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This last form of the interrogation admits the use of the concrete slide of a third or fifth on one or a few of the syllables, while the rest, and particularly those near the close, take the melody of common discourse, and constitute a regular cadence.
We add the following practical remarks :
1. In interrogation, the extent of the upward slide on those syllables that receive it, varies from the third to the octave, with the degree of earnestness with which the question is put.
2. Some expressions which have the grammatical form of the direct question, as in earnest appeals, exclamatory sentences, and argument, are intended to express only positiveness of conviction; and thus they take the partial intonation only.
Which he did thrice refuse. Was this ambition?
Do you think that your conditions will be accepted? Can you even imagine they will be listened to?
Such interrogations open with a rising slide of a fifth or octave, but immediately change to the deep downward
concrete, or the direct wave-soon to be explained. This downward movement furnishes the appropriate expression of positive conviction, as the rising does of doubt and uncertainty.
3. Even the Direct Question, if very long, and especially if at the same time it concludes a paragraph or a discourse, may take the Partial Intonation.
4. In questions which admit the Thorough Intonation, though the syllables generally are pronounced with the rising concrete of a given interval which prevails throughout the whole, yet those which are emphatic may pass through a wider interval than the others. This will be illustrated under the head of Emphasis.
5. The mere form in which the question is stated does not always determine whether it is Direct or Indirect. Thus, the question,—“Did you see him or his brother?” has two meanings, according as 'or is understood disjunctively or conjunctively. If the latter, the question is direct and takes the rising slide; if the former it is indirect and takes the falling.-In this case, however, the first member always takes the intonation of the Direct Question.
Though we have dwelt thus long on the Diatonic and Interrogative Slides, we are not prepared to affirm, that the sense is always or even generally dependent on these inflections of the voice. Sometimes they do determine the sense; but the English, the Scotch, the Irish and the Americans all use them differently and yet understand each other. In some portions of our own country, even the direct question universally receives only the partial interrogative intonation,-terminating with the falling slide, or perhaps the inverted wave of a second- soon to be described. Differences in the use of these inflections, more perhaps than any thing else, mark the provincial peculiarities which characterize the speech, in different parts of our country. The rules here laid down, it is believed, correspond with the best usage of the country; and a conformity to such usage alone can guard the speaker against the charge of provincialism, or impropriety.
OF THE WAVES OF THE VOICE.
The Rising and the Falling Slides are often united on the same long syllable, and this complex movement of the voice is called a Wave.* The parts of which it consists are called constituents. These upward and downward movements may pass through the same, or through different, intervals; for example, the wave may be formed by the rising and falling third conjoined; or by a rising third, passing into and being terminated by a falling fifth. This gives rise to the designation of waves as equal or unequal. Whether equal or unequal, they may consist of two, three, or more constituents; and this gives rise to the distinction of waves as single, double or continued. And whether consisting of constituents of equal or of unequal length, or of two constituents or more, the wave may commence with an ascending or descending slide. The wave commencing with an upward movement is called the Direct Wave, the other the Inverted Wave.
When it is suggested that all the slides which we have described, varying from a semitone to an octave, enter as
* This is called by Steele and Walker the circumflexc accent.
constituents into these waves, it will appear, that, in theory at least, the wave may be almost endlessly varied. It is found however, that in the practice of those who speak the English language, the variations employed are not very numerous, and of these the following are the most important.
The Equal Wave of the Semitone. This cannot be represented to the eye in a manner to make the subject any more plain. If, on any long syllable, the learner will combine the Median Stress with the expression of pathetic or solemn sentiment, he cannot fail to give either the direct or inverted wave of the semitone. These are both heard in the slow utterance of the tender emotions, serving beautifully to vary this melody of the voice.
The Equal Wave of the Second.—This movement of the voice, aside from the consideration of stress, may be repreDirect. Inverted. sented to the eye thus ;—the heavy
part simply marking the radical
point, which may or may not be characterized by fulness of sound. Indeed the median stress rather than the radical prevails in the wave of the second. It is by the frequent recurrence of these waves,
grave discourse, even where the words cannot be attended to, is distinguished from the gay and sprightly. They occur on the syllables of long quantity, and, for the sake of variety the direct and the inverted are interchanged instinctively by a well-trained voice. Whenever the waves of the semitone or of the second become double, it is for the purpose of lengthening the quantity, on a word which is intended to be strongly marked.
The Equal Wave of the Third. This is often heard in ordinary spirited conversation. It may be represented to the eye, as may also the equal waves of the higher intervals, thus :
Of the Third. Direct. Inverted.
Of the Octave.
The Waves of the Fifth and the Octave, as also the Unequal Waves, are reserved for the expression of the stronger passions, as exhibited in dramatic dialogue, and in the higher efforts of the orator. Irony, scorn and strong surprise cannot be expressed without their aid.
To aid the learner in acquiring the command of the vocal movement here called the Wave, the following illustrations are given, the substance of which is found in the Grammar of Elocution.
“Pity the sorrows of a poor old man.”
If long quantity and a plaintive tone be given to the words “poor” and “old,” in the foregoing example, they will exhibit the direct wave of the semitone : and if the word “man” receive a plaintive expression and extended quantity, and the voice be made to rise on the second part of the wave, it will show the inverted wave of the semitone.
“ Hail! holy light."
If the word “hail” is uttered with long quantity, with a perceptible downward ending, and without any emphatic stress, it will show the direct equal wave of the second. High on a throne of royal state.”