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EXERCISES IN RESPIRATION.
Class rise. While the teacher slowly elevates his hand the class should inhale quietly, filling the lungs to their utmost capacity. As the teacher lowers his hand exhale slowly and quietly. Repeat this exercise several times. Class may then sit.
Distinctness of articulation, though not essential to expression, is an invaluable accomplishment. It enables the speaker to express his thoughts without weariness, and the audience to hear without effort. Every effort to understand the word detracts from the thought. In large assemblies and in the open air distinctness of articulation is indispensable.'' Loudness is not distinctness. Strong emotion and passion, if not expressed with distinctness, degenerates into rant and vociferation.
To perfect the articulation, practice the elementary sounds—first separately, then in combination.
In these exercises attention should be given to the position of the body, the breathing, and particularly to the positions and action of the organs of articulation.
EXERCISES IN ARTICULATION. First pronounce the word distinctly, and then give each sound separately.
ē, as in me. he,
the, meed, heed, breathe, these,
1. I mean what I say.
This exercise should not occupy more than two or three minutes, and all the previous explanation and exercises should be given in less than ten minutes.
FORMS OF VOICE.
Before beginning the discussion of the Essential Elements, it will be well to direct the attention of the pupil again to certain axiomatic propositions on which these lessons are based :
First. In every vocal utterance there are six essential elements.
SECOND. Excellence in vocal expression depends on the perfect illustration and correct combination of these elements.
Turrd. The defects in vocal utterance are produced by an imperfect illustration or incorrect combination of one or more of these elements.
If these propositions be true, it follows that a practical and theoretical knowledge of the essential elements will make good readers and speakers.
The primary object of these lessons is to explain, illustrate, and apply the elements and principles of vocal expression. All other exercises and explanations are simply auxiliary.
Form is the manner in which the sound is sent forth from the vocal organs. It is to sound what shape is to matter. There are but three forms of Voice; there
are really but three forms of sound, effusive, expulsive, and explosive.
Every sound, whether produced by the human voice, the voice of bird or beast, by inanimate nature, or mechanical means, must be in one of these forms.
Effusive Form. The Effusive is that form of Voice in which the sound is sent forth gently from the vocal organs without abruptness either in beginning or ending. The breath is not sent forth by a forcible effort, but is gently effused into the surrounding air.
ADVANTAGES OF EFFUSIVE FORM.
The Effusive Form gives a smoothness to the tone and a mildness to utterance which, in the expression of pathos and solemnity, reverence and devotion, produces one of the most pleasing effects in delivery, calling out at once all the purer and nobler feelings, and fitting the mind for higher and holier contemplations." The absence of this element in the utterance of the sublime passages in prayer and praise gives a harshness to the expression. In the milder forms of awe and horror the effusive gives intensity to the utterance. Owing to our defective methods of elocutionary instruction the Effusive Form is rarely heard.
To acquire this form of voice practice the elementary sounds and words in the following manner :
First inflate the lungs fully, and then exhale the breath gently in a prolonged clear tone, being careful to expend no more breath than is necessary to produce the tone.
Repeat each of these sounds several times. Practice the following words in the same manner, only less prolonged :
calm, balm, vow, bowl,
PRINCIPLE OF EXPRESSION, OR WHEN THE EFFUSIVE
FORM SHOULD BE USED. !'The Effusive is the appropriate Form of voice for the expression of tranquillity, solemnity, sublimity, pathos, grandeur, reverence, adoration, devotion, awe, and amazement of a quiet and tranquil character.
That the Effusive Form should be so employed is not an empyrical rule, by following which excellence in expression may be acquired, but a divine principle which must be observed by all who excel in reading and speaking, whether they are conscious of it or not. This principle is clearly illustrated wherever God, in nature, expresses by animate sounds or awakens in us by inanimate sounds these thoughts and feelings. The dove, lamenting the loss of its mate, always expresses its sadness in the Effusive Form. The wind as it moans around the building, awakening in us sad and gloomy thoughts and feelings, always illustrate the Effusive Form. The roar of the ocean, awakening grand and sublime thoughts and feelings, is Effusive in Form.
SUGGESTIONS TO TEACHERS.
In instructing classes it would be well for the teacher to read one line, not for imitation, but to illustrate the Effusive Form, and then have the class repeat it in concert. After reading one stanza in this manner let the class be seated and then call upon two or three pupils successively to read the entire stanza. When two or three have read then read a second stanza in concert, and again call on two or three individually, and so op until the entire selection is read. Both teacher and pupils should bear in mind that the prominent object in this lesson is to cultivate the Effusive Form. The selection which is given as an example requires the Effusive only in its mildest form. Examples more decidely Effusive will be given hereafter.
Rain on the Roof.
1 When the humid shadows hover over all the starry spheres,
And the melancholy darkness gently weeps in rainy tears, What a joy to press the pillow of a cottage chamber bed, And to listen to the patter of the soft rain overhead.
2 Every tinkle on the shingles has an echo in the heart,
And a thousand dreamy fancies into busy being start;