صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

Such a notation may be read by those who have no knowledge of music whatever, and, consequently, does not require the aid of a Paganini. Besides, if the relative pitch of the heavy, or emphatic syllables, and their inflections, are given, the light, or unemphatic syllables will naturally take their proper degrees of elevation.

The series of notes by which the relative pitch, and inflections of the emphatic syllables are represented, is denominated an emphasis melody. The emphasis melodies are written on four horizontal, parallel lines. These lines are called the staff of speech, in contradistinction to the staff of music, which consists of five horizontal, parallel lines, and the intermediate spaces.

"Ye are the things that tower, that shine, whose smile makes glad, whose frown is terrible."

In the above sentence there are four emphatic points, which are represented by the following







shine, glad, terrible.

Each note in the above diagram has the falling inflection, and no two have the same radical pitch. There is a gradual increase in the size of the notes from the first to the last, which represents a gradual increase of force, forming a sort of climax.

In that part of this work which consists of EXERCISES IN READING AND DECLAMATION, the notes of the emphasis melodies are represented by graphic inflections placed at different degrees of elevation, thus:

"Ye are the things that tower, that shine, whose smile makes glad', whose frown is terrible."

In reading and speaking there is one note which

predominates; and in correct reading and speaking, the pitch of this note is always in accordance with the sentiment. This predominant, leading, or pitch-note of speech, is written on the second line of the staff, counting from below. To render the pitch-line conspicuous, it is made heavier than the other lines of the staff. (See Diag. 12.) In the EXERCISES IN Reading AND DECLAMATION, the pitch-note is represented by the graphic inflection which commences at the centre of the body of the letter. (See the word shine, in the foregoing example.) When one reads altogether in the pitch-note, the reading is monotonous; when the voice is properly varied in pitch, it occasionally rises a degree, or two degrees above, or descends a degree below it, as represented by the staff.

The reader must not conclude that the melody of speech is confined to four degrees of pitch, whose intervals are as determinate as those of the diatonic scale. The intervals between the several notes of an emphasis melody vary according to circumstances. In energetic declamation, and in interrogative and exclamatory sentences, they may be said to be at their maximum ; in solemn, and in plaintive discourse, at their minimum. Neither must the reader conclude that the melody of speech consists solely of emphasis melodies. These form, as it were, the grand outlines of the picture, and the notes of the syllables not included in the emphasis melodies, constitute the filling up and the shading of it.

The graphic notes of song represent absolute, as well as relative pitch. But as the graphic notes of an emphasis melody of speech denote relative pitch only, two emphasis melodies similarly constructed, though different in their relative intervals, may be represented by the same series of graphic notes.

In reading emphasis melodies, beginners are apt to make the intervals too great. Care should be taken to avoid this fault, or the melody will be caricatured. A little practice, under a good teacher, will enable

almost any one, who is not insensible to the changes of pitch, to observe the proper intervals with tolerable accuracy. And as these melodies are founded in the nature of the subject, those who have a taste for elocution will scarcely require a teacher, for they will read them, as it were, by intuition.

[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]



PODULATION is a changing of the pitch-note to a higher or lower degree of elevation in other words, it is the process of changing the key, or of passing from one key to another. This change is sometimes made to a proximate key; at other times, a bold and abrupt transition to a remote key is necessary to produce the desired effect. Modulation is generally attended with a change of force, or time; and, not unfrequently, with a change of both. There is not a more important requisite in Elocution nothing which contributes more to the pleasure of an audience-nothing which gives stronger proof that an orator is master of his art, than a wellregulated and expressive modulation. Modulation, however, should never be resorted to for the sake of mere variety it should always be subservient to the sense; for it is the province of modulation to mark changes of sentiment, changes in the train of thought, and parenthetical clauses.

[ocr errors]

Under ordinary circumstances, the various modulations of the voice, in reading and speaking, may be represented by a staff of four lines. That this staff may not be confounded with the staff of melody, de

scribed in the preceding chapter, it is made of lines composed of dots, and called the staff of modulation. The lines of this staff, like those of the staff of melody, are counted from below upward. The second line is called the pitch-note line of the staff of modulation.

A series of modulations, as represented by the following diagram, might, very appropriately, be termed a melody of melodies.

[blocks in formation]









This diagram shows the modulations of the voice in the correct reading of the following extract from Ossian's Address to the Sun.

(a) The moon herself is lost in heaven; (b) but thou art for ever the same, | (c) 'rejoicing in the brightness of thy course. | (d) 'When the world is dark with tempests, (e) when thunder rolls, and lightning flies,

(f) thou lookest in thy beauty from the clouds, | (g) and laughest at the storm. | (h) But, to Ossian, thou lookest in vain.

Staff a, in Diagram 13, is designed for the first section in the above extract; staff b, for the second section, and so on. The transition from c to d is abrupt· also that from g to h. The pitch-note of staff a is identical with that of staff e and that of staff h, and corresponds to the pitch-note of modulation.

In that part of this work which consists of EXERCISES IN READING AND DECLAMATION, the modulations of the voice are indicated by small numerals prefixed

to the words where the transitions should take place. These numerals are 1, 2, 3, 4, and represent, respectively, the first, second, third, and fourth line of the staff of modulation. This is shown in the preceding extract from Ossian's Address to the Sun. No. 2 is prefixed to the first section, to show that this section is to be read in the pitch-note of modulation; No. 3 is prefixed to the second section, to show that this section should be read in the third degree of the staff of modulation; No. 4 is prefixed to the third section, to show that this section should be read in the fourth degree of the staff of modulation; No. 1 is prefixed to the fourth section, to show that this section should be read in the first degree of the staff of modulation; and so on. (See the Extract, and Diag. 13.)

Some public speakers, who are ignorant of the principles of Elocution, but who, nevertheless, are considered by the vulgar as great orators, modulate their voices in the most erratic and hyperbolical manner. I once heard a clergyman pronounce the following sentence in the way which I shall describe:

"While God's omniscient eye passes from seat to seat, and ranges throughout the house, I he beholds what is passing in every heart."

The first section, while God's omniscient eye passes from seat to seat, he pronounced in the first degree above the lowest note of his voice; the second section, and ranges throughout the house, he uttered with great force, in the highest note of his natural voice; the third section, he beholds what is passing in every heart, he pronounced with a mixture of vocality and aspiration, in the lowest note of his voice. Such wild and extravagant transitions, though they may astonish the ignorant, "cannot but make the judicious grieve." The manner in which the speaker pronounced the first and third section in the above sentence, is good; and had he pronounced the second section in the same pitch and force with the first, his elocution would have been faultless.

There are other public speakers who never modulate their voices, however necessary it may be to give proper expression to their sentiments; and, what is worse, they generally pitch their voices a third, a fifth, or an octave too high. I once listened to an excellent discourse, from a very learned man, which, however, was nearly lost upon the audience from the disgusting manner in which it was delivered. The lecturer pitched his voice an octave too high, and

« السابقةمتابعة »