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CHAPTER I.

BREATHING

Although it may seem strange, nay, unnatural, that Breathing—that which anyone practices uninterruptedly—that which was the beginning of life, and is its continuity,--must be studied; still, there are certain canons which govern respiration for vocal ends, the observance of which is not arbitrary.

The unstudied breathing by which life is sustained is insufficient for vocalization. Voice is the result of an air-shock on the vocal ligaments. The amount of air that we unconsciously inhale for the support of life, answers admirably its specific purpose, but is inadequate for speaking.

Manifestly, therefore, if we desire to use our voice, , we must learn to breathe more copiously.

Breathing consists of Inspiration and Expiration, Both are arts; both must be acquired.

A speaker who has not learnt to inhale correctly will never possess a rich, substantial voice. One that has mastered inhalation but neglects expiration, will soon find his breath-expenditure greater than his receipts, and will early end his career as a speaker with a ruined, bankrupt voice. We must have an income, or the outcome will be-inevitable failure.

We can never afford to run out of breath when we are speaking, for then, silence will ensue, painful alike to speaker and hearer. Among the various methods of breathing the one recommended most by good results is this: “First, feel that the diaphragm-region the waist-expands. This expansion is caused by the downward contraction of the diaphragm. Secondly, at the same time feel an incipient expansion of the whole trunk-region, from the lowest point of the abdomen to the highest point of the Chest and Collar-bone. This Expansion is felt in the entire circumference of the trunk, as a complete oneness of action, not in sections or broken. Thirdly, whether the amount of breath taken be great or small, whether a half or a full expansion be required, it must always be done with the combined breathing-apparatus and with oneness of action. The difference between half and full, long and short breaths, is not in method, but in time and the amount of expansion. This is the only correct, natural, healthy way of breathing, for by this method the whole of the lungs is used and ventilated and thus kept healthy.”Leo Kofler.

It is obvious, from the above, that diaphragmatic, or abdominal breathing, is the proper method. The diaphragm must control the breath, otherwise the unreined air will rush to the throat, and, in its hurry to gain freedom, will make the tones " breathy," or if the throat endeavors to control the efflux of the air, the effort will necessarily stiffen the muscles of the throat, and “throaty”' tones will be the result. Each one may experience this by trying the following exercise.

Take a few heavy inspirations as you would when nearly spent with running: note the effect on the diaphragm. You will observe it pulsates; now, if, while

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