The Ontario Readers.
THE HIGH SCHOOL READER.
AUTHORIZED FOR USE IN THE PUBLIC AND HIGH SCHOOLS AND COLLEGIATE INSTITUTES OF ONTARIO BY THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION.
Toronto: ROSE PUBLISHING COMPANY. 1886.
Entered according to Act of Parliament of Canada, in the year one thousand eight hundred and eighty-six, by the MINISTER OF EDUCATION for Ontario, in the Office of the Minister of Agriculture.
PRINTED AND BOUND BY HUNTER, ROSE & CO., TORONTO.
The selections in the HIGH SCHOOL READER have been chosen with the belief that to pupils of such advancement as is required for entrance into High Schools and Collegiate Institutes, oral reading should be taught from the best literature, inasmuch as it not only affords a wide range of thought and sentiment, but it also demands for its appropriate vocal interpretation such powers of sympathy and appreciation as are developed only by culture; and it is to impart culture that these institutions of higher learning have been established.
Experience has shown that it is from their ordinary reading books that pupils obtain their chief practical acquaintance with literature, and the selections here presented have been made with this in remembrance. They have been taken from the writings of authors of acknowledged representative character; and they have been arranged for the most part chronologically, so that pupils may unconsciously obtain some little insight into the history of the development of the literary art. They have also been so chosen as to convey a somewhat fair idea of the relative value and productivity of authorship in the three great English-speaking communities of the world—the mother countries, our neighbours' country, and our own.
While a limited space, if nothing else, prevents the collection here made from being a complete anthology, yet it does pretend to represent the authors selected in characteristic moods, and (in so far as is possible in a school book, and a reading text-book) to present a somewhat fair perspective of the world of authorship. It may be said that, if this be so, some names are conspicuously absent: McGee, Canada's poet-orator; Parkman, who has given to our country a place in the portraiture of nations; William Morris, the chief of the modern school of romanticism; Tyndall, who of the literature of science has made an art; Lamb, daintiest of humorists; Collins, "whose range of flight," as Swinburne says, "was the highest of his generation." Either from lack of space, or from some inherent unsuitableness in such selections as might otherwise have been made, it was found impossible to represent these names worthily; but as they are all more or less adequately represented in the Fourth Reader, the teacher who may wish to correct the perspective here presented may refer his pupils to the pieces from these authors there given. It may be added, too, that the body of recent literature is so enormous, that no adequate representation of it (at any rate as regards quantity) is possible within the limits of one book.
The selections in poetry, with but three necessary exceptions, are complete wholes, and represent, as fairly as single pieces can, the respective merits and styles of their authors. The selections in prose cannot, of course, lay claim to this excellence; but they are all complete in themselves, or have been made so by short introductions; and it is hoped that they too are not unfairly representative of their authors. In many cases they are of somewhat unusual length; by this, however, they gain in interest and in representative character.
In some of the prose selections, passages have occasionally been omitted, either because they interfered with the main narrative, or because, as they added nothing to it, to omit them would be a gain of space. In most cases these omissions are indicated by small asterisks.
All the selections, both in prose and in verse, have been made with constant reference to their suitableness for the teaching of reading. They are fitted to exemplify every mode of expression, except, perhaps, that appropriate to a few of the stronger passions. It is not pretended that they are all simple and easy. Many of them will require much study and preparation before they can be read with that precision of expression which is necessary to perfect intelligibility. The chronological arrangement precludes grading; the teacher will decide in what order the selections are to be read.
The introductory chapter is mainly intended to assist the teacher in imparting to his pupils a somewhat scientific knowledge of the art of reading. Of course the teacher will choose for himself his mode of dealing with the chapter, but it has been written with the thought that he should use it as a convenient series of texts, which he might expand and illustrate in accordance with his opportunities and judgment. Examples for illustration are indispensable to the successful study of the principles described, and they should be sought for and obtained by the teacher and pupils together (whenever possible they should be taken from the READER), and should be kept labeled for reference and practice. If the application of these principles be thus practically made by the pupils themselves, they will receive a much more lasting impression of their meaning and value than if the examples were given to them at no cost of thought or search on their part.
To the teacher it is recommended that he should not be contented with the short and necessarily imperfect exposition of the art of reading therein given. The more familiar he is with the scientific principles the more successfully will he be able to direct the studies and practices of his pupils. Works on elocution are numerous and accessible. Dr. Rush's Philosophy of the Voice is perhaps the foundation of all subsequent good work in the exposition of voice culture. Professor Murdoch's Analytic Elocution is an exhaustive and scholarly treatise based upon it, and to the plan of treatment therein fully developed the practical part of the introductory chapter has largely conformed.
The pleasing task remains of thanking those authors who have so kindly responded to requests for permission to use selections from their works: to President Wilson, for a sonnet from Spring Wild Roses, and for Our Ideal; to Mr. Charles Sangster, for two sonnets from Hesperus; to Mr. John Reade, for two poems from The Prophecy of Merlin; to Mr. Charles Mair, for the scenes from Tecumseh; and to Professor C. G. D. Roberts, for To Winter.
To Miss A. T. Jones, thanks are due for permission to use Abigail Becker, recently published in the Century Magazine. The heroic acts described in this poem seem so wonderful, so greatly superior to woman's strength, even to human strength and endurance, to accomplish, that were it possible to doubt its truthfulness, doubt one certainly would. Nevertheless the poem is not only strictly in accordance with the facts, it is even within and below them.
(The Titles of the Selections in Poetry are printed in Italics.)
NUMBER. TITLE. AUTHOR. PAGE.
I. King Solomon's Prayer and Blessing at the Dedication of the Temple. HOLY BIBLE 33
II. Invitation. HOLY BIBLE 39
III. The Trial Scene in the "Merchant of Venice." SHAKESPEARE 40
IV. Of Boldness. BACON 53
V. To Daffodils. HERRICK 55
VI. Of Contentedness in all Estates and Accidents. TAYLOR 56
VII. To Lucasta, on Going to the Wars. LOVELACE 61
VIII. Angling. WALTON 62
IX. On the Morning of Christ's Nativity. MILTON 67
X. Character of Lord Falkland. CLARENDON 76
XI. Veni, Creator Spiritus. DRYDEN 81
XII. Lines printed under the Portrait of Milton. DRYDEN 82
XIII. Reason DRYDEN 83
XIV. On the Love of Country as a Principle of Action. STEELE 83
XV. The Golden Scales. ADDISON 88
XVI. Misjudged Hospitality. SWIFT 93
XVII. From the "Essay on Man." POPE 96
XVIII. Rule, Britannia. THOMSON 101
XIX. The First Crusade. HUME 102
XX. The Bard. GRAY 111
XXI. On an Address to the Throne concerning Affairs in America. CHATHAM 116
XXII. From "The Vicar of Wakefield." GOLDSMITH 127
XXIII. Meeting of Johnson with Wilkes. BOSWELL 133
XXIV. The Policy of the Empire in the First Century. GIBBON 142
XXV. On the Attacks upon his Pension. BURKE 147
XXVI. Two Eighteenth Century Scenes. COWPER 155
XXVII. From "The School for Scandal." SHERIDAN 159
XXVIII. The Cotter's Saturday Night. BURNS 171
XXIX. The Land o' the Leal. LADY NAIRN 177
XXX. The Trial by Combat at the Diamond of the Desert. SCOTT 179
XXXI. To a Highland Girl. WORDSWORTH 202
XXXII. France: an Ode. COLERIDGE 205
XXXIII. Complaint and Reproof. COLERIDGE 208
XXXIV. The Well of St. Keyne. SOUTHEY 209
XXXV. The Isles of Greece. BYRON 211
XXXVI. Go where Glory Waits Thee. MOORE 214
XXXVII. Dear Harp of My Country. MOORE 215
XXXVIII. Come, ye Disconsolate. MOORE 216
XXXIX. On a Lock of Milton's Hair. HUNT 217
XL. The Glove and the Lions. HUNT 217
XLI. The Cloud. SHELLEY 219
XLII. On First Looking into Chapman's Homer. KEATS 222
XLIII. On the Grasshopper and the Cricket. KEATS 222
XLIV. The Power and Danger of the Caesars. DE QUINCEY 223
XLV. Unthoughtfulness. DR. ARNOLD 227
XLVI. The Bridge of Sighs. HOOD 234
XLVII. A Parental Ode to my Son. HOOD 237
XLVIII. Metaphysics. HALIBURTON 239
XLIX. Indian Summer. LOVER 246
L. To Helen. PRAED 246
LI. Horatius. MACAULAY 247
LII. The Raven. POE 258
LIII. David Swan—A Fantasy. HAWTHORNE 262
LIV. My Kate. MRS. BROWNING 270
LV. A Dead Rose. MRS. BROWNING 271
LVI. To the Evening Wind. BRYANT 272
LVII. Death of the Protector. CARLYLE 274
LVIII. Each and All. EMERSON 282
LIX. Waterloo. LEVER 284
LX. The Diver. LYTTON 294
LXI. The Plague of Locusts. NEWMAN 299
LXII. The Cane-bottom'd Chair. THACKERAY 306
LXIII. The Reconciliation. THACKERAY 308
LXIV. The Island of the Scots. AYTOUN 315
LXV. The Gambling Party. BEACONSFIELD 321
LXVI. The Pickwickians Disport themselves on Ice. DICKENS 327
LXVII. The Hanging of the Crane. LONGFELLOW 336
LXVIII. Earthworms. DARWIN 342
LXIX. "As Ships, Becalmed at Eve." CLOUGH 346
LXX. Duty. CLOUGH 347
LXXI. Sonnets. HEAVYSEGE 349
LXXII. Dr. Arnold at Rugby. DEAN STANLEY 350
LXXIII. Ode to the North-east Wind. KINGSLEY 354
LXXIV. From "The Mill on the Floss." GEORGE ELIOT 356
LXXV. The Cloud Confines. ROSSETTI 359
LXXVI. Barbara Frietchie. WHITTIER 361
LXXVII. Contentment. HOLMES 364
LXXVIII. The British Constitution. GLADSTONE 367
LXXIX. The Lord of Burleigh. TENNYSON 370
LXXX. "Break, Break, Break." TENNYSON 373
LXXXI. The "Revenge". TENNYSON 373
LXXXII. Herve Riel. BROWNING 378
LXXXIII. Sonnet. DR. WILSON 383
LXXXIV. Our Ideal. DR. WILSON 383
LXXXV. From the Apology of Socrates. JOWETT 384
LXXXVI. The Empire of the Caesars. FROUDE 389
LXXXVII. Of the Mystery of Life. RUSKIN 390
LXXXVIII. The Robin. LOWELL 397
LXXXIX. The Old Cradle. LOCKER 400
XC. Rugby Chapel. MATT. ARNOLD 401
XCI. In the Orillia Woods. SANGSTER 408
XCII. Morals and Character in the Eighteenth Century. GOLDWIN SMITH 409
XCIII. A Liberal Education. HUXLEY 412
XCIV. Too Late. MRS. CRAIK 416
XCV. Amor Mundi. MISS ROSSETTI 417
XCVI. Toujours Amour. STEDMAN 418
XCVII. England. ALDRICH 419
XCVIII. Rococo. ALDRICH 420
XCIX. Kings of Men. JOHN READE 420
C. Thalatta! Thalatta! JOHN READE 421
CI. The Forsaken Garden. SWINBURNE 422
CII. A Ballad To Queen Elizabeth of the Spanish Armada. DOBSON 424
CIII. Circe. DOBSON 426
CIV. Scenes from "Tecumseh." MAIR 426
CV. The Return of the Swallows. GOSSE 437
CVI. Dawn Angels. MISS ROBINSON 438
CVII. Le Roi Est Mort. MISS ROBINSON 439
CVIII. To Winter. ROBERTS 440
CIX. Abigail Becker. MISS JONES 442
FIRST LINES. AUTHOR. PAGE.
