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The rising interval of the second, or the proper radical and vanishing tone, has in previous parts of this essay been largely spoken of, both as regards its nature and position in speech. I here reconsider the subject of this interval, with a view to complete the enumeration of all the concrete spaces of the speaking scale : and to join one or two additional remarks to the recapitulation of its qualities and uses. It is the basis of what I have called the diatonic melody; and in correct and agreeable elocution, is more frequently used than any other interval : since it is appropriate to all those parts of discourse which convey the plain thoughts of the speaker; if these may be contradistinguished from those emphatic meanings and sentiments, which I designed to embrace under the head of Expression. Although I thus exclude the Tone, when used in its simplest state, from among the especial agents of expression, I shall show hereafter, that it may receive a stress on different
parts of its concrete course, which gives a marked coloring to • its intonation: and it has already been told, in the section on
Time, that an extension of the voice on syllables of long quantity, produces a deliberate enunciation, a dignity and a smoothness which give the highest qualities of the diatonic melody, without a departure from its characteristic simplicity.
In an early part of this essay, I asserted that the radical and vanish are necessary functions of utterance; or in other words, that no impulse of the voice can be given, without going through the concrete. I have since shown the means for ascertaining the passage of this concrete through the higher intervals of the scale, both in the protracted and the rapid time of syllables. When I assert that immutable syllables, in a diatonic melody, do pass instantaneously through the concrete second or tone, I am bound to confess that my ear can not measure directly the fluent course of the transition. Yet I am led to the conclusion that the fact is so, by the following considerations :
Every case of concrete utterance of a tone, in which the increments of time and motion are perceptible, has manifestly the radical and vanishing progression. Now when the time of this manifest concrete is gradually shortened, in repeated pronunciation, till the syllabic impulse becomes, as it were, a mere point of sound, the effect of this instant impulse on the
ear does not differ materially from that of the last degree in which the increments of the concrete progress are discernible.
But further, I have shown that the interrogative intervals of the third, the fifth, and the octave, might be passed through on an immutable syllable. This was proved by the peculiar effect of the interrogative voice being distinctly cognizable on this sort of syllable: and I shall show, in the next section, that the smaller interval of the semitone, the peculiar expression of which may be recognized, whatever is the time of utterance, does likewise pass through the concrete, on the shortest syllables. Now we can scarcely refuse to the Tone, the attribution of that concrete movement on momentary syllables, which belongs to all the other intervals of the scale, when uttered with the same momentary impulse. This however, is certain :there is one audible effect of the enunciation of immutable syllables clearly distinguishable from that of their utterance through the concrete space of the semitone, the third and other higher intervals. This may be a mere point of voice; but for the above reasons, I do believe it to be a rapid concrete passage through the second or tone.
Perhaps the reader may desire to know particularly, to what portions of discourse the Tone or second is applied, and with what continuity the diatonic melody, which consists in a play on this Tone, is used. In describing and illustrating this melody, I represented it as extended through successive sentences. The diatonic movement is however, rarely found of long continuation : the current of the Tone being intersected by the interposition of concretes with a different range of pitch. I have already said that the higher intervals of the scale are used for interrogative expression ; that they are likewise applied to single words, as one of the modes of emphasis ; and I shall show that other elements of pitch are occasionally introduced for this same purpose of emphatic expression. Now as these occasions for using the other intervals occur in most discourse, it will be found that the diatonic melody generally exists in detached portions; the continuity of the melody in the tone or second being broken by those other intervals : and this interruption will be more or less frequent, according to the prevalence of expression. A Gazette advertisement, a legal instrument, and the purely communicative style of plain narrative and of description may generally be read in the thorough diatonic melody. But there are few compositions which are addressed to taste, that have not their melody varied by the more or less frequent occurrence of the coloring of higher intervals than the second. According to the line I have endeavoured to draw between mere thoughts and what are called sentiments or feelings, and consistently with their appropriate intonation, it might be supposed that the demonstrations of Euclid should be read in one continuous stream of diatonic melody; but even these are perpetually varied by the higher intervals, introduced upon illative, absolute, and conditional phrases. The fragments of diatonic melody, occurring in prose declamation, in poetry, and in the drama, are generally small : and conversation, when not didactic, nor designedly solemn, nor unavoidably dull, almost banishes the melody of the tone, in the vivid coloring of its highly inflected intonation.
