صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

the etymology of the terms accent and prosody (accino, npoo-a&a) as well as the plain and obvious meaning of the terms acute and grave, seem, without going further, sufficient of themselves to establish this. But may it not have been the case also, that while the idea of a difference of pitch was the main idea of the word, it included also, as co-existent, and consubstantial, if we may so speak, the common English idea of comparative stress of voice and energy of vocal utterance? This is the opinion of Goettling, the author of a standard German work on Greek accents, lately translated into English13; only he inverts the order of dominancy, making that which we call principal accessary, and that which we call accessary principal. "In every independent and primitive language," says he, "the principal idea of each word is distinguished by a strengthening or invigoration of the sound. This is called the accent; consequently, in Xey<u, the principal idea Xe'y must be distinguished above the subordinate idea a by the accent. Every intension of the voice however is involuntarily combined with an elevation of the tone. For pronouncing the accent therefore the voice must at the same time be elevated. Intension, however, is the main point." Now, without stopping here to discuss learnedly with this German whether intension of the energy or elevation of the pitch of the voice in accent be the main idea signified by that word, according to the use of the ancients, I shall only say shortly, that I think him perfectly right in his assertion that the ancient accent included both these ideas; and that For the following reasons:—

Vepa TtaV TpHOV TOWJOV Kill llfJLlTOVlOV

rri T& 6%ii ov*re dvieTdi Tov \tapiov Tovrou irXitov Ctt! To flapu. Dionysius Hal. irept trvvd. ovopL. XI.

(3). Accentus est acuta vel gravis vel inflexa orationis elatio, vocisve iutentio vel inclinatio, acuta aut infiexo sono regens verba. Nam ut nulla vox sine vocali, ita sine accentu nulla est. Et est accentus, ut quidam recte putaverunt, velut anima vocis. Diomedes, Lib. II. p. 425, ed. Putsch. Compare Priscian, De accentibus, p. 1286, ed. Putsch.

(4). Accentus est certa lex sive regula ad elevandam deprimendamve syllabam unius cujusque parlicula orationis adcommodato. Despauter, Ars Versifica. toria, 1510. Lib. iv.

(5). Accentus est pronunciandi ratio qua syllaba vel attollitur vel deprimi. tur, ac proprio nomine To^jits vocatur.

O. J. Vossn, Grammat. hat. Amstelod. 1651.

In all which descriptions or definitions we see not a hint of that confusion of accent and quantity, which has so bemuddled the wits of many erudite moderns. But how easily even a philosophic mind may slide into a confusion of this kind, let the following quotation from Thiersch testify: "Da das Wort selbst ein Ton, Klang ein einfacher oder mehrfacher isl, je nachdem es eine oder mehrere Sylben hat, so wird jenes Vorherrschen (the predominance of the accented syllable), fur das Ohr durch eine grbssere Innigkeit oder Daueb. desjenigen Tones der die Stammsylbe ausmacht,ausgedriickt werden." Griech. ische Grammatik, § 42.

13 Elements of Greek Accentuation. London, Whittaker. 1831.

(1). If there be no physiological necessity in all cases—as certainly there is not"—there is in the common case a very natural tendency in the human voice where it elevates its tone there also to strengthen its energy.

(2). The ancient grammarians, musicians, and rhetoricians, in speaking of the accents, use not merely the terms elevation and depression, but also, and as frequently, the terms hrinuris and averts, which mean strictly not merely a lengthening, but. a strengthening of the voice in an upward direction; not merely a sinking, but a weakening of the voice in a downward direction. This seems very like what we call greater or less stress of the voice on a particular syllable.