He that cannot see well BACON 54
Stone walls do not a prison make LOVELACE 55
When the heart is right BERKELEY 87
It must be so—Plato, thou reasonest well ADDISON 92
England, with all thy faults, I love thee still COWPER 154
Now stir the fire, and close the shutters fast COWPER 158
Oh, wad some power the giftie gie us BURNS 170
Life! we've been long together MRS. BARBAULD 178
Rough wind, that moanest loud SHELLEY 218
There is a book, who runs may read KEBLE 233
There is no great and no small EMERSON 245
Wellington, Thy great work is but begun ROSSETTI 293
Sacrifice and self-devotion LORD HOUGHTON 320
Flower in the crannied wall TENNYSON 366
It fortifies my soul to know CLOUGH 369
And yet, dear heart! remembering thee WHITTIER 372
There is no land like England TENNYSON 377
The Summum Pulchrum rests in heaven above CLOUGH 382
Be of good cheer then, my dear Crito SOCRATES 388
What know we greater than the soul TENNYSON 407
That is best blood that hath most iron in't LOWELL 411
Such kings of shreds have woo'd and won her ALDRICH 419
INDEX OF AUTHORS.
ADDISON, JOSEPH 88, 92
ALDRICH, THOMAS BAILEY 419, 420
ARNOLD, MATTHEW 401
ARNOLD, THOMAS 227
AYTOUN, WM. EDMONDSTOUNE 315
BACON, LORD (FRANCIS) 53, 54
BARBAULD, ANNA LAETITIA 178
BEACONSFIELD, LORD (BENJAMIN DISRAELI) 321
BERKELEY, BISHOP (GEORGE) 87
BIBLE, THE HOLY 33, 39
BOSWELL, JAMES 133
BROWNING, ELIZABETH BARRETT 270, 271
BROWNING, ROBERT 378
BRYANT, WILLIAM CULLEN 272
BURKE, EDMUND 147
BURNS, ROBERT 170, 171
BYRON, LORD (GEORGE GORDON NOEL) 211
CARLYLE, THOMAS 274
CHATHAM, LORD (WM. PITT) 116
CLARENDON, LORD 76
CLOUGH, ARTHUR HUGH 346, 347, 369, 382
COLERIDGE, SAMUEL TAYLOR 205, 208
COWPER, WILLIAM 154, 155, 158
CRAIK, DINAH MARIA MULOCK 416
DARWIN, CHARLES 342
DE QUINCEY, THOMAS 223
DICKENS, CHARLES 327
DOBSON, AUSTIN 424, 426
DRYDEN, JOHN 81, 82, 83
ELIOT, GEORGE (MARIAN EVANS CROSS) 356
EMERSON, RALPH WALDO 245, 282
FROUDE, JAMES ANTHONY 389
GIBBON, EDWARD 142
GLADSTONE, WILLIAM EWART 367
GOLDSMITH, OLIVER 127
GOSSE, EDMUND WILLIAM 437
GRAY, THOMAS 111
HALIBURTON, THOMAS CHANDLER 239
HAWTHORNE, NATHANIEL 262
HEAVYSEGE, CHARLES 349
HERRICK, ROBERT 55
HOLMES, OLIVER WENDELL 364
HOOD, THOMAS 234, 237
HOUGHTON, LORD (RICHARD MONCKTON MILNES) 320
HUME, DAVID 102
HUNT, LEIGH 217
HUXLEY, THOMAS HENRY 412
JONES, AMANDA T. 412
JOWETT, BENJAMIN 384
KEATS, JOHN 222
KEBLE, JOHN 233
KINGSLEY, CHARLES 354
LEVER, CHARLES JAMES 284
LOCKER, FREDERICK 400
LONGFELLOW, HENRY WADSWORTH 336
LOVELACE, RICHARD 55, 61
LOVER, SAMUEL 246
LOWELL, JAMES RUSSELL 397, 411
LYTTON, LORD (EDWARD BULWER) 294
MACAULAY, LORD (THOMAS BABINGTON) 247
MAIR, CHARLES 426
MILTON, JOHN 67
MOORE, THOMAS 214, 215, 216
NAIRN, BARONESS (CAROLINA OLIPHANT) 177
NEWMAN, CARDINAL (JOHN HENRY) 299
POE, EDGAR ALLAN 258
POPE, ALEXANDER 96
PRAED, WINTHROP MACKWORTH 246
READE, JOHN 420, 421
ROBERTS, CHARLES GEORGE DOUGLAS 440
ROBINSON, A. MARY F. 438, 439
ROSSETTI, CHRISTINA GEORGINA 417
ROSSETTI, DANTE GABRIEL 293, 359
RUSKIN, JOHN 390
SANGSTER, CHARLES 408
SCOTT, SIR WALTER 179
SHAKESPEARE, WILLIAM 40
SHELLEY, PERCY BYSSHE 218, 219
SHERIDAN, RICHARD BRINSLEY 159
SMITH, GOLDWIN 409
SOUTHEY, ROBERT 209
STANLEY, DEAN (ARTHUR PENRHYN) 350
STEDMAN, EDMUND CLARENCE 418
STEELE, SIR RICHARD 83
SWIFT, JONATHAN 93
SWINBURNE, ALGERNON CHARLES 422
TAYLOR, BISHOP (JEREMY) 56
TENNYSON, LORD (ALFRED) 366, 370, 373, 377, 407
THACKERAY, WILLIAM MAKEPEACE 306, 308
THOMSON, JAMES 101
WALTON, IZAAK 62
WHITTIER, JOHN GREENLEAF 361, 372
WILSON, PRESIDENT (DANIEL) 383
WORDSWORTH, WILLIAM 202
The ability to read well cannot be attained without much pains and study. For even a moderate proficiency in the art of reading two requirements are essential: (1) A cultivated mind quick to perceive the sequence of thoughts which the words to be read logically express, and equally quick in its power sympathetically to appreciate the sentiment with which the words are informed—the feeling, emotion, passion, which pervades them—but which they suggest rather than actually portray; and (2) a voice so perfected that its utterances fall upon the ear of the listener with pleasing effect, and so flexible that it can be managed skilfully to convey to him the full meaning and force of all the ideas and sentiments formally expressed by the words or latent in them. Of these two requirements the first is undeniably the more important; and that training in the art of reading in which the close, persistent, and liberal study of literature for its own sake has not proceeded pari passu with the requisite exercises for the development of the powers of the voice and with the study of the principles of vocal interpretation, has resulted in a meretricious accomplishment of very illusive value.
