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 25 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 25 of 59)
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once, answer this question, we must supose it is to show, the ques-
tion is not adressed to any one, but to all. Consequently, the in-
terogative expresion should be thrown over the Avhole sentence,
with a slight emphasis on, to night; the time being the unknown ;
as liolding the watch, and the sentinels to be set, are the given
quantities, so to speak, in the mind of Hamlet.

All. We do, my lord.
Nam. Arm'd, shv you?

This is not strictly, a question of real inquiry. For Horatio
having formerly described the king, ' arm'd at point, exactly, cap-
i-pe,' Hamlet is aware of his having so apeared. Still, in cases
where the mind is unprepared for a new impresion, and hardly
receves itj Hamlet recurs, by the phrasej say you, to the former
report by Horatio, and asks for a confirmation of it. This, from
the colateral inference, being then a question of belief, might seem
to call for the partial intonation. Yet as the thot comes back to
Hamlet, with some surprise ; as an earnestnes is implied in the
desire to have the former statement repeated ; and as the question
consists of only three words, and those, important to the point,
each should receve the interogative expresion.

Ilor. Arm'd, my lord.
Ham. From top to toe?

This is a declaratory question, and requires the thoro interoga-

Hor. My lord, from head to foot.
Ham,. Then saw you not his face?

This is a negative question, with its lusumed degree of belief;
yet as its temper is earnest; as the last word is emphatic, and


requires an interogative interv^al, the whole question calls for the
thoro expresion.

Hor. ' O, yes, my lord ; he wore his beaver up.
Ham. "What! Look'd he frowningly ?

I cannot at once determine for myself, the grama tical character
of the first word of this question : tho inclined to take it for an
exclamation, rather than an interogative. In each case it must be
considered an elijjsis ; in the former, perhaps for ichat a wonder ;
in the latter for what was his apearance f As a pronominal
interogaiory, it requires a wide rising interval ; and the folowing
phrase, looked he frowningly , being a question of real inquiry, with
the thoro expresion, we have unecesarily, and with seeming levity
of voice, two consecutive interogations. In the other case, taking
the pronoun as an eliptical exclamation, with a do\vnward fifth or
octave, and a subsequent pause, the gravity of this interval would
contrast agreeably with the thoro rising interogation, and give
greater dignity to the whole expresion.

Hor, A countenance more in sorrow than in anger.
Ham. Pale, or red ?

This is a declaratory eliptical question, and slionld receve a
thoro interogative. But j)ei'haps we may find an overruling
cause why it should take the partial. These words make an em-
phatic contradistinction ; and as that distinction must be denoted
by the voice, we would give to pale, a rising interogative; and to
red, a downward positive intonation. Were the quantity of this
last word greater, it might rccevc, with more j^ropricty, the direct
wave ; its first or rising interval, moderating by its interogative
efect, the positivenes of its downward termination. Yet even
with the single intervals above proposed, the question is marked,
and tlie w.ords are contradistinguislied, by an emphatic and varied
intonation. This example forms one of the exceptions to the very
general rule, tliat declarative questions should receve the thoro
interogative expresion. Yet it is to be remarked in tliis case; the
doubting disjun(!tive or, overrules, in a degree, its declaratory


Hot. Nay, very pale.

Ham. And fixed his eyes on you ?

This, if a question, is a declarative one ; and requires the inter-
oo:ative intervals throuout. There seems nevertheles, to l)e an in-
dication of belief in this sentence, which should make it an atirma-
tive remark, requiring a downward intonation. If so, perhaps
the question, as noted by the editor, is anuled, upon this colateral
inferencej that a ghost apearing to a person, would very probably
fix his eyes on him.

Hor. Most constantly.

Ham. I would I had been there.

Hor. It would have much amazed you.

//¬Ђm. Very like, very like. Staid it long?

The last three words, are here the question ; and containing a
real inquiiy, call for the thoro expresion.

Hor. While one with moderate haste might tell a hundred.

Mar. Ber. Longer, longer.

Hor. Not w^hen I saw it.

Ham. His beard was grizl'd ? No?

Hor. It was, as I have seen it in his life, a sable silvered.

