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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 18 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 18 of 59)
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The above notation is designed to exemplify exclusively, the
means of pasing over the compas of Speech ; for tho the style is
highly pasionative, it may, like the narative, still move upward
and downward by proximate degrees. If it were here the place
to represent the proper intonation of this forcible passagej other
forms of both the radical and concrete pitch, and of other modes
of the voice, would be required. This subject will be considered
hereafter. At the two colon pauses, which in corect reading will
not bear a full close, I have set the less conspicuous interuption of
the feeble cadence.

The foregoing acount of the melody of music and of speech
represents the forms of the radical and vanish, and their melodial
progrcsions widely diferent from each other ; yet, as the several
keys in music do designate diferent degrees of the scale, and as
the efcct of the key-note does resemble that of the cadence in
speech, there would seem to be some similarity between them.



MELODY OF SPEECH. 189

For since a descent in speech, of three degrees of the radical, with
a downward vani.sh from tlie last, always produces a cadence, and
afects the ear like the consumation of a key-note in musicj it
folows, that in a voice with a compas of ten diatonic degrees,
every degree, except the uper two, may be the place of what we
will here, in suposing the case, call a key-note of speech ; and
therefore, by the conditions of a key-note in music, that such a
voice might be said to have eight keys. But there would be an
unavoidable dificulty in this specification of the keys of spoken
melody. When a musical melody is said to be in a particular key,
the term designates exactly the position of its key-note. The
melody of speech cannot properly be refered to a particular key,
nor has it a fixed place for the key-note ; as it may be terminated
by a triad of the cadence, at any degree of the scale. The con-
stituents of the monotone are the only concretes of a melody, to
which a semblance of the function of key could be assigned, for
they would each have the same position in the cadencial close.
When a cadence is made on any of the other phrases, the triad
which descends to a close from the place of one of its constituents,
mast difer from the triad descending from another.

Such being the fruitles atempt to designate the key of a single
phrasej how much more indefinitely must a particular key be
afirmed of a curent melody composed of a continualy varying
sucesion of phrases. The true place of key can be afirmed only
of the first constituent of the cadence itself, because the sucesion
of its last two, and the place of its closing concrete, with regard
to the first, are unalterably fixed. Yet even in this case, the
technical and true meaning of the term key is no way aplicable.
Looking on the first constituent of the triad, as determining the
place of key, when aplied to speechj a particular key may be
apropriated to each degree of the whole compass, except the lower
two ; and consequently the key, if it can be so caled, of a curent
mekxly must jxjrpetualy change.

The peculiar series of tone and semitone, in the scales of music ;
the necesity for rules of modulation, to govern the change from
one series to another; together with the purposes of Conccrtiiig,
and of Harmonic composition, led to the definite nomenclature
and arangement of musical keys. A melodial progresion exclu-



190 THE DIATONIC

sively by whole tones, in the speaking scale j and the unacompanied,
or strictly solo-vocal ofice of speech, do not require the use of
Key : the designations therefore of its range and form of melody,
perhaps call for no nearer precision than that of a clasification into
the uper, midle, and lower pitch of the voice. There is then no
Key in Speech.

From this view of the speaking voice it may be perceved, why
in the notation of its melody I have used only the staff of the
musical tablature, without reference to its clefs or its signatures.
Clefs are used in music for the purposes of Concertingj by deter-
mining with precision the proper places, of pitch, for several voices
or instruments, moving in acompaniment. They are therefore
useles to the singlenes of speech. Nor does the melody of Nara-
tive require the System of Key, or the Signature of Flats and
Sharps, which are necesary in the musical scale, from the position
of its semitones. The naked lines and spaces of the Staff, de-
noting the proximate succesion of a tone, aford the proper and
suficient means for ilustrating the intonation of narative or dia-
tonic speech.

The term Modulation is used in music, to signify the transi-
tions of melody, and of harmonic composition, from one key to
another. A consideration of the propriety of using this term to
signify similar changes in the melody of speech, is involved in the
question, of the propriety of aplying the musical term key to the
variations of pitch in the speaking voice : and we have seen the
almost universal diference between the regular system of keys in
music, and the melodial method of speech. There is then, no
Modulation in the speaking voice.

The preceding history of the musical, and of the speaking scale,
is intended to show the relationships between them : but it apeare
from comparison j there is no systematic analogy to justify the
transfer of the term keyj and that of modulation, which embraces
only the practical use of kevj from music to spee



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 18 of 59)