Nor will the special study and accurate mastery of a number of individual selections give that readiness of mental apprehension which is indispensable to a good reader. The ability quickly to recognize word-forms and to utter them with ease, to catch the drift of ideas, and to feel ready sympathy with change and flow in sentiment, is not to be had without a long course of wide and varied reading. No one can become a good reader by passing through, no matter how carefully, a set of reading text-books merely. Pupils should be encouraged to read for themselves. They should, of course, be guided in their selection of reading matter, and they should be helped to acquire a taste for that which is purest and most helpful in literature; but unless they form a habit of reading, and of reading thoughtfully and with precision, they can never become good readers.
In oral reading, readiness and accuracy depend largely upon the alertness and flexibility of the vocal organs, and to secure ease and excellence in the working of their delicate mechanism much practice is necessary. The pupil should persistently read aloud. A practice of this sort, watchfully pursued, with a reasonable degree of self-discipline in the correction or avoidance of errors, is helpful not alone in obtaining a mastery of the reading art, and in mental culture,—it is equally beneficial as a physical exercise. It will, however, be much more efficacious of good, both of mind and of body, if pursued in accordance with those principles of voice culture and of vocal interpretation, which experience and special study have established.
But only a small proportion of all the reading that is done, is oral reading. It is silent reading that is universally employed as an instrument of study, of business, of amusement. As a rule, however, very little provision is made for the acquirement of a facility in silent reading; this, it is thought, will result as a by-product of the regular training in oral reading. Almost the reverse of this is true. Ease and flexibility of articulation, quickness in catching the drift of ideas, and readiness in varying the tones of the voice in the utterance of words so as impressively to portray their latent sentiment,—all this is possible with those alone to whom difficult word-forms, complex sentence-structures, and the infinite variety and play of thought and emotion, are more or less familiar through such a wide range of reading as only the silent prosecution of it makes possible.
The art of oral reading, however, though not so generally needful as silent reading, is still of great importance to everyone in respect of its practical utility simply,—though few of those whose duty it is to read aloud in public, do so either with accuracy or grace; as an accomplishment which may be used to give pleasure to others, it is, when perfectly possessed, not excelled by any other; so that as an acquisition which puts one in a position of vantage either for benefitting one's self or for bestowing delight or benefit upon others, it is worth every necessary struggle for its attainment.
One of the most valuable results of oral reading when systematically pursued as a school study, is the effect which it has in improving the tones of the voice for ordinary conversation and discourse, and in securing some measure of orthoepy as a fixed habit of utterance. Conversational speech is notoriously slovenly. The sonority of our vowels is lost, and their distinguishing qualities are obscured; and with unnoticed frequency our consonants are either dropped or amalgamated with one another. Yet, while amendment in these matters is to be striven for, there is nothing that the teacher who wishes to establish habits of orthoepy has to be more watchful in guarding against, than bestowing upon his pupils an affected or mincing utterance, all the more ludicrous and objectionable, it may be, in that a certain set of words are pronounced with over-nicety, while almost all others are left in a state of neglected vulgarity.
Too frequently the study of oral reading is pursued with reference solely to the prospective public use of the art in the declamation of prepared passages; and the elocution-master's science has been brought into some discredit by wide discrepancies between the performances of his pupils in their well-drilled and often hackneyed selections and their ability to read unfamiliar pieces at sight. It is quite true that voice culture is greatly aided by the close study and frequent rendering of selections suitably chosen for the elocutionary difficulties which they present; but it should never be forgotten that good reading, the sort of reading which the schoolmaster should above all else endeavor to make his pupils proficient in, implies the ability so to read a plain account, a story, an oration, a play, or what not, at sight, with absolute correctness as to pronunciation, with such clearness of articulation and appropriateness of sentence utterance as will make it perfectly audible and intelligible to one's auditors, and with such suitable and impressive intonations as will put them in full possession of those emotions which may be said to be the essence or spirit of the piece;—and, moreover, to do all this with pleasure to one's hearers and with ease to one's self. Now as comparatively few readers are ever required to read in public, and as in the home-circle everyone ought to read, it is plain that the first duty of the teacher of elocution is to develop in his pupils a mastery of such a style of reading as is appropriate to small audiences; and, then, if he have time and opportunity, to extend and amplify the practice of his art so as to fit such as are capable of fuller mastery of it to appear before greater audiences. For though all voices are capable of being much improved through cultivation, few only can be adapted to the requirements of a large auditorium; and the care and attention which should be devoted to the benefit of all should not be spent for the advantage merely of the few.
And moreover, those practices and studies which voice culture and the attainment of a knowledge of the principles of vocal interpretation demand, may be pursued by all in common. That alone which is necessary for the public reader or orator, is a more extended, and, perhaps, a more earnest and thoughtful practice.
Although practices for the improvement of the voice cannot proceed far without attention to the principles of vocal interpretation, and though the study of the latter necessarily includes the former, yet for the sake of clearness the elementary principles of voice culture may be discussed separately from their application in the interpretation of thought and sentiment.
With respect both to articulation and expression the generic properties of the voice are five, namely: Quality, Pitch, Force, Time, Abruptness. Of these properties there are, of course, many modes or degrees, but the voice must, in every tone that it utters, manifest itself in some mode or other of each; and it is the possibility of infinite choice in the ways of combining the modes that gives to vocal expression its infinite possibility of variety. The principles of voice culture will be best understood, however, if these properties be considered separately.
Quality has reference to the kind of the voice in respect of its smoothness or roughness, sonority or thinness, musicalness or harshness; also in respect of the completeness of its vocality.
Pitch has reference to the degree of elevation or depression in what is called in music the scale. It may be used specifically, in reference to single tones or syllables (either as to their opening, or as to their whole utterance), or generally, as descriptive of the prevailing tone or note which the voice assumes in reading a sentence or passage.
Force has reference to the power or intensity with which the sounds of the voice are uttered. When force is used in the utterance of single syllables, in whole or in part, it is spoken of as Stress.
Time is rate of utterance. It is used with reference both to single syllables, and to phrases, sentences, and passages. In regard to single syllables it is sometimes called Quantity. In the consideration of time may be included that of pauses and rhythms.
Abruptness has reference to the relative suddenness with which syllables may be uttered. It may vary from the most delicate opening to a forcible explosion.
Vocality depends upon respiration. All exercises, therefore, which are effective in increasing the vigor, freedom, and elasticity of the breathing apparatus, may be taken as initiatory steps in voice culture; and, in moderation, they should be practised continually. Full, slow inspirations followed by slow, and, as far as possible, complete expirations; full, quick inspirations similarly followed; full inspirations followed by sudden and forcible expirations; full, deep inspirations, followed by slow, slightly but distinctly audible expirations, as in deep sighing; these and similar practices may be pursued. What is to be aimed at is to secure complete control of the breath, especially to the degree that, with perfect deliberateness, it can be equably and smoothly effused.
In all exercises where vocality is required it is best first to use the sound of ae, as in far, for in this sound the quality of the human voice is heard in most perfection, and in uttering it the vocal organs are most flexible and most easily adapt themselves to change. It may be preceded by the aspirate h, or by some consonant, as may be thought necessary.
In effective speaking or reading, with respect to the abruptness and rapidity of expiration there are three modes of utterance: the effusive, by which the voice is poured forth smoothly and equably, the expulsive and the explosive. Of these three modes the effusive is by far the most important, but the others, and especially the expulsive, have their uses also. These modes will be illustrated in the following exercise:
EXERCISE.—1. After a full and deliberate inspiration let the expiration of the element h be gently effected, until the lungs are exhausted—the aspiration coming from the very depths of the throat. Let this be repeated with the syllable haeh, audibly whispered. This is effusive utterance.
2. After a full and deliberate inspiration let the expiration of the element h be suddenly effected, the expiration being continued until the whispering sound vanishes in the bottom of the throat. Let this be repeated with the syllable haeh, audibly whispered. This is expulsive utterance.
3. Let the exercise be the same as in (2) except that the expiration is to be much more forcibly effected, and completed almost instantaneously. This is explosive utterance.
In the cultivation of the voice either one of two ends is generally kept in view—its improvement for speaking or its improvement for singing; but progress may be made towards both ends by the same study, and those exercises which benefit the singing voice benefit the speaking voice, and vice versa. The distinction between speaking tones and singing tones should be clearly understood. Musical tones are produced by isochronous (equal-timed) vibrations of the vocal organs continued for some length of time. Hence, a musical tone is a note, which may be prolonged at will without varying in pitch, either up or down. A speaking tone, on the contrary, is produced by vibrations which are not isochronous; it is not a note, properly so called, and can not be prolonged, without varying in pitch. Musical tones are discrete,—the voice passes from pitch to pitch through the intervals silently. In speaking, every tone, however short the time taken in uttering it, passes from one pitch to some other through an interval concretely, that is, with continuous vocality; though, with respect to one another, speech syllables, like notes in music, are discrete. This may be exemplified by uttering the words, "Where are you going?" In singing these words, they may be uttered on the same note, or on different notes, or, indeed, with different notes for the same word; but the voice skips from note to note through the intervals. In speaking the words, each is uttered with an inflection or intonation in which the voice varies in pitch, but passes through the interval concretely; the separate words, however, and the separate syllables (if there were any) being uttered discretely. Musical utterance might be graphically illustrated by a series of horizontal lines of less or greater length succeeding one another at different distances above or below a fixed horizontal line. In a similar notation for speech utterance the lines would all be curved, to represent the concrete passage through the various intervals. It is the concrete intonation of every syllable and monosyllabic word which gives to speech its distinctive character from music. Each syllable and monosyllabic word is called a concrete, and it is with the concrete in all its various possibilities of utterance that voice culture has mainly to do.
