Page images
PDF
EPUB

Without the full command of this element, emotion becomes 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."

1. Anger.

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 !
Strike for your homes and liberty,

And the Heaven you worship, o'er you!”

3. Terror.

“ 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!
O lord ! my boy, my Arthur, my fair son !
My life, my joy, my food, my all the world!”

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 of students, such assistance is of immense advantage: the more regular and extensive the discipline, the greater is always the result in power of voice.

For these reasons, it will be of the utmost service, as an efficacious mode of training, to repeat, with due frequency, previous to commencing the following exercises, the organic functions of breathing, in its different forms, as before suggested, and the yawning, coughing, crying, and laughing modes of utterance, on the “tonic elements," and on words selected from the “exercises in enunciation."

[blocks in formation]

I. Pathos and Gloom, or Melancholy, united with Grandeur.

1. “O Sun! to Ossian thou lookest in vain; for he beholds thy beams no more, whether thy yellow hair floats on the eastern clouds, or thou tremblest at the gates of the west. But thou art, perhaps, like me,

for a season: thy years will have an end. Thou shalt sleep in thy clouds, careless of the voice of the morning."

2.
Seasons return : But not to me returns
Day, or the sweet approach of even or morn,
Or sight of vernal bloom, or summer's rose,
Or flocks or herds or human face divine;
But cloud, instead, and ever-during dark
Surround me, from the cheerful ways

of
Cut off, and, for the book of knowledge fair,
Presented with a universal blank
Of Nature's works, to me expunged and razed,
And wisdom at one entrance quite shut out ! ”

men

3.
“With eyes upraised, as one inspired,
Pale Melancholy sat retired,
And from her wild sequestered seat,
In notes by distance made more sweet,

Poured through the mellow horn her pensive soul;

And, dashing soft from rocks around,

Bubbling runnels joined the sound : Through glades and glooms the mingled measure stole; Or, o'er some haunted stream, with fond delay,

Round a holy calm diffusing,

Love of peace and lonely musing, In hollow murmurs died away.”

2. Solemnity and Sublimity, combined.

1.

As the long train
Of ages glide away, the sons of men,
The youth in life's green spring, and he who goes
In the full strength of years, matron, and maid,
The bowed with age, the infant, in the smiles
And beauty of its innocent age cut off,
Shall, one by one, be gathered to thy side,
By those who, in their turn, shall follow them.

“So live, that when thy summons comes to join The innumerable caravan,

that moves To the pale realms of shade, where each shall take His chamber in the silent halls of death, Thou go not, like the quarry-slave at night, Scourged to his dungeon; but sustained and soothed By an unfaltering trust, approach thy grave, Like one who wraps the drapery of his couch About him, and lies down to pleasant dreams.”

2. (Solemnity and Sublimity, combined with Tranquillity.)

“Yet not to thy eternal resting place
Shalt thou retire alone, nor couldst thou wish
Couch more magnificent. Thou shalt lie down
With patriarchs of the infant world, — with kings,

g*

The powerful of the earth, — the wise, the good,
Fair forms and hoary seers of ages past,
All in one mighty sepulchre. - The hills,
Rock-ribbed, and ancient as the sun, - the vales,
Stretching in pensive quietness between;
The venerable woods, - rivers that move
In majesty, and the complaining brooks
That make the meadows green; and, poured round all,
Old ocean's gray and melancholy waste, -
Are but the solemn decorations all
Of the great tomb of man. The golden sun,
The planets, all the infinite host of heaven,
Are shining on the sad abodes of death,
Through the still lapse of ages. All that tread
The globe are but a handful to the tribes
That slumber in its bosom. Take the wings
Of morning, - and the Barcan desert pierce,
Or lose thyself in the continuous woods
Where rolls the Oregon, and hears no sound
Save his own dashings, — yet the dead are there;
And millions, in those solitudes, since first
The flight of years began, have laid them down
In their last sleep : – the dead reign there alone."

3. Reverence, and Adoration.*

1. These are Thy glorious works, Parent of Good, Almighty! Thine this universal frame Thus wondrous fair, — Thyself how wondrous then! Unspeakable! who sitt'st above these heavens To us invisible, or dimly seen 'Midst these Thy lowest works. Yet these declare Thy goodness beyond thought And power

divine!”

13

* The appropriate tone of devotion is uniformly characterized by “effusive orotund” utterance.

« PreviousContinue »