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 37 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 37 of 59)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

The Reader must observe, that in asigning the form of stres in
this, and the preceding examples, I have been governed by the
principles of speech, laid down in this volume ; and that I shall
continue to aply them, in ilustrating the other forms of emphasis,
included under this section ; for if these examples are read in any
of those various ways, resulting from vulgar atempts in elocution,
or from scholastic authority^ my meaning will not, in all proba-
bility, be receved. Acording to our rule, the lines above quoted
should have a plain but deeply admirative character, on the long
quantities of its diatonic melody ; giving to the emphatic word the
importance of greater time, cither in the wave of the second, or
third, or even fifth, and smoothly impresing it by the swell of the
median stres. It is not within our present purposej but it might
be aded, that thou should have the wave of the second or third, to
conect it both by quantity and intonation, under the emphatic tie,
with sole ; and that canst should be set at a ditone above thou, to
asist the emphatic tie, in carying on the voice, and with it, the
meaning of the line. The intonation here proposed, may be taken
as an example of the reverentive or admirative style.

Of the Vanishing Emphasis.

This form of stres is characterized by a degree of force, nearly
equal to that of the radical emphasis. Why then arc they dis-
tinguished from each other by name? The radical is apropriate
to imutable sylables ; the vanishing cannot be recognized on tliem,
as it requires some extent of quantity ; and while tlie hasty energy
that prompts it, generaly asigns it to a simple concrete, Avith just
sufi(!ient time for its execution, it is sometimes efectively made on
a prolonged quantity, and on the wave.

In the folowing examples, this inversion of the simple form of


the concrete may be employed for the expresion of angry impa-
tience in one case, and of threatening vengeance in the other.

Oh ye Gods! ye Gods! must I endure all this I

Oh ! that I had him,
With six Aufldiuses, or more, his tribe,
To use my lawful sword.

The words here marked in italics, when pronounced with the
vanishing stres, have that Irish provincialism which characterizes
in a degree, this species of force ; the final abrupt element in these
cases contributing to the efect, by its oclusion.

The vanishing stres is often used for an energetic, a peevish, or
an angry question : in this way, the extent of the interogative
interval, with its emphatic boundary, is more forcibly impressed
on the ear.

A cause of the peculiar expresion of the vanishing emphasis,
may be this. From the ordinary habit of the voice in the simple
concrete, it is dificult to produce a final fulnes and force, with-
out giving rapidity of time to its execution : and this adapts it to
the active state of mind represented by the vanishing stres. But
we leave the remark to the observation and reflection of others.

Of the Compound Emphasis.

A DEGREE of emphatic distinction by force, stronger than that
of the preceding forms, may be aplied to sylables of indefinite
time ; for these, under the direction of a vehement state of mind,
may receve their force from a union of both the radical and
vanishing stress ; as in the following urgent call.

Arm, wariors, arm for fight; the foe at hand,
Whom fled we thot, will save us long pursuit
This day.


The imperative words here marked in italics, may receve this
double form of stres, either on a wide downward interval, or on
an unequal-direct wave, with a wide downward constituent. The
vanishing stres being here, on the subtonic m, requires more efort
to produce its fulnes, than when the final element is abrupt. The
compound stres is however, more particularly apropriate to the
forcible emphasis of an interogation : and I here cite an example,
from the scene of Hamlet's violence towards Laertes, at the grave
of Ophelia.

Dost thou come here to ivhine ?

To outface me by leaping in her grave?

The great earnestnes of these questions, calls for the Thoro
interogative intonation ; and the emphatic importance of the word
whine, requires, or will admit the rising octave with the compound
stres upon it. The radical abruptnes on {, sets-forth the threaten-
ing rage of the Prince ; and the vanishing stres on n, conspicuously
denotes the inquiry, by marking the extent of the interogative

We do not here regard the aspiration, to be joined with the
compound stres, for the .expresion of whatever contempt or scorn,
the question may contain.