The intervals traversed by the voice in uttering the concrete are very variable. Using the musical scale for reference it may be said that in ordinary speech they are generally of but one, or, at most, two notes. In animated discourse or passionate utterance the intervals may be greater. For illustration, let the pronoun "I" be uttered in a tone of interrogative surprise; a concrete with a rising interval will be the result. The more the surprise is emphasized, especially if indignation be conjoined with it, the greater will be the interval that the voice passes through in uttering the concrete. If the word "lie" be given immediately after the pronoun with the same intensity of feeling, the voice discretely descends from the high pitch heard at the end of the utterance of the pronoun, and in uttering the next concrete, again ascends through an interval, of less or more extent according to the emphasis which is imparted to it.
Again, in speech of sorrow, murmuring, piteous complaint, and the like, concrete intervals of less extent than those used in ordinary discourse are often heard. Thus, if the sentence "Pity me, kind lady, I have no mother," be uttered with a plaintive expression, concretes with small intervals will be distinctly noticeable; but it will be also noticed that with respect to one another the syllables are discretely uttered, just as in the sentence where the concrete intervals were much greater.
Without intending a scientifically accurate and rigid statement, it may be said (again borrowing the terminology of music) that in ordinary speech the concretes are uttered with intervals of a second, or at most a third; that in very expressive or impassioned utterance intervals of a fifth or an octave are frequently used; and that the mode of progression from syllable to syllable is diatonic, that is, not concretely, but discretely from tone to tone; and further, that in plaintive language, the syllables are uttered concretely with intervals of a semitone only, but that the mode of progression from syllable to syllable is still discrete.
Sometimes, but rarely, syllables are uttered tremulously, or with a tremor; that is, with constituent intervals of less than a semitone, uttered discretely in rapid succession, and passing, in the aggregate, through an interval of more or less width. An exaggerated form of this utterance may be heard in the neighing of a horse.
EXERCISE.—1. Utter the syllable pae as a concrete, with rising and falling intervals, severally, of a second, third, fifth, and an octave; also with intervals of a semitone; also with a tremor. Let the exercise be varied so as to include many degrees of initial pitch. Use a diagram of a musical staff for reference.
2. Read with exaggerated impressiveness, "Am I to be your slave? No!"
In the pronunciation of the letter ā, as in pate, two sounds are heard: the first is that of the name of the letter, which is uttered with some degree of fulness; the second is that of ē in mete, but, as it were, tapering and vanishing;—in the meantime the voice traverses a rising interval of one tone, that is, of a second. The utterance of these two sounds, although the sounds themselves are distinct, is completely continuous, from the full opening of the one to the vanishing close of the other, and it is impossible to say where the first ends and where the last begins. It is essential, however, to consider them separately. The first is called the radical movement, and the second the vanishing movement; and these together constitute the entire concrete.
All the vowels do not equally well exemplify in their utterance a distinction of sound in their radical and vanishing movements, because some vowel sounds are less diphthongal than others, and some, again, are pure monophthongs; but these two movements and the concrete variation of pitch, the result of one impulse of the voice, are the essential structure of every syllable, and are characteristic of speech-notes as contradistinguished from those of song.
When the radical and vanishing movements are effected smoothly, distinctly, and without intensity or emotion, commencing fully and with some abruptness, and terminating gently and almost inaudibly, the result is the equable concrete. This of course may be produced with intervals, either upward or downward, of any degree—tone, semitone, third, fifth, or octave. It must be said, however, that some syllables, and even some vowels, lend themselves more easily than others to that prolonged utterance which is essential to the production of wide intervals and the perfectness of the vanishing movement.
The equable concrete is the natural, simple mode of utterance; but under the influence of interest, excitement, passion, and so on, the utterance of the concrete may be greatly varied from this by means of stress, or force applied to some part or to all of its extent. The different variations may be described as follows:
(1) Radical Stress, where force is applied to the opening of the concrete. (It should be said that a slight degree of radical stress is given even in the equable concrete, producing its full, clear opening.)
(2) Loud Concrete, where force is applied throughout the whole concrete, the proportion of the radical to the vanish remaining unaltered.
(3) Median Stress, where force is applied to the middle of the concrete, producing a swell, or impressive fulness.
(4) Compound Stress, where force is applied in an unusual degree to each extremity of the concrete.
(5) Final Stress, where force is applied to the end of the concrete, the radical stress being somewhat diminished in fulness.
(6) Thorough Stress, where force is so applied that the concrete has the same fulness throughout.
EXERCISE.—With the syllable pae exemplify the equable concrete and the several varieties of stress, using different degrees of initial or radical pitch, and the various intervals of the tone, semitone, third, fifth, and octave. The exercises for the radical stress should be first aspirated, then repeated with full vocality.
Besides the forms of the simple rising and falling intervals in which the concrete is generally uttered, there is another form, called the wave, effected by a union of these modes. It is of two varieties: (1) where a rising movement is continued into a falling movement, called the direct wave; (2) where a falling movement is continued into a rising movement, called the inverted wave. Waves may pass through all varieties of intervals, and may be either (1) equal, where the voice in both members passes through the same interval; or (2) unequal, where in one flexion the interval traversed by the voice is greater than in the other.
EXERCISE.—With the syllable pā exemplify the different kinds of waves, with the same variations of radical pitch, interval, and stress, as before.
The elementary sounds of speech are of three natural divisions; the tonics, the subtonics, and the atonics.
The Tonics are the simple vowels and diphthongs. They are of perfect vocality; they admit the concrete rise and fall through all the intervals of pitch; they may be uttered with more abruptness than the other elements; and being capable of indefinite prolongation they can receive the most perfect exemplification of the vanishing movement. They may be said to be: a, as in all; ae, as in arm; ȧ, as in ask; ă, as in an; ā, as in ate; a, as in air; ē, as in eve; ĕ, as in end; e, as in err; ī, as in ice; ĭ, as in inn; ō, as in old; oe, as in or; ŏ, as in odd; ū, as in use; ŭ, as in up; ōō, as in ooze; ŏŏ, as in book; oi, as in oil; ou, as in out. (There are various ways of arranging and classifying these.)
EXERCISE.—Exemplify generally the equable concrete, loud concrete, radical stress, and median stress, with upward and downward intervals, with clear, sharp openings, and with gradually attenuated vanishes, upon each of the tonic elements.
The Subtonics possess the properties of vocality and prolongation in some degree, but much less perfectly than the tonics, and their vocality (known as the vocal murmur) is the same for all. They are as follows:—b, d, g, v, z, y, w (as in woe), th (as in then), zh (as z in azure), j (as in judge, by some considered not elementary), l, m, n, ng (as in sing), r (as in ran), and r (as in far). They can not, without great effort, be given an abrupt opening, and so are not capable of much radical fulness, but from their property of vocality they can receive, to a considerable degree, an exemplification of the vanishing movement.
EXERCISE.—Utter the word bud slowly, and detach from the rest of the word the obscure murmur heard in pronouncing the first letter: this is the subtonic represented by b. Utter this sound with different degrees of initial pitch, and with different intervals, both downward and upward. Produce as full an opening of the radical movement as possible, but do not attempt to give it much stress. Obtain in every case a distinct vanish. Be careful not to convert the subtonic into a tonic. Proceed in a similar manner with the other subtonics. Then, distinctly obtaining the subtonics, unite them severally with the sound of ae, first forcibly, then more gently, producing such syllables as bae, dae, etc., which may be rendered with upward and downward intervals, and with different degrees of initial pitch. Finally, with such syllables as aeb, aed, aeg, aev, etc., exemplify all the varieties of stress.
The Atonics correspond with the first eleven of the subtonics as given above, from which they differ almost alone in having no vocality. They are p, t, k, f, s, h, wh (as in when), th (as in thin), sh, and ch (as in child, by some considered not elementary).
EXERCISE.—1. Form a list of such words as pipe, tote, kick, fife, siss, etc., and severally utter them slowly, holding the final element for a moment, and then letting the breath escape suddenly; then, holding the initial letter firmly for a moment let it come forcibly against the sound of the remainder of the word, producing an abrupt opening, and radical stress of the vowel concrete. 2. Aspirate strongly the atonics as given above.
EXERCISE RECAPITULATORY.—1. Produce the syllable pae in an articulate whisper in all the different varieties of pitch, interval, and stress. 2. Repeat with such syllables as paw, pooh, pōh, etc. 3. Utter these syllables (1) expulsively, (2) explosively, with varying intervals both upward and downward, and producing distinct and clearly attenuated vanishes. 4. Select some passage of poetry involving passionate thought, and read in articulated whispers, with appropriate intonations, somewhat exaggerated, it may be. Let the intervals and stresses be slowly and distinctly given. 5. Repeat the exercise in a half whisper. 6. Next read the passage over several times in pure vocality, without exaggeration, increasing the strength of the utterance until it is as full and ringing as possible. Care must be taken that the utterance is in reality full and ringing, not sharp and hard. Let the pitch chosen be not too high—as low as possible; and let the tones come mainly from the chest and lower part of the throat.
