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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 55 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 55 of 59)
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and names. It is the Disclosing duty of Philosophy to show us
the real existences of things ; to remove many of those lines of
subdivision which the poor conveniences of clasification have
adopted, and to exhibit, as available with finite resources, that
clear and comprehensive picture of Nature, surveyed at once and
always, by the Discernment of her own self-present, and self-
percipient eye.

To the comon ear, speech and song are totaly diferent. Let
us examine their relationships .by a comparison of their several
constituents.

In taking up this subject, I have no new vocal function to de-
scribe. Song and Recitative are respectively only certain combi-
nations of the five modes of sound, and their forms, degrees, and
varieties, including the protracted radical, and vanishj enumerated
in the preceding history of speech. It is my design in pointing
out briefly, the maner of these combinations ; to complete the
survey of vocal science; and if the expresive use of the voice
does at all admit the Pretensions of Recitative^ to show the rela-
tionship between its three leading divisions.

38 (585)



586 A BRIEF AJSTALYSIS OF SONG.



OF SONG.

The art of Vocal Music has long been studiously cultivated ;
and altho it has never yet receved a full elementary analysis, either
of its constituents or their agency, its investigators have acu-
mulated a mass of observation, and framed a body of rules for
governing the great and brilliant results of its practical execution.

It is at this time, beyond botli my design and ability to ofer a
detailed consideration of the topic before us. The oportunities
for inquiry on the subject of Song, as well as on that of all the
Esthetic Arts, are too limited in this country, to aford useful com-
panionship in knowledgej the broader rules of tastej and eminent
Examples of inteligence joined with executive skillj to furnish a
record of facts and principles, in that order and with that clearnes
which always characterize a direct transcript from nature. It
becomes the American, in considering this subject, to contribute
only his own personal observation ; leaving a further description
of the singing-voice, to the ample means of European experience,
education, and exact inquiry. I propose to give a general acount
of the functions of song ; leaving it to those whom it may pro-
fesionaly concern, to make a practical aplication of the facts and
principles here developed, or to regard them only as a pastime of
knowledge, in natural history.

As song consists in certain combinations of the five modes of
the voice employed in speech, the proposed analysis will be given
under the same general heads : and firstj

Of the Pitch or Intonation of Song. Song has every direction
and extent of intonation ascribed to speech ; together ■\vitii two
forms, which do not belong to the later.

In the second section of the analysis of speech, I dcscril)ed
those peculiar modifications of the concrete; the ProtractcH.1 Radi-
cal, and Vanish. In their most simple form they consist respect-
ively of a faint and rapid concrete thru the interval of a tone,
joined to a. level line of ])itch. Ijct us call the former of these
constituent movements, the (iuick-concrete ; and the latter the



A BRIEF ANALYSIS OF SONG. 587

Note. Of the quick-concrete and prolonged note, there are two
conditions.

In the Firstj the quick-concrete rises and terminates in the note
at the sumit of the interval ; constituting the Protracted Vanish.
The ascent by this continuation of quick-concrete and note, thru
the seven places of the musical scale is ilustrated by the folowing
notation of time and pitch.



-if^-



^^^^e^



^^



In the Second condition, the prolonged Note begins on the radi-
cal line. At its termination, the quick-concrete rises to the sumit
of the interval ; constituting the Protracted Radical. In ascending
the scale, by this combination of note and concrete, the progresion
is made acording to the folowing notation.



■ —4.0 4'-^''



By these two conditions, we learn that the note always has the
quick-concrete, before or after it;

Song variously employs both these movements ; the protracted
radical less frequently perhaps than the protracted vanish : the
voice in its instinctive intonation, apearing to fall more readily
into the later. Not having however suficiently examined this
point, I leave it for future inquirers. Regarding the vocal efed or
expresion in these two forms of the protracted note, there seems to
be no diference between them ; and should no betor cause be found
for the singer's choice in taking one or the other, it might per-
haps, in some cases, be decided by the character of the elements
on which it is executed. The radicals of the dipthongs, a- we,
a-h, and ou-i, having more volume than their respective vanishes
e-rr and oo-ze, would be chosen for the protracted note. When a



588 A BRIEF ANALYSIS OF SONG.

subtonic begins, and a tonic ends a sylable, tlic protracted vanish
would be taken. When a subtonic both begins and ends a sylable,
there may be a motive for a choice between them. Hence a singer,
with reference to the more agreeable sound, and more impresive
efect of a long-drawn note, would use the protracted radical, or
protracted vanish, as the construction of the sylable might alow.

The time of the concrete-rise in the foregoing scales, is repre-
sented by a semiquaver, and that of the note, by a semibreve, two
comparative terms in music, expresing the proportion of one to
sixteen ; yet the proportion may vary.

In the great System of Song, there is a Simple, and a more
Complex structurej formed respectively, by the discrete, and by
the concrete movements of the voice.

The sucesions of pitch in song, represented by the preceding
scales, being made with a discrete skip to proximate degrees, with-
out a continuous slide from one note into anotherj a vocal melody
founded on these scales, forms the Plainest kind of song, resem-
bling the discrete music of a flute.

In this kind of melody, the length of the note, when compared
with the concrete, is diferent, acording to the time of the musical
composition. Its longest quantity may excede the proportion
represented in the above scales. In its shortest, the note is droped ;
and the double form, of note and quick-concrete, thereby changed
to a single equable concrete. This ocurs in quick-timed songsj
which therefore strongly resemble speech ; and were it not for an
ocasional prolonged note with wide skips of radical pitch, and a
bared rythmus, they would pass for it. Much skill is therefore
not required to sing a comic song, the greater part of its intonation
being in the equable concrete.

The foregoing diagrams of the tone, represent the most simple
form of the united quick-concrete and protractotl-note of song.
But other scales of wider concretes may be constructed.

The following diagram represents the protractc



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 55 of 59)