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 31 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 31 of 59)
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rising and the faling discrete fifth above mentioned, it will, with a
final raj)id vanish of the third, form such a wave. This discrete
intonation by a wider interval, comes much nearer to the expresion


of contempt, designed by the exultation of Satan, than can posibly
be reached on the triad of the cadence, to which the voice is prone,
in this case, from the short time of the syhibles, and their position
at the close of a sentence.

Another example, given in the eleventh section, may still fur-
ther ilustnite this design to convey by radical changes, in a modi-
fied degree, the expresion of a wave of equal intervals, when a
limited sylabic time, renders its continuous or concrete movement

Faithful to whom, To thy rebelious crew?
Army of Fiends, jit body to Jit head.

The words here marked in italics, convey ironical admiration,
contempt, and scorn, and not alowing the concrete movement,
may be intonated by an alternate skip of radical pitch thru the
rise and fall of a fifth. With /?/ on the line of the curent melody,
take bod, by radical skip, a fifth above ^f; y again at the curent
line, a fifth below bod ; to, also on the curent line ; jit a fifth above
this last ; and finaly head a fifth below, at the curent line : observ-
ing, that with the radical skips, there is still a feeble and rapid
do\vaiward concrete of the same interval, on all the sylables. I
offer in the foloM'ing diagram, two notations; one, of what we
called a discrete imitation of the concrete wave proposed for the
Poet's phrase ; another, with the same number of words taken, as
well as I could compose them, to represent something like the char-
acter of his short-timed phraseology ; and with suficient quantity
to bear the concrete, and the wave.

Fit bod — y to fit head. Well paired with all thy sins!


—^^^ \ mm^ L_A L

The First of these notations is described above : tho here the
rapid downward concrete of the third is, by a mistiike, put for the
fifth. In the Second, the word well has the inverted wave of the
fifth, with its rising constituent, expresive of a sert of admiration,
ironical it must be, at Satan's preposterous claims to an honorable


faithfulnes. I say nothing of a slight tremor on this rising con-
stituent, to show tlie exulting scorn of Gabriel j nor of any form
or degree of vocality and stres, for the impresive display of the
whole phrase. After the lighter sneer has been intimated, the
rest of the words convey a positive asurance on the part of the
speaker, of the truth of the contemjjtuous comparison, and should
therefore have the conclusive intonation of the downward inter-
vals. Paired has the faling fifth ; loith, the feeble and faling
rapid concrete of a third, on the line of the curent melody ; all, a
positive downward fifth, from the hight of that interval above the
curent ; thy, a direct unequal wave of the second and third ; and
sins, a feeble cadence to close the phrase. There is in all this, but
the plain inteligible up and down of the voice without asistance
from any ocult quality, emanating from that 'soul' of the Elocu-
tionist, which has never yet been seen, scented, touched, tasted
nor heard. In the first of these ways only, by marking the ex-
tremes of those intervals, which, upon extended sylabic quantity
would be given as a wave, can that open eye of wonder, and snarl-
ing of scorn, be substitutively executed. Yet even with every
asistance from the radical skip, a reader, if he poseses the power
of an educated elocution, must still find it vexatiously restrained
within these words.

We have had ocasion to aply the term sim])le to the unflexed
concrete, to distinguish it from the wave. The above mode of
intonation on imutable sylables is an example of what we calcd a
discrete com])ared with a concrete wave.

It has been shown, that in the purposes of speech, two forms
of the simple concrete, the slow and the rapid, are respectively
required for long and short quantities. It was early a question
with me, whether a rapid movement, thru the 7cave, is perceptible
on an imutable sylable. Time and motion together with mater,
are the great agents, in perpetual creation ; and in their labors,
strive at the greatest and the least ; but are still respectively as
untraceable in their minutenes, as ilimitable in their broad e>vten-
sion. There is then nothing inconsistent with their functions, in
suposing that an instantaneous and jierfoct movement of the wave,
may be executed on the shortest sylabic quantity. Yet to me it is
not obvious: and tho I would not, with the scholastic axiom, say;


there is no difference between the imperceptible, and tlie ' non-
existent;' still, by inference, the wave that cannot be heard,
must be useles in speech. I leave the question therefore, not for
the endles disputes, but for the observation, and for the determinate
Christian 'yea or nay' of others.

Let me here recall the atention of the Reader to the subject
of sylabication. It was shown, that the construction of sylables
is governed by the radical and vanishing movement; that the
course of sylabic sound is limited by the extent of the upward
and downward concrete; and further stated that the prolonged and
perfect sylable is practicable upon another form of pitch. AVe
are now prepared to hear that the unbroken curent of tiie s]>eak-
ing voice, may be carried through the contrary flexures of the
wave, on tonic and subtonic elements, without destroying that
singlenes of impresion which forms one of the characteristics of
a sylable.