NOTE.—In all the exercises care should be taken that they be performed easily and naturally, with perfect deliberation and without undue force; else they will be harmful rather than useful.
EXERCISE IN CONCRETE INTERVALS CONTINUED.—1. Read with appropriate intonations: "Did you say a, as in all?"—"No, I said ae, as in arm,"—producing in the emphatic syllables suitable rising or falling intervals of one tone. Then repeat, but with greater emphasis, producing intervals of a third, a fifth, or an octave. Vary the sentences so as to include all the tonic elements. 2. With each tonic element, severally, produce first a rising and then a falling interval, each of a tone; then intervals of a third, a fifth, and an octave. 3. Extend the exercise so as to produce with each element, and with all the various intervals, a series or succession of rising and falling intervals, thus: rising, falling, rising, falling, etc. Use the blackboard and the musical scale for illustration and reference.
Syllables vary greatly in their capacity for prolongation, and in this respect are classified into immutable, mutable, and indefinite.
Immutable Syllables are almost incapable of prolongation; they are those which end in one of the abrupt atonic elements, p, t, k; as tip, hit, kick; or in one of the abrupt subtonics, b, d, g; as tub, thud, pug. Some syllables that so end, by virtue of tonic or subtonic elements which they may contain, are capable of some prolongation; for example, warp, dart, block, grab, dread, grog. These are called Mutable Syllables.
Indefinite Syllables are capable of almost indefinite prolongation; they are those which terminate in a tonic, or any subtonic except one of the three abrupt subtonics, b, d, g; for example, awe, fudge, hail, arm.
NOTE.—It must be remembered that when for the sake of exercise or effect syllables are extended in time, they must be so uttered that their identity is not impaired,—that is, their enunciation must be free from mouthing.
As has been remarked before our pronunciation of vowels is notoriously careless; but by a little attention anyone can easily free himself from this reproach. Frequent practice in the accurate enunciation of the tonic elements as given above, and a habit of watchfulness established as to the orthoepy of those which are most easily obscured, in all words in which they occur, will soon secure, if not a resonant, sonorous utterance with respect to the tonic elements, at least a correct pronunciation. But the correct and distinct pronunciation of the subtonic, and especially of the atonic, elements, when they occur, as is so frequent in English words, in combination, is not so easily accomplished; and orthoepy, in this respect, as a habit, cannot be secured without great care and incessant practice. For example, the word months is habitually pronounced by almost everyone as if it were spelled munce. The following list for practice will afford material to begin with; other lists should be prepared by the teacher.
Plinth, blithe, sphere, shriek, quote, whether, tipt, depth, robed, hoofed, calved, width, hundredth, exhaust, whizzed, hushed, ached, wagged, etched, pledged, asked, dreamt, alms, adapts, depths, lefts, heav'ns, meddl'd, beasts, wasps, hosts, exhausts, gasped, desks, selects, facts, hints, healths, tenths, salts, builds, wilds, milked, mulcts, elms, prob'd'st, think'st, hold'st, attempt'st, want'st, heard'st, mask'st.
EXERCISE.—Utter the words in the above list in distinct articulate whispers; then with vocality, softly and gently. Avoid hissing and mouthing.
While, in reading, distinct enunciation is an excellence to be aimed at, yet the words of a sentence should not be uttered as if completely severed from one another. Every sentence falls naturally into groups, the several groups being composed of words related in sense; and for impressive reading the words of each group should be implicated, or tied together. For example, in the line, Once upon a midnight dreary, while I ponder'd, weak and weary, there are naturally three groups; in the line, The quality of mercy is not strain'd, there is but one. In these groups the terminal sound of each word is implicated with the initial sound of the succeeding word. If the terminal sound is a tonic, or a flowing subtonic, the implication consists of a gentle murmuring prolongation of the terminal element coalescing with the initial element of the next word; if the terminal element is a flowing atonic the prolongation will not be accompanied by a murmur; but in either case the vocal organs, while prolonging the sound of one word, prepare, as it were, to begin the next. If the terminal element be one of the abrupt subtonics the vocal murmur is difficult to produce, and in this case, and also when the terminal element is an abrupt atonic, there is a suspension of the voice for a time equal to that occupied by the murmuring prolongation in the other cases; but the organs keep the position which they have in finishing the one word until they relax to take position for the utterance, with renewed exertion, of the opening sound of the next.
It must be added that this implication is not confined to the component words of a group; for the sake of impressiveness the groups themselves are often implicated,—but by suspension of the voice and a maintenance of the vocal organs in their previous position, before they suddenly relax to form the opening sound of the first word in their next group, rather than by the murmuring prolongation above described.
EXERCISE.—Read with suitable implication: (1) O Tiber! father Tiber! to whom the Romans pray, a Roman's life, a Roman's arms, take thou in charge this day! (2) But still the patriot, and the patriot-bard, in bright succession raise, her ornament and guard.
The nicety with which implication should be effected depends, like exactness of articulation, upon the gravity, complexity, fervor, grace, beauty, or other distinguishing and elevated quality of the thoughts and sentiments contained in the words to be read. Common-place ideas are couched, as a rule, in common-place language, and require no nice discrimination of sounds, or other refinement of utterance, for their full rendering; but in true poetry and impassioned prose implication is no mean instrument of effectual interpretation.
The speaking voice, like the singing voice, is capable of utterance through a considerable range of pitch—in highly cultivated voices, of three octaves; in less highly cultivated voices, of one octave; but for all voices, not perverted by bad habit, there are three or four notes, of moderate height, upon which utterance is most easy and natural, and most capable of great and sustained effort. These notes should be selected as the normal pitch of discourse.
In speaking or reading, except in certain infrequent cases, the whole of the breath expired from the lungs should be utilized in producing pure vocality. Should any breath be spent in aspiration, or in hissing, or in guttural enunciation, the vocality is said to be impure. Impure vocality, it is true, has its own appropriate use, in the representation of certain emotional states of the mind. Pure vocality is heard naturally in the tones of children at play; but in adults, through carelessness or injudicious education, it is often wanting.
The mechanism of the voice is very complicated and not thoroughly understood. It is a matter of common experience, however, that in the utterance of tones of low pitch, whether speech tones or musical, the voice seems to come from the chest rather than from the head; and, in the utterance of tones of high pitch, on the other hand, it seems to come from the head rather than from the chest; so that all tones are said to belong either to the lower or chest register, or to the higher or head register. As both chest tones and head tones may be obscured by impurities, and their resonance diminished or destroyed by defective enunciation, the pure, clear, ringing utterance of tones of both registers should be constantly striven for. The normal pitch of utterance, referred to above, should always be such that the tones comprised in it can be produced either from the head or from the chest, at will; but for sustained efforts, for the best effects both of reading and of oratory, the chest tones are much to be preferred, since, as compared with head tones, they are capable of being produced with greater resonance and penetrating power, and, for any considerable length of time, with greater ease to the speaker.
All tones of the human voice, whether speaking or musical, whether of the head or of the chest, are spoken of as having quality, or timbre, and the term is also used more generally in reference to the whole compass of utterance. The quality of the voice is its most distinguishing characteristic, and it is upon its cultivation and improvement that the greatest efforts of the student should be spent. Pure voice is usually spoken of as being manifested in two qualities, the natural and the orotund.
Natural Quality may be described as a head tone to which some degree of resonance is given by the chest; but the brilliancy of its resonance is produced by its reverberation against the bony arch of the mouth. It may, of course, vary in pitch, but tones of low pitch that are intended to be impressive are most suitably rendered in orotund quality. In its perfect manifestations, the natural quality should be clear, ringing, light, and sparkling,—if it be possible to describe its characteristics by such metaphorical words.
Orotund Quality is the result only of cultivation, but no speaker or reader can produce those finer effects which are the appropriate symbols of strong and deep emotion, whose voice cannot assume this mode at will. It differs from the natural mode in obtaining from the chest a greater supply of air, and a deeper and fuller resonance, and the reverberations seem to be against the walls of the pharynx, or posterior regions of the mouth, rather than against the palate, or upper part of the mouth. In fulness, strength, and ringing quality, it is superior to the natural mode, but not distinct from it; in clearness and smoothness it should be equal to it. As it befits a chest tone rather than a head tone, it is natural to utterances in medium and low pitch; but it must not be confounded with low pitch simply, nor must its characteristic fulness be taken for loudness simply. With the orotund, as well as with the natural quality, all the voice modes previously described may be conjoined.
EXERCISE.—1. With the syllable haeh, make an expiration in the voice of whisper, forcing slowly all air out from the chest. Then give to this expiration vocality, producing the reverberation far back in the mouth: the resulting utterance is a hoarse exemplification of the orotund. With the mouth in the position of a yawn, making the cavity of reverberation as large as possible, repeat the exercise until the utterance can be produced smoothly and without hoarseness. 2. Form similar syllables containing other tonic elements, and make similar exercises, taking care to produce a smooth, effusive utterance. 3. Select a sentence such as "Roll on thou deep and dark blue ocean, roll," abounding in long open vowels and indefinite syllables, and using suitable intonations read it in low pitch, with full, resonant chest tones. Then gradually raise the pitch, still obtaining the tones from the chest and uttering them with full resonance. 4. With such syllables as haeh, you, now, man, war, hail, fool, practise in orotund voice the various exercises for pitch, concrete intervals, waves, stress, etc., previously suggested. 5. Read with feeling and appropriate intonations selected sentences from compositions of elevated or impassioned diction, as "Solomons's Prayer" (p. 35), "The Hymn" (p. 68), "France" (p. 205).