It must be confcsed howeverj the discrimination of this species
of emphasis, in the curent of pronunciation, is not so easy, as that
of the preceding. Still it is heard in the voice. Its efect is pecu-
liar ; and by deliberate analysis is clearly resolvable into the double
form of stres.

Of the Emphasis of the Thoro Stres, and the Loud Concrete.

In detailing the asignable forms and degrees of force, those of
the Tlioro stres, and tlie Loud concrete, were described as dilercnt
from the rest, and from each other.

But I am not disposed to insist upon the importance of these
distinctions, for the practical purposes of elocution. They exist


however as forms of stres, and are perhaps used as emphatic signs
of thot or expresion. Yet they are not, either in character or
degree, when employed on short quantities, so distinguishable from
the radical, and the compound stres, and from each other, as to
require special exemplification. The peculiarity of these forms of
stres, is relative to the time of sylables ; for when this is not so
short as to require the radical stres, nor of suficient length to admit
of a prolonged aplication of force, the required distinction may be
efected on such moderate quantities by the loud concrete, or the
thoro stres, as in the marked sylables of the folowing example ;
where the first may receve the former, and the second, the later
species of emphasis.

This knows my Punisher : therefore as far
From g7'aniing he, as I from beg\ng peace.

On this subject, let it be kept in mind, that altho the thoro
stres may be aplied, under the limitation of emphasis, to short,
and ocasionaly to longer quantities ; yet when unusualy extended,
in a curent melody, it has that rustic coarsenes, described in the
thirty-ninth section.

Of the Aspirated Emphasis.

The earnestnes and other expresive efects of aspiration, may be
spread over a whole sentence. The same expresion is sometimes
restricted to a single word ; constituting the aspirated emphasis.
Many words claim this emphasis from the esential energy of their
meaning ; and these, in some cases have the literal symbol of as-
piration, as havoc, horor, huza. A similar remark may be made
on some of the interjections. I need not quote instances of as-
pirated uterance in the exclamations of pasion, and in the pure
breathing of a sigh ; the pages of the drama are full of examples.

In the folowing dialogue from Julius Ccesar, the efect of aspira-
tion in marking an earnest state of mind, is suficiently obvious on
the words ay, and fear, set in italics.


Brtitus. What means this shouting? I do fear the people

Choose Ciesar for their king.
Casshis. Ay, do you fear it ?

Then must I think you would not have it so.

And again, in the Tent scene, the earnest repugnance of Cassius
is manifested by an aspiration on the word chastisement.

Brutus. The name of Cassius honors this coruption,

And chastisement does therefore hide his head.
Cassius. Chastise7nent ?

When aspiration is combined with the vanishing stres on a
simple concrete, or on the various forms of the wave, it conveys
an expresion of sneer, or contempt, or scorn.

Aspiration may be aplied to sylables of every variety of time,
to all forms of force, and all intervals of intonation.

Of the Emphatic Vocule.

When a word emphatic by force, terminates M'ith an abrupt
element, folowed by a pause, tliat slight issue of sound caled the
Vocule, generaly receves a continuation of the force; and this,
by its explosive efort, becomes the sign of pasionative excitement.

On some ocasions, this vocule may be used, with a view to press
into a sylable all the power of emphasis. But it comes so close to
afectation, that I hesitated about its clasification, as a fault, or as
an asistant enforcement of speech.

I will not say absolutely, it should be forcibly employed in the
folowing linej from the close of the third scene, in the third act
of Othello : but when the Avord hate, is jironouneed with the stres
required by the pasionative state of the Moor, the emphatic vocide
almost necesarily bursts from the t, in the organic opening of the
atonic abrupt element.

Yield up, O love, thy crown, and hearted throne,
To tyranous hate I swell, bosom, with thy fraught.



Oj the Gutural Emphasis.

The excited mental states of disgust, aversion, execration, and
horor, give their expresion to an emphatic word, by joining the
gutural vibration to other means of vocal distinction. It is heard
on the daily ocasions for revolting interjectives ; and sometimes on
the comon curent of sylabic uterance. It might be properly used
on the word detestable, in the folowing lines, from that dreadful
malediction upon Athensj at the opening of the fourth act of
Shakspeare's Timon; taking care to acent the second sylable,
M'hich does not bear a stres, in the measure of the line.

