« AnteriorContinuar »
order, a gradual quickening of voice, and in another, a gradual retarding of it.
The different rates of utterance which are most frequently required, are the following: Slowest : “ The bell strikes one.--We take no note of
flood!” Slow : “This is the place, the centre of the grove:
Here stands the oak, the monarch of the wood.
And told the secrets of the world unknown.” Moderate : “But who the melodies of morn can tell ?
The wild brook babbling down the mountain side;
The hum of bees, and linnet's lay of love,
Now bound aloft with vigorous spring, then glance
Rapid along: with many-coloured rays
As on the mountain turf I lie;
Now, even now, my joys run high.” These exercises may be read backward, as a discipline of the voice in retarding utterance. The examples may then be read singly and taken at random, with a view to aid the learner in carrying a distinct conception of rate in his mind, so as to apply it when occasion requires.
The fault of prosaic utterance arises either from the want of a lively conception of the beauty of the objects which poetry presents to the mind, or from a want of 'ear' for the effect of poetic numbers.--The former source of error may be done away by conversation between the teacher and the pupil, on the pieces which are read. Such conversation may be led by questions from the teacher, on the nature and character of the objects which are described, or of the events which are related, in the passage which is read as an exercise. Skilful management in this way may prepare the mind of the reader for a full and natural expression of thought by the voice.*
The want of ear for poetic tone requires attention to considerations more mechanical, and will occasion a necessity for frequent, particular, and minute illustration and explanation, on the part of the teacher. The difference between the appropriate tones of poetry
* A preliminary analysis of this sort may be performed in answer to such questions as the following : “ What are the chief objects, incidents, or sentiments, introduced in this piece, paragraph, or
" What effect have these on the mind, or what feelings do they produce ?" 6. What are the tones of voice that express these feelings??
stanza ? "
and those of prose, must be exemplified; and if the teacher possesses any knowledge of music, it will be found very serviceable, as a source of illustration in this department.*
The faults of a swelling and chanting utterance may be corrected by requiring of the pupil a previous reading of every exercise, in the tone of prose; and, to facilitate this discipline, a certain number of lines may be written off in the prose form, so as to aid the ear through the eye. When the tone of poetry is added, it should, especially at first, go but little beyond that of prose, and thence be gradually, but carefully increased, till it attain the full expression of poetic utterance.
Errors in time may be best corrected by a very slow and almost chanting tone, accompanied by a beat marking the time as m ic. This exercise must at first be performed in conjunction between the pupil and the teacher; it may afterwards be repeated after the teacher; and, when sufficient progress has been made, it may be performed by the pupil alone.
The faults of mechanical manner in the final and cæsural pause, are to be corrected by regarding only the true rhetorical pause, or by observing that of the punctuation, and by adverting to the nature of the pause required by the versification, so as to discriminate the demi-cæsura from the complete cæsura, and the short, double cæsural from the long, single cæsu
The errors arising from too close an observance of metre, may be corrected by resorting, at first, to the manner of prose reading; writing off for this purpose, if necessary, a number of lines or stanzas as prose, on which to practise. Something of the prose tone may be retained as long as there is any risk of the tone of verse becoming too perceptible to the ear. The right point at which to stop, in proceeding from the prosaic tone towards that which becomes faulty, if carried to the opposite extreme, is a thing which
Much assistance will be derived here from Dr. Rush's Philos. ophy of the Voice, or from a clear and practical compend by Dz. Barber, entitled, A Grammar of Elocution.
depends on the exercise of the living voice, and cannot, therefore, be indicated with exactness in any written explanations on the subject. It may be spoken of, in general, as a middle point between extremes. But, with the aid of an instructor, the learner will not find it difficult to be ascertained.
The error in the inflection of the common metre stanzas, is to be rectified by referring to the lesson on inflections and that on tones.
This fault of habit, however, as it is of very general occurrence, in the reading of hymns,—whether in public or in private practice,-is deserving of closer attention and more particular exemplification, than most others.
The following hymn is accordingly marked, to be used as an exercise in this department of elocution. The acute accent at the end of the second line, indicates the appropriate rising inflection, which, in such instances, inclines slightly upward, in the style peculiar to poetry, as distinguished from prose; while the common error, as mentioned on a former page, allows the voice to fall at the end of the second line, with the tone of a cadence,-a fault which destroys the unity of the sentiment, and the connexion of the two main parts of the stanza, besides producing the bad effect of a “sing-song" style at the close, by the unavoidable repetition of the peculiar notes of cadence, when they come to be given in their appropriate place.
The student would do well, here, to turn back, before reading the subjoined example, and reperuse the remarks on the above-mentioned error, which commence at the foot of page 191. Let him then read the stanzas, so as to exemplify the common error, and, afterwards, read them in the manner indicated by the accents. The former reading will be found to have the effect of letting the voice drop at the end of the second line, as it properly does at the close of a sentence. By this tone, the poet's thought is made to seem complete at the end of the second line; and the third and fourth lines of the stanza are given as a new sentence, disconnected from the preceding; while by keeping the voice up, --with the moderate, suspensive
rising slide, which belongs to the tone of verse, in the expression of a thought partially, -not fully, -completed, the unity of the sentiment, and the connexion of the parts of the stanza, are preserved to the ear, and the monotonous, false, effect of the frequently recurring tone of cadence, is avoided.
Exercise in the Reading of Hymns.
Where saints immortal réign;
And pleasures banish pain.
There everlasting spring abides,
And never fading flowers :
This heavenly land from ours.
Sweet fields beyond the swelling flood
Stand dressed in living green;
While Jordan rolled between.
But timorous mortals start and shrink
To cross this narrow séa,
And fear to launch away.
Oh! could we make our doubts remove,
Those gloomy doubts that rise, -
With unbeclouded eyes,
Could we but climb where Moses stood,
And view the landscape ó'er,
Should fright us from the shore.