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"pure tone" in its gentle and sustained swell of utterance, as contrasted with the "expulsive" and "explosive" forms of the “ orotund.”
The modes of feeling or emotion which are expressed by “effusive orotund voice," are pathos, - when mingled with grandeur and sublimity, - and solemnity and reverence, when expressed in similar circumstances. - Pathos, divested of grandeur, subsides into "pure tone,” merely. The same result takes place in the utterance of solemnity, if unaccompanied by sublimity. But reverence, always implying grandeur or elevation in its source, is uniformly uttered by the “orotund” voice, though from the tranquillity, and the partial awe, with which it is attended, its force does not go beyond the “ effusive" form, as may be observed in the appropriate tone of adoration, as uttered in the exercise of devotion.
Analysis thus shows us the value of the “orotund," as imparting dignity of effect to utterance, even in its gentler moods. It teaches us, moreover, the inefficacy or the inappropriateness of all utterance which, in giving forth the language of noble and inspiring emotion, falls short of “orotund” quality, and reduces the style of voice to that of ordinary or common-place topics. Gray's Elegy, for example, if read without “orotund,” becomes feeble and trite, in its style; Milton's Paradise Lost, if so read, becomes dry and flat; and the language of devotion, uttered in the same defective style, in prayer, or in psalms and hymns, becomes irreverent in its effect.
The mode of securing the advantages of "orotund” utterance, is, in the first place, to give up the whole soul to the feeling of what is read or spoken in the language of grave and sublime emotion. The mere superficial impression of a sentiment, is not adequate to the effects of genuine and inspiring expression. The reader or speaker must be so deeply imbued with the spirit of what he utters, that his heart overflows with it, and thus inspires and attunes his organs to the full vividness of expressive action. The ample and noble effect of“ orotund” utterance, can never be acquired through the clearest apprehension of a sentiment by the understanding merely: the heart must swell with the feeling; and the stream of emotion must gush over the whole man. Nor is it sufficient that the reader's feeling be commensurate with the mere personal impression of a sentiment: genuine expression demands such a surplus, as it were, of emotion that it is sufficient to overflow the reader's own being, and impel and carry on with it the sympathies of his audience. The reader must himself feel the inspiration of number enkindling his personal emotion, and elevating and expanding his being, for the full outpouring of expression.
But few readers seem fully to feel the difference between the quiet and passive state in which we sit and give up our imagination to be impressed by the language of an author, and the communicative and active energy requisite to stamp even such an impression on the minds of others. In the former case, we are but involuntary, or, at the most, consentaneous recipients : in the latter, we are the positive and voluntary creators of effect.
The deep and full feeling of an author's sentiment, then, is the natural preliminary to expressive effect and consequent “orotund." But, from the imperfections of early culture, attention is, in most cases, demanded, at the same time, to the state and functions of the organs.
The effect of“ effusive orotund," on the voice, is identical in its quality with the soft, but round and deep tone of a prolonged yawn, - a form of voice which comes, obviously, from the peculiarly wide and free position of the organs in that act. Hence arises the suggestion to repeat voluntarily the effort of loud and prolonged yawning, and watch its peculiar effect on the sound of the voice,
prolong the sound in the form of the yawn, till it can be executed at pleasure.
“ Effusive orotund” is, in one view, nothing else than “pure tone" rendered intense and ample in volume, by vigorous emission of breath, and by laryngial quality, or the full deep ringing effect of a free use of the larynx. The same position and movements of the organs, therefore, are used in the one, as in the other.
The larynx operates in both with the consentaneous enlargement of the pharynx, the elevation of the veil of the palate, and the exactly balanced use of the nasal passage,
a style in which it is neither too much compressed, nor too widely opened, but exerted in the mode required to produce what musicians term “ head tone."
The cultivation of vocal music, in the form of singing bass, is one of the most effectual means of securing the property of “effusive orotund” utterance, in reading and speaking. The following, and similar examples, together with the tabular elements, should be attentively and repeatedly practised, till the full, clear, deep, and perfect resonance of the
quality of voice, is fully at command.
