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 23 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 23 of 59)
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melody, being generaly within the range of the natural voice.

Besides the above described uses of the octave and fil'th, some
canting forms of exclamation, and other familiar voices in comon
life, are made on these intervals. They require no further nt)ticc.



Oj the Intei^al of the Rising Third.

Thp: rising Third, in both its concrete and discrete forms, like
the two last named intervals, is used for interogative cxpresion,
and for omj^hasis. But its degree in both these cases is less than
that of the fifth. It is the sign of interogation in its most mod-
erate form ; and conveys none of those states of mind which, jointly
with the question, were alottcd to those other movements.

Besides the exceptions to the rule of tlic plain diatonic melody,
by an ocasional use of the octave and fifth, it must now be aded,
that the general curent of the tone is further varied, by the intro-
duction of the concrete third, and its radical change. It ocurs more
frequently than the two former ; for, altlio more rarely than the
fifth, as an interogative, it is a comon form of moderate emphatic
intonation. In describing the })hrases of melody, it was said, the
rising tritone or upward sucession of three radicals on as many
sylables, is ocasionaly employed. On the scale, three radical places
contain the interval of a third ; it is therefore the space or inter-
val ocupied by the constituents of a tritone, rejecting the vanish
of the last, that makes the proper rising concrete third : yet this
concrete interogative is more impresive than the discrete rise of the
sucesive radicals of the tritone ; for if the words. Go you there', in
gramar, equaly a comand and a question j be utered in the phrase
of the rising tritone, with a downward vanish on each of its syla-
bles, it will have the character of an imperative sentence. Should
the first word rise concretely a third, thru the space embraced by
the radicals of the tritone, and the last two be continued in their
rising radical sucesionj the efcct will be interogative, even if the
last two should bear the downward vanish. Tlie same will be the
efect when the second word has the concrete, and the last the
radical change ; or, Avhen the first and second have the comon
diatonic melody, and the last alone, the concrete rise ; showing the
marked diference in efect between the concrete rise of a third, and
a rise by three proximate radicals of the same extent.


There is a form of replication in comon speech especialy used
by the Scots, consisting of a repetition of the afirmative yes or aye,
in the rising third ; and while the words seem to pay the courtesy
of asent, the interogative character of the intonation still insinuates
the hesitation of doubt or surprise. Should the interogative asent,
implied by these words be of unusual energy, the expresion will
asume the form of the fifth, or octave.

When the Reader has acquired the prefatory knowledge, neces-
ary for the full comprehension of the subject of EmphasLsj it will
be definitely explained, in what maner, and on what ocasions the
octave, fifth, and third, are employed in this important function of
corect and impresive speech. But as the emphasis given to promi-
nent words of concesive, conditional, and hypothetical sentences,
caries with it, the latent character of an interogatory, its aplication
may properly be ilustrated here. The folowing examples of con-
ditionality and concesion call for one of the wider rising intervals,
on the words marked in italics: , . .

Then ^vhoi I am thy captive talk of.qhaiiis,

Proud limitary Cherub 1 but ere then,

Far heavier load' thyself expect to feel

From my prevailing arm, though Heaven's king

Kide on thy wings, j.j ^i . xmv^^ ^ },,

So in the hypothesis of the folowing sentence :

If I must contend, said he,
Best with the best, the sender, not the sent.

And the same with the exceptive phrase marked in these lines :

The undaunted fiend what tliis might be, admired ;
Admired, not fear'd. God and his Son except,
Created thing naught valued he, nor shuned.

• It is unecesary to say, which of the wider intervals is to be set
respectively, on the strong words of these examples. The eitiitions
were made, to show that the rising third, fifth, or octave, may be
used on tlie emphatic sylables of such sentences.

The interval of the minor third, as wo learned in the first sec-
tion, consists of one tone and n half. It has a plaintive expresion.


but is not, far as I Imve observed, employed in specdi for any of
those purpo.sos of interogation, conditional ity, or concesion, wliieli
arc here ascribed to the major third.