Nothing I'll bear from thee
But nakedness, thou detestable town I

When this gutural vibration is combined with the highest
powers of stres and aspiration, it produces the most impulsive
blast of speech.

Of the Temporal Emphasis.

If the quantity of "an emphatic sylable is long, and admits of
indefinite exteusionj or the word has only an antithetic, or a thotive
meaning, without the force of pasionj or when the distinction has
the sole purpose of an emphatic tiej the impresion may be made
by the influence of time alone, as on co, in the following addr&s.

Hail holy Light, ofspring of Heaven first-born.
Or of the Eternal, coeternal beam,
May I expres thee unblamed ?

Or more conspicuously, in Abdiel's warning to Satan.

For soon expect to feel,
His thunder on thy head, detJo?lace to
thotive admonitions, and to the solemn declarations of retributive
justice; and the unimpasioned but conspicuous distinction by
temporal emphasis apears well acommodated to the uterance of
the 'unmoved, unshaken, unseduced, unterified,' and prophetic

The Reader must have observed the close conection bet^'een the
various vocal constituents ; and that with every atempt, it is im-
posible to represent each separately, in the necesary ilustrations.
We here speak of the simple extension of quantity as the means
of emphasis, when in reality that quantity is in part efective, under
the influence of some form of intonation. Extended time on in-
terogative sylablesj on those of positivenes and comand, or of a
feeble cadencej has an intonation, respectively, on the simple course
of the upward or downward third, fifth, or octave. But in plain
temporal emphasis, like that of the above examples, and in a
dignified diatonic melody, an extension of indefinite sylablcs is
always through the direct or inverted wave of the unimpasioned


Of the Mnphasls of Pitch.

It was stated generaly, in speaking of the pitch of the voice,
that its several forms are used as the means of emphasis. We
should now precede to the ilustration of this subject ; but as the
rising third, fifth, and octave are signs of interogation, and as they
have this character even when aplied to a single word of a sen-
tence, we may inquire^ how the Interogative efect in discourse is
to be distinguished from the Emphatic. There must be even to
the comon ear, something like an unwriten rule, to which reference
is instinctively made; for notwithstanding the frequent employ-
ment of these signs in their diferent meanings, these meanings are
rarely confounded. Yet our discriminations on this subject have
in time past been fourfooted instincts; let us try to enoble them,
by giving them the suport and the exalted step of knowledge and

The various interogative sentences were named in the seven-
teenth section ; and on that division, the discriminations are here

In the first case. As the emphatic use of pitch is on a single
word, or at most on two or three, there is no liability to mistake
emphasis, for declarative questions with the thoro intonation. In
the second. It was shown, that the partial interogative is gen-
eraly applied to comon, pronominal, and adverbial questions.
These, even with only a solitary third, or fifth, or octave, cannot
posibly be confounded with cases of emphasis on these same in-
tervals, in sentences without the gramatical structure of a question.
How far it might be proper to consider a partial interogation,
made with a single interogative interval, as conjoining the condi-
tions of interogation and of emphasis, thereby justifying the term
Interogative Emphasisj may be left for future inquiry and arange-
ment. In the third case. Many phrases having the form of a
question, seem nevertheles to hang doubtfuly between an interog-
ative and an asertive meaning. When such phrases can be fairly
resolved into an interjective apeal, or a negative question, or one
of beliefj the positive state of mind generaly calls for an intona-


tion in the downward concrete, as shown in tlie thirty-second sec-
tion. With these questions emphasis by a rising interval cannot
be confounded. The folowing examples are by editorial punctua-
tion marked as questions ; but the conditions above stated seem to
aply so clearly to them, that I would exclude the interogative in-
tervals, and expres these virtual afirmations by a positive down-
ward intonation.

Casslus. W/iat should be in that Ccesar?

