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 22 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 22 of 59)
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of an apropriate melody, in carying on the thot, and in producing
an imediate perception of gramatical relationship.

On the other side,
Incensed with indignation, Satan stood
TJnterified, and like a Comet burned,
That fires the length of Ophiuchus huge,
In the arctic sky.

Should the phrase of the falling ditone be used at the necesary
coma-pause after burned, it will, to the ear, destroy the gramatical
concord between the relative that and the antecedent, comet. By
aplying a monotone to the two words in italics, the concord will
be properly marked, notwithstanding the intervening pause at
burned; the grouping power of the melody, in this case, counter-
acting the dividing agency of the pause.

A similar instance of the power of the monotone, in efecting a
close conection of the antecedent with the relative, is shown at the
pause after unheard, in the folowing lines :

First, Moloch, horrid king, besmeared with blood
. Of human sacrifice, and parents' tears ;
Though, for the noise of drums and timbrels loud.
Their children's cries unheard, that pased thru fire
To his grim idol.

Let us take one more example of this principle of a grouping
intonation :

Art thou that traitor-angel, art thou he

Who first broke peace in heaven, and faiihi till then

Unbroken ?

In this pa.sage the phrase, in heaven, is interposed between peace
and faith, the two objectives of broke. That the syntactic concc-


tion betAveen these words may be impresively shown, the slightest
pause only is admisible after heaven ; and a more conspicuous one
must be placed after faith. But the further expletive, till then
unbroken, is iraediately conected with faith ; and the only means
for representing this close relationship, in contravention to the
delay of the pausej so necesary, after faith, for another point of
perspicuity^ is by using the phrase of the rising ditone, or the
monotone, on and faith. The pause at this word, represents
clearly the full government of the verb brokej while the contin-
uative phrase, either of a monotone or rising ditone, at that pause,
prevents its disolving the conection of the previous meaning with
the suceding expletive clause, till then unbroken. The pages of
the higher Poets are full of instances of phraseology that require
the management of the voice here described. Milton and Shak-
speare cannot be read well, without strict atention to the aparent
©position between the purposes of the pause and of the thot, and
to the Reconciling Power of the phrases of melody.

A reduction of the Pitch, and Force of the voice being gener-
ally combined in reading, I have, in this section, designated them
colectively, by a single term. Abatement ; which is in most cases,
to be read in the diatonic melody. Its power of grouping to-
gether the related parts of a sentence, is exemplified by the Avell
known uterance, in an explanatory parenthesis.

I come now to speak of the j)erspicuity, to be given to a sen-
tence, by the Flight of the voice. There is a familiar rule in
elocution, which directs us to use a quickened utterance on com-
mon expletive clauses. This function may be extended to other
gramatical constructions. I give it here the importance of a name
and an ilustration, from its afording asistant means for represent-
ing the meaning of some of those instances of close-trimed phrase-
ology and extreme inversion, ocasionaly found in the higher poetical

In the following example, the part requiring the flight of the
voice is marked in italics.

You and I have heard our fathers say;
There was a Brutus once, that would liavo brook'd
The eternal Devil to keep his state in Rotne

As easily, as a king.


Tlic wortl easily, here qualifies the verb brook' d ; and one of the
means for impresing this on the auditor, is by the rapid flight here
directed. A London edition of Reed's Shakspeare, from wliich
this pas>'=!age is quoted, lias a pause after Rome. As the purpose
of the flight consists in alowing the shortest time between the
uterance of related words, it would suply the omision of this
pause, to make a slight one after easily. This tends to prevent the
adverb from passing as a qualification of keeping his state, which
certainly cannot be the meaning of the author; but which on
instant hearing, might otherwise, be mistaken for it, without the
aid of the altered pause and the flight. This is not the place to
speak of the nice points of emphasis and of melody, to be em-
ployed M'ith the flight in this pasagej to give clearnes and strength
to its effect.

Say first, for Heaven, hides nothing fro7n thy view
Nor the deep tract of Hell.

