« ForrigeFortsæt »
which correct enunciation rests; and, lastly, obtain mastery over our emotional faculties.
Elocution as a study is the science and art of true vocal expression. The art once acquired, it may be applied to simple couversation as well as to forensic declamation, to pathos as well as to tragedy. It is as valua. ble in the home circle as in the lecture-room; it is an equal acquisition to the business man and the public speaker; it is indispensable to the pulpit as well as to the stage. A mistaken idea prevails that the study of elocution is confined merely to the tragic, the dramatic, and the theatrical. This idea arises from the fact that elocution is too often degraded into a theatrical form to entrap the ear of the masses, who expect something startling, monstrous and exciting-tinsel merely, not the gold of true expression.
That elocution may be carried into the theatre is no argument why it should always be of a dramatic form, and it is a deplorable fact that even in the pulpit we too often preceive a false style pot at all in harmony with the simple majesty of the truth. When the world recognizes the universal adaptation of the principles of expression, then, not before, will the study take its proper place in American education.
He who possesses the best thoughts should strive to present them in his best manner, and he whose thoughts are poorest should employ even a better style in order to render them presentable. Hence, it devolves upon every one to improve his manner of communication with
An improved style will suggest better thoughts, and as so much of our happiness if not existence itself depends upon a conveyance of our ideas, cul. tivation in this direction will certainly make us happier, nobler and better. This cultivation will necessitate the separation of the wheat from the chaff, the true from the false ; and when we have removed and cast away the incumbrance—the outer coating-of that which is artificial, that has accumulated through years of contact with error until our own individuality has been partially or wholly lost, there will remain the natural gem, free from all impurities, with all its qualities of richness and value. Natural expression is the key to all utterance except in impersonations, but it can be reached only by casting away from our own individuality all that is foreign to it.
That no false impression may arise, it will be well to exemplify the foregoing statement by an illustration. A person who always uses the monotone in reading or speaking does so habitually, not naturally; that is, the practice results from an acquired habit, and he does not give to thought its natural expression, but an unnatural, artificial utterance. He who is accustomed to a conversational style must break away from it in the expression of dramatic language, and he whose manner is declamatory must depart from it in simple description or narration. To make all elocution conversational is as great an error as to render it all dramatic. All phases of thought require appropriate expression-the simple and pathetic, the impassioned and vehement. Let all be true to nature-to our highest nature-and not dwarfed by unnaturalness of habit.
It is only by means of true elocution, as bere defined, that orators are enabled to move their audiences—to produce in them smiles or tears at will. It was this that gave Demosthenes the power of rousing his Grecian countrymen and firing them with a desire to "go and fight Philip;" it was this which caused Mark Antony to move the iron-hearted Romans to tears over the body of the assassinated Cæsar. This caused the intellectual fire of Webster and Clay to communicate itself to every one who caught the words of burning eloquence that fell from their lips.
In view of these facts, that speech is a divine gift to Man, that its possession implies its cultivation, that it is a universal means of communication, that by its use we can most easily reach the minds and hearts of those with whom we are placed in contact, that when properly employed it is one of the greatest instruments of good-let us resolve so to use this faculty that we may secure our own happiness and the advancement physically, mentally and morally of those around us, and the highest mission of this priceless gift will have been accomplished.--ExTract from Lecture on “The Human Voice," by FRANK 8. FENNO.
KEY TO GESTURES.
The following abbreviations are used in this book :
Elevation of Hand: H. Horizontal (level with shoulders); A. Ascending (hand higher than shoulder); D. Descending (hand lower than shoulder).
Direction : F. Front; B. Back; L. Lateral (straight out at side); O. Oblique (half-way between front and side).
Form of Hand: S. Supine (palm upward); P. Prone (palm downward); V. Vertical (palm outward from speaker); Ptg. Pointing (with forefinger); Cl. Clenched; lh. left hand; bh. both hands.
By the above, H.F. would mean Horizontal Front, etc.
When not otherwise indicated, gestures are made with the 7ght hand, palm up, and always with decision. The emphatic syllable receives the gesture, a stroke from the wrist. When one gesture closely follows another, do not drop the hand between them. This is sometimes indicated by sus.-sustain.
For Principles of Gesture and minute instructions, see FENNO'S FAVORITES, No. 1.