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remains perceptible in his utterance, the least approach to the partial impurity of tone arising from the languid drawling usually connected with“ nasal and guttural qualities,” the feeble thinness of a mere " oral” tone, or the hollow murmur of the “ pectoral” style. A clear and perfectly pure, ringing voice, corresponding to what the musician terms “head tone,” is the standard of practice in this branch of elocution.
The upland hamlets will invite,
young and old come forth to play,
5.-" Humorous," or Playful, Style. Perfect purity of tone is indispensable to the utterance of fanciful and humorous emotion, unless in the few instances in which, for mimetic or enhanced effect, a peculiar and characteristic voice is assumed, on purpose. Humor, in its genuine expression, not only enlivens and kindles tone, but seems as it were to melt it, and make it flow into the ear and the heart, as the full, clear, sparkling stream gushes into the reservoir. The playful and the mirthful style of utterance, seems to be voice let loose from all restraints which would impose upon it any rigidness, dryness, or hardness of sound.
Humor goes beyond mere gaiety or exhilaration, in the unbounded
scope which it gives to the voice: its tones are higher, louder, and quicker in “movement."
Humor excels even gaiety, in effusive purity of tone, which seems to come ringing and full from the heart, with all the resonance of head and chest combined, “ flooding,” as the poet says of the skylark, “the very air with sound.”
Destitute of such utterance, the reading of some of the finest passages of Shakspeare, of Scott, or of Irving, becomes cold and torpid, or excites only aversion and disgust. The lighter strains of Cowper, and innumerable passages in all the truest and best of our poets, demand this highest form of mirthful utterance.
The faults usually exemplified in regard to this tone, are similar to those which were mentioned in speaking of the gay and brisk style of expression, and are owing principally to the causes then indicated. The remedy must also be of the same description with that which was then suggested. Humor demands, however, not a mere fulness but an actual exuberance and overflow of feeling, in order to give it expression. An approach to the style of laughter, should be percep tible in the quality with which it inspires the voice.
The following exercises should be practised with all the playful, half-laughing style of voice, which naturally belongs to this vivid effusion of blended humor and fancy. The practice of the elements, in the same style, in sounds, and words, will be of the greatest service for imparting the entire and free command of the appropriate tone of humor; and even a frequent repetition of the act of laughter will be found highly useful, as a preparative for this style of expression, by suggesting and infusing the perfect purity of tone which naturally belongs to hearty and joyous emotion.
Sometimes she gallops o’er a courtier's nose,
Calling. A call is the highest and intensest form of “pure tone," and, when extended to a vast distance, becomes, it is universally known, similar to music, in the style of its utterance.
A high note is required, in order to reach to remote distance; and perfect purity of tone, is also indispensable, as a condition of the easy emission of the prodigious force of voice which calling demands, and which, in continuous effort, it must sustain. It is the “ maximum," or highest degree, of vocal force. But if unaccompanied by perfectly pure quality of sound, it pains and injures the organs. Its true mode is a long-sustained and exceedingly powerful singing tone. In this form, its use in strengthening the organs, and giving firmness, compactness, and clearness to the voice, is very great.
The student, in practising the call, as a .vocal exercise, must see to it that the utmost purity of tone is kept up; as the exercise will otherwise be injurious. The more attentive he is to sing his words, in such exercises, the more easy is the effort, and the more salutary the result. The style of utterance, in this exercise, is that of vigorous, sustained, and intense "effusion," but should never become abruptly “explosive."
The following example should be practised on the scale indicated, not on the stage, but in historical fact, as when the herald stood on the plain, at such a distance as to be out of bow-shot, and called out his message, so as to be fully audible and distinctly intelligible to the listeners on the distant city-wall.
expansion of the organic parts, and a ringing fulness, roundness, and smoothness of sound.
