« PreviousContinue »
THE ORGANS OF VOICE.
A LABORED and minute description of the organs of the human voice, would be incompatible with the design of a brief and practical work, such as this. Nor is an exact anatomical knowledge of these parts of the human frame, or a profound investigation of the physiology of their functions, essential to the purposes of culture. All that is aimed at, in the following observations, is to impart such an idea of organic structure and action, as is indispensable to an intelligent, voluntary use of the vocal organs.
To examine the corporeal mechanism of speech, we commence with a survey of the trunk of the body, the great cavity, or main pipe, of vocal sound, and the seat of the principal apparatus whose motions give origin to voice. As the first step in our investigation, then, we wish to withdraw the student's attention entirely from the tongue, the mouth, and the throat, — the immediate, and, as it were, conscious instruments of utterance, and to fasten the thoughts on the sources of voice, – the unconscious, and, in part, the involuntary, action of the muscles which enlarge and compress the cavity of the organic frame, and render it a resonant body.
The production of vocal sound, is, to a certain extent, identical with the function of breathing. A person in health, and free from pain, breathes without any perceptible sound, but that gentle whispering effect which is produced by inspiration and expiration, — drawing in, and giving