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propriety to that with which water is thus designated, although in fact resolvable into two distinct gases.
I have made it a principle not to “cavil on the ninth part of a hair,” and will not hold an argument with any man on such questions as whether the sound of “d” enters into the word “bridge” more than it does into the word “George." I therefore suppose my Table of Clements, as it differs but slightly from those of other modern masters, will not be seriously objected to on the score of its imperfections, either from deficiency or redundance.
The chapter on PRONUNCIATION I hope to render more complete in a later edition. In this I have shown, as far as I am able to do, how we may best meet the want (certainly not a small one) of a general standard of pronunciation; and I am convinced that no one who is familiar with its contents, and has formed his habits accordingly, need ever be charged with vulgarity of pronunciation ; nor is there any reason why he should fall into the errors of the illiterate. In the chapter just spoken of, much will be found which may seem to be more suitable for the preface, or which might have been embodied with introductory remarks. But as the preface is not always read by pupils, I have seen fit to include it in my text.
II. The subject of INTONATION has engaged the thoughts and occupied the study of earnest and able scholars. Men of taste and those having an appreciating ear for sound have always been offended by gross violations of it; by monotony, or by indiscriminate shifting of pitch. They have always recognised
the beauty of agreeable intonation ; but few writers have even hinted at a practical mode of inculcating a chaste melody in the utterance of language.
It is true that Dr. John Walker, the distinguished author of a pronouncing dictionary, devoted much time to the study of inflections; and carefully investigated the principles of the upward and downward slides of voice. He was a writer of the last century; and in the second edition of his treatise he explained the circumflex as a combination of the two inflections upon the same syllable. But the measure of these inflections, how far the voice should be carried in its upward or downward movement, did not enter into the conditions prescribed by this accomplished and excellent philologist. His theory of inflections was new, original, and highly interesting. And his rules are the only ones, so far as I have been able to learn, which have been in vogue for considerably more than half a century. That is to say, nothing which can claim to be a system of inflection, and usually taught as such, has had its origin, and been generally adopted, used, or referred to, since the publication of Dr. Walker's book...
“The Philosophy of the Human Voice” was published in 1827 in Philadelphia by Dr. James Rush. In this most interesting and valuable treatise the principles of Inflection have been further investigated; and the science of the voice may date a new era of its progress, from the publication of this work. Not, however, that the educational world was impelled immediately to avail itself of whatever light might have been thrown upon vocal science, or the subject of inflection, by the writings of this author; but that men of science, if such there were, and all curious students of the voice, learned in “ The Philosophy of the Human Voice” that the measure of inflections, as well as their direction, might be determined by an infallible guide, and subjected to rules both scientific and practical in their character. The true measure of vocal inflections must be the MUSICAL SCALE; there can be no other. Sound is essentially music, or the substratum of music. Music is only a modification of sound. Sound may indeed be estimated in quantity, or by its greater or less degree of intensity, if you please, without any reference to musical science, or the laws of melody; but when we speak of inflections, we mean change of pitch; and in no possible way can this property in sound, this change of pitch, be estimated, other than by referring it to the musical scale.
To do this with accuracy, it may be replied, must be attended with difficulty. To this I answer, first, that excellence in any science is not to be obtained without encountering difficulties. And, secondly, that such is the condition of taste in this regard, at the present day, and so low the standard of excellence, as to admit of much improvement, even without aspiring to a perfectly accurate measurement of the inflections, even if this were to be desired; and to this I add that no such undeviating coincidence is necessary, or even desirable between the vocal inflections and the intervals of the musical scale. But it will be readily admitted that nothing worthy the name of science can be written on the subject of Intonation, without having something in view as a measure or guide which may be referred to, to test the width or measure of inflections. That such a measure is found in the intervals of music, must be at once conceded by every one who will take the pains to examine the valuable work above referred to. And the mode of making the application of those intervals to the vocal inflections in speech, is carefully taught in the pages of this little book.
I would finally remark, with especial reference to the subject of appropriating musical intervals to the voice in reading, that it is a matter on which a broad latitude of opinion may reasonably exist. That is, it may be thought unnecessary, at the present stage of progress in education, to carry science very far into instructions in reading. It may be said, perhaps, by many, that it is all-sufficient for the wants of education in the present day, to inculcate a style of reading by common method, which shall be free from palpable defects in regard to Intonation, without an adjustment according to science, of such points as the precise measure of the inflections of the voice. Such an opinion finds all charity, even among those who believe in the expediency of making these subjects more a matter of science than they have yet been considered. But this does not alter the fact that a step of advancement is made in vocal science. And whenever it shall please the philologist or the philosopher, or the educational world, if you please, to apply strict scientific principles to the subject of speech; whenever the study of elocution and the practice of oratory shall become a science, and subjected to rules of excellence as other branches have been; it must and can only be so taught by the method and principles above referred to and inculcated by Dr. Rush.
III. MEASURE OF SPEECH, or that property in language
which is usually treated under the head of RHYTHM, constitutes one of the most interesting features in language, when considered with reference to the effect of reading on the ear, of the various styles and character of composition.
Joshua Steele, an English writer of the last century, published an ingenious work, in which he explained the principles of measure. And, although Mr. John Thel- . well, of London, a very distinguished elocutionist, has subsequently made use of this principle, and scored exercises in written composition for the instruction of his pupils, yet I am constrained to believe that very little attention has been since paid to the subject by practical teachers in this country.
I am led to this conclusion by an examination of the books which mention it at all, as well as by personal conversation with teachers of more or less eminence, many of whom declare it to be irreconcilable with a tasteful and correct reading of language, and therefore useless.
Some teachers, either for want of correctness in ear, or from the inability, from some cause or other, to appreciate harmonious utterance, are unable to read scored exercises according to the principles in question; and therefore unable to teach it. Others contend that the practice of such reading must inevitably have an unfavorable effect upon the manner of reading, as it imposes a certain restraint, and produces a measured regularity in all sorts of reading, both poetry and prose.
This last objection is worthy of a candid consideration, and were it not contradicted by the daily experience of many years, would certainly have an important bearing