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Animated Narrative Style. (“Pure Tone:"“ Moderate" force: Vivid " radical stress."')
JULIUS CÆSAR.–J. S. Knowles. " To form an idea of Cæsar's energy and activity, observe him when he is surprised by the Nervii. His soldiers are employed in pitching their camp. – The ferocious enemy sallies from his concealment, puts the Roman cavalry to the rout, and falls upon the foot. Everything is alarm, confusion, and disorder. Every one is doubtful what course to take, every one but Cæsar! He causes the banner to be erected, — the charge to be sounded, — the soldiers at a distance to be recalled, — all in a moment. He runs from place to place;—his whole frame is in action ;-his words, his 100ks, his motions, his gestures, exhort his men to remember their former valor. He draws them up, and causes the signal to be given,-all in a moment. The contest is doubtful and dreadful: two of his legions are entirely surrounded. He seizes a buckler from one of the private men,-puts himself at the head of his broken troops, — darts into the thick of the battle, -rescues his legions, and overthrows the enemy!"
Animated Description. (“Pure Tone:" “ Moderate" force: Vivid “ median stress.")
PHENOMENA OF THE UNIVERSE. - Anonymous. “ The physical universe may be regarded as exhibiting, at once, all its splendid varieties of events, and uniting, as it were, in a single moment, the wonders of eternity. Combine, by your imagination, all the fairest appearances of things. Suppose that you see, at once, all the hours of the day, and all the seasons of the year, a morning of spring and a morning of autumn, a night brilliant with stars, and a night obscure with clouds, - meadows, enamelled with flowers, – fields, waving with harvests, — woods, heavy with the frosts of winter ;-you will then have a just notion of the spectacle of the universe. Is it not wondrous, that while you are admiring the sun plunging beneath the vault of the west, another observer is beholding him as he quits the region of the east, - in the same instant reposing, weary, from the dust of the evening, and awaking, fresh and youthful, in the dews of morn! There is not a moment of the day in which the same sun is not rising, shining in his zenith, and setting on the world! Or, rather, our senses abuse us: and there is no rising, nor setting, nor zenith, nor east, nor west; but all is one fixed point, at which every species of light is beaming, at once, from the unalterable orb of day.”
1 The vividness of effect in this style, raises the pitch above that of "serious” narrative : the prevailing note, however, is still, as in conversation, near the middle of the scale.
Animated Didactic Style, in. Conversation. (“ Pure Tone:” “Moderate" force : “ Unimpassioned radical,” and
lively “median stress.”')
IMAGINARY HAPPINESS. —Anonymous. " People imagine they should be happy in circumstances which they would find insupportably burdensome in less than a week. A man that has been clothed in fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day, envies the peasant under a thatched hovel; who, in return, envies him as much his palace and his pleasure-grounds. Could they exchange situations, the fine gentleman would find his ceilings were too low, and that his casements admitted too much wind; that he had no cellar for his wine, and no wine to put in his cellar. These with a thousand other mortifying deficiencies, would shatter his romantic project into innumerable fragments in a moment."
Animated Didactic Style, in Public Discourse. (“Expulsive Orotund :” “Moderate" force : Energetic “radical”
and “ median stress.'')
VIRTUE.-Fawcett. “ Blood, says the pride of life, is more honorable than money. Indigent nobility looks down upon untitled opulence. This sentiment, pushed a little farther, leads to the point I am pursuing. Mind is the noblest part of man; and of mind, virtue is the noblest distinction.
“Honest man, in the ear of Wisdom, is a grander name, is a more high-sounding title, than peer of the realm, or prince of the blood. According to the eternal rules of celestial precedency, in the immortal heraldry of Nature and of Heaven, Virtue takes place of all things. It is the nobility of angels! It is the majesty of God!”
II. " Low" Pitch. This designation applies to the utterance of those feelings which we are accustomed to speak of as “deeper" than ordinary. Low notes seem the only natural language of grave emotions, such as accompany deeply serious and impressive thoughts, grave authority, or austere manner.
The transition in the voice, from “middle” to “ low" pitch would be exemplified in passing from the utterance of a thought which is merely serious,--and so termed in contradistinction, rather to one of an animated and sprightly character, — to that of one still deeper in its shade of feeling, and which would be appropriately termed grave. At the stage of voice expressive of the latter, we should perceive an obvious though not very strikingly marked deepening of tone, or descent on the scale.
