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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 30 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 30 of 59)
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val and wave, mintjling as if they had been given us, only to run up and
down the voice, and tumble over sylables, without a steady regard to thOt or
expresion. Such outrages always raise their contrasts; and we close our ears
upon the nuisance, to supose the lines, utercd in a full orotund, with a well
adjusted intonation of the diatonic melody, by a Garrick or a Booth. It may
perhaps be too ludicrous an ilustration, even for a Note: but just think of
that reverentive Anthem; ' Before Jehovah's Awful Throne,' sung by u
single Soprano, with the acomj)animcnt of a fife and a violin !



322



THE EQUAL WAVE OF THE SECOND.



I have refered to the necesary use of the rapid concrete, on short
and unacented sylables, in the diatonic melody ; and in tlie admi-
rative here ikistrated ; when this style is designed to be impres-
ively deliberate, there may be a slight extension in the time of the
rapid concrete. If cautiously guarded against drawling on imu-
table sylables, it softens the contrast between the slow and the
rapid quantities, gives a varied unity to the vocal curent, and
smoothly extends and leads the concrete towards the wave. . And
this under the impresive subsonorous fulnes of the orotund, will
at some after time, give to the then instructed Speaker himself,
and his enlightened audience, that inteligent satisfaction, which
must surely flow from the analytic and esthetic principles of an
exalted style of epic, dramatic, and not merely a church, but a
God-with-Nature adoring elocution.

I am left so alone with my subject, that it is social even to feign
a companion. I therefore supose the Reader may with me, recolect,
that the imediate sucesion of the rising and the faling ditone, forms
what was caled the phrase of Alternation. When this is employed
in a curent melody, the constant variation of the radical pitch, to-
gether with a short sylabic time, and a use of the simple concrete,
broadly distinguishes its efect, from that of a long quantity and
the monotone, in the preceding example. The folowing notation
of the description of Abdiel's encounter with Satan, in Milton's
sixth book, will ilustrate the character, we must not call it the
expresion of the alternate melodial phrase.



So



7 — ing, & no ble stroke he lift — ed high,



44-^^4-



Which hung not, but so swift with tern pest fell



Y~trf~*~Vir^



THE EQUAL WAVE OF THE SECOND. 323.

On the proud crest of ISa tun, that no sight,



gr^^-giz-v-jL , 4 ^i



^



Nor mo tion of swift th6t, less could his shield,

4-^ _



a3ZI'Z*I'Z533:



Such ru in in tor ccpt.



4-4^



On f'om])aring this with the preceding diagram, we find a pre-
dominance of monotones, in tlie former, and of the alternation in
the later ; the line of the monotone in the former, being broken
by an ociisional ditone ; and the alternation in the later by an oca-
sional monotone. In the example before us the active character
of the description asuraes a varying radical pitch, suitable to the
vigorous ])liraseology of the Poet. Consistently, as it seems to
me, with the language, and with the rapid energy of the scene, I
liave set the wider interval of the third, only on four sylables ; and
the wave of the second, on four : nor should these intonations have
more than a limited quantity. The Fourth or Feeble form of the
cadence is set on the last sylable of saying : the phrase, as the
sequel to an antecedent declaration, being slightly terminative.
All the rest of the intervals are simple rising and faling rapid
concretes, and are well acomodated to the drift of the descrip-
tion. The ciirnest purpose of the action does not alow a full and

* The three early editions of ' The Philosophy of the Human Voice ' have
the epithet quick, instead of swift tlwt. How this oversight occurred I cannot
tellj yet it was not until preparing the fourth, and coni])aring our examples
with the originals, that the error was discovered. For my own reading, I
might draw a motive, both from intonation and from rhetoric, why I regret
the discovery. But this does not concern the criticism or taste of otiiers.



