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6. Projection of voice. When speaking to a small group of people in a small room, one will be apt to use the voice on a lower key and with less force than when speaking to a large audience in a spacious hall or out of doors. The desire to be heard, to project the voice to the outermost limit of the audience, causes greater tension and effort. The speaker should guard against the temptation, however, to lift the voice to an unusually high key under such conditions, as a controlled and well-modulated voice is more easily heard at a distance and under ordinary conditions than is a high, strident tone. As an exercise, sit and read the following lines quietly, as if to one person ; then rise and speak them as though addressing a thousand, but without raising the key of the voice.
Romans, countrymen, and lovers! hear me for my cause, and be silent, that you may hear; believe me for mine honour, and have respect to mine honour, that you may believe; censure me in your wisdom, and awake your senses, that
the better judge. If there be any in this assembly, any dear friend of Cæ sar's, to him I say, that Brutus’ love to Cæsar was no less than his. If then that friend demand why Brutus rose against Cæsar, this is my answer: Not that I loved Cæsar less, but that I loved Rome more.
Shakespeare: Julius Cæsar, III, ü. c. The influence of thought and emotion on key. The character of the thought spoken and its effect upon the to imitate the key of another in reading a given selection. It will be found, however, that when the thought of a piece of literature is understood and its spirit felt, or when the moods of individuals are similar, different voices will approximate a certain key in utterance. No one who catches the spirit of the line, “ And what is so rare as a day in June ! ” would utter it in a low sepulchral tone, nor the line, A sorrow's crown of sorrows is remembering happier things," in a high treble.
1 It is interesting to observe that instruments for projecting sounds to great Cistances, such as whistling buoys at sea, fog horns, locomotive and steamship whistles, are low in pitch. Bells of low tone are heard at greater distances than high-pitched ones, though the greater carrying power of the large, low-keyed bell is partially due, of course, to the greater swing and energy of stroke of the bell tongue.
mind and feeling of the speaker are shown in the prevailing and dominant key of the voice.
Thoughts or conditions that produce excitement, joy, anger, and the like, because of greater muscular tension, are uttered on a higher key than are those of ordinary, controlled speech. Read the following lines with spirit.
Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;
Now set the teeth and stretch the nostril wide,
Follow your spirit; and upon this charge
Shakespeare: Henry V, III, i.
Blow trumpet, for the world is white with May !
Tennyson: The Coming of Arthur. In ordinary conversation, in calm discussion and unimpassioned narration and description, and in moods of serenity and peace the middle pitches of the voice are used.
1 Much of the reading aloud done in the home is of this character. In such reading care should be taken not to permit the voice to become tense, with a consequent high key held throughout. One should also avoid the fault, sc common in ordinary reading, of allowing the voice to rise and fall with a regular cadence on all phrases, without emphasis or other expressive variation. The principles of simple, conversational speech should be observed hero as in laore formal reading to an audience.
But after all, the wonder is, in this mysterious world, not that there is so much egotism abroad, but that there is so little! Considering the narrow space, the little cage of bones and skin, in which our spirit is confined, like a fluttering bird, it often astonishes me to find how much of how many people's thoughts is not given to themselves, but to their work, their friends, their families.
A. C. Benson: From a College Window. When we give utterance to thoughts and feelings arising from contemplation of objects and scenes of grandeur and majesty, of powers above and beyond our own, and mysteries which we cannot define or fathom, and when the spirit is humble, reverent, or inspired with wonder and awe, the key of the voice is naturally low.
Strong Son of God, immortal Love,
Whom we, that have not seen thy face,
By faith, and faith alone, embrace,
Thine are these orbs of light and shade;
Thou madest life in man and brute;
Thou madest Death; and lo, thy foot
Thou wilt not leave us in the dust:
Thou madest man, he knows not why,
He thinks he was not made to die;
Thou seemest human and divine,
The highest, holiest manhood, thou.
Our wills are ours, we know not how;
Our little systems have their day;
They have their day and cease to be;
They are but broken lights of thee,
We have but faith: we cannot know,
For knowledge is of things we see;
And yet we trust it comes from thee,
Tennyson: In Memoriam 2. Pitch intervals. As the mind passes from one thought to another the effect of each thought and image on the reader whose imagination and spirit are alert will be shown by the change in pitch of the voice. These changes result not alone from the discriminative action of the intellect and reasoning faculties, but are obedient to imagination and feeling as well. No doubt an educated musical taste and a sensitive ear exercise considerable influence in melodi.. ous utterance, but the chief factor in simple, true melody is spiritual appreciation. The more strong the emotional response of the speaker to the thought spoken the greater will the intervals of pitch tend to be.
The naturalness and expressive value of pitch intervals will be evident if the following lines are read aloud, first in an unfeeling, didactic style for facts only, and then with such sustained vowel sounds and pitch changes between the lines as a sympathetic understanding of each new thought
Whilst the wave constantly
Hood: The Bridge of Sighs.
These heroes are dead. They died for liberty — they died for us. They are at rest. They sleep in the land they made free, under the flag they rendered stainless, under the solemn pines, the sad hemlocks, the tearful willows, and the embracing vines. They sleep beneath the shadows of the clouds, careless alike of sunshine or of storm, each in the windowless Palace of Rest. Earth may run red with other wars they are at peace. In the midst of battle, in the roar of conflict, they found the serenity of death. I have one sentiment for soldiers living and dead : cheers for the living ; tears for the dead.
Ingersoll: A Vision of War.1 When a passage is something more than a commonplace statement of facts and is given dignity, beauty, and power by reason of its feeling and imagination, its beauty of imagery and euphony of language, the melody of its utterance is made up largely of intervals of pitch occurring between groups of words spoken with but little rise or fall of the voice, somewhat as tones are held in song. In such expression, inflection, the chief function of which is to reveal intellectual and logical relations, gives place to change in pitch which expresses, and appeals to, the emotional, intuitive, imaginative, and spiritual nature, revealing change in image, situation, and kind and degree of feeling.
The following two passages describe the same event, the first with the main purpose of stating the facts of the situation and action, the latter with attention to the majesty and tragic grandeur of the scene and its effect
the observer. In reading these two passages aloud, note how,
1 From vol. Ix of the Collected Works of Robert G. Ingersoll. Used with the kind permission of the publisher, C. P. Farrell.