Of the various qualities (as they are called) of impure voice, the Aspirate, the Sibilant, and the Guttural are defined with sufficient clearness, by their names. Though these modes can be appropriately used only occasionally, nevertheless they are of great value to the reader, and the voice should be trained to assume them whenever necessary. Great care must be exercised, however, that impurities shall never be present as characteristics of normal utterance; this, whether from the head or chest, should be distinct, sonorous, and smooth, and should exhaust every particle of air expired.
Another impure quality is the Pectoral, which is an aspiration produced, as it were, from the lowest cavities of the chest; and still another is the Falsetto, an unnatural voice, that seems to be produced entirely in the upper cavities of the head. The employment of the Falsetto at any time, either in speaking or reading, is of doubtful taste.
EXERCISE.—1. With the syllable haeh exemplify severally the aspirate, guttural, and pectoral qualities, first with insufficient vocality, then with sufficient. Exemplify the sibilant impurity with such syllables as pish, false, traitress, miscreant. In those exercises employ intervals of varying lengths, different degrees of initial pitch, and the several varieties of stress; and let the utterances be made effusively, expulsively, and explosively. 2. Select appropriate passages in "The Raven" (p. 258) for exercise in natural, orotund, aspirate, guttural, and pectoral qualities. Read the passages severally with appropriate intonations,—it may be somewhat exaggeratingly. Then read the whole poem feelingly, with appropriate, but not exaggerated intonations.
So far, what has been said has had reference mainly to the cultivation and improvement of the voice, by the analogies and description of the various effective modes in which it can be manifested, and by the suggestion of suitable exercises for increasing its endurance, strength, flexibility, and resonance. It remains now to discuss shortly some of the principles of vocal interpretation,—that is, to discuss what modes of voice-action are appropriate to the representation of the various emotions which the wide range of literature presents to the reader.
It must be said in respect of principles that only broad and easily verifiable ones are of use, and even these may be abused by a too rigorous adherence to them. The best rule that can be given, as indeed it is founded on a principle of widest application, is that laid down in the Fourth Reader:—To give a faithful sympathetic attention to the full meaning and sentiment of what is read, and to manage the voice so as effectively to express this meaning and sentiment; since this will always ensure a certain measure of appropriateness, if not the full perfection of it. And it cannot be too much emphasized that even the fullest knowledge and most patient study can establish for the reading of any selection, or passage, or sentence, none but general directions, since the same words may very frequently be rendered in several ways, with differences of pitch, time, stress, quality, implication, and so on, but with equal effectiveness and equal appropriateness. And, on the other hand, any whole selection, even the simplest, is far too complex in its thought and sentiment to be disposed of in one general analysis, which shall predetermine the pitch, tone, and stress, and the prevailing width of the intervals, and the direction of the inflections; all these will vary from paragraph to paragraph, and from sentence to sentence, even from word to word. To sum up, it may be said that good reading demands as indispensable, quick-witted intelligence, ready sympathy, and a voice so trained as to be flexible and resonant; if the reader have this much endowment his reading will always be effective, and, moreover, appropriate and impressive.
All diction may be roughly described as exhibiting one of three states of feeling: (1) that in which feeling, as it is generally understood, is almost wanting; (2) that in which it is present in some considerable degree; (3) that in which the feeling is present in an extreme degree, dominating the ideas which the several sentences logically express. To the first division, which may be called the diction of discourse, belongs all language indicative of a quiet state of mind—formal statement, narrative, description, simple argument or reasoning: it is the language of all ordinary writing. To the second division, which may be called the diction of sentiment or feeling, belongs all language which indicates that the mind of the speaker, real or supposed, is in a state of moderate excitement; that he is interested in the relation of himself to others, and, consequently, in the effect of his utterances upon them; or that, subjectively, he is interested in himself: it is the language of admiration, reverence, awe, sincerity, dignity, of pathos, supplication, penitence. To the third division, which may be called the diction of passion, belongs all language expressive of deeper excitement and more vehement interest than that described as animating the diction of feeling: it is the language of earnest or anxious interrogation, of passionate ejaculation, of powerful appeal, strong accusation, and fierce denunciation; also, of contempt, derision, scorn, loathing, anger, hate, and so on.
Voice, as we have seen, possesses five generic properties, pitch, force, quality, time, and abruptness; and, in every spoken word, it must assume some mode of each of these properties, manifesting them in co-existence. This conjoint mode, or vocal sign, as it is called, should be the appropriate expression of the thought and feeling of which the word, in its place in the sentence, is the graphical sign. Hence, as each word in a sentence may be said to have its appropriate vocal sign, so each variety of diction may be said to have its appropriate vocal expression,—a latitude of choice in the constituent modes, and a consequent indeterminateness in the resulting expression, being, of course, always conceded.
The appropriate vocal expression for the diction of discourse may be said to consist of the following modes:—normal pitch, simple intonations, and waves of a second, moderate force, the equable concrete varied by slight radical stress, in quality the natural mode, in abruptness sufficient sharpness of opening to effect clear articulation, and in time a moderate rate with effusive utterance.
As the diction rises above this plain unimpassioned character, and becomes more and more informed with feeling and sentiment, the constituent vocal signs, and hence the whole vocal expression, become more and more expressive. In pitch there is frequent variation: in expressions of joy, astonishment, or for command, the voice assumes naturally a somewhat higher elevation; and with equal naturalness it descends below its normal level to utter the language of grave, solemn, and reverential feeling. Again, inasmuch as the interval of the second is the plainest and simplest within the command of the voice, in such diction as we are now considering, intervals of a third, a fifth, or even an octave, may be heard, both in simple intonations and in waves. Force, too, will not be unvaryingly applied, but will be greater or less according as energy or passion may demand. In stress the equable concrete will give place to the radical or to the final, to express energetic resolve; or, in the language of pathos, exaltation, reverence, supplication, and so on, to the median—the most effective of all modes for the expression of such deep feeling as is compatible with slow utterance. In time the rate of utterance will vary with the syllabic quantities, these being short and crisp in the language of vivacious conversation, but extended, and with distinct, attenuated vanishes, in grave and important monologue. In quality, whenever the diction, departing from its simple character, becomes pervaded by some deep emotion, the natural mode will give place to the orotund. And while effusive utterance is always the prevalent mode, it will give place to the expulsive mode or to the explosive, when energy of thought or force of passion requires it so.
Thus, as the diction rises from plain discourse to the language of feeling, the appropriate vocal expression gathers intensity and becomes more varied, assumes, as may be said, brighter colors and displays greater contrasts; and so, in the third class of diction, the diction of passion, it displays its intensest and most vivid modes—its brightest colors, its deepest contrasts.
As it is in a general sense only, that diction can be understood to be referrible to three classes, so also, in a general sense only, can it be understood that any particular sentence or passage has its appropriate vocal expression. All that is intended is simply this: an analysis of the sentence, or passage, or selection, gives to the careful student a certain conception of the quality and intensity of the feeling or passion that pervades it; this is to be interpreted, as well as may be, by the most appropriate vocal signs possible—the whole constituting the vocal expression suitable to the piece. In respect to its pervading emotion, the selection will have what is called a drift, or general tendency, towards one of those states described as characteristic of the diction of discourse, the diction of feeling, and the diction of passion, respectively; and it is the business of the reader to watch for this drift, which of course may vary from passage to passage, from sentence to sentence, and sometimes from word to word, and to interpret it as best he may.
To indicate what modes of voice utterance are naturally most appropriate to the expression of these various emotional states and drifts, it will be best to take up, one by one, the different properties of the voice, and the several modes in which they are manifested, and to state briefly, and in general terms, the emotional state or drift of which it is an appropriate expression. (With respect to quality and abruptness this will be sufficiently done indirectly.) The student then must for himself, if he wishes to apply these results to the reading of any selected passage, first by analysis ascertain what are the emotional states which it involves, what are its prevailing drifts, then in respect to each property of the voice choose the suitable mode for the interpretation of these several states or drifts, conjoin the selected modes into appropriate vocal signs, and with these form the vocal expression that suitably interprets the whole passage. The teacher, or the teacher and student together, should select from the READER, or elsewhere, sentences or passages that fitly exemplify the different modes; these should be written upon a black-board, or in some other way preserved, and be referred to frequently for practice both in voice culture and in vocal interpretation.
I. PITCH. Pitch must be considered under three heads: first, as referring to the prevailing elevation of tone assumed by the voice in the reading of a whole sentence, passage, or selection, called general or sentential pitch; second, as referring to the degree of elevation assumed by the voice in the utterance of the opening, or radical, of any syllable, called initial or radical pitch; third, as referring to the tone-width of the intervals in the utterance of the syllable concrete.
