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But if a stone the gentle sea divide,
237. Important parentheses should be pronounced slowly and forcibly; intervening clauses are, naturally, spoken in a low tone; the unimportant may be read in a higher and lighter tone.
* Pride, in some particular disguise or other, 2 often a secret to the proud man himself, 3 is the most ordinary spring of action.
* Death, 2 which is considered as the greatest evil, happens to all.
The greatest good,
4 be it what it will,
3 is the lot of a few.
238. Antithetic portions of sentences, and every modification of sense, should be expressed by an appropriate change of key.
♦ Oh, blindness to the future, kindly given,
That each may fill the circle 'marked by Heaven;
A hero perish, or a sparrow fall;
Atoms or systems into ruin hurled,
239. When a question is followed by its answer, or by any words that are explanatory, the answer, if subordinate to the question, should be read in a lower degree of modulation; but if the answer is of great consequence to the general meaning, it must be read in a higher tone.
So am I.
Are they Hebrews? Are they Israelites? 2 So am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? 'Are they ministers of Christ? I am more.
* Must we but weep o'er days more blest?
So am I.
* Art thou poor? Show thyself active and industrious, peaceable and contented. self beneficent and charitable,
Art thou wealthy? Show thycondescending and humane.
1In another world.
Ask death-beds; they can tell.
240. The Dialogue portion of a composition should be distinguished from the Narrative, by appropriate and characteristic changes of
Modulation. Description and Representation require correspondent and expressive variety.
241. All exclamations should be uttered as brief embodiments of the feeling that dictates them. Every repetition of the interjectional particle should have its appropriate emotion, and receive, from the speaker, the expression of that feeling which prompts it.
MODULATION OF PASSION.
242. The Modulation of Passion depends greatly on its nature and degree, and on the relative positions of the speaker and auditor. As a picture that is to be viewed from a distance must be painted in stronger colours than one that is to be closely scanned, so all dramatic expression must be on a bolder scale than the domestic circle, the bar, the pulpit, or the platform would allow: nevertheless, the relative proportions of the expression must be so retained, that the large outline and warm colouring of Art may not, in either place, “o'erstep the modesty of Nature."
243. As a general principle, equally important for the ease of the speaker and the pleasure of the auditor, all strong passions should have a predominant low degree of Modulation.-Section 22. Proper variety on the Natural Tone-however strongly employedor an expressive change of force with every change of sentiment, is that which pleases most. When the speaker loses command over himself, he ceases to have any over his auditory. There is no sublimity in shouting.
244. Very frequently in Descriptive and Dramatic Reading, much expressive beauty may be gained by making the "sound seem echo to the sense." The perfection of a picture consists in giving full development to every trait in the original; so the relationship of sounds with the objects expressed by them is an essential requisite for an exact vocal representation. Words should paint, by sound, the objects which they represent, and, in some degree, render them sensible to the auditor. By means of this analogical sympathy between signs and sounds, the speaker can often depict to the ear as successfully as the colourist to the eye.
245. In all passages where noise or motion is described, where sublime or awful objects are alluded to or represented, or where harshness or gentleness, beauty or deformity is portrayed, the voice should adopt that peculiar modulation which approaches nearest to the nature of the objects represented. But this should be sparingly employed, because a tendency to make the ornamental imitation general destroys its beauty.
True ease in writing comes from art, not chance,
Soft is the strain when zephyr gently blows,
Then rose from sea to sky the wild farewell;
And the sea yawned around her like a hell;
And strives to strangle him, before he die.
And first, one universal shriek there rushed,
Of some strong swimmer in bis agony!
246. Imitation, confined to words, would be incomplete. There must, throughout every composition, be also a harmony of tone with the sentiment. If the intention is to convey to the mind important or magnificent ideas, the expression should be full and if violent passion or mental agitation, the wailing of despair, or the eagerness of hope, the voice should superadd, to the artificial language of speech, the inarticulate but more expressive language of sound.
247. The following musical terms may be employed to denote the general character of expression:
affetuoso (af), with deep feeling.
maestoso (maes.), with majestic expression.
con spirito (con sp.), with spirit, lively.
con fuoco (con fu.), with fire, animated.
con anima (con an.), with soul, with intense feeling.
