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The “slides” of the voice have three important and distinct offices; and these produce the three principal forms of the “slide :” 1st, the “slide of passion or emotion,” – 2d, the “ distinctive slide,” or that which is addressed to the understanding and the judgment, as in designation, comparison, and contrast, -3d, the “ mechanical slide,” which belongs to the mechanism of a sentence, and the local position of phrases; as in the special instance of the partial cadence, which takes place when a distinct portion of the sense is completed, although the whole sentence is not finished; as in this instance: “Let your companions be select; let them be such as you can esteem for their good qualities, and whose virtuous example you may emulate.” We have another example in the “ triad” of the full and final cadence falling entirely within one syllable, as in the following emphatic negation:
No; by the rood, not so !" Another "slide" which serves a inechanical purpose, rather than one of thought or feeling, is the “penultimate slide" of most sentences, which serves the purpose of raising the voice deliberately and distinctly, previous to its final descent at the close of the sentence, and thus renders the cadence more perceptible and more impressive; as in the following example: “ Let the young go out, under the descending sun of the year, into the fields of nature.”
Few parts of elocution are more important to the practical teacher or to the earnest student, than the discrimination of the partial and the “ final” cadence. The confounding of these two descents of voice, causes the two prevalent errors of school reading and popular oratory, as contradistinguished from true, natural, and appropriate expression. The school-boy, in attempting to give the partial cadence, when endeavoring to comply with his teacher's injunction,
use a falling inflection,” gives the full “ triad” of the cadence, on the last three syllables, in the phrase of the preceding example, 6 be select :' which of course produces, at the colon, the proper
effect of a period. The habitual tone of school reading, inclining, in didactic style, to a declamatorý chant, the young reader, when he comes to the proper place of the cadence, at the close of the sentence, substitutes, for the proper
-on the last three syllables, - the “ rising ditone," on the first and second, and a concrete third' with a downward“ vanish,” on the third ; and these are commonly rendered still more conspicuous by the unhappy effect, (intended,
apparently, as a compensation for the want of true cadence,) of a superadded “ wave.' This “ drift,” or prevailing effect of false intonation, in the “ melody of sentences,” pervades the style of voice current in school reading, in academic declamation, and in public addresses, and substitutes something like the effects of song for those of speech.
The “ triad ” of the cadence derives its closing effect of repose and approaching cessation of voice, partly from its contrasting with the previous “ penultimate upward slide,” which usually occurs at the last comma, or similar pause, of a sentence, and terminates the penultimate clause ; sometimes from a previous “ falling tritone" preceding the penultimate rise; and always from its own regular descent, which resembles the effect of a gradual but distinct succession of downward steps. The “partial” cadence of complete sense, but incomplete period, on the contrary, preserves its more abrupt effect of imperfectly finished succession of sounds, by adopting, in the last three syllables of the clause to which it is applied, the “ rising ditone on the first and second, and the 6 concrete of the second," with downward“ vanish,” on the third. The effect of full cadence is thus entirely avoided, and yet that of partial completeness of sense, secured; the voice ending on a strain too high for the one, and yet, by the “ concrete of the second " with the downward“ vanish,” preserving the indication of temporary cessation and slight repose.
I. The “slide of emotion" extends through an interval corresponding, in every instance, to the intensity of feeling implied in “expressive" words, and may, accordingly, be measured, in most instances, by the “third,” the “fifth,” or the “ octave.”
Strong emotions are expressed by the "downward slide;" except surprise, and earnest, or impassioned interrogation, which usually adopt the “upward slide" of the “ fifth” or the " octave.”
THE SLIDE OF EMOTION.
1. Impetuous Courage and Fierce Determination.
RICHMOND TO HIS TROOFS. — Shakspeare. ("Orotund” and “ aspirated pectoral quality :” Shouting : “Explo
sive radical” and “expulsive median stress :" 6 High pitch.” The “ downward slide" of the “ third,” takes place on every emphatic word in the first four lines, and the “ downward fifth' on the remainder, as indicated by the grave accent, the usual mark for this " slide.")