Since I have assigned restrictively, the interval of the second, in the form of the diatonic melody, to a certain character of discourse; and since it is desirable that this melody should be executed with the greatest propriety and elegance, it may not be amiss to point out the mode of managing the second, for the attainment of these qualities.
The diatonic melody being deprived of the resources of the higher intervals, and other modes of intonation, by which more sentimental discourse is expressively adorned, is limited to the means of excellence, arising out of the skilful ordering of time and stress. The different forms of stress which may be applied to a concrete rise of the second, will be described in a future section. The other principal means for adding dignity and grace to the delivery of a passage of this plain melody, and for producing a well measured rythmus, is by the adjusted variety of length, in the quantity of syllables. It is not, however, by the prolongation alone, that a clear and agreeable enunciation is effected, in a dignified form of diatonic speech. It is necessary that the length should be made with the equable movement which peculiarly constitutes this mode of intonation: and further, that the voice, in this equable rise of the tone, should have that full opening and subsequent gradual diminution, which suggested its subdivided distinction by terms, into radical and vanishing movement. He who has not cultivated his voice in these particulars, will find it difficult to give the extreme protraction of an indefinite syllable, with its co-existent qualities of equability and vanish. He will, on trial, be very apt to carry out a long quantity, with the intonation of song. Being now acquainted with the three modes of the radical and vanishing movement, the light and guidance of a special purpose in study and practice, instead of the faltering blindness of imitation, may lead us to an unerring command over the equable concrete of speech.
The power of making long quantities on indefinite syllables, with the precision of boundary and the smoothness and nicety of vanish belonging to the best execution of this equable movement, is one of the most attractive and the rarest accomplishments of a speaker. The skilful performance of this concrete function, in the impressive fulness and dignity of the Orotund voice, gives the acknowledged satisfaction to a discerning ear, when an accomplished actor first breaks his silence in the dialogue; even though it is by a solitary syllable. With this tenper of voice, his opening efforts cleave their way at once to approbation; and need no working on a dull material through the tedious whetting of a whole act, to bring it fo an edge.
The smallest but not the least important division of the scale, through which the radical and vanishing movement may be heard, is the interval of the Semitone. In the second section of this essay, I described the means by which the reader can acquire a distinct perception of this concrete interval. It was
there said, that, if in ascending the scale, the effect of the transition from the seventh to the eighth place be compared with the syllabic utterance of a plaintive sentiment, their identity will be acknowledged. Now the interval from the seventh to the eighth, in the diatonic scale, is a semitone. This interval is used in speech for the expression of complaint, pity, grief, plaintive supplication, and other sentiments congenial with these.
If we ascend through the diatonic scale, by a repetition of the word · fire, subdivided into two syllables, so that 'fi' and “yer shall be alternately set on each point of the scale, it will be perceived that the transition from the seventh to the eighth place gives the same expression to the word "fire,' as when it is uttered through the streets in the outcry of alarm.
The intonation by the concrete semitone, is universally, the symbol of nature for animal distress : and in the above mode of exemplification on the scale, its effect is very different from that of the concrete passage of the word through the space of a whole tone, between the first and second points of the scale. Among a multitude of voices, where the alarm is given by public cry, this utterance through the second is occasionally heard : and I am sure some of my readers may be able to call to mind the defect of its dissonant difference from the intonation of the great majority. I can not exemplify it by the pen : but when the uncommon impression of a particular cry is not produced by quality or shrillness, it generally arises from this misapplied form of pitch. The genera of mankind always show forth their characteristics; and though there may sometimes be error in judging of the full aggregate of qualities there there is often truth, and always caution, and economy of opinion in the use of the rule. Be this as it may, I never hear the cry of fire' made through the interval of a whole tone, without a persuasion of the general impotence or deformity of that voice or that ear, which can, in this particular, so far transgress the ordination of nature.
The semitone is employed for the expression of gentleness of feeling: and never for that of great energy, harshness or impetuosity of thought. It affects generally a slow time and long quantity in utterance. The interjective exclamations of pain, grief, love and compassion are prolongations of the tonic