There seems to be some dificulty in this last question. If the
phraseology were completed thus : His beard was grizl'd, was it
not? the case would be quite clear. For, taking the first phrase
under this form, as a declaratory question, it would receve a thoro
interogative intonation : the second, being a "proper gramatical
question, with its rising intervals, and folowing the first, would
have the propriety and force of an emphatic repetition of the
question, under a negative and apealing form. But when, as in
the dialogue, the construction of the last phrase is reduced by
elipsis, to the mono.sylable no, and both the phrases are then
made intonated question.s, it renders in some degree, the elocu-
tion awkward, and the meaning obscure. Every edition of Shak-
spcare I have examined, makes each of these phrases, a separate
interogation. If they are so, the first is a declarative question,
and therefore have the rising interval on eveiy word ; i\o,
being always declarative must have that meaning anuled by its
rising interval. The question having however, been distinctly


expresed by the first phrase, an endeavor to enforce it, nnder this
brief monosylabic construction, would produce only an inefectual
vocal repetition. For a single interogative interval on the word
no, that in meaning and gramar never conveys a doubt, does not
here, give the impresion of the question, which is efected, by a
like interogative intonation, on the above proposed and full gram-
atical question, was it not f If the Reader will give a thoro ex-
j3resion to these two diferent forms of the sentencej His beard was
grizl'd ? no ? and j His beard was grizl'd ? was it not ? he will
perceve in the laterj the inquiry is clearly enforced, by its repeti-
tion under the diferent form of a negative apeal ; in the former,
there is some verbal contrariety and consequently an undetermined
character in the elocution. For in this case it might seem, with-
out due reflection, that Hamlet having first inquired whether the
beard was grizled, imediately ansAvers his own question, by a dec-
laration that it was not. But taking this single word acording to
the text, as a question, even a wide interogative interval on no, has
not the power to destroy entirely, the usual and strongly declara-
tive meaning of this negative monosylable. And this produces,
a confusion, which the full gramatical question^ was it not, would
entirely obviate.

There is another view to be taken of this example ; for Elocu-
tion is a curent of divided, and sometimes diverging streams.
The phrase. His beard was grizl'd, may be taken as a positive
afirmation by Hamlet, from a full recolection of its living color,
and used as aditiojial means of identifying the aparition with his
father. In this case, it should have the downward intonation of
a comon asertion. The phrase being so regarded, Hamlet seems,
for a moment, to question his own conviction ; and thereupon, by
the declaratory question, no, here an elipsis for^ was it not grizl'd ?
asks Horatio, by a rising fifth or octave, on this negative mono-
sylable, if it was not so. My own ear and reflection incline me
to this maner of treating the example. But under ignorance of
the full verbal and mental analysis of the subject, the two parts of
the sentence, being universaly marked as real and separate ques-
tions, I did, on that condition, in the first case, propose for them,
what seemed to me a suitable intonation.

To the scientific and practical Artist-Reader of another age,


skilod in the principles, and if we may so speak, in tlie design,
liulit and shade, color, and perspective, of Elocution, wc may
predict: that without some further discernment, or a change of
language, in ids day, the structure of this sentence will never
alow a quite satisfactory intonation. As however, Hamlet must
speak from recolection, I would propose, acording to the maner
just described, to make the first clause a simple asertion, with a
downward intonation ; and no, with a wide interogative intervaj.
Yet this, from the influence of the usualy unconditional meaning
of no, does not satisfy me ; and perhaps it is only a poor apology
for my own inability, to sayj the sentence, however it might be
vocaly That, should never have been writen, to be read aloud, or
spoken ; and tho awake to a conventional expresion, yet here,
Shakspeare, the Actor, slept.

I have said little on the emphatic words, and other points in
these questions ; and have only ocasionaly noted the extent of the
intervals ; the object being, to describe some of the forms of partial
and thoro interogation, and the general character of their expresion ;
tho it may here be remarked, that nearly all Horatio's answers
should have thruout, the downward interval of a third or fifth,
acording to the degree of expresion required : the intonation
being apropriate to the solemnity of the scene, the confidence of
the answers, and to the seriousnes with which Horatio sympathizes
with the wonder of Hamlet. Add to the propriety of this down-
ward movement, the contrast with the earnestnes of the rising
intervals of Hamlet's comon and declaratory questions. Perhaps
in the last example, the several answers of Horatio and the two
oficers, having taken an argumentative and more familiar turn,
the intonation should be enlivened by a mingling use of proper
rising intervals.