“Fight, gentlemen of England ! fight, bold yeòmen!
2. Impassioned burst of Scorn.
FROM CORIOLANUS. — Shakspeare. (“Aspirated pectoral and guttural quality :” Violent force : “ Explo
sive radical stress :” “ High pitch.” The exemplification occurs in the reply of Coriolanus, which contains the “ downward slide" of the “ octave,” in the words “ Measureless liar !” and “ Boy!” and the “ downward fifth” on the other emphatic words.)
Aufidius. “Name not the god, Thou boy of tears.
Coriolanus. Measureless liar! thou hast made my heart
have writ annals true, 't is there
3. Indignant Rebuke.
MARULLUS TO THE PEOPLE. — Shakspeare. (“Orotund and aspirated pectoral quality:"" Impassioned" force :
• Explosive radical stress :” “Low pitch :" “ Downward slide" of the “ fifth."
“ Begòne! run to your hòuses, fall upon your knees. Pray to the gods to intermit the plagues That needs must light on this ingratitude !”
4. Excessive Grief. (“Aspirated pectoral quality :" Weeping utterance :“Impassioned'
force : Violent“ vanishing stress :” “ High pitch :” “ Downward slide" of the “fifth.”)
DAVID, (BEWAILING THE DEATH OF ABSALOM.] “Ò my son Àbsalom! my sòn, my son Absalom ! Would Gòd I had died for thèe, Ò Àbsalom, my sòn, my
5. Exception.-Surprise, Earnest and Impassioned Interro
EXTRACT FROM CHATHAM.
("Aspirated pectoral quality :" "Declamatory" force: “Compound
stress :" “ High pitch :” “ Upward fifth.”) “ Can ministers still presume to expect support? in their infatuation? Can parliament be so dead to its dignity and its duty, as to give its support to measures thus obtruded and forced upon
FROM CICERO'S ACCUSATION OF VERRES.
“ Is it come to this ? Shall an inferior magistrate, a góvernor, who holds his whole power of the Roman people, in a Roman province, within sight of Italy, bínd, scourge, torture with fire and red hot plates of íron, and at last put to the infamous death of the cross, a Roman citizen?"
MARULLUS TO THE PEOPLE. — Shakspeare.
climbed up to walls and battlements,
1 For fuller exemplification of the “slide,” see "American Elocutionist,” in which this and the other departments of sentential and rhetorical elocution, are fully discussed. The present volume, being designed merely as a manual for training in orthophony, and as an introduction to the Elocutionist, is limited to such an outline of the subject as might afford sufficient ground for the intelligent practice of a course of elementary exercises.
2 The acute accent is the usual mark of the “upward slide,” or “rising Inflection.”
Your infants in your arms, and there have sat
you not made a universal shout,
DISTINCTIVE" SLIDE. This slide, it will be recollected, is used not for purposes of passion or emotion, but for suggestions connected with the understanding and judgment, - that which may be termed intellectual, not impassioned, expression.
The “downward distinctive slide" extends, usually, , through the interval of a “third.” It is used, first, for mere designation, as in announcing a subject or topic, in didactic style, in introducing a person or an event in narrative, or an object, in descriptive style; as in the following examples : “ The duties of the citizens of a repùblic formed the subject of the orator's address.” Among the eminent men of the period of the American Revolution, Benjamin Franklin held a conspicuous place.” “From the date of the American Revolution, commenced a new era in the history of man.” “ The dazzling summits of the snow-capt mountains in the distance, threw an air of enchantment over the scene.'
This slide is used also, for distinction in contrasts, as in the latter of two correspondent or antithetic words or phrases, in which the contrast is exactly balanced ; thus, “I would neither be rích nor pòor,” or when the antithesis is unequal, and one word or phrase is intentionally made more expressive
1 An interrogation of peculiar emphasis, or of great length, takes the downward slide; as, in such cases, the effect of interrogation is lost in that of assertion.