“Orotund” quality may, in one of its forms, (the shout,) be regarded as the maximum of “pure tone,” united with the most powerful resonance of the pharynx. Like the pure tone, however, it admits of degrees; and we find it existing, according to the greater or less intensity of emotion, in the different forms of " effusive,”
expulsive, ,” and “explosive,” force. In other cases, it partakes of " aspiration,” being rendered “impure,” by violence of emotion and force of breath. We proceed to the exemplification of the first of the above gradations.
I. EFFUSIVE OROTUND.” This designation is applied to that species of utterance in which the voice is not sent forth from the organs by any obvious voluntary expulsion, but is rather suffered to effuse itself from the mouth into the surrounding air. It resembles the insensible and unconscious act of tranquil breathing, as contrasted with the effort of panting. But though perfectly gentle in its formation, and passing but little beyond the limits of merely "pure tone,” it still obviously extends beyond that form of voice, and assumes a somewhat different character. “Pure tone,” in its “effusive" form, is executed principally by the full expansion of the chest, a large inhalation, but a very gentle and limited expiration; whilst “effusive orotund” gives a very free egress to the breath, and, by its larger volume of sound, and greater emissive force, uses more breath, in the production of sound. tone” is obtained chiefly by skilful withholding of the breath, and using the larynx so gently and so skilfully, that every particle of air passing through it, is converted into sound.
“ Effusive orotund” demands a wider opening of the organs, and a freer and firmer use of them, so as to produce a bolder and rounder tone. It resembles, however, in its style, the “effusive” function of “ pure tone,” in its gentle and sustained swell of utterance, as contrasted with the “expulsive" and “explosive” forms of the “ orotund.”
- Effusive pure
1 For a more minute description of“ orotund" quality, we refer to the work of Dr. Rush.
The modes of feeling or emotion which are expressed by « effusive orotund voice,” are pathos, — when mingled with grandeur and sublimity, -and solemnity and reverence, when expressed in similar circumstances. — Pathos, divested of grandeur, subsides into “pure tone,” merely. The same result takes place in the utterance of solemnity, if unaccompanied by sublimity. But reverence, always implying grandeur or elevation in its source, is uniformly uttered by the “orotund” voice, though from the tranquillity, and the partial awe, with which it is attended, its force does not go beyond the is effusive” form, -as may be observed in the appropriate tone of adoration, uttered in the exercise of devotion.
Analysis thus shows us the value of the “orotund,” as imparting dignity of effect to utterance, even in its gentler moods. It teaches us, moreover, the inefficacy or the inappropriateness of all utterance which, in giving forth the language of noble and inspiring emotion, falls short of “ orotund " quality, and reduces the style of voice to that of ordinary or common-place topics. Gray's Elegy, for example, if read without“ orotund,” becomes feeble and trite, in its style; Milton's Paradise Lost, if so read, becomes dry and flat; and the language of devotion, uttered in the same defective style, in prayer, or in psalms and hymns, becomes irreverent in its effect.
The mode of securing the advantages of“ orotund” utterance, is, in the first place, to give up the whole soul to the feeling of what is read or spoken in the language of grave and sublime emotion. The mere superficial impression of a sentiment, is not adequate to the effects of genuine and inspiring expression. The reader or speaker must be so deeply imbued with the spirit of what he utters, that his heart overflows with it, and thus inspires and attunes his organs to the full vividness of expressive action. The ample and noble effect of “ orotund” utterance, can never be acquired through the clearest apprehension of a sentiment by the understanding merely: the heart must swell with the feeling; and the stream of emotion must gush over the whole man. Nor is it sufficient that the reader's feeling be commensurate with the mere personal impression of a sentiment : genuine expression demands such a surplus, as it were, of emotion that it is sufficient to overflow the reader's own being, and impel and carry on with it the sympathies of his audience. The reader must himself feel the inspiration of number enkindling his personal emotion, and elevating and expanding his being, for the full outpouring of expression.
But few readers seem fully to feel the difference between the quiet and passive state in which we sit and give up our imagination to be impressed by the language of an author, and the communicative and active energy requisite to stamp even such an impression on the ininds of others. In the former case, we are but involuntary, or, at