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VI. EXAMPLES OF Low PITCH. Low pitch is the characteristic key of the voice when the mind is under the influence of serious, grave, and impressive thoughts; and very low -pitch is the appropriate key for the expression of reverence, adoration, horror, and despair.
1. FROM THE “RIME OF THE ANCIENT MARINER.”
A spirit from on high;
Is the curse in a dead man's eye!
And yet I could not die.
2. FROM THE “RAVEN.” Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there,
wondering, fearing, Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to
dream before ; But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave
no token, And the only word there spoken was the whispered
word “Lenore !” This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word “ Lenore !”
Merely this, and nothing more.
3. LAUS DEO.
Lord, forgive us! What are wè,
That our eyes this glòry see,
4. FROM THE PSALMS. He bowed the heavens, also, and came down; and darkness was under his feet; and he rode upon a cherub, and did fly; and he was seen upon the wings of the wind; and he made darkness pavilions round about him, dark waters, and thick clouds of the skies.
5. THE CHANDOS PICTURE. The bell far off beats midnight; in the dark
The sounds have lost their way, and wander slowly Through the dead air; beside me things cry, “Hark!”
And whisper words unholy. EDWARD POLLOCK.
6. THE IRON BELLS.
Iron bells !
In the silence of the night,
How we shiver with affright
For every sound that floats
Is a groan.
In that muffled monotone,
On the human heart a stone;
They are ghouls ;
A pæan from the bells !
And his merry bosom swells
Of the bells !
Of the bells, bells, bells-
As he knells, knells, knells,
Of the bells, bells, bells,
Bells, bells, bells-
VII. EXAMPLES OF VERY LOW PITCH. 1. Concerning the application of very low pitch in reading and speaking, Prof. Russell remarks: “This lowest form of pitch is one of the most impressive means of powerful natural effect, in the utterance of all deep and impressive emotions. The pervading and absorbing effect of awe, amazement, horror, or any similar feeling, can never be produced without low pitch and deep successive notes; and the depth and reality of such emotions are always in proportion to the depth of voice with which they are uttered. The grandest descriptions in the ‘Paradise Lost,' and the profoundest meditations in the Night Thoughts,' become trivial in their effect on the ear, when read with the ineffectual expression inseparable from the pitch of ordinary conversation or discourse.
2. “The vocal deficiency which limits the range of expression to the middle and higher notes of the scale is not, by any means, the unavoidable and necessary fault of organization, as it is so generally supposed to be. Habit is in this, as in so many other things, the cause of defect. There is truth, no doubt, in the remark so often made in defense of a high and feeble voice, that it is natural to the individual, or that it is difficult for some readers to attain to depth of voice without incurring a false and forced style of utterance. But in most cases it is habit, not organization, that has made certain notes natural or unnatural—in other words, familiar to the ear or the reverse.
3. “The neglect of the lower notes of the scale, and, consequently, of the organic action by which they are produced, may render a deep-toned utterance less easy than it would otherwise be. But most teachers of elocution are, from day to day, witnesses to the fact that students, from the neglect of muscular action, and from all the other enfeebling causes involved in sedentary habits and intellectual application, sometimes commence a course of practice with a high-pitched, thin, and feminine voice, which seems at first incapable of expressing a grave or manly sentiment, and, in some instances, appears to forbid the individual from ever attempting the utterance of a solemn thought, lest his treble tone should make the effect ridiculous; but that a few weeks' practice of vocal exercise on bass notes and deep emotions, as embodied in rightly selected exercises, often enables such readers to acquire a round and deep-toned utterance, adequate to the fullest effects of impressive eloquence.
4. “The exercise of singing bass, if cultivated as an habitual practice, has a great effect in imparting com
mand of deep-toned expression in reading and speaking. Reading and reciting passages from Milton and from Young, and particularly from the Book of Psalms, or from hymns of a deeply solemn character, are exercises of great value for securing the command of the lower notes of the voice.”
5. In the following exercises the movement is very slow, the pauses are very long, and the prevailing inflection the grave monotone.
1. THE GRAVE. How frīghtful the gràve! how desērted and drèar ! With the howls of the storm-wind, the crēaks of the bīer,
And the whīte būnes āll clāttering together!
2. THE BELL OF THE ATLANTIC. Tõll, toll, toll, thou bēll by bīllows swūng; And, night and dāy, thy wārning words repēat with
moūrnful tòngue; Töll for the quēenly boat, wrēcked on yān rõcky shore ! Sēa-weed is in her pālace wālls; she rīdes the sūrge no more.
Mrs. Sigourney. 3. THE GHOST IN HAMLET. I could a tāle unfold, whose līghtest word Would hārrow up thy soul, frēeze thy yoũng blood, Māke thy two eyes like stārs stārt from their sphēres, Thy knotted and combīned locks to pārt, And each partīcular hāir to stānd on ēnd, Like quills upon the frētful porcupine.
The world was void :