To make it apear at once in speech, that the deep tract of hell is
equaly with heaven, a nominative to hides'^ the phrase of the mono-
tone must be aplied at vieio, with the flight of the voice on the
portion marked in italics ; and a pause set after heaven, and re-
moved from view, where the editor has marked it.

If the gramarian should raise objections to any of these proposed
changes of punctuation, he must recur to the design of this section.
AVe speak now of the means of adresing the ear ; and its jealous
demands sometimes require a separation of close grammatical re-
lations ; and sometimes justify a neglect of the usual temporal
rests, from the thot and expresion in these cases being more ob-
vious without them. The art of reading-well may com|)ensate for
voluntary faults on some points, by the acomplishment of eminent
efects on others.

What we call the Punctuative Reference, or grouping, is another
means for bringing together words, or clauses, separated by gram-
atical construction ; as in the folowing example :

Having the wisdom to forescej he took measures
to prevents the disaster.

Here the fact of the disaster should be imediately conected with


the thot both of foreseeing, and preventing : yet by construction,
foresee is separated from disaster; and without a pause at prevent,
the momentary ateution to the imediate agency of this verb on
disaster, might obscure the relation between foresee and disaster.
In this case, foresee might pass for an intransitive verb. With
the dicomas, the similar pauses at foresee, and prevent, by making
them emphatic words, asign the former to its objective casej and
conecting these words as fellow transitives, throw, by punctuative
reference, their action together on disaster.

> Take another example, from Thomson's charming episode, of

By solitude, and deep surrounding shadesj
But more, by bashful modesty^ concealed.

Here, without the directive grouping of the dicoma at shades,
and at modesty, the j)icture of Thot might be obscuredj and we
should perhaps overlook the beautiful contrast between the uncon-
scious and closer self-concealment, and that of the previously
described humble and retired cottage in the vale.

The following, from Co^\'}^er's picture of the Empres of Russia's
Palace of Ice, in his ' Winter Morning Walk,' may be taken as
an instance under this head.

Less worthy of aplauso;? the more admired,
Because a novelty, the work of man,
Imperial Mistres of the fur-clad Russ^
Thy most maijnificent and mighty freak.
The wonder of the North.

The four parenthetic phrases in these lines, between applause
and Muss, produce a slight intricacyj which requires the dicoma
and its rest at these words, to bring togcthci', on the field of ateu-
tion, the clause that precedes the former, and folows the latter ;
and to make the impresive comparison between the works of na-
ture, previously described, and this fantastic efort, in the works
of art.

I here remind the Reader that the use of the dicoma, in punc-
tuative grouping is pointed out under the fourtli head of our ex-
planation of the jnirposcs of this symbol; in bounding a ]>arcnthcsis,
and directing ateution to the extremes of the included member ;


for the punctuative reference; as well as tlie emphatic tie to he
presently explained, is one of the aplications of the principle of
parcnthotio elocution.

In the folowing sentence, the punctuative grouping may give
clearnes to the reading ; but this cannot reconcile us to the aM'k-
wardnes of its disjointed syntax.

After he was so fortunate as to save himself
from^ he took especial care, never to fall
again into^ the poluted stream of ambition.

]\Iueh more might here be properly said on the clasification of
sentences, and on the time of pausing. With the Principle here
exemjilifieil, furtlier inquiry is left to the discrimination and taste
of others. Both reading and speech abound with ocasions for the
use of this punctuative reference ; but care must be taken to avoid
the afectation of its use, in gramatical arangements, where the
style may be rendered perspicuous without it.

"We have made a distinction between the Clausal limitation
M'ithin the boundary of pauses, and this Punctuative grouping.
The former keeps together sectional groups of conected thots ; the
later brings together separated clauses and words, with their thots;
and both unite their influence, for the just and expresive elocution
of those parentheses, usualy bounded by the linear Dash. We
have therefore dispensed with the use of this symbol ; its purpose
being cfected, both in silent perusal and in speech, quite as efica-
ciously, and with greater neatness to the eye, by the dicoma, with
its punctuative reference; which suspends the mciining of tha-
member preceding the first pause, for continuation, after the second.

