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quotation, the co-ordinations and rhythmical character of the following sentence from Ruskin is obvious to the average ear:
“ There is a saying
SEC. V. Melody of Speech. - In impressions of Rhythm, we simply regard the succession of sounds in time, without regard to change of pitch. In Melody, or tune, however, we are impressed by a set of successive tones varying in pitch.
Every language and dialect has its own tunes, that are as fundamental and expressive as its words and grammatical forms. The part that tune plays as revelatory of thought, is most marked in the Chinese language, but is not unknown in English. For example, some soldiers are said to have killed some badly wounded prisoners by cutting off their heads. It was said afterward, that “if they had not they would have died.” Read with a rising circum
not” and the falling circumflex on “ died,” and the sentence implies that the prisoners lives were saved by cutting off their heads. Now read with a downward
not” and also on died,” " and the sentence means that death was inevitable anyway.
When we ask a question, using the words, “Who did you say he was? " the rising slide is used; but when we say, “Who is he?" the falling slide is used. The melody of the two otherwise differs. Compare the Irish dialectic way of asking the question.
Melody or tunes are, however, primarily expressive of feelings. Every emotion has its own melody. There is the melody of joy, of sorrow, of interrogation, of affir
mation; and so on through the whole range of feelings. Melody of speech is elusive. We feel its force, and say, “ It was not what he said, but the way he said it; but cannot reproduce the impression. No symbols can ever adequately reproduce a melody of emotion. Melody is the life of speech. It is expressive of the speaker's individuality. It is intuitive, subtle, irresistible.
Mr. Lanier maintained that the impossibility of reproducing melodies of speech is owing to the limitation of the musical scale. The least interval of the scale is a half-tone, whereas speech tones involve shades of a tenth of a tone, or finer. However this may be, trustworthy musicians say that no two trained persons read in just the same way what purports to be written melodies of speech.
Intuition and imitation, it seems to me, are the main reliance in reproducing speech-melodies.
Some general characteristics may be given.
Unsuppressed joy expresses itself in high pitch and widely varying, pure tones. Pity uses minor tones. The sublime and awful incline to the low pitch and monotone. Malevolence and anger use staccato. Tenderness employs gentle force - medium to low pitch, sustained tones. Bombast expresses itself in full, slow tones, circumflexed ; gravity, in slow, moderate force, simple slides.
Key. - Melody involves the key, or central tone. Each emotion has it own key.
Faults of Melody. - 1. The recurrent melody. This is identified as "sing-song This is a very common fault. 2. The habitual use of the minor slide.
This is the pathetic tone.
3. The circumflex fault. This lacks the manly, clear-cut tone.
1 “Using cadence in an unusually extended sense, as comprehending all modifications of the voice, we may say that cadence is the commentary of the emotions upon the propositions of the intellect." - HERBERT SPENCER'S Origin and Punction of Music, p. 379.
4. The monotone.
5. The “drift," of one emotion. In this, the speaker falls into a certain heavy swing, and, ignoring the variety of thought and feeling, "drifts” along on certain uniformities. Akin to this is a more pauseful, but still heavy, delivery.
6. Light or flippant melody.
7. Key on too high a pitch, and again on too low a pitch. The former involves a high, nervous strain; the latter induces throatiness and indistinctness.
In order to eliminate faulty melody, the student and teacher must rely mainly upon the subjective treatment, that is, upon a mastery of the content.
It will usually require a teacher to locate the fault.
Narrow, emotional states, habitual to the speaker, must be broken up; and the mind be made susceptible of new emotions. The mind must be aroused, and made attentive and discriminating.
SEC. VI. Stress. — Stress is the way force is applied to the tone.
If applied abruptly it is called radical stress, as in exploding “Arm!” "arm!” This is a serviceable stress in prompt and strong utterance, and should be clearly recognized and mastered.
Medium Stress opens with moderate force, swells to more force, and then diminishes. It corresponds to the swell in music.
This stress makes use of the long quantity of the vowel. It produces smooth and flexible tones. It is the second most serviceable stress. “O precious word!”
Terminal stress is the opposite of radical. It is the growl. "Here I stand and scoff you."
Thorough stress continues the force equally from beginning to close. It is used in placing the voice off to a distant point, and in calling, as in “Boat, ahoy!" It is a feature of the declamatory style.
Intermittent Stress corresponds to tremolo in music. Frequently speakers try to speak impressively by the use of this stress.
Its proper use is very limited. SEC. VII. Loudness. This term explains itself. Its uses are rather obvious, and little need be said upon it. The speaker should avoid the extremes of feeble force on the one hand, and of noisiness on the other. This is a point at which reserved force may well be looked after. Always feel competent to speak with loud force, but restrain the effort and modify the degree to the emotions involved. Vociferation and declamation is as empty as it is loud. The degrees range from gentle and moderate to loud and very loud. In their use “let your own discretion be your
tutor." Sec. VIII. Time or Rate. Time refers to the rapidity or slowness of the delivery. It is primarily determined by the feelings, hence is first of all an element of force. Four degrees of rate are noted : (1) Quick rate, expressive of rapid movements, lightness, slurred matter, cheerfulness, joy, etc. (2) Moderate rate, used in simple narrative, etc. (3) Slow rate, expressive of slow movements, weighty matters, sorrowful sentiments, obscure ideas, profound feelings, etc. (4) Very slow rate, expressive of ponderous, labored movements, of very solemn, weighty matter, of grave sentiments, of sublime emotions, etc.
THE BEGINNING REQUIRES SLOW TIME. At the beginning of the speech, the listener is preoccupied with other ideas; hence the speaker must be distinct, and by slowness give time to change the train of thought. Then, too, the speaker himself is more or less preoccupied with thoughts about the audience, about himself, and many other things. He requires time to collect himself in order to fully concentrate his mind upon the proposed ideas. Then, too, the enunciatory and other functions are dormant, and must be quickened.
Once again, as the emotional parts of the content primarily determine the rate of utterance, these must have time to mature, and so to quicken the rate. The emotion must wait upon the idea; and this requires time. For similar reasons, after each transition the rate must be slower ; and the more divergent the succeeding groups, the slower the rate after each change.
Faults. — Most beginners speak too rapidly, but slow down with experience. Rate is relative to the individual as well as to the matter. It is conceded that some persons can well speak more rapidly than others; but every beginner may suspect himself of trying to speak too fast. Since delivery, when too rapid, mars the enunciation, and confuses the phrasing or grouping, it seriously interferes with the intelligibility of the speech. While prompt and ready utterance suggests a certain kind of mastery, it must not be forgotten that word-Auency is not eloquence.
On the other hand, dull, slow, dragging utterance, and that over-pauseful delivery, holding on to the final syllable, and sometimes ending with an “ugh,” though not so common, is equally bad.
In overcoming both hasty and tardy utterance, main dependence is to be placed in the will. This ability, however, is not commanded at a moment's notice, but is the result of discipline.
Variability of rate follows, of course, the emotional movements of the content.
Sec. IX. Climax. - Climax refers to a heightening of the delivery. The most obvious elements of this heightening are ascending pitch, increased loudness and rate, culminating, generally, with the radical stress. As climax is expressive of emotional growth, it is plainly another element of force.
Growth is a well-defined characteristic of all emotion. For instance, the angry man grows more angry as he dwells