Among the purposes of this Work, the title-page anounces, its
design to render criticism in elocution, inteligible, thru the study,
and j)romulgati()n of its system and princijiles. I have therefore
aimed to show, by the preceding explanatory criticisms, how these
principles may bo aplied ; leaving others, with competent knowl-
edge, and an observant industry to make particular aplications for
themselves. Personal Authority has always laid such a stupefying
weight on the human mindj it is hoped this book may be consulted,


only for those submited principles which observation, experiment,
and well-watched thinking, may hereafter confirm ; and not as
critical opinions intended by the author, only to ilusti*ate his
subject; an ilustration being often, no more than an analogy to
the meaning of a proposition, not an examplary proof of it.

We have another instance of the thoro intonation, produced by
an excited state of mind, in the retort of Cleopatra, to Proculeius,
the friend of Csesar.

Know, sir, that I
Will not wait pinioned at your master's court;
Nor once be chastised with the sober eye
Of dull Octavia. Shall they hoist me up,
And show me to the shouting varletry
Of censuring Rom,e 9 Kather a ditch in ^gypt
Be gentle grave unto me.

The repulsive indignation of this question cannot be fairly rep-
resented, without an earnest degree of interogation. As there
seems however, to be some implied apeal, in the word, shallj it
might be suposed, the question is one for partial intonation. But
under this, or any other exceptive condition, the pasionative state
of mind would overrule it.

Should the last sylable of a question be emphatic, and its into-
nation not directed to tlie partial expresion by the preceding rules,
particularly that, regarding the seriesj the last sylable bears tlie
interogative interval. Should the sentence be short, or consist of
a single member, the expresion will have a thoro aplication. In
the dialogue between the murderers of Clarence, the second speaker
exclaims and asksj

What, shall we stab him as he sleeps?

From the answer of his companion it is plainj the question
points at the act of sleeping, and this protluces an interogative
emphasis on the last word. Had the inquiry been whether the
victim should be stabbed, or otherwise put to dcatli, the word stab
would carry the emphatic intonation, and the sentence might end
with a diatonic cadence.

It will be shown in a future section on Exclamatory sentences,
that a phrase, with the gramatical form of a question, yet having



tlio intorogative purpose overruled hy oolatoral influences, is not
properly cxpresed by rising intervals, but by a contrary movement.

Having brought the subject of thoro and of partial interrogative
intonation, into something like a describable form, I leave the
corection of its erors, and the amplifying of its aproved hints, as
a work for the beter ear, and closer attention of others.

Let as analyze more particularly, the maner of employing the
interogative intervals on individual sylables.

Prefatory' to this investigation, it is necesary to consider the rad-
ical and vanishing movement, when aplied to short and imutiible
sylables. In the second section I described the means by which the
various concretes may be exemplified on long quantities; and there
aserted, that no sylalile however short, can be utercd without pasing
thro the radical and vanish, under some form of intonation. Per-
haps the Reader is now prepared to receve proof, that the concrete
does rapidly pass by wider intervals, even on immutable sylables.

We will suppose, he is familiar with the interogative expresion
of a slow concrete rise by a third, fifth, and octave, on prolonged
sylables. Then let him pronounce the i mutable sylable top, without
meaning or pasion ; and again, as an earnest question. He will
perceve, in the last case, that however quickly utered, it will still
have the peculiar interogative expresion. This interogative ex-
presion, on the slow time of an indefinite sylable, is audibly and
measurably made by the wider interval of the fifth or octave ; and
as there is no other means for producing concretely this interogative
efectj the inference is fair, that the voice in producing that same
efect on a short sylable, must have pa.sed, however rapidly by one
of those wider intervals. For it cannot in this case, procede from
a peculiar voeality ; nor from an impresive degree of force ; and
that it is not produced soley by a radical skip of the sylable to
a high place of pit

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 25 of 59)