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“Arm!” We shall now perceive that, in the time which transpires from the first to the last moment of the sound, the voice glides down the scale, through an interval, greater or less, according to the boldness and fulness of the utterance. We have here an example of the “ downward slide,” or
The extent of the “ slide" depends, usually, on the intensity of a prompting emotion, as in the case of surprise, mentioned before. Let the student who has not yet trained his ear to discriminate the de grees of the slide," and who wishes to attain a clear perception of its different forms, imagine a conversation going on between two persons, one of whom is relating to the other a series of events, each one successively more striking and more surprising than the preceding. Let the hearer be supposed to utter, at each stage in the narrative, the expressive interrogatory interjection of surprise,
6 indeed!" and with that marked increase of effect, which arises not only from the augmented intensity of force, but also from the wider interval of the scale, or the larger number of notes, which the voice traverses, in the “ expressive melody" of speech.
The progressive change of feeling, which causes the progressive change of expression in the voice, may, for the sake of illustration, be supposed to rise from surprise to wonder, and from wonder to astonishment. In such circumstances, may be heard, 1st, the ordinary ” of surprise, — the interval occupied by the voice, from the moment of uttering the “ radical” of the expressive sound, to that of uttering its “vanish,” being a rising “ third ;" the voice gliding upward, with a continuous sound, terminating in the note which lies on the third degree of the scale above the “ radical :"— 2d, the more expressive 6 slide ” of greater surprise, or of wonder, pying the interval of an upward “ fifth ;' the gliding sound terminating on the note which is on the fifth degree of the scale above the “ radical :" - 3d, extreme surprise, excessive wonder, or astonishment, whether real or affected, (and, particularly, if the latter,) will impel the voice with a slide which glides through a whole " octave, interval of eight notes, from the “ radical to the “ vanish.”
Again, let it be supposed that the person who is listening to the narrator, is answering in the derisive tone of mockery. The voice, in this case, will utter the word " indeed!” in the downward " slide ;' and if we suppose, farther, the tone of emotion increased in intensity of expression, at each stage, the effect may be to produce the same three intervals of the scale as before, but in the opposite direction :
1st, the downward “third,'' — 2d, the downward “ fifth,” — 3d, the downward " octave ;” the voice gliding down with a continuous sound, through each of these intervals, in succe
ccession, while uttering the last syllable of the expressive word “ indeed!”
Similar illustrations might be drawn from the natural “ expression” of other strong or distinctly marked emotions. But these will occur in subsequent examples. A clear and broad definition is all that is now requisite.
The “slides ” of the voice have three important and distinct offices; and these produce the three principal forms of the “ slide :" 1st, the “ slide of passion or emotion," — 2d, the “ distinctive slide,” or that which is addressed to the understanding and the judgment, as in designation, comparison, and contrast, — 3d, the “ mechanical slide,” which belongs to the mechanism of a sentence, and the local position of phrases ; as in the special instance of the partial cadence, which takes place when a distinct portion of the sense is completed, although the whole sentence is not finished; as in this instance: “Let your companions be select; let them be such as you can esteem for their good qualities, and whose virtuous example you may emulate.” We have another example in the “ triad” of the full and final cadence falling entirely within one syllable, as in the following emphatic negation:
No; by the rood, not so !” Another "slide" which serves a mechanical purpose, rather than one of thought or feeling, is the “penultimate slide" of most sentences, which serves the purpose of raising the voice deliberately and distinctly, previous to its final descent at the close of the sentence, and thus renders the cadence more perceptible and more impressive; as in the following example: “ Let the young go out, under the descending sun of the year, into the fields of nature.”
Few parts of elocution are more important to the practical teacher or to the earnest student, than the discrimination of the “partial and the “ final” cadence. The confounding of these two descents of voice, causes the two prevalent errors of school reading and popular oratory, as contradistinguished from true, natural, and appropriate expression. The school-boy, in attempting to give the “ partial ? cadence, when endeavoring to comply with his teacher's injunction,
use a falling inflection,” gives the full “ triad” of the cadence, on the last three syllables, in the phrase of the preceding example, “ be select :” which of course produces, at the colon, the proper effect of a period. The habitual tone of school reading, inclining, in didactic style, to a declamatory chant, the young reader, when he comes to the proper place of the cadence, at the close of the sentence, substitutes, for the proper “ triad,”. - on the last three syllables, - the “ rising ditone,” on the first and second, and a
concrete third” with a downward“ vanish,” on the third ; and these are commonly rendered still more conspicuous by the unhappy effect, (intended,
apparently, as a compensation for the want of true cadence,) of a superadded “
This “ drift,” or prevailing effect of false intonation, in the “ melody of sentences,” pervades the style of voice current in school reading, in academic declamation, and in public addresses, and substitutes something like the effects of song for those of speech.