Sentential Pitch in its various modes is descriptive of the general position in the scale taken by the tones of the voice in uttering a sentence or passage. It may be spoken of as medium, high, and low. Medium Pitch should correspond with the normal pitch of discourse previously described. It is natural to the expression of all unimpassioned thought, and also of all emotions, except the livelier, and the deeper and more intense. High Pitch and Low Pitch are only relative terms. They do not represent fixed and definite modes of utterance; and all that can be said is, that for the interpretation of what may be called the lighter feelings and emotions, such as cheerfulness, joy, exultation, interest, and so on, also for the expression of raillery, facetiousness, humorous conversation, laughter, and the like, sentential pitch of a degree somewhat higher than normal pitch is appropriate; and, on the other hand, for the interpretation of what may be called the graver and deeper feelings, such as awe, reverence, humility, grief, and melancholy, and the more impassioned emotions, as disgust, loathing, horror, rage, despair, as well as for the expression of all very serious and impressive thought, sentential pitch of a degree somewhat lower than normal pitch is appropriate. The degree of elevation and depression must be determined by the judgment and good taste of the reader; but it must be borne in mind that this degree may vary from passage to passage, and from sentence to sentence, and even from phrase to phrase.
In every style of diction, no matter how unimpassioned it may be, there will be frequent changes in the train of thought, and frequent changes in the intensity of feeling; to represent these changes there should be corresponding variations, or transitions in sentential pitch. These transitions also serve another purpose, namely, to indicate an interpolated or parenthetical idea. In making transitions the voice follows the general law of all vocal interpretation; strong contrasts in thought and feeling are marked by transitions of wide intervals, and lesser contrasts by lesser intervals.
Transitions in pitch are naturally accompanied by corresponding changes in force, rate of utterance, and phrasing; and, like all other modes of expression, these receive their color from the intensity of thought and feeling of which they are the symbols. For example, in the rendering of a parenthetical clause (since, as a rule, the thought expressed in the parenthesis is of less gravity than the thought in the main sentence), the voice will manifest itself in lighter force and generally in quicker movement, that is, in lighter, less contrasting colors; but whether the pitch be raised or lowered depends upon the sentential pitch appropriate to the main sentence,—it should be in contrast with that. And it may be remarked in passing, that the reading of the parenthesis should end with a phrase melody similar to that appropriate to the words immediately before the parenthesis, so that the ear may naturally be carried back to the proper place in the main clause for the continuation of the expression of the principal thought.
Radical Pitch, that is the pitch with which the opening of a syllable is uttered, is, in respect of appropriate employment, the most important element of reading or speaking; but all that can be done here, is to call attention to this, and leave the student to exercise his taste and judgment in regard to its use. The importance of appropriately varying radical pitch so as to impart melody to continued utterance will be seen at once if a simple sentence (for example, "Tom and Jim sat on a log") be read, first in that monotonous voice (that is, with unvarying radical pitch) so often heard in the labored reading of improperly taught young children, and then with those appropriate intonations heard in animated colloquy. When properly rendered, even if read with but little animation, each syllable, or concrete, passes through an interval of a second, and the several syllables are discretely uttered; but the radical pitch varies from syllable to syllable, forming a diatonic melody. For the rendering of any given sentence in appropriate diatonic melody, positive direction as to the order of succession in respect of radical pitch cannot be given; the same words may be uttered with equal appropriateness in many varieties of melody. The ignoring of this fact has led to the most absurd pretensions.
A group of two or three syllabic concretes is called a phrase of melody; and as phrases vary with respect to pitch, in the order of succession of the radicals of their constituent syllables, they receive different names: such as the monotone, in which the radicals are all on the same pitch; and the ditone and the tritone, groups of two tones and three tones respectively, with radicals of different pitch; and, again, the concretes in these phrases may have upward or downward intonations: but fixed rules cannot be laid down for their use. The reader must bear in mind, however, that it is upon the tasteful use of phrases and cadences, that is, upon the tasteful employment of variation in radical pitch, that the melody of uttered language depends; and that if it be devoid of this melody, it is both wearisome and unimpressive to the hearer.
The intonations of the voice must necessarily be through either rising intervals or falling intervals, and there is a generic difference in the meaning of these. The rising interval is heard naturally at the end of a direct question; that is, one to which "yes" or "no" is an expected answer, as "Are you going home?" The suspensive tone which the voice assumes at the end of the interrogation is indicative of incompleteness of thought; and indication of incompleteness is the characteristic function of all rising intervals.
The falling interval is heard naturally at the close of a complete statement, as "I am here"; and hence, words indicating completeness, positiveness, resolution, are appropriately uttered with downward intervals. In effecting a downward intonation the voice operates in one of two ways: either the weaker mode, in which it descends from a radical pitch at or near the current tone to a lower pitch; or the stronger mode, in which it assumes discretely a radical pitch as much above the current tone as the emphasis requires, and descends concretely either to the current tone or below it.
As every sentence is more or less incomplete until the end is reached, rising intervals are the rule in intonation, and falling intervals the exception, and it is this infrequency of use which gives to the falling movement its value as a mode of emphasis. But where the emphasis is that of doubt, uncertainty, surprise, or interrogation, the suspensiveness of these emotional states is appropriately expressed by rising intonations; and hence, too, in all sentences in which the interrogative element is strongly present, the rising interval should characterize every syllable in it, and the sentences be uttered with interrogative intonations throughout. If in any such sentence, a particular word is to be especially emphasized, this is effected by giving to the word a low radical pitch and retaining the rising interval indicative of interrogation.
The width of the interval depends, as is natural, upon the intensity of the thought or emotion of which the concrete is intended to be an expression. For example, suppose the statement, "You are the culprit," be answered by the surprised and indignant interrogation, "I?" The emphatic words here used may be appropriately uttered with intervals of a tone, a third, a fifth, or an octave, according to the emphasis supposed necessary.
The Semitone, as has been said before, is an interval sometimes heard in language of distress, complaint, grief, sorrow, tenderness, compassion, pity. Occasionally it is introduced in diatonic melody as an appropriate emphatic mode of uttering a single word; as, for example, "Other friends have flown before; on the morrow HE will leave me." At times diction may assume what may be called a pathetic drift, and for the suitable interpretation of this drift semitonic intervals may be used, and the mode of progression cease for a space to be diatonic and become semitonic, or chromatic, as it is called.
The Wave is one of the most impressive of the elements of expression; but its proper use demands great flexibility in the vocal organs and a high degree of taste in the reader. Like all other unusual modes, its employment lends color and contrast to utterance; that is, it makes it more effective for the purposes of emphasis or distinction. The wave, as has been described, is a concrete with an upward and a downward movement united; but its last constituent is that which most affects the ear and leaves upon it the stronger impression, and hence, especially if it be given with a wide interval, its dominant characteristic will be that of the second movement; for example, if the second movement be upward, the wave may express interrogation mingled with surprise or scorn; if the second movement be downward, the wave may express astonishment mingled with indignation. The intervals which are given to the wave depend upon the diction to which it is applied. To express great surprise or vehement indignation it may sweep through a fifth or a whole octave. In these extreme modes the wave frequently is given a wider interval in the second movement than in the first, and its effect intensified by the appropriate use of stress, and (for the expression of such emotions as scorn, contempt, irony, ridicule, and so on) of the impure qualities of voice. When used with intervals of the second, the characteristics of direct and inverted forms lose some of their distinctness; but in this degree the wave is effectively used to put into relief occasional words, or, with median stress and long quantities, to give to the otherwise short and tripping character of the second a dignified and impressive effect suited to the rendering of all serious and important diction that is not impassioned.
The Wave of the Semitone is generally employed when time, or syllabic quantity, is needed as an element in the expression of the language of complaint or pathos. The effect is much the same whether it be direct or indirect.
The Tremor may be used to express grief, supplication, tenderness, in which the interval through which it ranges may be wide, or, for a more plaintive effect, be limited to the semitone. With constituent intervals other than the semitone (that is, of a tone or otherwise), and ranging through an aggregate interval of less or greater width, it may be used to express laughter; as, for example, in the utterance of the syllables "ha, ha, ha, ha, ha," which, when rapidly effected, resembles one syllable uttered with discrete intervals. Combined with stress, aspiration, and guttural vibration, in suitable modifications, this laughing tone may be made to express scorn, derision, exultation, triumph, and so on.
II. FORCE. Force must be considered under two aspects: first, as to the degree of its intensity in the utterance of syllables, words, phrases, and sentences; and second, as to the form of its application in the utterance of the concrete. When the term is used without qualification, the first of these considerations is intended; when the second is intended, force is generally spoken of as stress.
Force must be contradistinguished from loudness. In mere loudness the vocal organs are comparatively relaxed—the intensity of sound being produced by the violent discharge of a great volume of air from the lungs. In forceful utterance the vocal organs are compressed and tense, and though the volume of air effused be small, the resulting sound-vibrations are strong, and distinct, and of penetrating power.
In respect of intensity, force may be manifested in infinite variation, but the degrees usually spoken of are very light, light, moderate, strong, and very strong. As with all other modes, these degrees will vary from word to word, and from sentence to sentence; and great judgment and taste must be exercised in employing them, so that they appropriately represent the intensity of the thought and feeling of which they are to be the expression.