Why should that name be sounded more than yours?

Casca. What night is this?

Cassius. A very pleasing night to honest men.
Casca. Who ever knew the heavens menace so ?

Shi/lock. Ay, his breast :

So says the bond ; Doth it not, noble judge ?
Nearest his heart, those are the very words.

In the first of these instances, Cassius does positively mean,
There is nothing in Csesar, nor in his name. In the second,
CJisca would say. It is a dreadful night ; the heavens were never
known to menace so. And in the last, Shylock, by his negative
question, does triumphantly declare. You know it, noble judge.
If then instead of the positive, the interogative intonation should
be aplied either thoroly or in part, to these phrases, their meaning
would be obscured, or lost. Consequently, no case of rising em-
phasis can be mistaken for such interogative constructions. When
figurative questionsj those of gramatical construction, with a down-
ward intonationj and when real exclamatory sentences, cary their
expresion on one or two downward intervals, it may be made a
subject for future inquiry, whether tiiis case might be civled the
Exclamatory Emphasis.

We go on to enumerate the intervals of pitch, employed in


Oj the Emphasis of the Rising Octave.

The concrete rise of the Octave on a single sylable in a curent
diatonic melody, remarkably distinguishes it from others bearing
the interval of a tone ; and its efect has the true character of
emphasis, even without the excesive stres, heretofore considered
almost the single esential, in the definition of that term.

The Reader has been told more than once^ the intervals of the
scale are apreciable, even in the momentary flight of an imutable
sylable ; and that the expresion of the octave on these sylables is
generaly efected by the skip of a radical, from the level of curent
speech to the hight of that interval alx)ve it. The emphasis of
the octave apears then, under the form both of Slow Concrete, and
of Radical Change ; and let it be remembered that one of these
diferent forms of pitch is always implied, when we speak of the
emphasis of other wider intervals of the scale.

The rising octave is employed emphaticaly, for astonishment
and admiration, embracing inquiry or doubt ; and for the especial
enforcing of one word above others, in an interogative sentence :
but this rarely ; for there is a kind of mewl in its long-drawn con-
crete, that excludes it from those elevated purposes of speecli which
it is the design of science to investigate, and of taste to approve.

The octave sometimes expreses a quick, a taunting, or a mirth-
ful interogative; and is rarely used in a calm, serious, and dig-
nified question. It would perhaps be admisible in the folowiug
sneering exultation of Shylock over Antonio.

Monies is your suit.
What should I say to you ? should I not say ?
Hath a dog money ? Is it posible
A cur can lend three thousand duca'ts ?

From the temper of the two last questions, they Avill bear a
thoro interogative intonation ; but the words dog, and cur, by an
emphatic alusion to the previous rating of Shylock by Antonio,
convey the exultation of revengej as well as an imediate antithesis
to their former contemptuous aplication, by being run up to the


keennes of the octave. Some readers might probably be disposed
to set a more dignified form of intonation on tliese questions, by
considering them as Apealing ; and employing a general curent of
downward thirds, with a downward octave on dog, and cur. I
only say, they will bear the asigned intonation, without making
jDreference the subject of argument ; tho the manifest sneer seems
to claim the rising intervals. The readings proposed in this esay
are for ilustration ; and their purpose may be fulfiled, even if they
may not exactly acord with comon opinion. There is a best in the
works of every art ; but the latitude of admisible variation, within
the reach of principles, makes an ample and a liberal grant, that
sometimes generously admits even cases of unsucesful search after
the highest excelence. Over such failures, the inteligent critic of
another age will be neither quarelsome nor severe.

The emphasis of the octave by a change of radical pitch, is
exemplified in the folowing lines.

'Zounds, show me what thou'lt do :

'Woo'i weep? \ioo^i fight? vf oo't fast? woo't tear thyself ?

