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OUTLINES OF THE
PRINCIPLES OF ELOCUTION.
The art of Reading and Speaking with expressive distinctness, constitutes ELOCUTION.
Elocution may be divided into (I.) Expressive Management of the Voice and of the Organs of Speech, and (II.) Expressive Management of the Body.
PART FIRST. EXPRESSIVE MANAGEMENT OF THE VOICE AND OF THE ORGANS OF
DESCRIPTION OF THE PRINCIPAL ORGANS OF VOCALITY. 1. The lungs, the reservoirs of inspired air. They consist of five spongy elastic lobes—three on the right side, and two on the left. The air is conveyedi nto them from the windpipe by means of the bronchiæ or bronchial tubes; • ndt Lence carried, by smaller ramifications, disposed on all sides like branches of trees, irto minute vesicles. In the respiration of speech, the lungs must be inflated o a far greater extent than that necessary for the purposes of existerce. Expansion of the lungs chiefly depends on the action of the thorax and he diaphragm.-The lungs should be passive in speech, and theər pulsion of breath should proceed principally from the diaphragm, and the abdominal muscles.
2. The Tuorax, or sides of the breast, distend and contract with the lungs. In respiration the chest should not be allowed to fall, as the lungs will dilate freely, according to the scope given to them.
3. The DIAPHRAGM is a large muscular substance which forms the floor of the breast. In inspiration, the diaphragm descends, and so enlarges the capacity of the chest : in expiration, it ascends, and, pressing on the lungs, expels the inspired air.
4. The Larynx arises from the windpipe, and contains the material organs of sound. In men it is generally prominent exteriorly, and called Adam's apple. It consists of five elastic cartilages, the uppermost of which is the Epiglottis. The office of the Epiglottis is, to direct the expired sound, and to open and shut, like a valve, the aperture of the Exterior Glottis.
5. The glottis is the name of the sonorous opening between two cartilages of the larynx, and situated above the Chordæ Vocales or Vocal Chords. In adults the Glottis is, at its greatest diameter, about ten or eleven lines in length, and two in breadth. It is provided with muscles, which enlarge or contract it. The glottis is the organ of all vocal sounds. As any strain on the glottis will injure it, it should be kept wholly passive, especially when depth of tone is required; which altogether depends on relaxation of the muscles of the larynx.
6. The Pharynx is a large dilatable bag, situated behind the palate ; terminated in front by the mouth, and above by the nasal passages. By distension or contraction, it is an agent of the sonorous and explosive sounds heard in certain articulations (B, D, V, 2, &c.), and is the organ of that slight stress called Accent.
7. The nares, or nasal passages, are tubes which conduct from the pharynx to the nostrils. They are generally closed by the velum or soft palate, and only opened for the articulations, M, N, NG, and the French nasal sounds.
8. The TONGUE, the cavity of the FAUCES (jaws), the CHEEKS, DENTAL ARCHES, and PALATE, are the other organs which principally modify sound. Being visible, their description may be omitted. The palate is posteriorly terminated by a soft portion called the Velum, which is prolonged as a small pendulous body named the uvula. In producing clear notes in Speech or Song, the Velum should be kept out of the way (i. e., elevated and contracted) as much as possible.
VOCALITY. 9. VOCALITY considers the nature of expression by the voice.* A properly disciplined voice should possess the power of forming three series of sounds; the Natural, the Orotund, and the Falsetto Voice.
10. The naturAL VOICE is that heard in ordinary conversation It is formed only by babit, and (by means of well-directed practice) is therefore capable of great improvement. It varies in different individuals ; but it may be sufficiently defined by stating that its register is generally mid-way between the higher and the lower notes.
11. The orOTUND VOICE is deep, mellow, and sonorous. It is rarely to be heard as a natural gift, but is generally the result of art, or much vocal exercise. Its formation principally depends on increased distension and action of the pharynx (sec. 6). It is the most agreeable and powerful vehicle
* The change from breath, or whisper, to voice, is effected by depressing the apparatus of the larynx. When the larynx is most depressed, and the orifice of the glottis enlarged, the gravest notes are formed (voce di petto); when the larynx is most elevated, and the aperture of the glottis contracted, the highest notes are heard (roce di testa).-Sections 4, 5.
of sound, as it may be exerted to a great extent without fatigue or injury. A popular direction for its attainment is, to "speak down in the throat.”
12. The FALSETTO VOICE is rarely employed in whole sentences; but it is occasionally heard in the wail of pathos, or the expression of distance, and, more forcibly, in strong surprise or vehement exclamation. Its formation depends on contraction of the organs of voice, and upward and backward direction of sound.
13. Various modifications of these voices are employed. The GUTTURAL voice is dependent on relaxation of the organs, and increased aspiration during utterance; it is particularly expressive of hatred, horror, contempt, &c.—The voice may also be modified by the degrees of expansion, and by the vibrations and positions, of the chest-by aspiration-by direction into the nasal passages. This modification is frequently offensive in its employment, but habitual nasality is very different from that occasional and limited nasality which is heard in certain sounding, trumpet-like tones.
14. LOUDNESS OF VOICE depends on the issue of an increased quantity of breath through the larynx. FORCE depends on the resistance given in the larynx to the breath as it passes from the lungs. Height OF TONE is the result of contraction and elevation of the vocal apparatus ; DEPTH OF TONE, of its dilatation and abasement. DRAWLING is reading or speaking with insufficient force and prolonged time.
15. The voice should be most frequently practised on a middle key. If pitched too high, harshness is produced when force is attempted, and shrillness, or a tendency to break, when loudness. If too low, the Vocal Chords become dry and easily injured, and the voice husky.