Moderate Force is the natural expression of tranquillity, and, therefore, of all unimpassioned diction. As the diction becomes pervaded by the more positive emotions, the tones of the voice naturally become stronger. Certainty requires strong force with pure quality. So all the passions, the lighter as well as the more vehement, require the degree of force to be heightened: cheerfulness, joy, ecstacy, requiring force moderately strong; and anger, hate, terror, revenge, being suitably rendered by very strong force. Again, doubt, uncertainty, secrecy, as well as the gentler and more plaintive emotions, are most suitably represented by the lighter shades of force.
As the voice assumes the intenser modes of force, the vocal organs become more and more compressed, and utterance is more and more labored; the breath forced out cannot all be vocalized; the voice becomes less and less pure, and manifests itself in the aspirate and guttural qualities. Hence, strongly suppressed utterance in impure vocality, rather than mere loudness in pure vocality, is the appropriate expression for all the intenser passions.
III. STRESS. Stress is force considered with respect of the form of its application to the concrete. Since the equable concrete is the natural colorless expression of unimpassioned thought, force applied to any part of it changes its character, and gives it a more or less significant emphasis. The three most usual forms of stress are the radical, the median, and the final; these may be effected in any of the degrees of force. Compound stress and thorough stress admit of but little variation.
Radical Stress, to some extent an essential, but not an expressive element in the equable concrete, is, in a somewhat stronger form, an element in all utterance that is intended to be vivid and energetic, emphasizing these characteristics by its own incisive clearness. The more animated and energetic the diction the clearer and more determined should be the opening of the concrete, that is, the more distinct and forcible should be its radical stress; while in graver language the radical stress is less pronounced. In its emphatic degree it ought at no time to be allowed to become a current mode, imparting its peculiar incisive character to every syllable; though, for especial emphasis, it may be appropriately used in this way in the utterance of the several words of a phrase.
Final Stress differs from radical stress principally in this, that while it equally indicates energy and positiveness, it does so as in accordance with predetermination and reflection. Radical stress denotes, as it were, an involuntary state of energy; final stress, the energy or fixedness of resolve. Hence, final stress is appropriate to the expression of resolution, of obstinacy, of earnest conviction, of passionate resolve. It emphasizes the characteristics of wide intervals, giving to rising intonations a more decidedly interrogatory character, and making falling intonations more vehemently and passionately positive.
Median Stress, as it can be effectively applied to none but indefinite or mutable syllables, is compatible only with such a rate of utterance as will permit of these receiving long quantities. It may receive any degree of force, from that gentle swell which indicates a tranquil flow of emotion, to that firm and swelling energy which is the appropriate expression of the language of elevated feeling. With the wider intervals it should be used only for occasional emphasis; but in its lighter forms it may prevail as a drift of dignified expression. Median stress, being always necessarily associated with long quantity in syllables, is not an appropriate mode in the language of colloquy, or in vivacious discourse of any kind. It is, however, the fit interpreter of that fervid and lofty imagination which clothes itself in forms of grace and grandeur; and hence, with intonations and waves of the lesser intervals, with medium or low sentential pitch, a moderate degree of force, and the pure or orotund quality, it is the appropriate expression of all exalted prose and poetry, not strongly dramatic.
Thorough Stress is effected by continuing the force and fulness of the radical stress throughout the whole concrete. Used as a current mode, which should be but rarely, it is expressive of bluntness, arrogance, bravado; and, with short quantities, of ignorant coarseness. Occasionally it may be used instead of final stress to give emphasis to a syllable whose vanishing movement is but little capable of receiving an increase of force.
Compound Stress combines the qualities of both radical and final stress; it is therefore of extreme character, and can be only occasionally used. With wide intervals, in its stronger modes, it is expressive of the utmost intensity of feeling; in its lighter modes it is the natural expression of strong surprise.
The Loud Concrete is simply the equable concrete uttered with greater fulness of breath and loudness of tone. It is used to break a current of light force for the sake of emphasizing some word or phrase; and, in impassioned discourse, it may be used as a current mode, individual words or phrases being then put in relief by receiving the forcible radical, or thorough, or compound stress.
In reference to stress it must be remembered that, as with all other varieties of emphatic utterance, no one form should prevail as an exclusive mode. Even a prevalent drift of thought or feeling will be most effectively rendered by vocal signs which change in color and intensity from word to word. It must also be borne in mind in reference both to force and stress, and to pitch and time as well, that the modes which are employed must sustain a suitable relation to the situation and surroundings of the speaker. Where considerable space has to be filled and distance overcome, the energy of utterance should be correspondingly intense; but for great distances, what is called level speaking is the only effectual mode,—that is, speaking exclusively in those tones of normal pitch in which the voice has most penetrating power, with force of almost constant intensity, and in a somewhat slow movement with long syllabic quantities, but of course with as much needful variation of expression as is possible within these limits.
IV. TIME. Time is rate of utterance. It comprehends quantity, or rate considered in reference to the duration of individual syllables; and movement, or rate considered in reference to the utterance of syllables and words in succession. With it may be considered pauses, or cessations of the voice, helpful in the expression of thought and feeling, and necessary to the working of the vocal mechanism.
Quantity, as defined above, is an arbitrary thing, dependent almost entirely upon the will of the speaker. But many words and syllables are more expressive of their meaning when, in uttering them, the voice is somewhat prolonged,—hence quantity is an element of expression. Again, many words and syllables can receive this prolongation of utterance more readily than others,—hence quantity is a natural element of spoken language. As indefinite syllables are much more capable of prolongation than mutable or immutable syllables, they are said to possess long quantity, or, more shortly, "to possess quantity"; mutable syllables possess quantity in a less degree, and immutable syllables are naturally deficient in quantity.
As an element of expression, quantity (that is, long quantity) lends dignity and grace to the movement of the voice, and affords ground for the display of those expressive modes of vocal action which are incompatible with the rapid or ejaculatory utterance of the concrete; and hence, with median stress, the wave, moderate intervals, medium or low sentential pitch, it is used as naturally interpretative of solemnity, reverence, awe, deep pathos, ardent admiration, and all elevated emotion. Colloquial tones, excited argument, wit, raillery, and all the lighter emotions, require for their expression, brilliancy rather than grace, and so are more fittingly interpreted by short quantities and radical stress.
The discerning reader, in his work of vocal interpretation, will not fail to take advantage of the inherent character of syllables with respect to quantity. Our language abounds in indefinite syllables to which he may impart whatever quantity he may desire. On the other hand, immutable syllables, while not admitting the wave and the median stress, are eminently fitted to receive the more forcible forms of radical stress; and mutable syllables, with their abrupt closes, permit of perfect exemplifications of thorough and final stress.
Movement, though it depends for its slower and more expressive forms upon the capacities of syllables for the reception of long quantities, is, in its more rapid forms, quite independent of syllabic structure, and dependent only on the will of the speaker; hence it may be spoken of as being altogether under his control. A medium rate of utterance is, with respect to time, the natural expression of an equable flow of thought. The livelier emotions should be indicated by quicker rates, and hence, cheerfulness, joy, vivacious dialogue, animated narration, naturally find their expression in movements more or less brisk, with short quantities, varied intonations, and pitch higher than the normal; the more vehement emotions, eagerness, anger, excited anxiety, demand simply heightened forms of these modes. Contrariwise, thought of grave and meditative character, admiration, reverence, and all the deeper and calmer feelings, require a deliberative, slow-timed utterance, with long quantities for accented syllables, and extended time for even unaccented syllables. As these serious emotions become stronger and deeper, the syllabic quantities become proportionately longer, and with impressive median swells, orotund quality, low pitch, waves and simple intonations of the second, frequent phrases in monotone, and an occasional tremor, constitute the most impressive utterance of adoration.
Occasionally an abrupt change in quantity, or movement, may be employed as a mode of emphasis, either positive or negative; for example, in a current of rapid movement, a word may be put into strong relief by being uttered with quantity much extended; contrariwise, a parenthetical or explanatory phrase is usually touched upon lightly and with a more rapid movement than that of the current in which it is found.
Pause may be used as an element in the expression of thought simply, that is, as a help to the interpretation of the mere sense of the words read; or, more emphatically, as an element in the expression of feeling and emotion. As interpretative of thought, pauses should correspond mainly with the graphical marks of punctuation. Two things, however, must be borne in mind: first, the use of punctuation marks in writing and in printing is always more or less an arbitrary matter, scarcely any two authors agreeing in their employment of them; and therefore the reader's own good sense must be to him his principal authority as to the closeness with which he follows them: and second, pauses are to an auditor what punctuation marks are intended to be to a reader; but, whereas the eye may constantly keep within its vision the relation of each word uttered, both to those which preceded it and to those which are to follow, the ear hears the words that are read only ictus by ictus, stroke by stroke, and therefore can not aid the mind to grasp this relation—the memory alone helping to do that; and hence, in reading, pauses should be more frequent, and perhaps more prolonged, than the punctuation marks might seem to necessitate. The reader should also bear in mind that even the plainest and simplest diction, or that requiring the most rapid utterance, may be so marked by appropriate pauses that those stoppages of the voice necessarily required for inspiration, shall never occur except when they assist to interpret the sense,—they must not interrupt it.