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1. Good * reading is expressing, in vocal tones, the thoughts and feelings of a written or printed composition.
2. There are many kinds of thoughts and feelings, and consequently, many kinds of tones will be required to ex
3. Some thoughts are vigorous, energetic, betokening that the mind is thoroughly aroused and ready to put forth its powers forcibly. Others are indicative of a cool and deliberate state of mind, in wbich it is prepared to deal with every-day matters of fact. Again, the mind may be weighed down by sorrow, animated with joy, distracted with fear, or softened with pity, and each of these states may be adequately expressed by the tones of the human voice.
4. Tones may differ from each other in several ways, as in pitch, in volume, in rapidity of utterance, and in force; and it is by a judicious adjustment of these differences that the voice is made expressive.
5. It is convenient to consider about three degrees each, of Force, Speed, Pitch, and Volume of Voice.
Force may be moderate, soft, or loud.
Volume may be moderate, slight, or full. 6. When the mind is in an unexcited state, it expresses itself with moderate force. When pressed by sorrow, or filled with pity or affection, it uses soft tones. When aroused to resistance or indignation or defiance or denunciation or joy, it speaks in loud tones.
* The reading here meant is reading aloud.
7. The same state of mind that requires moderate force requires also moderate speed. Joy, animated cheerfulness, sport, &c., require fast utterance. If the thoughts are solemn, sad, dignified, or noble, the utterance is slow.
8. The same state of mind that requires moderate force and speed, usually requires medium pitch. Solemnity, sadness, despair, require a low pitob. Joy, lively description, fear, hilarity, are expressed in high tones.
9. Moderate volume is usually required where moderate force, speed, and pitch are demanded.
All grand and noble thoughts require full round tones. Trifling utterances need but slight volume of voice.
10. Another difference in tones is usually called Quality. In respect to this, tones may be pure or impure. Impure tones are accompanied, more or less, by unvocalized breath. In pure tones, all the breath emitted is vocalized. Aspirate sounds, as of f, P, s, occur in all compositions, and, so far as they go, always interfere with purity of tone. But the amount of these is nerer sufficient to de. stroy the entire effect in a sentence that requires to be uttered in pure tone. Pure tones are used to express elevated and pure thoughts. Impure tones are used in the expression of fear, disgust, hatred, and other evil and unpleasant feelings.
11. Force must not be confounded with volume. A full volume of voice may be heard only at short distances, when a voice of less volume and more force would be heard at much greater distances. Volume is quantity ; force is intensity.
STRESS AND EMPHASIS.
[Under Force we may consider Stress and Emphasis.]
1. Stress is the application of force to a particular part of an accented syllable. It differs from emphasis and accent, in that it distinguishes the different parts of a single syllable, while emphasis discriminates between the words of a sentence, and accent between the syllables of a word.
2. Anger, defiance, command, call for an explosive utterance of words. The accented syllable is abruptly spoken, the full force coming upon the very beginning of
it. Dr. Rush and Prof. Russell call this the radical stress, or the force given to the radical, or opening, part of a syllable. For examples, take the latter part of the 24th paragraph, Selection VI., page 92. Also Elocutionary Exercise IV., page 54.
3. All noble thoughts,-patriotism, reverence, affection, etc., require a flowing and smooth utterance, with a force gradually increasing to the middle of the accented syllable, and then gradually diminishing. Force thus applied is called the median stress, because it comes upon the median, or middle, part of the syllable. The following pages furnish beautiful illustrations of the median stress. Among them may be mentioned Selection XXII., page 124. Also Elocutionary Exercise XVIII., page 69.
4. Contempt, scorn, impatience, revenge, etc., require the force to be thrown upon the very last of the accented syllable. It begins gently, swells on towards the close, and ends with a sudden burst or jerk. This is called the vanishing stress, because the force is applied to the vanishing, or closing, part of the syllable. Elocutionary Exercises VII. and XII., on pages 57 and 64, may be taken as examples.
5. In irony, sarcasm, and generally when the circumflex is used, we may hear both the radical and vanishing stress upon the same syllable. That is, both the very beginning and the very close of the syllable are uttered with marked force. This mode of utterance is called the compound stress. It is illustrated in Elocutionary Exercise XIII., page 65.
