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of vocal practice, is that of serious and earnest conversation in a numerous circle.
In selecting examples according to the rhetorical characteristics of style, the choice should be made from intermediate modes of writing, which are neither so deep-toned in their language, as those which are denominated “grave or “solemn, nor yet so high-pitched as the “
gay,” or brisk, and the “ humorous” or playful. The rhetorical styles intermediate to these, are the “serious” and the “animated." These are the fairest average representatives of plain expression, as it usually occurs in conversation and discourse : they serve also to exemplify the common forms of narrative and descriptive writing.
Close attention and a discriminating ear, are required, to keep the pitch exactly true, in such examples as the following. The least deviation of voice, downward or upward on the scale, interferes with the appropriate utterance of sentiment; making the expression either too grave or too light. The practice of these examples should be accompanied by frequent repetition of the elements and of detached columns of words, with a view to fix permanently in the ear, the proper note of middle pitch, whether in " seri
animated” utterance. The former is, of course, somewhat lower on the scale than the latter : the exact degree depends on the shades of expression in partic
or in 6
(" Pure Tone” : “ Moderate" force : “Unimpassioned radical,”
and gentle “median stress.”') “How different is the view of past life, in the man who is grown old in knowledge and wisdom, from that of him who is grown old in ignorance and folly! The latter is like the owner of a barren country, that fills his eye with the prospect of naked hills and plains, which produce nothing either profitable or ornamental : the former beholds a beautiful and spacious landscape, divided into delightful gardens, green meadows, and fruitful fields, and can scarce cast his eye on a single spot of his possessions, that is not covered with some beautiful plant or flower."
Serious Narrative. (“ Quality," "force," and stress, as in the preceding ex
ample.) “Raleigh's cheerfulness, during his last days, was so great, and his fearlessness of death so marked, that the dean of Westminster who attended him, wondering at his deportment, reprehended the lightness of his manner. But Raleigh gave God thanks that he had never feared death ; for it was but an opinion and an imagination; and, as for the manner of death, he had rather die so than in a burning fever ; that some might have made shows outwardly; but he felt the joy within."
(" Quality,” &c. as before.) “All that has been related concerning the passion for tales, which distinguishes the Arabs, is literally true. During the night which we passed on the shore of the Dead Sea, we observed our Bethlehemites seated around a large fire, with their guns laid near them on the ground, while their horses, fastened to stakes, formed a kind of circle about them. These Arabs, after having taken their coffee, and conversed for some time with great carnestness, and with their usual loquacity, observed a strict silence when the sheik began his tale. We could, by the light of the fire, distinguish his significant gestures, his black beard, his white teeth, and the various plaits and positions which he gave to his tunic, during the recital. His companions listened to him with the most profound attention; all of them with their bodies bent forward, and their faces over the flame, alternately sending forth shouts of admiration,
and repeating, with great emphasis, the gestures of the historian. The heads of some few of their horses and camels, were occasionally seen elevated above the group, and shadowing, as it were, the picture. When to these was added a glimpse of the scenery about the Dead Sea and the mountains of Judea, the whole effect was striking and fanciful, in the highest degree."
Serious Conversational Style. An idle man is a kind of monster in the creation. All nature is busy about him: every animal he sees, reproaches him. Let such a man, who lies as a burden or dead weight upon the species, and contributes nothing either to the riches of the commonwealth, or to the maintenance of himself and family, consider that instinct with which Providence has endowed the ant, and by which is exhibited an example of industry to rational creatures."
* Animated Narrative Style. (“ Pure Tone" : “Moderate " force : Vivid “ radical stress.")
“To form an idea of Cæsar's energy and activity, observe him when he is surprised by the Nervii. His soldiers are employed in pitching their camp. - The ferocious enemy sallies from his concealment, puts the Roman cavalry to the rout, and falls upon the foot. Everything is alarm, confusion, and disorder. Every one is doubtful what course to take, - every one but Cæsar !
He causes the banner to be erected, - the charge to be sounded, the soldiers at a distance to be recalled, all in a moment. He runs from place to place; his whole frame is in action ; — his words, his looks, his motion, his gestures, exhort his men to remember their former valor. He draws them up, and causes the signal to be given, — all in a moment. The contest is doubtful and dreadful : two of his legions are entirely surrounded. He seizes a buckler from one of the private men, -puts himself at the head of his broken troops,
* The vividness of effect in this style, raises the pitch above that of "serious” narrative: the prevailing note, however, is still, as in conversation, near the middle of the scale.
darts into the thick of the battle,cues his legions, and overthrows the enemy!”
Animated Description. (" Pure Tone” : “ Moderate " force : Vivid “ median stress.")
“The physical universe may be regarded as exhibiting, at once, all its splendid varieties of events, and uniting, as it were, in a single moment, the wonders of eternity. Combine, by your imagination, all the fairest appearances of things. Suppose that you see, at once, all the hours of the day, and all the seasons of the year, a morning of spring and a morning of autumn, a night brilliant with stars, and a night obscure with clouds, - meadows, enamelled with flowers, — fields, waving with harvests, - woods, heavy with the frosts of winter; — you will then have a just notion of the spectacle of the universe. Is it not wondrous, that while you are admiring the sun plunging beneath the vault of the west, another observer is beholding him as he quits the region of the east, in the same instant reposing, weary, from the dust of the evening, and awaking, fresh and youthful, in the dews of morn! There is not a moment of the day in which the same sun is not rising, shining in his zenith, and setting on the world! Or, rather, our senses abuse us: and there is no rising, nor setting, nor zenith, nor east, nor west; but all is one fixed point, at which every species of light is beaming, at once, from the unalterable orb of day."
Animated Didactic Style, in Conversation. ("Pure Tone”: “Moderate" force : "Unimpassioned radical,"
and lively “median stress.”) "People imagine they should be happy in circumstances
which they would find insupportably burdensome in less than a week. A man that has been clothed in fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day, envies the peasant under a thatched hovel; who, in return, envies him as much his palace and his pleasure-grounds. Could they exchange situations, the fine gentleman would find his ceilings were too low, and that his casements admitted too much wind ; that he had no cellar for his wine, and no wine to put in his cellar. These with a thousand other mortifying deficiencies, would shatter his romantic project into innumerable fragments in a moment."
Animated Didactic Style, in Public Discourse. (“ Expulsive Orotund”: “ Moderate " force : Energetic “ radi
cal” and “ median stress.”) “ Blood, says the pride of life, is more honorable than money. Indigent nobility looks down upon untitled opulence. This sentiment, pushed a little farther, leads to the point I am pursuing. Mind is the noblest part of man ; and of mind, virtue is the noblest distinction.
“ Honest man, in the ear of Wisdom, is a grander name, is a more high-sounding title, than peer of the realm, or prince of the blood. According to the eternal rules of celestial precedency, in the immortal heraldry of Nature and of Heaven, Virtue takes place of all things. It is the nobility of angels ! It is the majesty of God!"
II. " Low" Pitch. This designation applies to the utterance of those feelings which we are accustomed to speak of as deeper" than ordinary. Low notes seem the only natural language of grave emotions, such as accompany deeply serious and impressive thoughts, grave authority, or austere man
The transition in the voice, from "middle" to "low"