It may perhaps be useful in this place, for the Header to take a
rctrosi)ect over the subject of melody, so far described ; and to look
upon it as consisting of the diatonic phrases formerly enumcratedj
varied for the purposes of intcrogation, and of emi)hasis, by the
ocasional introduction of the wider rising intervals of the octave,
fifth, and third. In speaking of the melody of simple narative,
the radical changes of that style were reduced to seven elementary
phrases. It may be suposedj the further use of these wider inter-
vals, in the transitions of radical pitch, justifies an aditional nomen-
clature, for the phnuses employetl in expresion. It does; and the
Phrases of the Eighth, the Fifth, and the Third, when the transi-
tion is made by radical skip, either in an upward or downward
direction, are the terms for designating, if necesary, these new
forms of melodial progresion in speech.


Of the Intonation of Interogative Sentences.

Having asigned an interogative expresion to the rising octave,
fifth, and third, I defer for a moment, the history of the remaining
forms of pitch, to describe the maner of employing those intervals
in the course of an interogative sentence ; thereby to learn, how
they are related both to its curent melody, and to its cadence.

With a view to exhibit the striking efect of tJie interogative
intervals, let us take the folowing declaratory or asertive sen-
tence, as contradistinguished from the gramatical constructions that
gencraly indicate a question :

Give Brutus a statue with liis ancestors.
This sentence denotes an intention to honor the patriot ; is im-


perative in its purpose ; and this is expresed by a downward move-
ment on every sylable. But if the versatile plebean should the
next moment have a new light of discernment or caprice, he might
afect to refuse the honorary tribute, by repeating the very w^ords of
the decree, with the sneering intonation of a question :

Give Brutus a statue with his ancestors?

The diference of the state of mind or the meaning, in these two
instances would be perceptible to every hearer: nor could the
altered intention of the speaker, in the last case be mistaken.
The ironical character or efect of the line when thus read, pro-
cedes from each of its sylables having the rising interval of a
fifth, or octave, or the inverted waves of these intervals, acording
to the energy of the sneer ; and it shows the power of that rise,
in changing an imperative into an interogative sentence. In this
way only, by the concrete rise or the radical skip of a fifth or
octave, or their inverted wave, on every sylable, will the question
be fuly expresed; for should the movement be employed upon
every word except the last, and this be utered with the diatonic
triad, the interogation will be lost. If the interogative interval
be given only to the last word, it will in some degree, denote an
inquiry ; but much less forcibly than when the movement is aplied
to every sylable. Besides ilustrating the interogative efect, the
preceding example likwise shows the efect of the wider intervals,
when compared with that of the simple concrete of the tone or
second, in a diatonic melody. The maner of aplying these wider
intervals, for interogation, will be presently described.

Before w'e enter on this subject, the purposes of elementary in-
struction call for a notice of the varied extent of the use of interog-
ative expresion; since some sentences require it on every sylable;
others fuly convey the question by partial aplication. To be more
definite :

By Thoro Interogative Expresion, I meaiij a use of the in-
tended interval on every sylable.

By Partial Interogative Expresionj a use of the interval on one,
or on a few ; others, particularly those at the close, having the
melody of plain declarative discoui-se. For brevity, and for sub-


stitutive terms, these distinctions may be caled, the thoro and tlie
partial intcrogation, or intonation, or expresion.

The proper reading of the questions, in the folowing examples,
may ilustrate the meaning of the above named divisions. When
Clarence enters guarded, at the end of the opening soliloquy of
King Richcwd III, Gloster thus adresses himj

Brother, good day ! what means this armed guard
That waits upon your Grace?

Here the interrogative intonation is heard only on the clause,
what means this armed guard ; the rest of the sentence has both
the curent and cadence of the diatonic melody.

When the Queen, in the third scene of the first act, saysj

By Heaven, I will acquaint his Majesty

Of those gross taunts I often have endured :

Gloster retortsj

Threat you me with telling of the King?

This proud and angry question must bear the interogative ex-
presion thruout its current, with the rising interval at the close, or
it will not have the required expresion.

As the characteristic intonation in each of these questions cannot
be interchangeably transfered, and as every question makes a
thoro, or a restricted use of the interogative interval^ it would
seem, there must be some instinctive principles to direct a good
reader, in designating the places and the limits of its aplication.
I propose in the present section to treat of interogative sentences ;
and to set-forth some of the principles that apear to govern their
uses in speech.