This may be briefly explained by what was said on the subject
of the alphabetic elements. The wave is a continuous sound, and
consequently afords no oportunity in its course, for the outset of a
new radical, which, with its folowing vanish would produce another
sylable. And it was shown that an interuption of the concrete,
whether made designedly by pause, or necesarily by the ocurence
of an abrupt or an atonic element, is unavoidably the end of one
sylable, and the preface to the begining of another.

After the preceding description, of the individual functions of
the speaking voice, we may take a more comprehensive view of
the subject, by RecajMtulating the acount of these functions, in the
conected curent of discourse ; and thereby show them in the joined
relations of synthesis, as they have been shown, in the separate
individuality of decomposition.

We speak with two purposes. First, to comunicate thots, apart
from pasion. And Second, to expres thot with pasion. Acording
to that diference, the voice should have a diferent set of signs, for
each of these purposes : and this, upon inquiry, is found to be the


case. As it is dificult, if not imposible, to draw a strictly dividing
line between simple thots, and what are caled pasions ; so the vocal
signs, severaly representing them, cannot be clearly divided, in
arangement. I have however, in previous parts of this essay,
marked out a practical distinction, founded on the more obvious
diference of the cases. For the plain narative of unexcited thot,
we employ the Diatonic melody.

This melody consists of the simple concrete rise of a second or
tone, varied by the simple downward concrete of the same interval ;
of a radical pitch changing by its several diatonic phrases; with
an ocasional emphasis of force or abruptnes, as the meaning may
require; and a termination of the melody by the descent of the
cadence. The grace and refinement of speech in this case are
largely dependent on that equable-concrete structure of the radical
and vanish, which displays a full and well-marked opening of the
concrete, and a gradual diminution of its force. These are the
constituents employed, witli their arangement, for narative, and
plain description : and generaly, if such subjects, as the definitions
of astronomy, title-deeds of property, and gazete advertisements,
are not read for the most part, in this thotive style of intonation,
the efect will be unsuitable to their pasionles meaning.

In the above described condition, or first form of the diatonic
melody, the movement is suposed to be with a triping step and a
short quantity. If however, the state of mind should be more
serious and composed^ an increase of quantity in the acented
sylables, together with a general slownes of uterance Avill be
asumed : the concrete still continuing in its simple rise or fall :
constituting another condition of the melody, tho still purely
thotive or diatonic.

Should this deliberate state be further raised into solemn dignity,
the melody will asume, on extendible and emphatic words, the use
of the direct and inverted wave of tho second, together with an
ocasional rising or faling third or fiftii or their waves, and some
moderately cxpresive form of the other modes. Here then, the
thotive and the pasionative characters meet, and jiroducc the rev-
crcntivo or admirative style. Much of the Church-service should
have this })lain and yet remarkable intonation. It conveys in full
the mcntid state of august composure, solemnity and veneration.


A proi^cr management of the contrary courses of its waves, to-
gether with an ocasional radical skip, of a third or fifth on imut-
able sylables, gives suficient variety to the melody ; while it avoids
tlie unusual force of more impresive intervals, that would overrule
the self-posesed composure and grave simplicity of this unobtrusive
uteranco. This form of melody includes the means for ])roducing
that graceful dignity of voice, which is in vain ateniptcd by the
loud-mouthed breadth of ohs and aws ; with strong percussive
accents and long pausesj the waves of wider intervalsj and that
hearties afectiition which pases without motive or rule, in unex-
pecteasionative style. Let
the pupil then imitate these so widely diferent styles of speech,
until they become familiar to his ear, and under the discriminative
comand of his voice ; and with a knowledge of the intervals of the
scale, he will perceve, that the narative, thotive, and dignified uter-
ance, consists of the simple rise or fall of the second, on the shortj
and of the waves of the second, on the longer sylablos. When he
is familiar with the audible efect of this plain diatonic melody, he
will begin to recognize the state of mind that atends it : and then
the whole dificulty of discrimination will be overcome : for there
is as clearly a perception of this thotive state of mind, as there is a
perception of the state of pnsion. When the natural connection
of mind with vocal sign is not overruled by false expresion, this
plain thotive stiite will call up the plain diatonic melody, as an
excited state of mind will call uj) the pasionative stylo. With
atention to this natural law, there will bo a roadinos in executing
the plain, distinguished from an ex])resivo intonation, without a
confusion of their res})ectivc purposes, as wo, in tho great
majority of readers. If I may state my own case, I do not, on


an ocasion for using the j)laiii melody, direct inyatcntion especialy
to each of the rising and faling .seconds, and the waves that con-
stitute it : but having previously learned the detail of sounds, and
the states of mind, on which the distinction of style is founded, I
bring up, or afect, or find-myself-in, the thotive state ; and from
the instinctive operation of mind on speech, I do not, or cannot
without violence to my natural or acquired Elocution, speak in
any other way.