324 THE EQUAL AVAVE OF THE SECOND.

reposing cadence on intercept. I have therefore used a tripartite
form, and given the first two constituents, rising concretes. There
is a wider range of pitch in the melody ; for tho the radicals are
still proximate in their sucessions, their course embraces a greater
extent on the staff, and produces a lively contrast with each
other. All these conditions give to the lines before us, a character
very diferent from that of the former example. A prevalence of
the monotone here, might perhaps represent the dignified courage,
and calm security of an agressor confident of suces ; but it would
be misaplied and faded coloring, for the fictional picture of huried
watchfulnes and dreadful expectation, which the description of
this descending impetus is calculated to excite. It is true, the
above lines are only descriptive of a super-human action. But it
seems to be a rule of sympathy in such cases, that he who de-
scribes, should himself, in his verbal picture of the scene, take-on
to a degree, the state of mind, which he aims to excite in others.

The former of the above ilustrations, is purely in the diatonic
melody : and tho the later is strictly descriptive, still its character
either calls for, or admits the rising and faling thirds asigned to it ;
at the same time it afords an example of the use of wider inter-
vals in the diatonic current. Others may tliinkj still wider into-
nations might be employed. Let it be as they wish. I here propose
to set-forth the principles of an art, not to prevent the free-choice
of Taste in the thotful aplication of them. In any case however,
a diference of opinion on the last example may serve to show how
dificult it is, nicely to divide the expresive, from the non-expresive
in speech.

What is here said of the use of the direct wave of the second,
in ading dignity, reverence, and solemnity to a diatonic melody, is
also true of its inverted form.

I am not awarej the double-equal wave of the second has a
character diferent from that of its single form, except what may
arise from extending the quantity of sylables. An unusual pro-
longation of quantity in the diatonic melody, instinctively produces
the double wave ; for the voice may take this serpentine course,
thru the second, without producing any unj)leasant snarl, similar
to the efect of the double wave on some of the wider intervals.

There is what we called a Continued wave, or a progres of the



!



THE EQUAL WAVE OF THE SECOND. 325

line of contrary flexures beyond the term of three constituents.
It is only on the time of an equal wave of the second in a diatonic
mclodv, and of a semitone in the cliromaticj this continued exten-
sion, if at all, is alowable. Should some extraordinary state of
reverence or other solemnity require an unusualy long quantity ;
and should the time of an indefinite sylable not be exhausted, when
the voice has pasod over the three constituents of the double wavej
it must if still continued, necesarily be caried-on either in the note
of song, or in further flexures of the wave. AVhen it takes the
course of the flexures, the bad efect of the former case will be
avoided ; nor will this multiplied repetition of the rise and fall,
by this small interval of a tone, produce any positive or unpleasant
impresion.*

I have ascribed an importance to the subject of this section,
because it is the foundation of a very general principle in elocution.
The Reader will now perhaps admit the propriety of our distinc-
tion l)ctwecn the efect of a narrative melody formed by a varied
rise and fall of the voice thru the interval of a tonej and that
})roduced by the ocasional introduction of other and wider inter-
vals, constituting what was distinctly caled Expresion. Very few
speakers are able to execute this plain melody, in the beautiful
simjjlicity of its diatonic construction. Some constantly execute
their current, in the simple rise of a third, a fifth, or a semitone,
or give every emphatic sylable in an impresive form of their
waves. Perhaps these faults proceei


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The curent of this notation is diatonic, except, aZ?, which has
the unequal-direct wave of the second and third, or it might be
the fifth. It is seen that some of the short and unacented sylables
have a moderate length of wave ; giving to the whole, the fulest
degree of dignified prolongation : in this extension, however, the
Reader must use his taste and discretion, to prevent awkwardnes
or afcctation. Of the two sentences, the feeble cadence is set at
the first, and the Full, closes the last.

Xo one without inquiry on this subject, can be aware of the un-
pretending yet dignified force, the diversified sucesion, and severe
simplicity of the diatonic melody, when conducted on the principles
of the radical change, formerly laid



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 30 of 59)