Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

LOWER TONE.

The Natural Tone (marked 3) is that which the student should principally cultivate. The other degrees of Modulation are not fixed, but relative. In energetic or earnest speech, the voice will be most expressive on 4, and in passion it may ascend to 5; but any continued address on a high tone should be avoided. The Modulation marked 2, is frequently employed to diversify the uniformity of the Natural Tone, and to mark the subordination of secondary and explanatory passages. The lowest tone, marked 1, is peculiarly expressive of solemnity and awe. The rules of Inflexion will 'effectually prevent moNOTONY. The following hints may be of service in acquiring an agreeably MODULATED delivery, and getting the spirit of the sense echoed to the ear.

221. At the commencement of every sentence, and especially of every paragraph, the voice may be relieved by a change of key-GENERALLY TO A

The primary clauses of sentences should be read always either in a higher and louder tone, or in a lower and stronger tone, than those which are secondary, explanatory, illustratory, parenthetic, or in any way subordinate. The latter should be pronounced in a lower tone than the primary parts. Energetic passages are best expressed by the higher tones.

* To hear complaints with patience, even when complaints are vain, % is one of the duties of friendship.

8 The man who does not know how to methodise his thoughts, has always, 2 to borrow a phrase from the dispensary, * a barren superfluity of words.

Do not insult a poor man; ' his misery entitles him to protection.

10h! now you weep; ' and I perceive you feei The dint of pity: these are gracious drops. Kind souls! what! weep you,

when

you

but behold Our Cæsar's vesture wounded ? Look you here! Here is himself-marr'd, as you see, by—5 traitors! 8 An hour passed on; ? the Turk awoke,

3 That bright dream ' was his last;
:He woke to hear his sentries shriek
4« To arms!-they come !- the Greek! the Greek!”
• He woke to die !
222. Similes are most properly introduced by lowering the voice.

8 A life so sacred, such serene repose,
Seemed heaven itself, till one suggestion rose,
That Vice should triumph, Virtue Vice obey :-
Hence sprung some doubt of Providence's sway.
So, when a smooth expanse receives impress'd
Calm Nature's image on its watery breast,
Down bend the banks, the trees depending grow,
And skies beneath with answering colours glow;

2

But if a stone the gentle sea divide,
Swift-ruffling circles curl on every side;
And glimmering fragments of a broken sun,

Banks, trees, and skies, in thick disorder run: 223. Important parentheses should be pronounced slowly and forcibly ; intervening clauses are, naturally, spoken in a low tone; the unimportant nay be read in a higher and lighter tone. * Pride, 4 in some particular disguise or other,

2 often a secret to the proud man himself,

s is the most ordinary spring of action. s Death,

which is considered as the greatest evil; & happens to all. The greatest good,

4 be it what it will

, 8 is the lot of a few. 224. Antithetic portions of sentences, and every modification of sense, should be expressed by an appropriate change of key.

* Oh, blindness to the future, Skindly given,
* That each may fill the circle marked by Heaven;
Who sees, ' with equal eye, las God of all,
A hero perish, ? or a sparrow fall;
s Atoms or systems into ruin hurled,

a bubble burst, ' and now, * a world! 225. When a question is followed by its answer, or by any words that are explanatory, the answer, if subordinate to the question, should be read in a lower degree of modulation; but if the answer is of great consequence to the general meaning, it must be read in a higher tor

* Are they Hebrews ? So am I. s Are they Israelites ? So am I. 3 Are they the seed of Abraham ? ? So am I. 8 Are they ministers of Christ? I am more.

8 Must we but weep o'er days more blest ?

* Must we but blush? Our fathers bled. $ Art thou poor? Show thyself active and industrious, peaceable and contented. Art thou wealthy ? Show thyself beneficent and charitable, condescending and humane.

8 Where is to-morrow? 1 In another world. 8 What is time worth? 1 Ask death-beds; they can tell.

4 And now,

[ocr errors]

* Look upon the tombs. 3 Are their inhabitants all old ? 2 No, not at all. 3 Many ?

? No, not many; 1 the aged are a thinly-scattered number.

226. The Dialogue portion of a composition should be distinguished from the Narrative by appropriate and characteristic changes of Modulation. Description and Representation require correspondent and expressive variety.

227. All exclamations should be uttered as brief embodiments of the feeling that dictates them. Every repetition of the interjectional particle should have its appropriate emotion, and receive, from the speaker, the expression of that feeling which prompts it.

MODULATION OF PASSION. 228. The Modulation of Passion depends greatly on its nature and degree, and on the relative positions of the speaker and auditor. As a picture that is to be viewed from a distance must be painted in stronger colours than one that is to be closely scanned, so all dramatic expression must be on a bolder scale than the domestic circle, the bar, the pulpit, or the platform would allow: nevertheless, the relative proportions of the expression must be so retained, that the large outline and warm colouring of Art may not, in either place, “o'erstep the modesty of Nature.”