The “ triad” of the cadence derives its closing effect of repose and approaching cessation of voice, partly from its contrasting with the previous “ penultimate upward slide,” which usually occurs at the last comma, or similar pause, of a sentence, and terminates the penultimate clause ; sometimes from a previous “ falling tritone" preceding the penultimate rise; and always from its own regular descent, which resembles the effect of a gradual but distinct succession of downward steps. The “ partial” cadence of complete sense, but incomplete period, on the contrary, preserves its more abrupt effect of imperfectly finished succession of sounds, by adopting, in the last three syllables of the clause to which it is applied, the 6 rising ditone" on the first and second, and the “ concrete of the second,' with downward " vanish,” on the third. The effect of full cadence is thus entirely avoided, and yet that of partial completeness of sense, secured; the voice ending on a strain too high for the one, and yet, by the “ concrete of the second ” with the downward “ vanish,” preserving the indication of temporary cessation and slight repose.
I. The "slide of emotion” extends through an interval corresponding, in every instance, to the intensity of feeling implied in “expressive” words, and may, accordingly, be measured, in most instances, by the “ third,” the “fifth,” or the " octave."
Strong emotions are expressed by the “ downward slide ;” except surprise, and earnest, or impassioned interrogation, which usually adopt the “upward slide" of the "fifth” or the 16 octave.”
THE SLIDE OF EMOTION.
1. Impetuous Courage and Fierce Determination.
RICHMOND TO HIS TROOPS. — Shakspeare. (“Orotund” and “ aspirated pectoral quality :” Shouting : “ Explo
sive radical” and “expulsive median stress :” “ High pitch.” The - downward slide" of the "third," takes place on every emphatic word in the first four lines, and the “downward fifth " on the remainder, as indicated by the grave accent, the usual mark for this " slide.")
Fight, gentlemen of Èngland ! fight, bold yeòmen!
2. Impassioned burst of Scorn.
FROM CORIOLANUS. — Shakspeare. (“Aspirated pectoral and guttural quality :” Violent force : “Explo
sive radical stress :" “ High pitch.” The exemplification occurs in the reply of Coriolanus, which contains the “downward slide" of the “ octave,” in the words “ Measureless liar!” and “ Boy!” and the “ downward fifth on the other emphatic words.)
Aufidius. “ Name not the god,
your Volscians in Corioli: Alone I did it.- Boy!”
3. Indignant Rebuke.
MARULLUS TO THE PEOPLE. — Shakspeare. (“ Orotund and aspirated pectoral quality :” “Impassioned” force :
Explosive radical stress :" " Low pitch :” “Downward slide ” of the “ fifth.'
Begòne! run to your hòuses, fall upon your knèes.
4. Excessive Grief. (“Aspirated pectoral quality :" Weeping utterance : “Impassioned”
force : Violent“ vanishing stress :" " High pitch :" “ Downward slide" of the “fifth.”)
DAVID, (BEWAILING THE DEATH OF ABSALOM.]
Ò my son Àbsalom! my sòn, my son Absalom ! Would Gòd I had died for thèe, Ò Àbsalom, my sòn, my
5. Exception.— Surprise, Earnest and Impassioned Interro
EXTRACT FROM CHATHAM.
(“Aspirated pectoral quality :” “ Declamatory” force : “ Compound
stress :" “ High pitch :” “ Upward fifth.”) “Can ministers still presume to expect support? in their infatuation? Can parliament be so dead to its dignity and its duty, as to give its support to measures thus obtruded and fórced upon
FROM CICERO'S ACCUSATION OF VERRES.
“ Is it come to thís ? Shall an inferior magistrate, a góvernor, who holds his whole power of the Roman people, in a Roman province, within síght of Italy, bínd, scóurge, torture with fire and red hot plates of iron, and at last put to the infamous death of the cross, a Roman citizen ?"
MARULLUS TO THE PEOPLE. — Shakspeare.
hard hearts, you cruel men of Rome,
climbed up to walls and battlements,
1 For fuller exemplification of the "slide,” see "American Elocutionist,” in which this and the other departments of sentential and rhetorical elocution, are fully discussed. The present volume, being designed merely as a manual for training in orthophony, and as an introduction to the Elocutionist, is limited to such an outline of the subject as might afford sufficient ground for the intelligent practice of a course of elementary exercises.
2 The acute accent is the usual mark of the upward slide,” or “rising anflection."