It is to this degree of depression of voice, properly, that the word “ low,” in its connection with pitch, is applied, in elocution, as a technical designation ; there being still lower notes of the scale implied in the expression of those emotions which are still deeper in character and deeper in utterance.
The full and impressive effect of a sentiment, particularly in circumstances of a grave character, as on the occasion of an address on topics of politics, morals, or religion, must often be dependent on appropriate gravity of tone. A uniformly grave tone, even in public reading or speaking, becomes, it is true, dull and uninteresting. But the absence of a due degree and application of it, divests public speaking of dignity and authoritative effect, and deprives deep sentiment of its impressive power over the mind. The “ grave " style carried too low, becomes 6
a fault in consequence of which the lawyer and the popular orator sometimes seem to usurp the tone of the pulpit, and the preacher to lose the vocal and the moral power which comes from touching distinctly all the chords of sacred eloquence, and not dwelling exclusively upon one. There is more than a mere music to the ear, in the skill with which a practised elocutionist leads his own voice and the sympathies of his
audience, as they glide gradually but perceptibly down the successive stages of emotion, from serious attention, to grave listening, and solemn impression.
The attainment of a perfect control over “ pitch,” renders the practice of all its gradations highly important. The following examples require attentive practice in conjunction with the repetition of the elements and of words selected from the exercises in enunciation
Grave and Impressive Thought. (“Pure tone :” “Moderate” force : “ Unimpassioned radical” and
moderate “ median stress.”)
AGE.—Godman. • Now comes the autumn of life,-the season of the sere and yellow leaf.' The suppleness and mobility of the limbs diminish; the senses are less acute; and the impressions of external objects are less remarked. The fibres of the body grow more rigid; the emotions of the mind are more calm and uniform ; the eye loses its lustrous keenness of expression. The mind no longer roams abroad with its original excursiveness: the power of imagination is, in great degree, lost. Experience has robbed external objects of their illusiveness: the thoughts come home: it is the
of reflection. It is the period in which we receive the just tribute of veneration and confidence from our fellow-men, if we have so lived as to deserve it, and are entitled to the respect and confidence of the younger part of mankind, in exact proportion to the manner in which our own youth has been spent, and our maturity improved.”
Grave, Austere, Authoritative Manner. (“Expulsive orotund :” “Declamatory” force : Firm “median
stress.”') CATO, (IN REPLY to CÆSAR's Message THROUGH Decius.] --Addison.
My life is grafted on the fate of Rome.
Restore the commonwealth to liberty,
III. “Very Low” Pitch. This designation applies to the notes of those emotions which are of the deepest character, and which are accordingly associated with the deepest utterance. chiefly, the following: deep solemnity, awe, amazement, horror, despair, melancholy, and deep grief.
The exceedingly “low pitch" of these and similar states of feeling, is one of those universal facts which necessarily become laws of vocal expression, and, consequently, indispensable rules of elocution. Any passage, strongly marked by the language of one of these emotions, becomes utterly inexpressive without its appropriate deep notes. Yet this fault is one of the most prevalent in reading, especially with youth. That absence of deep and powerful emotion of an expressive character and active tendency, which usually characterizes the habits of the student's life, often leaves a great deficiency in this element of vocal effect, even in individuals who habitually drop into the fault of a slackness of organic action which causes too low a pitch in serious or in grave style. The 6 very low" pitch is not a mere accidental or mechanical result: it requires the aid of the will, and a special exertion of organ, to produce it.
This lowest form of pitch is one of the most impressive means of powerful natural effect, in the utterance of all deep and impressive emotions. The pervading and absorbing effect of awe, amazement, horror, or any similar feeling, can never be produced without low pitch and deep successive notes; and the depth and reality of such emotions are always in proportion to the depth of voice with which they are uttered. The grandest descriptions in the Paradise Lost, and the profoundest meditations in the Night Thoughts, become trivial in their effect on the ear, when read with the ineffectual expression inseparable from the pitch of ordinary conversation or dis
The vocal deficiency which limits the range of expression to the middle and higher notes of the scale, is not, by any means, the unavoidable and necessary fault of organization, as it is so generally supposed to be. Habit is in this, as in so many other things, the cause of defect. There is truth, no doubt, in the remark so often made in defence of a high and feeble voice, that it is natural to the individual, or that it is difficult for some readers to attain to depth of voice without incurring a false and forced style of utterance. But, in most cases, it is habit, noț organization, that has made certain notes natural or unnatural, -in other words, familiar to the ear, or