« PreviousContinue »
perfectly erect attitude of body, the chest fully expanded, and projected, and the shoulders depressed, — to maintain, also, a vigorous play of the abdominal muscles, and to practise the organic act of prolonged coughing, in a moderate form, which is the natural mechanical function most nearly resembling “expulsive orotund.” The elements of the language should be practised in a similar style; and to these exercises should be added the repeated and energetic practice of the following examples.
Practice on the “ crying ” voice, or weeping utterance of sorrow, is another expedient for rendering nature's processes conducive to culture. The act of crying, being, in its mechanism, a perfect "expulsive orotund."
Examples of " Expulsive Orotund."
1.-“Declamatory " Style. “ Sink or swim, live or die, survive or perish, I give my hand and my heart to this vote!”
Sir, before God, I believe the hour is come. judgment approves
whole heart is in it. All that I have, and all that I am, and all that I hope, in this life, I am now ready here to stake upon it; and I leave off, as I began, that, live or die, survive or perish, I am for the declaration. It is my living sentiment; and, by the blessing of God, it shall be my dying sentiment:- independence now, and INDEPENDENCE FOREVER !”
2. — “Impassioned" Poetic Style. “ Where rests the sword ? - where sleep the brave? Awake! Cecropia's ally save
From the fury of the blast ! Burst the storm on Phocis' walls, Rise! or Greece forever falls :
Up! or Freedom breathes her last!”
3. - Weeping Utterance. (“Crying” Voice.) “Prince Arthur, [to Hubert, whose attendants are binding the prince, for the purpose of putting out his eyes.]
“ Alas! what need you be so boisterous rough?
4. — Shouting. “Advance your standards, draw your willing swords ! Sound drums and trumpets, boldly and cheerfully ! God, and Saint George ! Richmond and victory!”
The “explosive" form of the “orotund” utterance, bears the same relation to “ effusive" and "expulsive orotund,” that "explosion” in breathing or whispering, bears to “ effusion” and “ expulsion," in those forms. It implies an instantaneous burst of voice with a quick, clear, sharp, and cutting effect on the ear.
This mode of voice proceeds from a violent and abrupt exertion of the abdominal muscles, acting on the diaphragm, and thus discharging a large volume of air, previously inhaled. The breath, in this process, is, as it were, dashed against the glottis or lips of the larynx, causing a loud and instantaneous explosion. In the act of “explosion,” the chink of the glottis is, for a moment, closed, and a resistance, at first, offered to the escape of the breath, by a firm compression of the lips of the larynx, and downward pressure of the epiglottis. After this instant pressure and resistance, follows the explosion caused by the appulsive act of the abdominal muscles and the diaphragm, propelling the breath, with powerful and irresistible volume, on the glottis and epiglottis, which at length give way, and suffer the breath to escape, with a loud and sudden report, of a purely explosive character.
The preceding and accompanying state of the organs, in the act of “explosion,” sufficiently indicates the propriety of this mode of utterance being termed “ orotund ;” as it possesses all the depth, roundness, and fulness of the other forms of that " quality,” which have been already discussed, and implies farther, that these are now compacted and condensed, to an extraordinary degree, so as to make the sound of the voice resemble, in its effect on the ear, that of a firm and hard ball striking against the surface of the body.
“ Explosive orotund” is the language of intense passion : it is heard when the violence of emotion is beyond the control of the will, and a sudden ecstasy of terror, anger, or any other form of intensely excited feeling, causes the voice to burst forth involuntarily from the organs, with all the sudden and startling effect that would arise from its sound being forced out, by a sudden blow, applied to the back of the speaker. It exists only in the extremes of abrupt emotion, as in the burst of anger, or the shout of courage, and admits of no gradations.
This form of the human voice is one of the most impressive in its effect. By a law of our constitution, it acts with an instantaneous shock on the sympathetic nerve, and rouses the sensibility of the whole frame; it summons to instant action all the senses; and in the thrill which it sends from nerve to brain, we feel its awakening and inciting power over the mind. With the rapidity of lightning it penetrates 'every faculty, and sets it instinctively on the alert. It seems designed by nature as the note of alarm to the whole citadel within the soul.
We hear the “ explosive orotund quality" exemplified in the sudden alarm of fire, in the short and sharp cry of terror or of warning, at the approach of instant and great danger, in the eruptive curse of furious anger, in the abrupt exclamation of high-wrought courage, and in the burst of frantic grief. In reading and recitation, it belongs appropriately to the highest ecstatic effects of lyric and dramatic poetry, as the language of intense passion.
Without the full command of this element, emotion be comes lifeless and ineffective in tone; and the inspired language of the poet dies upon the tongue.
To gain the full command of “ explosive orotund” voice, the practice of the elements, of syllables, and words, in the tones of anger and terror, should be frequently repeated, along with the following and similar examples. A previous organic practice should also be repeatedly made on the mechanical exercise of abrupt and loud coughing, which is the purest form of“ explosive orotund." The vocal elements and syllabic combinations should be repeated in the form of a sudden cough, at the opening of each sound. Laughing, - in its strongest and fullest style, - is another natural form of " explosive orotund;" and the mechanical practice of the act is one of the most efficacious modes of imparting to the organs the power of instantaneous “ explosion,” required in the vivid expression of high-wrought feeling. These processes at once secure a vigorous state of the organs of voice, and a round and compacted form of sound. No exercise is so effectual for strengthening weak organs, or imparting energy to tone, as the “ explosive orotund” utterance. Like all other powerful forms of exertion, it should not, at first, be carried very far ; neither should it be practised without a due interspersing of the gentler and softer exercises of voice. Pursued exclusively, it would harden the voice, and render it dry and unpleasing in its quality. Intermingled with the other modes of practice, it secures thorough-going force and clearness of voice, and permanent vigor and elasticity of organs.
Examples of “ Explosive Orotund.”
Antony, [to the conspirators.] “ Villains ! you did not threat, when your vile daggers Hacked one another in the sides of Cæsar ! You showed your teeth like apes, and fawned like hounds, And bowed like bondmen, kissing Cæsar's feet ; Whilst damned Casca, like a cur, behind, Struck Cæsar on the neck. – Oh! flatterers !"
2. Courage. (" Explosive" Shouting.) « Strike for the sires who left you free!
Strike for their sakes who bore you !
And the Heaven you worship, o'er you !”
“ To arms! — they come ! — the Greek, the Greek!"
4. Hurry and Commotion. “Send out more horses, skirr the country round;
Hang those that talk of fear! - Give me mine armor." 5. Frenzied burst of Grief. (“Crying” Utterance.)
Queen Constance, (on the loss of her son.] “ I will not keep this form upon my head,
When there is such disorder in my wit !
EXERCISES IN OROTUND UTTERANCE.
To young persons whose organs are yet pliant, and susceptible of the full effects of cultivation, and to students who are desirous of acquiring a perfect command over the vocal organs, for the purposes of effective public speaking, as well as to persons who wish to attain facility in the strong impassioned expression of vocal music, as exemplified in occasional passages of the oratorio and the opera, the power of orotund utterance, in all its extent, is indispensable as an accomplishment. Capacious and vigorous organs, a high state of health, an energetic will, a deep and quick susceptibility of the inspiration of poetic passion, enable some individuals to become powerful vocalists and speakers, with comparatively little training or express practice. But the vast majority of human beings cannot attain the effective expression of intense emotion, without the aid of systematic culture and persevering application; and, to all classes