OBSERVATIONS AND DIRECTIONS FOR THE IMPROVEMENT AND
MANAGEMENT OF THE VOICE. 16. The lungs must be kept well supplied with breath. They must receive a body of air greater than that of ordinary breathing; there must be a full expansion of the sides of the chest, by keeping the head easily erect, throwing the chest forward, keeping the shoulders back, and depressing the diaphragm. The waste of air from the lungs must be constantly supplied ; every pause, however slight, should be occupied in replenishing them, as motionlessly and silently as possible.
17. During speech, all unnecessary waste of breath should be prevented.
18. Before the commencement of any public discourse or protracted vocal effort, or when a very full inspiration is required, the breath should be inhaled through the nostrils, reserving the inhalation through the mouth for the shorter pauses, or rhetorical hiatuses. But the lips need not be closed, as a slight application of the tongue to the palate will allow of the graceful and unseen ingress of air.
19. Holding the breath, during the prolonged and forcible utterance of the vowel sounds, is an excellent means of improving the clearness of the voice. Strength of expiration is greatly promoted by reading on a loud whisper.
20. Weakness of voice may be removed by well-directed practice. The most beneficial exercise is that named coup de la glotte. This consists in a loud and forcible expulsion from the glottis of the various vowel sounds. The glottis must, after a full inspiration, be firmly closed, and the confined air directed with great force against and through it, at the instant of sound.
21. To suppose that a person is better heard for loudness is a great error; for such is not only disagreeable in itself, but extremely fatiguing to the speaker and hearer. When the natural extent of voice in ordinary conversation is not sufficient, EXTEND THAT TONE, but preserve the usual key of the natural tone.
22. Read frequently aloud, in a low strong key, passages which require a firm, dignified enunciation, and gradually proceed to the most spirited and impassioned exercises. The voice should, in practice, be taxed slightly beyond its powers.
23. Bodily exercises are of great advantage. Every thing that tends to the improvement of the health has a correspondent influence on the voice.
24. The practice of declamation in the open air is highly serviceable. The vocal apparatus is greatly braced, and the unity of the muscular actions promoted, by endeavouring at the same time to move about with energetic action, and to speak with great vehemence.
25. All excesses are injurious. Ăvoid exercise at that period of youth when the voice is breaking; also immediately after meals, or when hoarse, although a slight cold often improves the raucus quality of the voice. Wine, spirits, water, and all cold or acid drinks, and oily dishes, are considered injurious. After injury or fatigue, silence is the best restorative; but, on the principle of exertion of the muscles, and passiveness of the lungs and glottis, no danger can occur.
26. Many preparations are recommended to relieve dryness of the mouth and throat; but, on account of their solidity or bulk, they can be rarely used during a public discourse. In addition to the lozenges and wafers of the apothecary, liquorice, sweet mucilages, eggs, nitre, and catechu are used. A very small portion of powdered nitre, or of catechu, will effectually cleanse the mouth. When required, a glass of cold water, with a little gum arabic dissolved in it, will assist to keep the organs moist.
27. The speaker must remember that his objects are threefold, without ALL of which he cannot attain eminence-First, to be heard; secondly, to be understood ; thirdly, to be felt.
VOWEL SOUNDS. 28. In the English language there are thirteen monophthong vowel sounds, heard in the following words:Glottis extended,
hat met sir fate pin me
12 Glottis rounded,
nor just home prove. 29. From these monophthongs are formed the following diphthongal sounds :
30. The principal triphthong sounds are heard in
1 - 18 - 11 a-00-u
13 - 10-9 00-0-e
EXERCISES ON MONOPHTHONGS. 31. The various Vowel Sounds in the Exercises should be pronounced with various degrees of force, tone, and inflexion. Each word should be preceded by a full inspiration. The distinctive vowel of each series is marked in italics.
32. a as in are, bar, guitar, parchment, father, villă, sofă, hearth, guard, clerk, sergeant, daunt, haunt, gauntlet, jaun. dice, almond, path, half, palm, balm, psalm, aunt.
33. a as in blast, mast, fast, staff, vast, castle, basket, master, command, demand, crafty, plant, grant, fantastic.
34. a as in care, snare, share, there, pear, wear, affair, heir, heiress, bare, dare, ne'er, fair, spare, soe'er, bear. (Observe that this sound before r is diphthongal—as care, ca-ur; share, sha-ur, &c.)
35. a as in hat, bad, mat, gas, can, sand, back, cannon, fancy, shall, marry, plaid, raillery, bade, have, charity, paradise, abandon, inhabit.
36. e as in met, dell, debt, bread, engine, elegant, benefit, melody, tepid, said, says, saith, friend, leopard, special, preface, wainscot, breakfast, heifer, again, against.
37. i as in sir, fir (not fur), myrtle, birth, mirth, virtue, girl, irksome, prefer, mercy, servant, term, pert, earl, pearl, merchant, early, learning, fervour.
38. a as in fate, fame, blame, ague, range, gauge, chasten, gaol, break, vain, cambric, Asia, nature, ancient, chamber, neighbour, aorist, placable, dictator, occasion, obeisance.
39. i as in pin, sin, din, ring, lyric, city, servile, agile, captain, mountain, forfeit, pretty, busy, business, clef, sieve, cygnet, spirit, lyric, dynasty, tyranny.
40. e as in me, she, cedar, deity, scheme, scene, pique, imagine, direct, dåvide, simile, key, quay, fiend, chief, grieve, treaty, Cæsar, demesne, impregn, critique, breviary.
41. 7 as in form, short, bond, lodge, cloth, tonic, novel, cough, knowledge, balk, salt, ought, nought, augur, nauseate, important, jocund, monologue, quality, quantity.