« PreviousContinue »
ELOCUTION AND DECLAMATION.
History has told us repeatedly, that men are not born orators. By long and continued study have they attained emi
A clear and distinct utterance, a full and deep tone constitute the basis of all good reading. Each element, each syllable, each word should have its due proportion of sound.
To cultivate clearness, practise daily upon the vowel sounds. Give the sound both low and high, loud and soft, deep and aspirated. Follow this practice with certain combinations of consonants that you have found difficult to enunciate; then syllables, words, and finally sentences. The vowel sounds are given below for individual or class practice.
A, long, as in ale, fate, gray.
A, short, as in add, fat, have.
A, Italian, as in arm, father, palm.
A, broad, as in all, talk, swarm.
A, as in ask, class, grass.
A, as in fare, dare, air.
E, long, as in me, mete, peace.
O, long, as in old, note, loaf.
O, short, as in odd, not, torrid.
O, like long oo, as in move, do, tomb.
U, long, as in use, tube, lute.
U, short, as in us, tub, but.
U, like short oo, as in pull, push, put.
Oi, as in oil, join, moist.
Ou, as in out, hound, thou.
A few of the consonants are given below, they should be treated, in the practice, as the vowels in the preceding table:
B, as in bat, bag, but.
F, as in fit, fame, fife.
Other of the vowel or consonants sounds may be given and practised, if the teacher or pupil find it necessary. Particular attention should be given to the sounds of long e and a, broad a and long e, which is one of the clearest sounds in the language. Of the consonants m, n, and l are remarkable for their musical sound. Drum, wind, and bell are fine examples to illustrate. Dwell upon these elements in enunciating the word.
Master these elements and you will have advanced a step in the cultivation of the voice.
A few words frequently mispronounced, and a few test sentences are given below.
What, when; banishment, punishment, government; and, command; real, ideal; last, past; poem; exhausted; idea; aye; lexicon, Creator, orator; brightness, fondness; home; bell, wind, drum; rapping; personification, valetudinarian, congratulation, intercommunication.
(1.) "Round the rude ring the ragged rascals ran.” (2.) "The wild beasts struggled through the thickest shade."
(3.) The swinging swain swiftly swept the swinging sweep."
(4.) The stripling stranger strayed through the struggling stream."
(5.) "Up the hill he heaves the huge round stone."
These words and sentences should first be pronounced by the teacher; and then simultaneously by the class, as a con
ELOCUTION AND DECLAMATION.
cert exercise, at first slowly, then more and more rapidly. By this means the most timid will be relieved of embarrassment.
The tone, time, and pitch are ever changing. Monotone means not only one tone, but a corresponding sameness or oneness of time and pitch. Some selections require the monotone, but it is chiefly confined to solemn discourse.
Voice is an audible sound made by the breath. No sound can be made without breath, no full and clear sound, unless the lungs be properly inflated.
We have two divisions of tone, which may be denominated the Pure and the Impure.
The Pure tone is where all the breath is vocalized.
The Impure tone is where all the breath is not vocalized. There are several subdivisions that we give below, in the form of a chart. By study a clear conception of all the tones can be learned from it. The Orotund is simply deeper and fuller than the Pure.
"I really take it very kind-
The Pure effusive tone might be compared to the soprano in singing. Pure expulsive to the alto. Orotund effusive to the tenor; and the Orotund expulsive to the bass. The quality of the voice is quite clearly indicated in the names of the other tones. No work on this topic can supply the place of a living teacher. We cite a few examples for a drill exercise on the qualities of the voice.
Pure, expulsive :
I have not seen you for an age-
"There his voice grew low and faltering; slowly came each painful breath;
Two brave forms laid side by side, then death had loved a shining mark;
And two sad mothers say, 'It has grown dark, ah, very dark!'"
(1.) "I go; but not to leap the gulf alone."
(1.) Charge, soldiers, charge!
(2.) "I know not what course others may take, but, as for me, give me liberty, or give me death."
(1.) "And there are times when, mad with thinking,
(2.) "I hate him, for he is a Christian."
(1.) "Hush! hark! A deep sound strikes like a rising knell ! " (2.) "Listen! I heard a footstep, no! 'tis gone."
(1.) "Pity the sorrows of a poor old man,
Whose trembling limbs have borne him to your door."
(2.) "The groan, the knell, the pall, the bier,
And all we know, or dream, or fear,
These examples will serve to give the student a clear idea of" tones;" numerous selections will be found in Part Second for class drill and practice. Some simple sentence might be selected by the teacher to be recited by the whole class in all the various tones. This will be found a valuable exercise. "Come one, come all "—is well adapted for such an exercise.
It is very seldom that a whole selection is read in one tone of voice throughout. The ear would tire, were this the case; and the most interesting subject would lose all interest. The student must decide, to a great extent, what tone should be used. Cultivate the low and deep tones, the expulsive pure and orotund. Deep breathing will be found very beneficial to the cultivation of these tones. The aspirate has a power that at times cannot be overestimated. In the sentence, "He knew me, smiled faintly, gasped, and died "—the word ‘gasped” should be given in the full aspirate, and the word "dicd" in what might be termed a mingling of the aspirate and tremor.
ELOCUTION AND DECLAMATION.
The guttural is used extensively in expressions of denunciation, revenge, etc. 'Tis a very unpleasant tone; and the throat may be exceedingly injured by long and continued practice. In the character of Shylock in the "Merchant of Venice," this tone is chiefly used.
From these brief remarks, we think that by a little thought, the qualities of voice may be clearly understood, and properly applied.
Of this and many other important elements our space will force us to be very brief. Take this single rule: The most important word is the most emphatic. Study the selection thoroughly, fully understand the author, and this simple rule will ever be found a correct guide.
Experience has taught us that readers fail oftener upon this than emphasis. Prof. Murdock has defined stress as the effusive, expulsive, explosive. The effusive is the unemotional or most natural; the expulsive is where the element is dwelled upon; the explosive is where the element is exploded, it may be compared to the cracking of a whip. Be sure you give a word its proper stress; though you throw extra