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Under ordinary circumstances, the various modula tions of the voice in reading and speaking may be repre sented by a staff of four lines. That this staff may not be confounded with the staff of melody described in the preceding chapter, it is made of lines composed of dots, and called the staff of modulation. The lines of this staff, like those of the staff of melody, are counted from below upward. The second line is called the pitch-note line of the staff of modulation.
A series of modulations, as represented by the following diagram, might very appropriately be termed a melody of melodies A SERIES OF MODULATIONS. (Diag. 6.)
This diagram shows the modulations of the voice in the correct reading of the following extract from Ossian's Address to the Sun :
(a) ?The moon herself is lost in heaven; | (6) but thou art for ever the same, (c) rejoicing in the brightness of thy course. I (d) 1When the world is dark with tempests, (e) ?when thunder rolls, and lightning flies, | (F) 3thou lookest in thy beauty from the clouds, | (g) *and laughest at the storm. | (h) 2 But to Ossian thou lookest in vain.
Staff a, in Diagram 6, is designed for the first section in the above extract; staff b, for the second section, and
The transition from c to d is abrupt, also that from
9 to h. The pitch-note of staff a is identical with that of staff e and that of staff h, and corresponds to the pitch-note of modulation.
In that part of this work which consists of Exercises in Reading and Declamation, the modulations of the voice are indicated by small numerals prefixed to the words where the transitions should take place. These numerals are 1, 2, 3, 4, and represent respectively the first, second, third, and fourth line of the staff of modulation. This is shown in the preceding extract from Ossian's Address to the Sun. No. 2 is prefixed to the first section, to show that this section is to be read in the pitch-note of modulation ; No. 3 is prefixed to the second section, to show that this section should be read in the third degree of the staff of modulation ; No. 4 is prefixed to the third section, to show that this section should be read in the fourth degree of the staff of modulation ; No. 1 is prefixed to the fourth section, to show that this section should be read in the first degree of the staff of modulation; and so on (see the Extract and Diag. 6).
Some public speakers, who are ignorant of the principles of Elocution, but who nevertheless are considered by the vulgar as great orators, modulate their voices in the most erratic and hyperbolical manner. I once heard a clergyman pronounce the following sentence in the way which I shall describe:
“ While God's omniscient eye passes from seat to seat, I and ranges throughout the house, I he beholds what is passing in
The first section, while God's omniscient eye passes from seat to seat, he pronounced in the first degree above the lowest note of his voice; the second section, and ranges throughout the house, he uttered with great force, in the highest note of his natural voice; the third section, he beholds what is passing in every heart, he pronounced with a mixture of vocality and aspiration in the lowest note of his voice. Such wild and extravagant transitions, though they may astonish the ignorant, “cannot but make the judicious grieve. The manner in which the speaker pronounced the first and third section in the above sentence is good; and had he pronounced the second section in the same pitch and force with the first, his elocution would have been faultless.
There are other public speakers who never modulate their voices, however necessary it may be to give proper expression to their sentiments; and, what is worse, they generally pitch their voices a third, a filih, or an octave too high. I once listened to an excellent discourse, from a very learned man, which, however, was nearly lost upon the audience from the disgusting manner in which it was delivered. The lecturer pitched his voice an octave
too high, and spoke an hour and a half, without any variation in pitch, force, or time; and, what rendered his delivery still more offensive, every syllable was marred with an intolerable drawling. Such elocution is discreditable to any man who speaks in public, and ought not to be tolerated by an educated community.
FORCE is tne degree of the loudness of sounds. It is also the degree of exertion with which sounds are made.
A lax division of force is into loud and soft; those sounds are called loud which are made with greater effort than the ordinary tones of conversation, and those are called soft which are made with less effort.
Some use the terms high and low, as synonymous with loud and soft. But this is an improper application of these words. High and low regard the acuteness and gravity of sounds only, and not their force; a sound may be high and soft, as well as high and loud-a sound may also be low and loud, as well as low and soft.
For convenience, force is divided into nine degrees. These degrees are expressed by the following abbreviations
ppp (pianissimo), as soft as possible. PP (più piano), more soft, very soft. P (piano),
soft. mp (mezzo piano), .. middling soft, rather soft.
(mezzo), half middle, mean. mf (mezzo forte), middling loud, rather loud. f (forte),
loud. ff (più forte), more loud, very loud. fiff (fortissimo), .... as loud as possible,
The nine degrees of force are represented by Diag. 6. The upper line of the diagram contains notes of song, the lower one notes of speech.
Force may be considered in reference to its application to sentences and paragraphs, as well as in reference to
its application to syllables. The application of force to sentences may be varied in the following manner :
1. A sentence may be pronounced with uniform force.
2. A sentence may be pronounced with a gradual diminution of force.
3. A sentence may be pronounced with a gradual increase of force.
4. The first part of a sentence may be pronounced with a gradual increase of force, and the second part with a gradual diminution of force.
5. The first part of a sentence may be pronounced with a gradual diminution of force, and the second part with a gradual increase of force.
FORCE, OR STRESS (Diag. 7).
Force, however, is generally applied to sentences in a more irregular manner. It should always be varied according to the varying demands of sentiment.
Force applied to a note or syllable, is denominated stress.
Radical stress is the application of force at the beginning of a note or syllable; it corresponds to the diminuendo in music.
Delian stress is the application of force at the middle of a note or syllable; it corresponds to the swell or crescendo et diminuendo in music.
Final stress is the application of force at the end of a note, or syllable; it corresponds to the crescendo, or rather rinforzando,* in music.
Explosive stress is the abrupt application of force to a note or syllable; it corresponds to the forzando in music.
Tremour is iterated stress on a note or syllable. Examples of the tremour are given in the following diagram:
The tremour, in all its forms, may be illustrated on the violin by sounding the notes with a vibratory motion of the bow.
Great attention should be paid to the subject of force, as much of what is called expression, depends on some modification of this attribute of the voice. Indeed, force may be considered the light and shade of elocutior ..
TIME is the measure of sounas in regard to their duration.
Time, in song and instrumental music, is divided into
* Rinforzando is a sudden increase of sound from softness to Innoss.