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3. The Melody of the Alternate Phrase. This designation is applied to the melody, where the Alternate Phrase predominates. It is well suited to the expression of the higher passions, and to facetiousness.
4. The Melody of the Cadence. This indicates the melody at the close of sentences; and in unimpassioned discourse, it is usually produced by the Falling Tritone,-the last constituent, at least, taking the downward slide.—This subject will be treated at length in another place.
To these may be added two other forms of melody not arising immediately out of the principles laid down in this section.
5. The Chromatic Melody.—This designates the plaintive melody in which there is a predominance of the semitone. The term is borrowed from music.
6. The Broken Melody.-This marks the peculiar expression of pain, deep grief, and of extreme exhaustion or weakness; where the current melody, whatever it may be, is broken by frequent pauses, beyond what the grammatical connection requires or allows.
Here we shall close what may be called the technical part of our work. We have now presented all the elements, so far as the voice is concerned, which we deem essential to an effective elocution; and most of those which are developed in perfect oratory. And the learner who has gone carefully over the preceding pages, successfully mastering the difficulties he has had to meet, and training his voice by the exercises which have been suggested for his practice, may feel assured that the course thus commenced will soon place at his command all the vocal functions necessary for the expression of every passion of the human heart, and for the execution of whatever a good taste can dictate as excellent in the highest efforts of the finished orator.
That these vocal functions may again be brought before the mind and with some additional suggestions, we shall close this chapter with a brief enumeration of such as are hereafter to be applied to the execution of the principles of the orator's art.
IN Section I, after enumerating the alphabetic elements, the Vocule was referred to as an incident connected with the utterance of several of the consonants, and of the mutes in particular. It will also be heard in the utterance of all words terminating with one of these elements, and will become more full and distinct just in proportion to the energy with which the word is pronounced. From this it appears, that the vocule is not only a means of giving emphasis, but is the exact measure of the emphasis given on such words.
It is the improper use of this element that is sometimes heard at the close of each sentence, most frequently in the language of prayer. Thus employed it is a great defect; and is always the result of habit, which generally arises from a slovenly mode of articulation, but may however have its origin in the imitation of some bad model.
SECTION II is devoted exclusively to practice for the purpose of acquiring a distinct and ready articulation.
In SECTION III, Time as appropriated to syllables was treated as long or short ; but it should be borne in mind that Quantity, which is but another term for Time, varies from the most hurried articulation of the syllable, to the most protracted note implied in the term long quantity. Syllables are called Indefinite, Mutable, and Immutable, according as they are more or less susceptible of quantity. This is an important function of the voice; and is always employed in connection with others. When long quantity is used to express sentiments which require short time, its employment is characterized as Drawling.
In SECTION IV, Stress was considered under the designations Radical, Median, Vanishing and Compound. The last three require long quantity for their execution; and they are all supposed to be symbols fitted by nature to be the representatives of distinct emotions and passions. To these was added the Loud Concrete employed in accent.-No form of stress is perhaps so frequently misapplied as the Vanishing. This as a fault is most frequently heard in the pronunciation of the Irish.
In SECTION V, Pitch was the term used to represent the movements of the voice with reference to the musical scale; and the changes in pitch as heard in speech, are limited only by the compass of the natural voice of the speaker.In common reading, and in ordinary discourse, what may properly be called the Middle Pitch of the voice is employed; and this is the note also on which sermons and public addresses should be commenced, so as to allow an elevation of pitch, as the speaker becomes warm in his subject, without the danger of transcending the compass of his natural voice.
The Diatonic Scale was said to consist of eight sounds either in an ascending or descending series, embracing seven Proximate Intervals, five of which are Tones, and two Semitones. Each sound is called a Note; and the changes of pitch from any one note to another are either Discrete or Concrete, and may be either rising or falling. Concrete Changes of Pitch are called Slides; and of these movements there are appropriated to speech the slides through five different intervals,--the Semitone, the Second, the Third, the Fifth, and the Octave. The command of all these slides is essential to an effective elocution; and especially the higher, as they occupy a prominent place among the symbols of emotion, and properly constitute the lights and shades of discourse.—The Semitone, when misapplied, gives origin to the fault called Whining.
In this section the learner was introduced successively to the Diatonic Slides--those which belong to common discourse, and which distinguish speech from song; to the Emphatic Slides, employed for the purposes of Emphasis; and to the Interrogative Intonation, which was said to depend on the rising slide. This Intonation is called Thorough, when the question is direct, and the rising slide extends to each syllable of the question; and Partial, when the question is indirect, and the interrogation closes with the downward slide. We may here repeat the important practical remark, that in reading or speaking, when the slide is downward, the radical point of the movement, except when employed in the cadence, should always be struck above, and in case of the emphatic slides, considerably above, the key of the current melody. The attempt to give the downward concrete from the line of the current melody constitutes one of the most common errors, particularly in reading.
In SECTION VI, the Waves or circumflex movements of the voice are fully discussed. They are considered first as
Equal and Unequal, according to the relative length of the different constituents. These, then, are either Single, Double, or Continued, according to the number of constituents which enter into them. And all of these may be varied by giving to the first constituent an upward or a downward inflection, which gives rise to the designation of waves as Direct and Inverted. It is believed that these distinctions in the form of the wave are founded in nature, and that they are all heard in the delivery of accomplished speakers.
As to the intervals to which these waves extend, it is obvious that the only limit fixed by the capabilities of nature is the compass of the voice. Nature however does not always work to the full extent of her powers, but graduates the application of those powers to the wants of the
So it seems to be here. Perhaps the wave never extends in any of its constituents beyond the octave, nor does it usually exceed the interval of the third.
Though so essential to the expression of its appropriate sentiment, the learner should be reminded that even this element cannot be indiscriminately used. Dr. Barber has remarked of this, “that it is incompatible with a sustained impression of dignity ;” and thus that “persons prone to the circumflex, can never read Milton or Shakspeare well.” By the same fault the dignity of the Holy Scriptures may be obscured; and thus it is, that their sacred truths but too often reach only the ear, even when read amidst all that is impressive connected with the sanctuary of God.—This element occurs as a fault in the colloquial dialect of New England, where the waves are often heard, instead of the simple rising and falling slides.