6. In calling to persons at a distance, and in military command, the same high degree of force is continued through the syllable. This is called the thorough stress, because the force is applied through the entire length of the syllable. One of the best examples of this is Satan's address to his hosts, in Paradise Lost : “ Awake! arise ! or be forever fallen!” Also, passages in Elocutionary Exercise I., page 51.
7. Feeble old age, or excessive grief, joy, tenderness, or admiration, expresses itself in a tremulous succession of swells. This kind of stress is called the tremor. Elocutionary Exercise VI., page 55, requires it.
1. In reading, some words,—those expressing new or important thoughts,--are spoken louder, and are more
prolonged, than other words. Sometimes this is on ac count of the absolute importance of the thought, consid: ered by itself; and sometimes on account of some relation that subsists between it and another thought. Examples of the first : "I assure you that the charge is false.”
The great object of life is to form a true character.” Here the words “ false” and true character
express thoughts in themselves important, and ought, on that account, to be read with more force than the other parts of the sentences. Examples of the second : “Why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?" Were it not for the relation of "mote” to “beam" and of “ brother" “own," none of these words would require any unusual degree of force. This mode of distinguishing words by loudness and length of sound is called Emphasis.
2. Emphatic words may require any inflection, according to the sentiment of the piece, and the meaning of the word.
3. It often happens that the important thought is contained in a group of words; and, when such is the fact, the group, and not any single word, should be made emphatic. To confine the emphasis to a single word, in such cases, gives a bald and angular character to the reading. Successive words are frequently emphatic, each by itself. Examples: “The bank may break, the factory burn.” “Thou art standing on thy legs, above ground, mummy." Here the words "bank," " break," "factory, “ burn"; and the phrases “on thy legs," and "above ground,” require each a separate emphasis.
4. Many examples might be adduced to show that a misplacement of emphasis may entirely change the meaning of a sentence. Careful attention to it is therefore of the utmost importance.
“ You must,” said he,
Quit your sweet bride and come with me.'
Young as I am, 'tis monstrous hard ! ” If the word “am" is made emphatic, with the falling inflection, the implication is, that it is less hard for young persons to die than for others. On the contrary, if the word "young" is emphasized, as it should be, the reverse is implied.
PAUSES. [Under the head of Speed we may consider Pauses.]
1. Nothing is more efficient in giving expression to reading than a judicious use of the pause.
2. Group the words carefully, in respect to their meaning. This is a very important matter in narrative, didactic, or descriptive prose, as well as in poetry and in more rhetorical prose. To do this well, one must have a thorough mastery of the meaning of what is read. The eye must go in advance of the voice, and thus measure beforehand the sentences that are to be read.
3. Pauses are often required where there are no marks to indicate them, and the length of the pause made by the voice at a comma or a period is very different under different circumstances. It is the function of the grammatical pauses to aid the reader in ascertaining the meaning of what is read.
4. In ordinary, matter-of-fact productions, pauses are of moderate length.
In grave, sad, or pathetic pieces, the pauses are long.
In joyous, cheerful, stirring, or animated pieces, the pauses are short.
5. It is impossible to give rules that will guide the reader as to the details of every case.
The shades of thought and feeling are so infinitely various, and the length of pauses depends upon so many conditions, that the best advice to give the reader is, that he study carefully the meaning of what he reads, and watch the effect, on himself and on others, of pauses of different lengths.
6. After emphatic words, pauses are longer than after other words. Indeed, emphasis depends as much upon the pause as upon
force. Of this fact we often lose sight. 7. Great care is required, in reading poetry, to make the pauses at the ends of the lines of the proper length. On the one hand, the pupil must avoid a slavish sacrifice of the sense to the mere rhythm, which is shown by a strongly marked pause at the end of each line; and on the other hand, the poetry must not be read as if it were prose, but the lines must always be marked by some degree of pause,-long and distinct where the sense demands it, slight and delicate where it does not.
8. Skillful changes in pitch can be made very effective in the grouping of words and clauses, and in indicating the subordination of one clause to another, or the contrary. Attention to this makes the reading clear and expressive.