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and with little previous ground for such hope ; — confirmed wrong habits of utterance, debilitated organs, and sinking health having all united their depressing and nearly ruinous influence on the whole
It will be perceived, by referring to the subjoined expressions of opinion, that, in pressing this subject on general attention, there is ample professional authority for the expectation of invaluable benefits, as the result of the systematic vocal training recommended in this volume.
Opinions of Gentlemen of the Medical Profession, regarding Mr. Murdoch's System for the Cultivation of the Voice.
“Boston, July 29, 1842. “I have carefully examined Mr. Murdoch’s system of Vocal Gymnastics. It is based upon an accurate knowledge of the anatomy and physiology of the larynx, or organ of the voice. All the details of the system seem to me to be practical, ingenious, interesting, and in accurate conformity to scientific principles. Its obvious utility in developing the functions of the human larynx, and giving flexibility, beauty, facility, and permanent power to the voice; and its eminent effect both in the prevention and cure of the diseases to which public speakers are liable, give it a strong claim upon the attention of the Teachers in our Schools and Colleges, our Youth, and all whose duties demand a frequent or great use of the voice.
EDWARD REYNOLDS, Jr."
“We fully concur with Dr. Reynolds in the opinions above expressed.
“July 30, 1842. “The exercise of Vocal Gymnastics, as recommended by James E. Murdoch, being founded on a correct knowledge of the anatomy and physiology of the vocal apparatus, cannot fail, if properly practised, under his direction, to develop and strengthen the voice. Persons of
1 Mr. Murdoch, - whose system of orthophony is imbodied in this volume, - seemec, at one time, while pursuing a profession in which the most intense exertion of the vocal organs is perpetually required, destined to sink under the effects of over-exertion ; but, having seasonably turned his attention to the systematic practice of vocal gymnastics, he recovered his tone of health, and gained, to such an extent, in power and depth of voice, as to add to his previous range in the latter, á full octave, within the space of some months. 'On devoting himself to the daily occupation of conducting classes in the practice of regulated vocal exercise, the result continued to be a constant accession of vocal power and compass; and on returning to the practice of his early profession, in which he is now so distinguished, his utterance was at once remarked for its round, deep, rich, and full tone.
delicate constitutions and feeble voices, will receive great benefit from the practice of his system; as it is well calculated to give a healthy action to the vocal and pulmonary organs; and, in this particular, it is well worthy the attention of parents. WINSLOW LEWIS, Jr.”
"I have had the pleasure of a long interview with Mr. J. E. Murdoch, in which he illustrated his principles of managing and giving strength to the voice; and I am very happy to say, that I can fuliy concur with Dr. Lewis in his statement of Mr. M.'s system of Vocal Gymnastics.
We smile at the enumeration of the formal apparatus of Athenian rhetorical education, which, in addition to its long and classified array of grammarians and rhetoricians, furnished, it is said, five gradations of schools for different species of muscular exercise, and three distinct classes of instructors for the voice : one, to superintend practice in pitch; another, to conduct the exercises in force; and a third, to regulate vocal melody and inflections. Modern taste forbids this fastidious multiplicity and minuteness of appliances; but it makes, as yet, no adequate provision for the acquiring of that moral and intellectual power, and that expressive force, which result from the blending of a high-toned physical and mental training. The customary routine of academic declamation, consists in permitting or compelling a student to “speak,” and pointing out his faults, after they have been committed. But it offers no genial inducement to the exercise, and provides no preventive training by which faults might be avoided. Eloquence, in his habits of voice and action, a student may bring with him to our literary institutions; but he will find little opportunity, there, of acquiring or of perfecting such accomplishments, till a correct and graceful elocution is duly recognized as a part of liberal education,
First TABLE OF ORTHOPHONY,
“Phrases” of “Sentential
RESPIRATION, OR EXERCISES IN BREATHING.1
The organs of voice, in common with all other parts of the bodily frame, require the vigor and pliancy of muscle, and the elasticity and animation of nerve, which result from good health, in order to perform their appropriate functions with energy and effect. But these indispensable conditions to the exercise of the vocal organs, are, in the case of most learners, very imperfectly supplied. A sedentary mode of life, the want of invigorating exercise, close and long continued application of mind, and, perhaps, an impaired state of health, or a feeble constitution, prevent, in many instances, the free and forcible use of those muscles on which voice is dependent. Hence arises, to students of elocution, the necessity of practising physical exercises, adapted to promote general muscular vigor, as a means of attaining energy in vocal functions; the power of any class of muscles, being dependent on the tone of the whole system.
The art of cultivating the voice, however, has, in addition to the various forms of corporeal exercise, practised for the general purpose of promoting health, its own specific prescriptions for securing the vigor of the vocal organs, and modes of exercise adapted to the training of each class of organs separately.
The results of such practice are of indefinite extent: they are limited only by the energy and perseverance of the student, excepting, perhaps, in some instances of imperfect organization. A few weeks of diligent cultivation, are usually sufficient to produce such an effect on the vocal organs, that persons who commence practice, with a feeble and ineffective utterance, attain, in that short period, the full command of clear, forcible, and varied tone.
Gymnastic and calisthenic exercises are invaluable aids to the culture and development of the voice, and should be sedulously practised, when opportunity renders them accessible. But even a slight degree of physical exercise, in any form adapted to the expansion of the chest, and to the freedom and force of the circulation, will serve to impart energy and glow to the muscular apparatus of voice, and clearness to its sound,
There is, therefore, a great advantage in always practising some preliminary muscular actions, as an immediate preparation for vocal exercise. These actions may be selected from the system of prepartory movements, taught at gymnastic establishments; or they may be made to consist in regulated walking, with view to the acquisi
1 For a description of the vocal organs, see Appendix.