By the grouping of Emphasis or what is here called the Em-
phatic Tie, I mean the apiication of stres, and perhaps in some
cases, of vocality, quantity, and intonationj to words, not other-
wise requiring distinction^ for joining those words and thots which
cannot, by any other means of vocal syntax, be brought together-
or exhibited in their true gramatical conection. The agency of
this form of grouping, like that of the last, which we may now
call the Punctuative Tic, is easily ])ercevedj for related words-
however separated, are at once brought together in their real rela-
tionships, within the field of hearing, whenever they are raised


into atractive Importance, by pause, or by force or other means of

The following lines, from Collins' 'Ode on the Passions/
embrace a construction, requiring the emphatic tie.

When Cheerfulnes, a Nymph of healthiest hue,

Her bow acros her shoulder flung,

Her buskins gemm'd \yith morning dew,

Blew an mspiring ai?-} that dale and thicket rung;}

The hunter's call, to Faun and Dryad' known.

. The last two lines have an embarassing construction. The
phrases inspiring air, and hunter's call are in aposition ; but there
intervenes a clause, that might make rung pass for an active verb,
and thereby render call the objective to it. To show therefore,
that by hunter-'s call the author means the inspiring air, pre-
viously mentioned, the words marked in italics should receive
emphatic stres. This is the best means for clearly impresing on
the ear, that close relationship, which, is interupted by the con-
struction. ^. ,■.,.'-]■ %;.a\ f./.;^ ,r.orir..r •■

..This emphatic tie is often employed in combination with other
means of grouping. In the several examples ilustrating the use
of the phrases of melody, their influence will be asisted by aply-
ing this conecting emphasis to comet and fires; children's and
posed; peace and faith. In the examples of the flight, the rela-
tionships between the words brook'd and easily; and between
heaven hides nothing, and nor the deep tract of hell; and in the
punctuative grouping, the reference of disaster to both foresee and
prevent^ of concealment to shades and modesti/j and of mighty freak,
to applausej will be more manifest, by the additional use of the
emphatic tie.

It is sometimes necesary to employ all the means of grouping
upon a single sentence, for conecting an iregular syntax, and suply-
ing an elipsis to the ear. The extreme distortion of English idiom
in the folowing lines, must be excedingly perplexing to a reader ;
and, far as I perceve the meaning and the graniar, can be rendered
somewhat less embarassing, only by the use of all these means.
The example is taken from the fourth book of Paradise Lost, at
the end of Satan's addrcs to the sun.


Thus while he spake, each pasionj dim'J his face
Thrice chaiig'd with palej ire, envy, and despair;
"Which mar'd his borow'd visage, and betray'd
Him counterfeit, if any eye beheld.

Milton uses the word pale, here, and again near the close of his
tenth book, as a substantive. Its comon adjective-meaning tends
to throw some confusion into the sentence. Ire, envy, and despair,
are in aposition with pasion, and are severaly concordant witli the
distributive pronoun each. The only maner in which I can aproxi-
mate towards a clear representation of this blamable piece of latinity,
is by making a quick flight over the portion, dim'd his face thrice
changed with pale, and by an abatement thereon ; by laying a strong
emphasis on each pasion, and on ii'e, envy, and despair, to mark the
concord, by the emphatic tie ; by using the punctuative reference
at pasion and pale; and by aplying the dicoma, with the mono-
tone or the rising ditone, to both these words.

After all, it is a hard picture to paint, for a taste that will have
true colors, well laid-on. Perhaps another hand, under the direc-
tion of our principles, may efect its expresion by some more apro-
priate touch.