(3). It is a fact in literary history, that the ecclesiastical Latin poetry of the middle ages, and the political verses of the Byzantine Greeks, while paying no regard to the ancient quantities, were formed exactly upon the accentuation of the ancients. Thus, in the following two lines from the poetical Chronicle of Constantine Manasses;

6 rov 6VoO wavTtXfis Kai wavTOKTi<TTa>p Xoyor
rbv oipavov rhv avaorpov irap-qyayev apxydc,

the observation of the accent brings out a measure precisely the same as our old ballad-verse of fifteen syllables; and in the wellknown trochaic triplet,

Dies irtr, dies ilia
Solvet sceclum in favilla
Teste David et Sibylla

while the correct. Latin accent, according to the rules given by Cicero and Quinctilian, is in all cases preserved, in one or two places the quantity is violated. But the accent which marks the rhythm of the verse is not merely or mainly an elevation of the voice, but it is a discernible increase of its vigour on certain syllables. Therefore the ancient accent had such a stress.

On the subject of Quantity, as a part of the system of ancient pronunciation, we have less to observe, as there is no dispute between

14 Mr. Walker gives very appositely the instance—Did I say satisfactorily? and other such interrogative sentences, as a proof that the voice often rises on the syllables that follow that which receives the

stress of the voice. But in common cases he admits that elevation of tone, and increase of vigour in the pronunciation of English words, coincide.

the ancients and the moderns, about the precise technical meaning of that term. The ancients understood by it prolongation of the voice in respect of time upon any particular syllable : and so do we. There is one vulgar error, however, which, as it has caused an immense deal of misapprehension as to the nature of Greek poetry and music, must be particularly noted. This error consists in the statement of the common books on prosody, that there are two quantities, and two only, in metres, the long and the short, and that one long is exactly equal to two shorts. Now this statement, taken generally, and without the necessary discrimination, by the modern Prosodians, on trust from Victorinus, Diomede, and the other solemn brethren of the ancient fraternity of metricians, has been so understood by Burney and other modern English writers, who have undertaken to give us an account of the music of the Greeks, that, according to them, we are to believe these ancients had only two times in their lyrical compositions, a crotchet and a quaver, whereas the moderns have notes of all different durations, as the freedom of nature and the propriety of expression may dictate. What sad work Burney does make of this, any person may see in the Introduction to his History of Music, Vol. i." But how stands the fact 1 A non Posse ad non Esse valet consequentia. Let us say at once, unceremoniously, in the face of the whole generation of Prosodians, ancient and modern, that the thing is, in the nature of human speech, impossible. True, any old songbook or any modern psalm-book may shew us that many of the best and simplest old airs are sung with only two kinds of notes, a short and a long, call them what you please; and in an equable and measured style of singing, there is no question that one of these long notes, if the ear of the singer be exact, is, as a general rule, exactly equal to two of the shorts. But. for producing very solemn effects on the one hand, or very stirring effects on the other, whether in oratory or singing, a variety of notes, some of very protracted duration, and others very light, nimble, and momentary in their impression, are psychologically and physiologically necessary. In regard to singing, every song when sung with expression and character, whatever be the notation in the book, even the most solemn and equable, will shew this. In regard to oratory, or recitation, not only will a correct ear clearly discern, besides, single and double quantity, triple, quad

15 See what I have said of Burney in the F. Q. R. Vol. inn, p. 253. Article above referred to.

ruple, quintuple, octuple, and various other proportions of vocal duration; but some of our most distinguished practical elocutionists and writers on the philosophy of language have found it necessary to adopt the musical notation of minims, crotchets, quavers, and semiquavers, with their respective rests", to explain accurately the principles of correct declamation. These writers will be found enumerated in a previous note; and we may now perhaps indulge ourselves in the certain hope, that under the inspiring guidance of Mainzer and Hullah the divorce which has so long subsisted between music and elocution in this country will no longer be allowed to remain. As for the ancient poets and singers, we might without any labour of research make bold to say, that they were not monsters, rather than that the grammarians were infallible. But the fact is, the grammarians themselves furnish us with the most distinct proof that the whole mystery of quantity is not contained in the prosodial shibboleth, — = w v^.