Eramples of " Effusive Orotund."
1. Pathos and Gloom, or Melancholy mingled with Gran
“The curfew tolls, – the knell of parting day;
The lowing herd winds slowly o'er the lea; The ploughman homeward plods his weary way,
And leaves the world to darkness and to me.
“Now fades the glimmering landscape on the sight,
And all the air a solemn stillness holds ; Save where the beetle wheels his drony flight,
And drowsy tinklings lull the distant folds.
“Save that, from yonder ivy-mantled tower,
The moping owl does to the moon complain Of such as, wandering near her secret bower,
Molest her ancient, solitary reign.
“ Beneath those rugged elms, that yew-tree's shade,
Where heaves the turf in many a mouldering heap,– Each in his narrow cell for ever laid,
The rude forefathers of the hamlet sleep.
* Pathetic, tranquil, and solemn emotions, always pass from "pure tone" to “orotund quality," when force or sublimity, in any degree, marks the language in which these emotions are uttered.
“For them no more the blazing hearth shall burn,
Or busy housewife ply her evening care;
Or climb his knees, the envied kiss to share."
2. Solemnity and Sublimity combined. “Hail ! holy Light, — offspring of Heaven, first-born, Or of the Eternal coeternal beam May I express thee unblamed ? since God is light, And never but in unapproached light Dwelt from eternity, — dwelt then in thee, Bright effluence of bright Essence increate ! Or hearst thou, rather, pure ethereal stream, Whose fountain who shall tell ? - Before the sun, Before the heavens thou wert, and, at the voice Of God, as with a mantle didst invest The rising world of waters, dark and deep, Won from the void and formless infinite."
3. Reverence. “Bless the Lord, O my soul! O Lord, my God, Thou art very great; Thou art clothed with honor and majesty ; who coverest thyself with light as with a garment; who stretchest out the heavens like a curtain : who layeth the beams of His chambers in the waters; who maketh the clouds His chariot ; who walketh upon the wings of the wind; who laid the foundations of the earth, that it should not be removed for ever.”
EXPULSIVE OROTUND." This form of the “orotund," or full utterance of public reading and speaking, bears precisely the same relation to the preceding, that “expulsive" bears to “effusive" " pure tone.”
It arises from the forcible action of the abdominal muscles, added to full expansion of chest, and deep inspiration. It has the same laryngial property which justifies the application of the term “orotund” to the “ effusive” style of that form of utterance.
“ Expulsive orotund " belongs appropriately to earnest or vehement declamation, to impassioned and poetic excitement of emotion, and consequently to whatever language is uttered in the form of shouting.
The first-mentioned of these styles, — the declamatory, is exemplified in public address or debate, on exciting occasions. The second is heard in the utterance of passion, when the reader or speaker passes beyond the mere voluntary and conscious force of " declamatory” utterance, and, in part, becomes himself, in common with his audience, an unconscious and involuntary subject of the impelling emotion which he expresses. The third form of “expulsive orotund," is at once, the impassioned and the voluntary burst of emotion which transcends the customary forms and effects of speech, and, in the spirit of enthusiastic excitement, utters itself in shouts and exclamations.
This form of utterance, expulsive orotund," is one of the noblest functions of the human voice. It is this which gives to the ear the full effect of the majesty of man, as a being of heart and will and imagination. Without the full command of this property of utterance, the public reader or speaker falls short of whatever effect naturally belongs, in human speech, to the union of depth, force, and grandeur of emotion. The language of the loftier feelings of the soul, unaided by this natural advantage, becomes familiar, low, and trivial.
The forcible and manly eloquence of Demosthenes or of Chatham, divested of the full “ expulsive utterance of deep and powerful emotion, would become ridiculous in its effect on the ear and the imagination. The same would be true of the style of our own eminent cotemporary and countryman, Webster. Depth, weight, and fulness of tone, form one powerful assemblage of effects, in all his utterance on great and exciting occasions.
To form the voice to the extent of the full expulsive orotund,” care should be taken to maintain a