In this and the preceding section, we have been more ocupied
with the audible means of marking the thotive meaning of dis-
course, than with the signs of expresion. But some meaning in
language must always be embraced by what we distinctively caled
the pasionative style. ' ^- ' ' ""

I would here point out to the clasical scholar, a resemblance in
the proces and purpose of the punctuative reference, and of the
emphatic tie, to that of the circumspect atention, always exercised
in construing a Latin sentence. The English language has few
variable terminations of noun, pronoun, verb and adjectivej by
which their concord and government might be instantly perceved,
however the parts of speech might be in positicm disjoined from
each other. In English tliereforc, as in some other languages, the
eoastruction is indicated, principaly by the proximate, or what is
calearts of this esay, tlie cx-
emplifiaitions are chiefly extracted from two ilustrious Poets; and
from some of those who, directed by the same great Principles of
their Art, are next to them in the briglit brevity of the truthful
and expresive Practice of it ; since the boundles r.uigc of their
expresive reflectionsj the aresting, but resolvable intricacy of their


stylcj the thotful bearing of their emphasisj together with the in-
sii^nificjiiice of scarcely a wortlj aford every variety of j)lain and of
pa.'^ionative construction, for exercising the ful-suficient, and ilunii-
nating jx>wer8 of the voice. And as the greater includes the less,
I am persuaded, that should the principles therein esta])lishod be
adoj)tetl by the Reader, he will have no great dificulty in aplying
them, to more simple styles of conversation, of narative, and of
impasioned discourse, both in poetry and prose. Yet when drawn
aside, from the ]>erfection of Nature in the human voice, to eulo-
gize the admirable things of intelect, which it is intended and ready
to display ; let me again repeat j I have taken upon me, not the
part of the Rhetorician, but merely of a Physiologist of Speech.

Of the Interval of the Rising Octave,

Ix the foregoing sections, the efect of Pitch was described, only
as it is heard in the radical and vanishing movement thru the
interval of a single tone.

It was shown, under the head of the melody of simple Nara-
tive style, that the vanish never rises above the interval of a tone ;
and that changes of radical pitch, either upward or downward
never excede the limits of this same interval. Now, such plain
melody as then suposed is rarely found of long continuance ; but
to avoid confusing the subject, I defered the notice of those vari-
ations of concrete and of discrete interval, which are ocasionaly
interspersed thruout its curent. Tlie wider intervals of jiitch used
for Exjiresion in the course of a diatonic melody, are now to be

By the term rising Octave, whether concrete or discrete, aplied
to sjKjech, is meant the movement of the voice, from any asumed
radicid place, thru higher parts of the scale, until it terminates in
the eighth degree above that radical place. This interval is em-


ployed for interogative expression ; and for surprise, astonishment,
and admiration, when they imply a degree of doubt or inquiry.
It is further used, for the emphatic distinction of words. Nor is it
limited to phrases, having the comon gramatical forms of a ques-
tion ; for even declaratory sentences are made interogative by the
use of this interval.

The pitch in interogation, and emphasis, may sometimes rise
both concretely and discretely, above the octave of the natural
voice, and even into the falsetej still the octave is the widest in-
terval of the speaking scale, technicaly regarded in this Work.
It expreses therefore the most forcible degree of interogation, and
of emphasis ; and is the pasionative interval for questions acom-
panied with sneer, contempt, mirth, railery, and the temper or
triumph of peevish or indignant argument.

From the time required in drawing-out the concrete interval of
an octave, this form of interogation can be executed conspicuously,
only on a sylable of extended quantity. How then can the inter-
ogative expresion be given to a short and imutable sylable ? The
means for efecting this, will be described hereafter, with particular
reference to interogative sentences. It may be here transiently
ilustrated by the folowing notation :

——A — ^^^—f£ — cT — ^ — -/-

In this diagram, after the first concrete rise of an octave, on a
long sylablej a discrete change or skip is made from the line of its
radiad, to a line along the hight of its vanish. Now imutable
sylables, in an interogative sentence, are transfcred by this discrete
or radical change, to a line of pitch at the sumit of the concrete
interogative intervalj and discretely prcxluce tlie expresive efect of
that interval, yet less remarkably than the indefinite sylables
which pass the same extent of the scale by the concrete rise. As
there are more short and unacentcd than long and ai'ented syla-
bles in discourse, the radical change here described contributes
largely to the character of an interogative intonation. The dia-


gram shows, that after the radical pitch of a short quantity has

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 22 of 59)