248. Force considers sounds with respect to their degrees of loudness or softness: those sounds are called loud, which are made with greater respiratory and vocal effort than the ordinary tones of conversation; and those are called soft, which are made with less.
249. The following musical notation may be employed to express the principal degrees of Force :
ppp. as soft as possible. pp. very soft.
mp. middlingly soft.
m. middle tone.
mf. middlingly loud.
ff. very loud.
fff. as loud as possible.
250. No direction can be given for the regular employment of these various degrees: their use is dependent on the meaning of the words spoken the situation of the supposed speaker-the relative positions and distances of the speaker and auditor—and, principally, on taste and judgment.
251. With the exception of the forzanda, or abrupt stress on a word or syllable, the degrees of Force are principally employed upon clauses or sentences.
252. The reader is referred to previous directions for the management of the voice (page 21). He is again reminded that he can never speak naturally on an unnatural key. In public addresses, even in the largest edifice, he ought not to depart from that tone of voice which is usual to him, but simply add to it any necessary degree of force to make it audible. It is extremely difficult to change the pitch of a discourse from high to low, although the reverse may be done with facility. Every sentence should be commenced and concluded on the NATURAL TONE of voice, strengthened to any audibility that circumstances may require.
253. Time treats of sounds with respect to their various degrees of rapidity or slowness. The following notation may be employed to express the principal varieties:
adagio, very slow.
andante, middle degree. allegro, quick.
presto, very quick.
staccato, successive, sharp, distinct tones. sostenuto, successive tones blended.
retard, slackening the time.
accelerando, quickening the time.
254. Solemn discourse requires a very slow movement (adagio). Simple narrative, a medium rate of utterance (andante). Animated description, as well as all language expressive of quick or sudden passion, a rapid rate of utterance (allegro or presto), varying with the intensity of the emotion. Clauses or sentences which are very emphatic should be pronounced in small and distinct emphatic portions (staccato-sec. 231). Clauses or sentences which convey a flow of uniform meaning should have a uniform flow of sound (sost). Passages
introductory to those which are slow or rapid, should be gradually introduced with the proper degrees of Time (retard and accel.)
255. No reader should endeavour to speak more rapidly than an intelligent person, well informed on the subject, and prepared to communicate his thoughts, could compose the subject of discourse. Note. That division of Time which treats of Rhetorical Punctuation has been considered in a previous page.-Sections 115-128, page 37.
TIME OF POETRY.
256. In addition to the above varieties of Time, there is, in Poetry, and in harmonious Prose, another variety, dependent on rhythmical structure. It is caused by an alternation of strong and weak efforts of voice, occurring at regular intervals, and distinguishing this species of composition from ordinary prose. Not only do the prosodial names for the various measures of Verse convey no just idea of its structure, but the accentuation of the English language does not permit the division of its metres into long and short syllables. All English verse is constructed, and must be pronounced, with a regular succession and alternation of HEAVY and LIGHT syllables, in dissyllabic or trisyllabic measures. The sense always determines the accented syllable, and no light syllable should be made heavy merely for the sake of euphony. The principle of this rhythmical admeasurement may be thus explained.
257. No heavy sounds can successively follow each other without a slight intervening pause, the time of which might serve as the basis of another syllable;* thus—
An unaccented syllable might be inserted without adding to the time of the measure, and without requiring, in consecutive utterance, any intervening pause; thus
Or two unaccented syllables may be inserted, so that they occupy only the time of one; thus
258. The natural order of verse, and of its harmonious pronunciation, is from pulsation to remission-that is, from heavy to light. Every bar must be commenced with a heavy syllable; and two heavy syllables cannot be contained in one measure.
Immortal | Nature | lifts her | changeful | form
* The heavy syllable is marked thus (A); the light (...), or when two light syllables occur (...). The bar-measurer is denoted by a vertical line, thus (), and is used to separate the various bars. An omitted heavy syllable is marked thus (); an omitted light syllable thus ( o ).