varied intonation, than in the otherj by rejecting the prosodial
measures of acknowledged verse.

If the foregoing description of the sucesions of pitch in plain
narative is corect, we may, upon strict etymolog}^, call the sum
of those sucesions the Diatonic Melody of speech. For in the
first place, the vanish of each separate concrete rises thru the
space of a tone ; and in the second, the changes of radical pitch
are made thru the same intervals. We learn then, that the
melody is made partly in the concrete, and partly in the discrete
scale. The radical and vanish of each sylable is strictly concrete ;
the transition from one sylable to another is strictly discrete.
The reader may however, in the last diagram, merely notice, for
it is a mater of no great practical importance^ that transitions
of the diferent phrases, give a diferent extent to the distances
between any one radical, and the close of the preceding vanish.
The constituents of the rising ditone and tritone have appar-
ently no discrete interval between them ; for where the vanish
closes, the suceding radical begins. The monotone has a discrete
second. The faling ditone and tritone, when the vanish Hses,
have two discrete tones, or the interval of a third. But these and
similar diferences produce, if we except the instance of the two
discrete tones, no perceptible effect in the melody ; for in the case
of the rising ditone, where the voices of two sylables would seem
to joinj the full abruptness of the radical, makes a plain distinction
between itself and the feebleness of the preceding vanish.

The uses of the concrete and the radical pitch above described,
point out two esential distinctions between the melody of speech
and that of song. And first : song gencraly employs the protracted
radical or protracted vanish, on all its extended sylables ; whei-eas
speech always employs the simple concrete, or the wave. Second :
in the diatonic melody of speech, the radical i)itc'h i)rocedcs by
proximate degrees, or changes of a single tone. The melody of
song ])rocedes variously both by proximate degrees, and by skips
of wider intervals of the scale.

In treating hereafter, on emphasis, and on interogative sentences,


the ocasions and maner of using wider radical changes in speech,
will be sliown. The melody of simple narative or inexpresive
speech, now before us, always moves by proximate degrees.

Having given the name of Diatonic jNIelody to the current in-
tonation of the dispasionate or thotive state of mind, and having
learned that this intonation should consist of a certain inexpresive
or thotive vocal signj we may perceve the propriety of aplying the
name of that melody, both to the state and the sign. In adition
then to the nomenclature in the sixth section, I shall employ the
term, diatonic, as synonymous with that of thotivej for the indi-
vidual state of mind, and the individual vocal sign ; and for the
style or drift of the same state, and sign.

We procede to analyze the intonation aplied to the three final
sylables of a sentence ; and Avhich, from its position and peculiar
purpose, I have contradistinguished as the melody of the Cadence.

When the eight notes of tlie musical diatonic scale are utered,
both ascending and descending, by a repetition of the word co7'-
dova, the apropriation of sylables will bej cor-do-va cor-do-va
cor-do ; and descending^ cor-do cor-do-va cor-do-va. By this sol-
faing if I may so speak, on these sylables, the last repetition of
the word in the descent, is alotted to the three lower notes of the
scale ; the final sylable making a full close on its key-note. In
this experiment, the intonation is suposed to be by the protracted
note of song ; as it would certainly be so made, by a person fa-
miliar with the scale. Yet while descending, if these last three
notes of song be changed to equable concretes of speech, with a
downward vanish, the efect on the ear will be identical with that
of the same word, properly utered at a full period of discourse.
From this and other trials, it may be ]«irned, that the cadence in
speech, is always made with three sucesively downward radicals,
from the line of the curent melody ; or by other downward concrete
movements of the like extent.

The most remarkable effect of the cadence lies in another point.
All the radical sounds of the curent melody are represented in the
precefling diagrams, as terminating in a rising vanish ; yet we shall
learn hereafter, that the purposes of variety often require the use
of a downward concrete. The puqjosc of tliis downward concrete
in the cadence, is to bring the curent to a close ; and with this in-


tention, the last constituent or its concrete terminative is always
made by the doAvnward vanish of a tone, or even a wider interval.
This descent of the concrete, here so easily distinguishable from its
rise, asists in producing the repose at the end of a sentence ; and
constitutes, in conection with the series of three descending radi-
cals, the esential characteristic of the cadence.

It was stated above, that each sylable of the curent diatonic
melody has a concrete tone apropriated to it. The concretes of the
cadence are not always so asigned. Let us for the sake of reference,
designate the constituent concretes of the cadencej by their numeral

In the First form of the cadence, the first, second, and third
constituent has each a coresponding sylable, with a downward
vanish on the last. From the rising vanish on two of its constit-
uents, let us call it the Rising Triad.

Sweet is the breath of morn.

^ ^ W

The Second form has a similar apropriation of concretes to syl-
ables ; with a downward vanish on each constituent. Let this be
caled the Faling Triad ; or, as it denotes the most complete close,
the Full Cadence.

The air was faned by un — nam — ber'd plumes.


These first two forms may also be caled Tripartite.

In the Third, the first and second concretesj or a concrete that
ocupies the conjoined intervals of the first and second; is alottcd
to a single sylable. From the first and second tones being here
set to one sylable, call this the First Duad.


tur et crest and sleek

en am— el'd




Online LibraryJames RushThe philosophy of the human voice : embracing its physiological history; together with a system of principles, by which criticism in the art of elocution may be rendered inteligible [i.e. intelligible], and instruction, definite and comprehensive to which is added a brief analysis of song and recita → online text (page 17 of 59)