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in the eruptive curse of furious anger, in the abrupt exclamation of high-wrought courage, and in the burst of frantic grief. In reading and recitation, it belongs appropriately to the highest ecstatic effects of lyric and dramatic poetry, as the language of intense passion.
Without the full command of this element, emotion becomes lifeless and ineffective in tone; and the inspired language of the poet dies upon the tongue.
To gain the full command of "explosive orotund" voice, the practice of the elements, of syllables, and words, in the tones of anger and terror, should be frequently repeated, along with the following and similar examples. A previous organic practice should also be repeatedly made, on the mechanical exercise of abrupt and loud coughing, which is the purest form of "explosive orotund.” The vocal elements and syllabic combinations should be repeated in the form of a sudden cough, at the opening of each sound. Laughing, -in its strongest and fullest style, is another natural form of explosive orotund ;" and the mechanical practice of the act is one of the most efficacious modes of imparting to the organs the power of instantaneous " explosion," required in the vivid expression of high-wrought feeling. These processes at once secure a vigorous state of the organs of voice, and a round and compacted form of sound. No exercise is so effectual for strengthening weak organs, or imparting energy to tone, as the "explosive orotund" utterance. Like all other powerful forms of exertion, it should not, at first, be carried very far; neither should it be practised without a due interspersing of the gentler and softer exercises of voice. Pursued exclusively, it would harden the voice, and render it dry and unpleasing in its quality. Intermingled with the other modes of practice, it secures thorough-going force and clearness of voice, and permanent vigor and elasticity of organs.
Examples of "Explosive Orotund."
1. Courage. ("Explosive" Shouting.)
"Strike for the sires who left you free!
ANTONY, [TO THE CONSPIRATORS.]-Shakspeare. "Villains! you did not threat, when your vile daggers Hacked one another in the sides of Cæsar!
You showed your teeth like apes, and fawned like hounds,
FROM HALLECK'S MARCO BOZZARIS.
"To arms!—they come!—the Greek, the Greek!"
4. Hurry and Commotion.
MACBETH TO HIS OFFICER.-Shakspeare.
"Send out more horses,-skirr the country round; Hang those that talk of fear!— Give me mine armor."
"" ASPIRATED QUALITY."
The "qualities" of voice which are most frequently exemplified in reading and speaking, are those which have been defined and exemplified, under the designations of " pure tone" and "orotund." Deviations from purity of tone, are usually to be regarded as faults of inadvertency or of personal habit. Still, there are some classes of emotions, which, from their peculiar nature, require, as one element in their "expression," an aspirated quality," or that in which, from the forcible character of the feeling, operating with a corresponding effect on the organs, more breath is expelled from the trachea, in the act of utterance, than is converted into sound by the exertion of the larynx. The stream of air which the excited action of the expulsory muscles, throws out, under the influence of certain passions, becomes too wide and too powerful to be moulded by the glottis and controlled by the vocal chords, which, for the moment, become, as it were, either paralyzed or convulsed, and unable to act with effect. Hence a rushing sound of the breath escaping, unvocalized, is heard along with the partially vocalized sounds by which such passions are expressed. The half-whispering voice of fear, and the harsh, breathing sound of anger, are examples in point, in the extremes of "expression."
The agitating character of these and similar emotions, disturbs the play of the organs, and not only prevents, in utterance, the effect of purity of tone, which is always connected with comparative tranquillity of feeling, but causes, by "aspirated quality," or redundant breath superadded to vocal sound, a positive impurity of tone, which has a grating effect on the ear, - somewhat as takes place when we hear a person attempting to play on a wind instrument which has been cracked, and which allows a hissing sound of the breath to escape along with the musical notes.
The emotions which are naturally expressed by the strongest form of "aspirated quality," are principally of that class which an eminent writer on the passions has denominated "malignant," from their peculiar character and effect, as contrasted with those of others which he denominates "genial.” The former class includes fear, hatred, aversion, horror, anger, and all similar feelings: the latter, love, joy, serenity, tenderness, pity, &c.
"Aspirated quality," like other forms of utterance, may exist, according to the force of emotion, in the three gradations of "effusive," "expulsive," and "explosive" voice. The muscular action attending utterance in the form of " aspirated quality," is usually such as to blend with the "aspiration" either a "pectoral" or a "guttural” resonance, very · strongly marked. Hence these properties of voice, which would, in the expression of other emotions, be mere organic faults, now become requisites to effect, and are, therefore, comparative excellences. They require, accordingly, special study and practice as modes of "expressive" utterance.
The "aspirated quality," in the "pectoral" form, belongs usually to despair, deep-seated anger, revenge, excessive fear, horror, and other deep and powerful emotions.
