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False utterance, or impure tone, arises, in all instances, from the exclusive or undue, or, it may be, the imperfect use of one portion of the vocal organs, as is intimated in the designation of "pectoral," "guttural," or "nasal" tone.' True utterance and "pure tone," on the contrary, employ the whole apparatus of voice, in one consentaneous act, combining in one perfect sphere of sound, if it may be so expressed,the depth of effect produced by the resonance of the chest, the force and firmness imparted by the due compression of the throat, the clear, ringing property, caused by the due proportion of nasal effect, and the softening and sweetening influ ence of the head and mouth.
All voices, trained to this appropriate union of qualities, become pleasing to the ear, and produce dignity of effect. Genuine cultivation secures these properties, as habits of the voice, from childhood upward, or restores them when, through inadvertency, they have been lost. But to preserve, or recover them, much training and much preparatory discipline become necessary. Exercises, such as form the preliminary steps in the study of vocal music, are among the readiest and surest means of attaining that skill in the management and control of the organs and the breath, which is indispensable to purity of tone. See, for this purpose, the exercises and directions by Professor Webb, at the close of this volume.
"Pure tone" exists in two forms, "subdued," and "moderate" force the former implying the repressing power of an emotion which quiets utterance; the latter being, as its name implies, a medium of style.
The elocutionary practice best adapted to the formation of pure and smooth quality of voice, in the "subdued " form, consists principally in careful repetition of the tabular exercises on the "tonic " elements of the language, and the utterance of syllables and words, containing long vowels, and in the reading and recitation of passages of poetry marked by the prevalence of the expressive tones of pathos, solemnity, and tranquillity, as here exemplified.
The following exercises should be practised with the closest attention to the perfect purity of vocal sound, as associated with the spirit of deep-felt but gentle emotion. The perfect tranquillity and regularity of the breathing, and the cautious
1 These terms are used not in strict propriety,- -as the larynx is the immediate source of all vocal sounds, but for the description of apparent effects. The sound of the voice is made up of a note, or tone, and its resonance. former comes directly from the larynx; the latter from the adjoining cavities of the chest, the pharynx, the mouth, the nostrils, and the interior of the head.
and sparing emission of the breath, are points of the utmost moment to the pure and perfectly liquid formation of voice. The mode of utterance required in the following exercises is "effusion," not "expulsion" or "explosion," a gentle, continuous emission of sound, articulate, but very soft; as it always is in the utterance of subdued and chastened emotion.
EXAMPLES OF "PURE TONE."
I. "SUBDUED," or SOFTENED FORCE.
Example 1.- Pathos.
FROM THE BURIAL OF ARNOLD.- Willis.
"Tread lightly! for 't is beautiful,
That blue-veined eyelid's sleep,
SOLILOQUY OF DOUGLAS.-Home.
"This is the place,—the centre of the grove ;-
In such a place as this, at such an hour,-
FROM LINES WRITTEN IN A HIGHLAND GLEN. — Wilson.
"Oh! that this lovely vale were mine!
Perfect purity of tone is indispensable not only to the effect of "subdued" force, which corresponds to the gentle style of passages marked "piano" in music, and has been exemplified in the preceding exercises, but, likewise, to that degree of force which may be termed moderate, in contradistinction to the energetic style of declamation, the bold tones of impassioned recitation, or, on the other hand, the suppressed or softened utterance of subdued emotion. "Moderate force is a convenient designation of the usual utterance of didactic sentiment, in the form of essays or scientific and literary discourses, doctrinal and practical sermons, and other forms of address, not distinguished by vivid narration, graphic description, or impassioned feeling.
The style of utterance in the "moderate" force of "pure tone," is gentle "expulsion," with a clear "radical movement," which keeps it from subsiding into mere "effusion," and yet does not extend to "explosion." The degree of force implied in this technical use of the word "moderate," is merely that which audible utterance, distinct articulation, and intelligible expression, demand for the ordinary purposes of public speaking, in those forms which address themselves to the understanding rather than the heart, and in which the speaker's great object in communication, is to be understood, rather than to be felt. "Pure tone" is, in these circumstances, of the utmost value to easy, distinct, and appropriate utterance; and any departure from it not only jars upon the ear, but impairs the clearness of the speaker's articulation, and detracts from the proper dignity of public address,- an exercise usually implying culture and taste on the part of the speaker.
Another consideration of great moment, in connection with this branch of elocution, is the unspeakable advantage of " pure tone,' as a relief to the organs of the reader or speaker. The voice which obeys the laws of " pure tone," easily fills a vast space. The organic act becomes, in such cases, a spontaneous emission of sound, -like the act of singing, when appropriately performed, — free from every jarring, agitating, irregular impulse, and therefore not attended with labor or fatigue. The skilful public speaker, like the skilful singer, gives forth his voice in those clear, smooth, and pure tones which make the function of utterance a pleasure and not a pain, and which make organic exertion a salutary instead of an unhealthful process. It is as true of speech as of any other muscular process, that appropriate practice gives "the sleight" of execution, in consequence of which, powerful and long-sustained exertion is rendered an easy task.
"Moderate force," as a technical designation in elocution, exhibits pure tone in the following gradations.
The "grave" style differs from the "solemn" in the fact that the former is not marked by "effusive" or "subdued" force, but on the contrary, assumes something of the "expulsive" tone of firmness and authority, although in a gentle and moderate style. The "grave" style differs farther from the solemn," in not descending to so low a pitch,—as solemnity is not so deep-toned in its utterance as awe, nor awe so deep as horror.
The disturbing cause which usually vitiates the purity of tone in grave" style, is a false, hollow, pectoral voice, which merely murmurs in the chest, without coming forth impressively to the ear. The deep effect of solemnity, or the sepulchral tone of horror, is, in this way, sometimes produced instead of the moderate character of a merely "grave" utterance.
The learner, after having practised the example of "grave" style, should repeat, in that tone, all the "tonic" elements,then, a selection from the tabular exercises on words; so as to acquire a perfect command of the force and pitch of "grave” style, as differing from the "solemn," on the one hand, and from the "serious," on the other.
ETERNITY OF GOD.- Greenwood.
"The Throne of Eternity is a throne of mercy and love:
God has permitted and invited us to repose ourselves and our hopes on that which alone is everlasting and unchangeable. We shall shortly finish our allotted time on earth, even if it should be unusually prolonged. We shall leave behind us all which is now familiar and beloved; and a world of other days and other men will be entirely ignorant that once we lived. But the same unalterable Being will still preside over the universe, through all its changes; and from his remembrance we shall never be blotted. We can never be where He is not, nor where he sees and loves and upholds us not. He is our Father and our God forever. He takes us from earth, that He may lead us to heaven, that He may refine our nature from all its principles of corruption, share with us His own immortality, admit us to His everlasting habitation, and crown us with His eternity."
This form of utterance differs from the preceding, in not possessing so low a pitch. It is a still milder form of the same general effect. The fault usually exhibited in "serious" style, is nearly the same with that mentioned above: it substitutes the deep and full-toned notes of the "grave" style for the moderate and less-marked character of the merely "serious." The purity of tone, in this style, is usually marred by the same cause as in the preceding instance of the grave" utterance. The beauty and gentleness of the tone of serious feeling, are thus lost; and the "expression" is untrue to the intended effect.
The following example requires attention and careful practice, to preserve its exact pitch and appropriate force.
When the "serious" tone has come fully under the student's command, by practice on the exercise subjoined, the repetition of the elements, syllables, and words, will serve to fix it definitely in the memory.
THE BEAUTY OF VIRTUE. - Blair.
"There is no virtue without a characteristic beauty to