For, says Victorinus "inter Metricos et Musicos propter spatia temporum quee syllabis comprehenduntur, non Parva DisSensio Est. Nam Musici non omnes inter se longas aut breves pari mensura consistere, siquidem et brevi breviorem et longa longiorem dicunt posse syllabam fieri; metrici autem, prout cujusque syllabce longitudo ac brevitas fuerit, ita temporum spatia definiri, neque brevi breviorem aut longd longiorem quam natura in syllabarum enuntiatione protulit posse aliquam reperiri. Ad hcec Musici qui temporum arbitrio syUabas committunt in rhythmicis modulationibus, aut lyricis cantibus, per circuitum longius extentce pronuntiationis tarn longis Umgiores quam rursus per corruptionem breviores brevibus proferunt. Afferunt etiam exempla quee in metricis pedibus secum faciant asserentes accessione consonantium momenta temporum crescere "." It appears therefore that the ancient musicians would in no case allow the slump doctrine of the Prosodians, that one long is always equal to two shorts, but asserted stoutly that there were all varieties of long and short syllables—arbitrio temporum; and what does Victorinus say to this? He does not meet the point at all; but gives it the go by. "Sed H^ec Scrupulositas, continues he, Rhythmicis Et Musicis RelinquaTur; et ut dicvmus omnes Germanos longos esse quamvis non sint omnes ejusdem staturce"—as we say all the Germans are tall, though they are not all equally tall, so we shall say, that all long syllables are long, and all short short, though they are not all equally long. There are plenty of passages to this effect in the grammarians; but this one shall content us. Then as to the musicians, the monotony of two notes and the poverty of rhythmical phrase with which Burney reproaches the Greek music, disappears entirely as a sick dream before the healthy glance of Apel, Boeckh, Fuessner, Drieberg and other German scholars and musicians, who have paid particular attention to the philosophy of ancient poetry and music18. It is strange indeed to one who takes his ideas on these subjects directly from the musicians, and not from the Prosodians, how any person that had read Aristides should ever have charged the Greeks with having only two kinds of notes in their music: for what on this supposition are we to make of the 'Aya>y?) pvBfuie^, the Ductus rhythmicus, or rhymical leading, which constitutes such a prominent division of musical science in the first Book of Aristides?

19 Many of our metricians and prosodians, taking no account of rests and pauses, of course fail to discern what the real rhythm or movement of any passage of ancient poetry was—but there is no question that the xevol XP°U0L empty times, or XeipfiaTa as they were called, belong as much to the proper scansion of a line as the full times. Aristides mentions them expressly, and St Augustine is very minute, only one must not apply them at random merely to fill up a bar, as Manwaring does in Hor. Ode i. 2.

Stichology, p. 37.

lr It will be carefully observed here, that the nice metrical question argued also by Dionysius (irtyu. crvvQ. c. 15) whether e. g. the e in vTrepOpwtrKui be not longer than, that in inrcpfidWu), by reason of the additional consonant, was not the point at issue between the musicians and the metricians. They merely adduced this as an argumentum ad hominem; and a very good argument unquestionably it was, as the whole doctrine of length by position was founded on it.

"\yaryri pvBpjxr)," he says (Meibom. 42), "itm xP°vav raxes fi jSpa

dvnjs"—the metrical duct is the swiftness or the slowness of the times. If there be any meaning in language, it is clear from this the composer or the performer of ancient music was no more fettered as to long and short by the poet, than any modern master of the time-beater. The poet might, write verses indeed in Dactylic or Iambic verse; but whether the verses when written were to be sung in the time of three quavers, or three crotchets, or three minims,

18 Boeckh's masterly and elegant Dissertation on the Metres of Pindar, prefixed to his edition of that poet's works published in 1811, is well known. Apel was mentioned already, note 7, supra; and some further account of him will be found in the Foreign Quarterly Revievt, as above, p. 287. The works of the other authors here quoted, so far as I have consulted them, are :—

(1). AufschlUsse iiber die Musik der Griechen von Friedrich von Drieberg. Leipzig. 1819.

(2). Die MusikalischenWissenschaften der Griechen, von. dems. Berlin. 1820.

(3). Die praktische Wissenschaft der Griechen, von dems. Berlin. 1821.

(4). De Antiquorum metrorum et metorum discrimine. Scripsit Henricus Fuessner. Hanovite. 1836.

« السابقةمتابعة »