Other emotions, however, besides those which may be designated as "malignant," partake of "aspirated quality." Awe, may be mentioned as an example, which, when profound, is always marked by a slight aspiration, and a 66 pectoral quality." Joy and grief, too, become "aspirated" when highly characterized. Ardor and intense earnestness of emotion, are always "aspirated." The fervent expression of love, and even of devotion, admits, accordingly, of "aspirated" utterance. "Aspiration," like "tremor," thus becomes a natural sign of extremes in feeling; and these two properties united, form the acmé or highest point of " expression."
The aspirated quality," in the "guttural" form, belongs, in various degrees, to all malignant emotions. In its stronger expression, it gives a harsh, animal, and sometimes even fiend-like character to human utterance, as in the malice
and revenge of Shylock. In a reduced, though still highly impassioned degree, it gives its peculiar choking effect to the utterance of anger.
In the yell of rage and fury," aspiration" is displaced by perfectly pure tone" of the loudest sound, — by a law of man's organization, which it is unnecessary here to analyze, but which seems to make all the extremes, or utmost reaches of human feeling, musical in their effect. Joy, and the extremes of both grief and anger, may be mentioned as illustrations.
Aversion, disgust, displeasure, impatience, dissatisfaction, and discontent, all, in various degrees, combine "aspirated" utterance and "guttural quality."
The due "aspiration" of the voice, in all the emotions which have been enumerated as requiring that property, is a point indispensable to the natural and appropriate "expression" of emotion, and consequently an important accomplishment of good elocution, whether in reading or speaking.
To learners who have practised the exercises in whispering, which is the extreme of "aspiration," this quality will not prove difficult of acquisition. It will be of great service, however, to power of
expression," to render the command of "aspiration" easy by frequent repetition on elements, syllables, and words, selected for the purpose, and on the examples contained in the "exercises on aspirated quality," in the Appendix.
A PRIMARY characteristic of utterance, as expressive of emotion, is the degree of its energy, or force. The effect of any feeling on sympathy, is naturally inferred from the degree of force with which the sound of voice, in the utterance of that feeling, falls upon the ear of the hearer. The cause of this impression upon the mind, is, obviously, the law of organic sympathy, by which one part of the human frame naturally responds to another. A powerful emotion not only affects the heart and the lungs, and the other involuntary agents of life and of expression, but starts the expulsory muscles into voluntary action, and produces voice, the natural indication and language of feeling. The degree of force, therefore, in a vocal sound, is intuitively taken as the measure of the emotion which causes it. Except, only, those cases in which the force of feeling paralyzes, as it were, the organs of the voice, and suggests the opposite measure of infer
ence, by which a choked and struggling utterance, a suppressed or inarticulate voice, or even absolute silence, becomes the index to the heart.
The command of all degrees of force of voice, must evidently be essential to true and natural expression, whether in reading or speaking. Appropriate utterance ranges through all stages of vocal sound, from the whisper of fear and the murmur of repose, to the boldest swell of vehement declamation, and the shout of triumphant courage. But to give forth any one of these or the intermediate tones, with just and impressive effect, the organs must be disciplined by appropriate exercise and frequent practice. For every day's observation proves to us, that mere natural instinct and animal health, with all the aids of informing intellect, and inspiring emotion, and exciting circumstances, are not sufficient to produce the effects of eloquence, or even of adequate utterance.
The overwhelming power of undisciplined feeling, may not only impede but actually prevent the right action of the instruments of speech; and the novice who has fondly dreamed, in his closet, that nothing more is required for effective expression, than a genuine feeling, finds, to his discomfiture, that it is, perhaps, the very intensity of his feeling that hinders his utterance; and it is not till experience and practice have done their work, that he learns the primary lesson, that force of emotion needs a practised force of will, to balance and regulate it, and a disciplined control over the organs, to give it appropriate utterance.
The want of due training for the exercise of public reading or speaking, is evinced in the habitual undue loudness of some speakers, and the inadequate force of others; the former subjecting their hearers to unnecessary pain, and the latter to disappointment and uneasiness.
Force of utterance, however, has other claims on the attention of students of elocution, besides those which are involved in correct ex pression. It is, in its various gradations, the chief means of imparting strength to the vocal organs, and power to the voice itself. The due practice of exercises in force of utterance, does for the voice what athletic exercise does for the muscles of the body: it imparts the two great conditions of power, - vigor and pliancy.
"Vocal gymnastics" afford no discipline more useful than that which accompanies the daily practice of the various gradations of force. Exercises of this description, enable the public speaker to retain perpetually at command the main element of vivid and impressive utterance; and they furnish to young persons of studious and sedentary habit the means of thorough invigoration for the energetic use of the voice, required in professional exertions.
Vocal exercises of the kind now suggested, are also invaluable aids to health, and cheerfulness, and mental activity, in all who practise them, and are not less useful in training the voice for the gentle utterance required in the practice of reading in the domestic or the social circle, than in invigorating it for public performances.
The effect of vocal training in the department of force, is greatly augmented, when the bolder exercises are performed in the open air