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because the latter will be likely to be puzzled or misled by the numerous in flections* made upon syllables.
The caution necessary to be observed in regard to pitch is, that a medium pitch of voice will be found most suitable for the greatest proportion of a discourse.
If the voice be pitched too high in the commencement of a speech, it is probable that in elevating it still more, for the expression of emotion, there will either be a breach of the legitimate vocal sound, or at best an unevenness which would be avoided by starting from a lower pitch. Whereas, if, on the other hand, the voice be pitched too low in the beginning, there will scarcely be room for making the cadences in a clear and audible manner.
Another objection to a low pitch of voice is, that it has a tendency to lull an audience; and in its nature it is lacking in the brilliancy and force which belong to a higher one.
Persons whose voices are not under the discipline of habitual daily training or constant use, should try the voice in advance, in the place where they are to read a lecture or a speech, in order to determine the proper pitch, and thus avoid the necessity of a change after having commenced before the audience.
I'm a Det
be a bit
* These infections do really, for the time being, carry the voice to a different pitch strictly speaking; and, therefore, to one unaccustomed to nice estimates of sound, or measures of elevation, it is not easy to determine the pitch of one's voice who is reading so near him that all the inflections can produce their effect on the ear. But in an adjoining apartment these inflections will not be so audible as to im. pair the general wholeness of the tone.'
BY CADENCE is meant that fall or declension of voice which takes place at the close of a sentence. In effecting a proper and agreeable cadence, the voice should fall gradually; one degree or tone in music on each of the last two or three syllables. The most perfect cadence is considered to be that of three syllables.
“And move the stones of Rome to rise in mutiny."
This is a common cadence, and very conclusive.
But the cadence is not always made upon three syllables. This depends in part upon the construction of the language towards the close, and sometimes upon the circumstance of emphatic syllables or unusual accent to be applied near the end of the verse. In the following passage the cadence of two syllables furnishes a good close.
“ Lives, adores, and reigns In cloudless knowledge, purity, and bliss."
The cadence in the next line is made wholly upon the last syllable.
“The God of Heaven reigns.”
There is yet another effect or property in language, where intonation is concerned, which is regarded by Dr. Rush as a very full and conclusive cadence. It is where the final close is in a manner anticipated by the falling of the voice upon some syllable preceding, and at no very great distance. As in the lines
“Such honors Ilion to her lover paid, And peaceful slept, the mighty Hector's shade."
On the word slept,' the voice is dropped through an interval about corresponding to a third.* This may be considered, by some persons, as really no cadence; but it is easily seen to be connected with the close, and seems to give notice of its approach.
It is a practical caution of great value, that the cadence of a sentence should never be made so low as to render the last syllable inaudible. It was said above that too low a pitch is to be shunned, on account of the cadences, where the voice is in danger of being lost on the last syllable or syllables.
* A musical interval consisting of two degrees or notes.
DISCRETE AND CONCRETE INTERVALS-MEASURE OF INFLECTIONS.
It has been said that the term inflection is used to indicate the change of pitch in the voice upon a single syllable; the course of the voice, whether upward or downward, considered with reference to the musical scale.
The rising and falling inflections are spoken of by most writers as if every reader could distinguish between them; but this is by no means the case. In order that the common ear may be able to determine at once the character of inflections, they must be made very wide. And this explains or accounts for a very common fault in the reading of schoolmasters, viz., that their inflections are too wide.* They rely too much upon emphasis to express the meaning of language.
The result of much experience has convinced me that few besides critics, and those possessed of a highly discriminating
* This subject will be noticed more fully under Emphasis,
ear, are able to determine at once the course of any inflected syllable, unless it be widely inflected.
Let us enter upon this subject, then, with the statement that a syllable must be infected either upward or downward, or it is a monotone, and becomes a musical note.
A note in music is a discrete sound, (from dis' and 'cerno', to separate ;) it is separate from the other notes of the scale. A spoken syllable, being inflected, is a concrete sound, (from 'con' and cresco,' to grow together;) it goes into the other notes, changes its place on the scale, and the degree of this change can only be measured by the intervals of the scale. Now, to arrest the sound of a spoken syllable, and to measure it, so as to determine the musical interval corresponding to it, is not an easy undertaking. If the student shall succeed thoroughly to discriminate between a close inflection and a wide one, and shall practically apply his knowledge on this subject to the reading and speaking of language, it is enough to expect of those for whose use chiefly this book is intended. And it is maintained by the greater number of teachers that no further practical benefit can be derived from the particular application of definite musical intervals to inflections of voice in reading.*
* It is not necessary to discuss this question here, but it may be remarked that however unprepared may be the educational world to avail itself of the revelations of science, this circumstance is no excuse for a teacher who shall pretend to ignore that to which he is indebted for any of his success in teaching a difficult art; nor is it right to speak obscurely of any theory or fact of which the practical