. To state and arange clearly, the causes that seem to direct the
Thoro and the Partial ase of interogative expression^ we must
consider both the Gramatical Structure of the question, and the
state of Mind, or the Meaning or Purpose which it conveys.

Sentences are employed interogatively, under five gramatical


First. They are constructed asertively, but are made interoga-
tive by Intonation.

You say, a People is only Sovereign, when freed from
the restraints of Morals and Law ?

Let us call thesej Assertive or Declaratory questions. They
sometimes have an ironical turn, for their intonation ' speaks other-
wise than what the words declare.'

Second. They are formed by reversing the declarator}' position
of the nominative, with regard to the verb and its auxiliary.

Can a Sovereign People exist without Morals and Law?

Let these be called Comon questions.

Third. By joining a pronoun to the comon question.

What Morals and Law can control its Sovereign Will ?

Thesej we call Pronominal.

Fourth. By joining an adverb to the comon question.

Where shall this question be determined?

Thesej Adverbial.

Fifth. By joining a negative severally to the comon, the pro-
nominal, and the adverbial.

Have not the United States of America begun the experiment?

Thesej Negative questions.

Of the Purpose or Meaning, conveyed in a question, we make
also five divisions, which will be ilustrated as we procede.

First. A question may be made with an uncertainty, or with an
entire ignorance in the interogator on the subject of the question.
This is a question of Ileal Inquiry.

Second. The interogator may from colateral circumstances, either
intimated or declared, liave some knowledge, or a reservation of
belief, on what is vcrbaly the point of the question. Call this a


question of Asumcd Belief. Both these quastions may be nuide
in either the second, third, or fourth gramatical forms.

Third. But a question with the negative construction, is made
as a demand for an acording answer; and when furnished with
colateral grounds of belief, is sometimes put with the confidence
of a triumphant asertion. We may call this the Triumphant
Inquiry, or Belief.

Fourth. Questions may be adresed with various degrees of
Force ; of which Ave make three kindsj the moderate, the earnest,
and the vehement : but as curious, and wayward ignorance is
always subject to the excited sway of self-willj questions may
embrace surprise, anger, scorn, contempt, with every kind and
degree of passion.

Fifth. In concction with claims to truth and justice, a question
is sometimes an apcal to the candor of an oponent, or to the favor
of an audience. This is an Apcal ing question. To it may be
adetl the Argumentative or Conclusive, the Exclamatory, and the
Imperative. As these require a downward intonation, they will be
aranged and described under a future section, on Exclamatory

Questions vary in extent, from the ftdnes of the comon sentence,
to the eliptical bi'evity of a monosylabic word ; as shown in the
last section on the interogative use of even the afirmative, yes. A.
similar question may be made of no : for notwithstanding this
declaratory negative is in verbal meaning, always the same, yet the
rising intonation, by changing that negative to a question, over-
rules its meaning or throws it into doubt.

Upon the subject of Thoro, and Partial intonation, in the vari-
ous Gramatical forms of questions and their meanings, above
mentioned, I here ofer some general rules ; or furnish aproxima-
tions towards them, for the asistance of future research.

It may be laid down as a rule, almost without exception, that
where an interogative sentence has the Asertive construction, it
requires the Thoro expresion. In adition to an example of this
case given in a preceding page, let us take an instance from Corio-
lanus, where the same words are used a.s a declarator}'^, and as an


interogative phrase. In the fifth scene of the fourth act, the
servant of, Aufidius says to Coriolanusj

Where d we] est thou ?
Cor. Under the canopy.
Ser. Under the canopy 2
Cor. Ay.

