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Precipitating domes, and towns, and towers, –
Melancholy. (“Effusive orotund " “Impassioned" force :
" Vanishing stress.") “War, famine, pest, volcano, storm, and fire, Intestine broils, Oppression, with her heart Wrapped up in triple brass, besiege mankind. God's image, disinherited of day, Here, plunged in mines, forgets a sun was made : There, beings, deathless as their haughty lord, Are hammered to the galling oar for life; And plough the winter's wave, and reap despair. Want and incurable disease, (fell pair!) On hopeless multitudes remorseless seize At once, and make a refuge of the grave!”
Deep Grief. (“ Effusive expulsive orotund : “ Impassioned” and “ sub
dued” force : " • Vanishing” and “median stress.”)
“ In every varied posture, place, and hour,
IV. “High" Pitch. The analysis of vocal expression, as regards the effect of “ pitch,” leads us now to the study of those modes of utterance which lie above the middle, or ordinary, level of the voice.
The higher portion of the musical scale is associated with the notes of brisk, gay, and joyous emotions, with the exception of the extremes of pain, grief, and fear, which from their preternaturally exciting power, compress and render rigid the organic parts that produce vocal sound, and cause the peculiarly shrill, convulsive cries and shrieks which express those passions. .
Tracing the voice upward, as it ascends from the usual pitch of " serious" or of “ animated expression,” we observe it obviously rise, when it passes from the “animated," or lively, to the "gay" or brisk style, which implies a positive exhilaration, or vivid excitement of the animal spirits. Cheerfulness will suffice to produce “animation ; but joy is requisite to cause “ gaiety.” The properties of voice, in the utterance of these feelings, are correspondent to their gradations of sensibility. Animation pressed by “pure tone,” “unimpassioned radical stress," and “middle pitch :” gaiety, by "expulsive orotund,” vivid “radical and median stress,” and “high pitch.”
The command over “ pitch,” in its application to joyous emotions, is not, it is true, of so much importance to the public speaker, as the power of adopting the appropriate tone of serious, grave, and solemn feeling. It is, however, an indispensable accomplishment in elocution, for the purposes of private and social reading; as much of the pleasure, as well as the true effect, of expression, in the reading of pieces adapted to the parlor, and the family or the social circle, depends on the vivid utterance and comparatively high pitch which occasionally prevail in the appropriate style of such reading ; since it is not unfrequently marked by gay delineation and high-wrought graphic effect of incident, description, and sentiment.
A "pitch” too low for the natural effect of gay and exhilarated feeling, deadens the effect of wit and vivacity, and renders, perhaps, a most expressive strain of composition,
tame and dull, when it should abound in the tones of life and brilliancy.
Juvenile readers, from diffidence, often withhold the true effect of the voice, in the reading of scenes of gaiety and joyousness, by allowing the pitch to remain too low. The gravity and austerity of the student's life, incline him to the same mode of utterance, as a habit, and hence impair that freshness of effect, even in serious communication, which comes from the frequent practice of utterance in strains of joy and gaiety. The proverbial dulness arising from “ all work and no play,” is felt nowhere more deeply than in the habits of the voice. Long-continued, intense mental application, betrays itself, uniformly, in a tendency to hollow, pectoral” tone; and the uniform
drowsy bass” of some public speakers, is but the unconscious yielding to this natural effect.
To give the voice suppleness, pliancy, and mobility, much attention must be bestowed on practice for the regulation of pitch. The following examples should be carefully repeated in conjunction with the elements and detached words, till the “ high pitch" of joy is perfectly at command.
Gay, or brisk, style.
Joy. ("Expulsive orotund : " " Impassioned” force : “Median stress.")
“I come! I come! ye have called me long : I come o'er the mountains with light and song ! Ye may trace my step o'er the wakening earth, By the winds which tell of the violet's birth, By the primrose stars in the shadowy grass, By the green leaves opening as I pass. " From the streams and founts I have loosed the chain : They are sweeping on to the silvery main, They are flashing down from the mountain brows, They are flinging spray o'er the forest-boughs, They are bursting fresh from their sparry caves; And the earth resounds with the joy of waves !”
(“Quality,” force, and “stress," as before, but more fully given.)
“ Away, away! through the wide, wide sky, -
“For the source of glory uncovers his face,
“ Away, away! - In our blossoming bowers,
V. “Very High" Pitch. The extreme of the upper part of the musical scale, as far as it is practical to individuals, in the management of the voice, is the natural range of pitch for the utterance of ecstatic and rapturous or uncontrollable emotion. It belongs, accordingly, to high-wrought lyric and dramatic passages, in strains of joy, grief, astonishment, delight, tenderness, and the hysterical extremes of passionate emotion generally.
As the appropriate utterance of excessive feeling, the "extremely high pitch” is not so important for the general purposes of elocution, as the “middle" or the “high.” Passages requiring this mode of expression must obviously be of comparatively rare occurrence.
It is not less true, however, that the peculiar beauty, or power, or natural effect, of a strain of poetry, may depend, for its true expression, on the command which the reader or reciter possesses over this element of voice. It is equally certain that practice and discipline on the uppermost notes of the scale, give the voice great pliancy, on the range immediately below; and that the frequent repetition of the highest note which the student can command, is one of the most efficacious means of imparting firm, clear, and well-compacted tone.
The following examples, together with the elements and selected words, should be repeated, as daily exercises, for the purpose of training the organs to easy execution on high
Ecstatic Joy. [Song of the Valkyriur, or Fatal Sisters, to the Doomed
Warrior.] ("Expulsive Orotund”: “Sustained ” force of calling and
- Median stress.”')
Frantic Grief and Indignation. Queen Constance, (on the conclusion of peace between the
kings of England and France, and the consequent violation of her son's rights.] (“Expulsive Orotund ” : Violent force : “ Thorough stress.")
“ Arm! arm ! you heavens! against these perjured kings. A widow cries, ‘Be husband to me heavens!'