The exasperated energy of Hamlet, in his encounter with
Laertes, calls for the highest pitch of interogation on the words
here marked ; but these words do not admit of the slow concrete.
To fulfil the purposes of expresion, they are to be imediately trans-
fered by radical change to an octave above the word looo't, which
in its several places, is at the comon level of the melody. Thp
emphatic sylable, when raised, is still further indued with the
character of an interogative interval, by the rapid flight of the
concrete octave, described in the seventeenth section. In the first
seven words of the second line the voice does skip, alternately
ascending and descending, between the extremes of an octave.

While these lines are before us, we may notice the contrast
between the two movements of pitch in the octave ; for tlie word
tear, having an indefinite quantity, admits freely of the slow con-
crete ; and the voice after being restrained to the discrete skip, on
the precaling imutablc sylables, more freely, and with graceful
contrast iisumes on this word, the intonation of a concrete or
continuoiLS rise.


Oj the Emphasis of the Rising Fifth.

The relation of the concrete fifth to the octave, in their inter-
ogative character, was formerly shown. As a sign of emphatic
thot or of pasion, the fifth is less impresive than the octave j from
not having its percing influence. There is however, more dignity
in the importance it gives to a sylable. In the folowing lines,
from Satan's adres to the sun, the emphasis on thee may be made
by the concrete rising fifth, for the expresion of its exultation.

Evil be thou my good : by thee at least
Divided empire with Heaven's king I hold.

It is said here, and we alow the same cautious latitude in other
cases, that a certain form of emphatic expresion may be employed ;
for ocasionaly, the emj)hasis may be varied; as in the present
example, thee might be in the wave of the fifth, or third, or even
the second ; in the last case however, a want of the expresive efect
of the fifth, must be suplied by a long quantity, and by the use
of the radical, or median, or vanishing stres, on the wave of the
second so employed. Nay, we will go further with the liberal
construction alowed by every broad and self-confiding system;
and under the principles of this Work, are ready to acord with
the free-choice of any enlightened taste, which in the above
example might prefer even the positive emphasis of a downward
inters'al. And this, not inconsistently; for by the rules of a w^ell
ordered system, such variations will always be made acording to
the discretion that liberaly allows them.

In the folowing lines, the emphasis of the fifth on the word
beauty, is perhaps not absolutely unchangeable; but it certainly
produces a brightnes of picture, well adapted to the admirative
character, and which cannot perhaps be so well efected in any
other way.

Tears like the rain-drops may fall without measure,
But rapture and beaxdy they cannot recall.

The effect in this case will be more finished, if after the concrete


rise of the sylable beau, thru the fifth j ty be discretely brot down
to the line of the curent melody. It may be aded, that from the
transposed order of sylabic quantity, a reversed order of intonation
may be set on rapture ; for a discrete rising skip of the fifth may
be made with rap, and a concrete return to tlie curent melody on

The emphasis of the fifth, by a skip of radical pitch, is further
exemplified in the Une, formerly quoted to show the radical stress.

"Which, if not victory, is yet revenge.

Here the abrupt stres on vie, requires and receves asistance from
intonation, by seting that short sylable at a discrete fifth above the
place of not : for this gives expresive emphasis ; and a downward
return to the curent melody on to, closes the line with the efect,
tho not with the full form, of a prepared cadence.

Of the Emphasis of the Rising Third.

The striking intonation of the octave and the fifth is suited to
the earnest interests and replications of coloquial speech, and to
the forcible thots and pasions of the drama. The rise of the third,
in still denoting severaly, both interogation and emphasis, produces
a less intense, but a more dignified impresion.

The rise of the third may be set on the word he, in the folowing


Who first seduced them to that foul revolt ?
The infernal Serpent; he it was, whose guile,
Stired up with envy and revenge.

And we may add, that the words infernal serpent, being a positive
answer to the question, should have the downward intonation, both
for contrast to tlie rising third, on Aej and for emphatic wonder at
the revengeful guile of the seducer.

Some phrases however are simply interogative, and unacom-


panied by those states of mind usualy producing the octave and
the fifth. The emphatic distinction in these cases, is made with
the moderately atractive influence of the third.

Dost thou think Alexander looked o' this fashion,

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 37 of 59)