« PreviousContinue »
HENRY W. LONGFELLOW 77
When the Kye Come Hame.
JAMES HOGG...... 79
NARRATIVE, DESCRIPTIVE AND DIDACTIC STYLES....
A Child's Dream of a Star...... .CHARLES DICKENS
Trial and Execution of Charles I.......OLIVER GOLDSMITH
Execution of Mary Queen of Scots.....Join LINGARD......
.JOHN B. GOUGII.
.D. R. LOCKE.
It is taken for granted that those who make use of this book will, at least, have attained correct and definite notions of English Phonation; also that all the difficulties of consonantal articulation will have been mastered, so that the Reader, with perfect control of his tongue, teeth and lips, and his ear trained to accuracy in English vowel sound, may come directly to the more difficult, as well as the more pleasant subject of Expression.
By Expression we mean the utterance of words with their accompanying emotions. We do not develop the full thouglit of an emotional selection by the mere repetition of the words. If we did, the tenderest pathos and the sublimest passion would alike sink to the level of the most common talk. The temper or emotion which is the life of the thought, and which seeks conveyance in the words, must be expressed -before the meaning of the author can be made known.
A knowledge, then, of the laws of Expression is necessary to the proper interpretatior, of thought. The method proposed in this book for the attainment of such knowledge has taken shape in my daily experience as a Teacher, and has no geater merit than its practicability. No merely arbitrary rules are of value here. Nature must ever be the great Teacher, and he who observes most clearly her best manifestations must be, of necessity, the best fitted to deduce the laws that underlie and control those manifes. tations.
It is, however, of great importance to the student of Elocution to remember that there is a certain best way to render every emotion, and having mastered one selection of a great class, the power has been acquired to render all selections of that type. By pursuing such a method, the Reader will be lifted from the contemplation of a single piece to the class of which it is a specimen, and eventually to a classified knowledge of the laws that develop every sentiment and passion of the human soul.
The proper rendition of all pieces of pure pathos, demands chiefly three conditions:
First, Natural voice.
First. By natural voice we mean the conversational voice, or the voice we all have by nature. Great care should be taken to secure the purest tone, free from all nasal, gutteral and pectoral qualities of voice. A clear, pleasant and musical tone is indispensable in securing the best effects.
Second.The utterance must be effusive, i.e., flowing from the mouth in a continuous stream of sound. If a staccato or commonplace style of utterance is indulged in, the reading will necessarily degenerate into mere talk, and crush out all sympathetic feeling.
Third.-In ordinary, unimpassioned speech, the voice passes through the interval of one tone on the musical scale, in the utterance of each word, tlus:
Monotone. Falling Ditone. Rising Tritone. Rising Ditone. Where yon wild fig trees join the walls of Troy."
Triad of the Cadence.
The radical pitch is represented by the heads of the notes, and the concrete pitch by the short stems of the notes, which, on observation, will be seen to pass to the note above or below the radical. In short, it is impossible for us to utter a word in unimpassioned speech, from its initiation to its close, without passing up or down the musical scale one tone. However, in all plaintive and deeply pathetic moods of mind we find, on investigation, that the slides of the voice are one-half as long as they are in ordinary discourse. This unconscious slide of the voice on the minor chord, as exhibited in the plaintive cry of the child, or the weeping utterance of the bereaved mother, is the chief characteristic of voice necessary to the expression of all pathetic selections.*
The student should now select one of the pieces given under this head, and endeavor to secure the effects which must follow from a careful application of the foregoing suggestions.
It will be found of great service in the acquirement of the semitonic slide, to practice the musical scale, and oftentimes the sympathetic study of a picce, thoroughly saturated with pathetic emotion, is the best aid in the acquisition of the characteristics of voice necessary to the effective rendition of this important class of selections.t
* It may be well to note that this pathetic slide is not measured by a half tone in all cases, but follows the voice in all its movements up and down the scale on the third, fifth and octave, always vanishing, however, on a minor chord.
† Exercises on the vowels' and numerals should constantly be used, or the vowe sounds in the selections you are rendering. Pro'ong each vowel with as pure and even a tone as possible, in order that the vocal organs may be trained to the manufacture of the clearest musical sounds, thereby ridding the voice of all harsh and unpleasant qualities. Evenness and steadiness of tone can only be secured by perfect control in the management of the breath. This suggestion applies with equal force to the two following classes of selections.