229. As a general principle, equally important for the ease of the speaker and the pleasure of the auditor, all strong passions should have a predominant low degree of Modulation. Proper variety on the Natural Tone-however strongly employed—or an expressive change of force with every change of sentiment, is that which pleases most. When the speaker loses command over himself, he ceases to have any over his auditory. There is no sublimity in shouting. “Oh! it offends me to the soul to hear a robustious, periwig-pated fellow, tear a passion to tatters, to very rags."

IMITATIVE MODULATION. 230. Very frequently in Descriptive and Dramatic Reading, much expressive beauty may be gained by making the “sound seem echo to the sense.” The perfection of a picture consists in giving full development to every trait in the original; so the relationship of sounds with the objects expressed by them is an essential requisite for an exact vocal representation. Words should paint, by sound, the objects which they represent, and, in some degree, render them sensible to the auditor. By means of this analogical sympathy between signs and sounds, the speaker can often depict to the ear as successfully as the colourist to the eye.

231. In all passages where noise or motion is described, where sublime or awful objects are alluded to or represented, or where harshness or gentleness, beauty or deformity is portrayed, the voice should adopt that peculiar modulation which approaches nearest to the nature of the objects represented. But this should be sparingly employed, because a tendency to make the ornamental imitation general, destroys its beauty.

Roll on, thou deep and dark blue ocean!-roll!

Ten thousand fleets sweep over thee, in vain.
True ease in writing comes from art, not chance,
As those move easiest who have learned to dance.
'Tis not enough no harshness give offence,
The sound must seem an echo to the sense.

Soft is the strain when zephyr gently blows,
And the smooth stream in smoother numbers flows:
But, when loud surges lash the sounding shore,
The hoarse rough verse should, like the torrent, roar.
When Ajax strives some rock's vast weight to throw,
The line too labours, and the words move slow ;
Not so when swift Camilla scours the plain,
Flies o'er the unbending corn, and skims along the main.

THE SHIPWRECK.—Byron.
Then rose from sea to sky the wild farewell ;
Then shrieked the timid, and stood still the brave ;
Then some leaped overboard with dreadful yell,
As eager to anticipate their grave :
And the sea yawned around her like a hell ;
And down she sucked with her the whirling wave-
Like one who grapples with his enemy,
And strives to strangle him, before he die.

And first, one universal shriek there rushed,
Louder than the loud ocean-like a crash
Of echoing thunder ;—and then, all was hushed,
Save the wild wind, and the remorseless dash
Of billows; but, at intervals, there gushed,
Accompanied with a convulsive splash,
A solitary shriek—the bubbling cry
Of some strong swimmer in his agony!

232. Imitation, confined to words, would be incomplete. There must, throughout every composition, be also a harmony of tone with the sentiinent. If the intention is to convey to the mind important or magnificent ideas, the expression should be full and sonorous ; if violent passion or mental agitation, the wailing of despair, or the eagerness of hope, the voice should superadd, to the artificial language of speech, the inarticulate but more expressive language of sound.

233. The following musical terms may be employed to denote the general character of expression:

affetuoso (af.), with deep feeling.
dolce (dol.), sweetly, tenderly.
maestoso (maes.), with majestic expression.
con fuoco (con fu.), with fire, animated.
con anima (con an.), with soul, with intense feeling.

FORCE. 234. Force considers sounds with respect to their degrees of loudness or softness: those sounds are called loud, which are made with greater respiratory and vocal effort than the ordinary tones of conversation; and those are called soft, which are made with less.

235. The following notation may be employed to express the five principal degrees of Force :ff.

fortissimo (as loud as possible). f.

forte (loud).

moderate. p.

piano (soft), pp.

pianissimo" (as soft as possible).

[ocr errors]

m.

TIME. 236. Time treats of sounds with respect to their various degrees of rapidity or slowness. The following notation may be employed to express five principal varieties :pr..

presto (very quick). al.

allegro (quick). mt.

middle time.

slow. ad.

adagio (very slow).

sl.

237. Solemn discourse requires a very slow movement. Simple narrative, a medium rate of utterance. Animated description, as well as all language expressive of quick or sudden passion, a rapid rate of utterance, varying with the intensity of the emotion. Clauses or sentences which are very emphatic should be pronounced in small and distinct emphatic portions. Clauses or sentences which convey a flow of uniform meaning should have a uniform flow of sound. Passages introductory to those which are slow or rapid, should be gradually introduced with the proper degrees of Time. Sentiments of approval are best expressed by slow time; sentiments of disapproval with a lighter utterance.

TIME OF POETRY. 238. In addition to the above varieties of Time, there is, in Poetry, and in harmonious Prose, another variety, dependent on rhythmical structure. It is caused by an alternation of strong and weak efforts of voice, occurring at regular intervals, and distinguishing this species of composition from

Not only do the prosodial names for the various measures of Verse convey no just idea of its structure, but the accentuation of the English language does not permit the division of its metres into long

ordinary prose.

« AnteriorContinuar »