There is one ex})resive interval of the scaler the Semitone, some-
times employed on single words, and expresing complaint, pity,
tenderncs, or supplication ; but more generaly on phrases, and
sentences, and thruout discoui'sc. This we caled the Chromatic
melody ; and like the two varieties of the Diatonic, its curent is
either in the rise or fall of tlie simple interval, for deliberate grief;
or, for strong expresion in the equal wave of the semitone, under
its direct and inverted, its single and its double forms. Some parts
of the Church-service, containing words of complaint, penitence
and suplication, call for this dignified wave of the chromatic
melody. From the marked expresion of the semitone, its melody
never has the plainly Thotive condition. It is always either
reverentive or Pasionative.

Other constituents contribute to the means of corect, elegant,
and expresive si)eech. These were considered under the terms,
vocality ; Variations of radical j)itch on its diferent melodial
phrases; Pauses, with the proper intonation to be used at them;
and Grouping, or the means of impresing on an auditor, more
definitely, the syntactic relation of words and phrases, by means
of pause, emphasis, and the varieties of time and force.

This sumary includes the constituents so far enumerated, which
enter into the eomj)osition of melody. Some important functions,
yet to be described, will furnish us with other expresive signs.



OJ the Intonation of Exdamaiory Sentences.

The downward concretes, and the wave, are variously expresive
of surprise and admiration ; and as these, with like states of mind,
are represented by what is called Exclamation, I shall point out
some of the principles that seem to govern the use of these inter-
vals, in Exclamatory sentences.

Beyond a general admision of the existence, and of the expresion
of the 'tones of the voice,' or what we call Intonation in the Art
of Speakings this important function has, strangely, receved no
further notice of its forms and uses, than that vaguely signified by
the comon ' notes ' of Interogation, and Admiration. But as these
notes imply only some undescribed peculiarity of voice, without
being employed acording to system or rule, they can be consid-
ered as no more than gramatical symbols to the eye. The indefi-
nite state of knowledge on the intonation of these forms of speech,
has been further confused by the vague uses of their symbols. For
the note of interogation is often aplied to what are realy interject-
ive, or argumentative apeals ; and what, by the light of inquiry,
may be shown to be strictly exclamatory.

The subjects of Interogative and of Exclamatory sentences are
so intermingled in their gramatical structure, meaning, and into-
nation, that it requires a comparative view of their several con-
ditions to comprehend their relationships to each other. Prefatory
therefore, to a description of Exclamatory sentences, I here give
a sumary of what has been stated on the divisions, purposes, and
forms of interogation.

In the seventeenth section, we learned that even in the ques-
tions there exemplified, the downward intervals with the. direct
and inverted waves are oeasionaly employed for their expresion.
Had the Reader been prepared, by previous description of the
character of these forms of pitch, it would there have been more
particularly stated that some questions with the gramatical form,
are made altogether by these downward movements. He may



therefore now be told, after Mhat has been said of the positive
expresion of tlic faling intervals, that Avhenever a question gram-
atiraly constructetl, employs only the simple downward movement,
or the direct wave, the interogative character is lost in that of the
positive state of mind, which requires these adopted intervals.

Interogations which employ, e.rch(sivelj/, the downward inter-
vals and the direct wave, are in their meaning, what we caledj
Questions of Asumed Belief; and are severaly: Apealing, Argu-
mentative or Conclusive; and Exclamatory; to which may be
aded, as bearing the same intonation, the Imperative question.

In all these cases, except the imperative, there is a certain
belief in the interogator, of an expected acquiescence on the point
of inquiry'; and his perception of this belief is founded on the facts,
and influences, embraced within his meaning, which are to be
gathered from his maner, or discourse ; constituting what we caled
the Colateral grounds of indication in a question.

In the want, at this time, of a discriminating nomenclature, we
are obliged to take the term, Question of belief, with a latitude
of meaning, between a simple intimation by the inquirer, of his
knowledge upon the subject of the question j and his full asurance
that the answer must acord with the hopes and expectations which
prompted the question. For we learned in the seventeenth section,
that the negative form varies in its asumed belief, from the slight-
est degree, to the fulnes of a triumphant inquiry : and employs,
acording to that degree, the various means of a partial interogativej
in a wider downward interval, and a wider direct wave. The
questions reserved for this section, imply their belief, to a degree
that calls universaly, for a thoru and positive downward intonation.

I have therefore included the four above name

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 31 of 59)