Ser. Where's that?
Cor. In the city of kites and crows.
Ser. hi the city of kites and crows f

The replications here set in italics should be read with an in-
terogative interval on every sylable ; and the cause seems to be
this. All asertive sentences when put as questions are eliptical ;
since they imply and should properly include some gramatical
phrase of interogation. For the sjx^aker here means, either with
inquisitive doubt as to the wordsj did you say, under the canopy ?
or with real inquiry as to the placej where is, under the canopy ?
And so of the other instance. But the gramatical phrase of the
question being omited, it is necesary to suply the defect of the
elipsis, by the use of a thoro interogative interval. If the interval
Ls aplied exclusively to one word or sylable except the last, it con-
stitutes only a declaration, ^vith an intonated emphasis on the word
so marked. When set on many sylables, or on all except one, it
does produce a degree of interogative expresion, yet quite unsatis-
factory to the demands of the mind, and of the ear. Should the
interogative interval be on the last, with the other words in the
diatonic melody, the intonation will fall short of the meaning of
the plirase, if it would not realy misrepresent it ; as the unexpected
rise at the close, instead of the consistent termination by the dia-
tonic cadence, would produce an anomaly of uterance irreducible,
by me at least, to any definite character of expresion.

A declarative question is then an eliptical sentence, from which
the gramatical phrase having been omited, the question must be
signified by an interogative intonation on everj' word. There is
however, a kind of asertive sentence, which afirms by the word,
yet questions with such a slight insinnation of doubt, that it calls
for only the partial intonation ; as in the folowing of llandet to
the Player :


You could, for a need, study a speech of some dozen or
sixteen lines, which I would set down and insert in't?

Here the words are declaratory ; and even affirm the power of
the subject; yet with motlerately rising intervals on only the
}), you could for a need; its declaratory meaning is overruled,
and the rest of the sentence, tho properly diatonic, takes the inter-
ogative character from this partial intonation. Such cases deserve
a name for themselves, and are not to be clased with declarative
questions, which are purely thoro interogatives.

In a sentence constructed by the nominative placed after the
verb, or between the verb and auxiliary, forming what we call a
Comon questionj either the Partial or the Thoro interogative is
employed. I need not ilustrate the varieties of this case; the
Reiider can readily recur to examples under it, in which the into-
nation must be determined by the meaning and force of the ques-
tion, and by the sentence, whether short and simple, or cxtended.
and complex.

A sentence constructed with the interogative pronouns or ad-
verbs, constituting what we call Pronominal and Adverbial ques-
tionsj and embracing none of those conditions which require the-
Thoro expresion, comonly apears under the Partial form ;, as in
the folowing examples :

Who huth descried the number of the traitors?
How camo these things to pass?
What sum owes he the Jew ?

These lines do not severaly require a thoro expresion ; for iha-
question is here suficiently marked, when the interogative interval
is aplicd on portions only of the sentence, particularly on its em-
phatic words. The ground of the partial aplication may be this..
In adverbial and pronominal constructions, there is no question
about the existence or tlie agency of the subject of inquiry ; and
its part in the sentence does not call for an interogative expresion.
The uncertainty is in the relation of that existence, to iwi-son,.
time, place, maner, number, and degree; and on the^c only, the
interogative inter\^al8 are required. In the first example the ex-
istence of the traitors is admited ; the question refering only to


their number, and to the person wlio had seen them. In the
second, the existence of the things, and their agency in the event,
is admited ; the question beingj in what maner, or how they came
to pass. The third admits the debt ; and questions only its
amount. Some of the exceptions to the generality of this rule
will be mentioned, in speaking of the varj-ing state of mind or
purpose in an interogative phrase, and of its final emphatic

Comon, pronominal, and adverbial questions are made directly
to the point of inquiry, or indirectly by a negative, to its oposite;
as in the folowing comon questionj Will he — come ? And in the
negativej Will he — not come ? The dash being merely to mark
the diference to the eye. Here the first question is directly to the
point of his coming. The second is indirect, or to the point of
his not coming. The condition is therefore not the same in the
two cases. One is a real inquiry, made in ignorance whether or
not, he will come ; and without hope or fear that he may. The
other is prompted by the asumed hope, that he ivill come ; and
thereupon, anxiously regarding, and fearing the negative side of
the condition only, asks, if this negative is the fact. Is it — that
he will not come? or by elipsis, and by transposition, W^ill he —
not come ?

If Ave take adverbial and pronominal questions^ the principle of
an asumed belief, under their negative form, will be perhaps more
aparent. What did he — not dare ? How did he — not deceve ?
Who is — not covetous? These cases clearly indicate on the part
of the interogator, the belief that the subjects of the first two did
severaly dare, and deceve in all things ; and in the last, that all
men are covetous. Should these questions be made directly to
their interogative pointsj What did he dare ? their several real in-
quiries would call for a thoro interrogation ; but ;\s negatives, and
made indirectly to these points, they may take the partial exprcsion,
or even the downward interval and the direct wave.

A Negative question has the Thoro or the Partial intonation,
acording to its meaning and force; and it will be presently shown j
the negative question sometimes caries the asumed belief to that
positive degree which requires the downward intonation.

When a sentence, besides the Point of the question, has aditional


members or clauses which contain an adres, or asertions, or exple-
tives, or reference to causes^ tlie expresion asumes the partial fonn ;
as m the folowing instances

Of address :

ir/iy icith &ome little train, my lord of Buckingham?

Of asertion:

Why did you laugh then, when I said, Man delights not me?
Of expletive:

Of cause :

WhaVs Jlcciiba to him, or he to Hecuba,
That he should weep for her ?

What of his heart perceve you in his face.
By any likelihood he show'd to day?

Tlie effect of the rule seems to be, that the aditional clauses
modify the leading point of the question, yet do not, in their sep-
arable membersliip, include an interogation ; which the portion
of the sentence marked in italics, and here caled the point of the
question, does gramatically convey.

When questions of a moderate degree are conected by conjunc-
tions, or folow in series, without this conectionj it is not necesary
each question should severaly have the extent of interogative
expresion, required in its solitary use.

Give me thy hand. Thus high,, by thy advice,
And thy asistance, is king Richard seated :
But shall we wfear these glories for a day?
Or shall they last, and we rejoice in them?

Are you call'd forth from out a world of men,
To slay the inocent? What is my ofence?
Where is the evidence that doth acuse me?
What lawful qu(!st have given their verdict up
Unto the frowning judge? or who pronounced
The biter sentence of poor Clarence's death?

Should this rule not be contravened by conditions requiring the
thoro expresionj the question in such instances as the above, is
sometimes suficiently marked, if each of the several members of

254 ' '' THE INTOXATION ''^


tlie series has an interogative interval only on a single word ; and
this reduces the case, in point of expresion, to an ordinary sentence,
having an emphatic word, so marked by the given interval. Per-
haps the ground of the rule is, that the mind or ear of the auditor
being, so to speak, in the humor of the question, the interogation
is suficiently indicated by the gramatical structure.

With regard to the State of mind, Meaning, or Pui"pose con-
veyed by a question, some notable circumstances govern the use of

If a question is prompted by the ignorance or uncertainty of
the speaker, and contains a Real inquiry, it generaly calls for the
thoro expresion ; Avhich must consequently in many instances,
overrule the partial intonation otherwise apropriate to pronominal,
adverbial, and comon questions; to questions in conjunction, and
in series ; and should they embrace surprise, even to those of nega-
tive construction ; as in the folowing examples, where the lines in
italics, including questions of real inquiryj the last being prompted
by surprisej call for the thoro interogative.

Hamlet. Dost thou hear me, old friend ?

Can you play the murder of Gonzago ?

Hamlet. Have you a daughter 7
Polonius. I have, my lord.

Prospero. Thy father was the Duke of Milan, and
A Prince of power.
• Miranda. Sir, are not you my father?

Altho in the stated form of this rule, only a general efect is
ascribal to it, yet when the question has much earnestnes, its
bearing is almost without exception.

Those questions, in which the interogator intimates s;ome knowl-
edge on the subject of his inquiry, and whicli were termed ques-
tions of asumed belief, take, acording to the degree of force, either
the partial or the thoro intonation. Under this head, even some
declarative questions contain so much of an absolute ascrtion, that
they recpiirc the slightest degree of interogiitivo expresion ; as in
the folowing, of Handct to Polonius :

My lord, you play'd once in the University, you say ?


As there is some doubt in this sentence, it is properly marked

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 23 of 59)