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MELODY I proceed to the close of my introduction, by making some observations on the Melody of speech. This element of expression I shall examine under two conditions ; first, as applied to the regular ascent and descent of the voice by NOTES, through its range, in speech, and secondly, as moving in a continued line, to any particular point of such range. To render these distinct vocal movements apparent to the reader, I now present him with a form of the diatonic scale, consisting of 8 notes, or five tones and two semitones.
The annexed scale has been named a 8 Diatonic, from Dia, Tonos, (through a a 7 tone) as the voice moves only through a 6 one tone, or vocal degree, at a period. a 5a To render the comprehension of this a 4 a scale easy to all, I will name its divisions degrees. Thus the passage of a 2 the voice from 1 to 2, is one degree, and a 1 passing upward, in a regular ascent, it would consequently move through 8, by one step on each letter. The voice never moves through more than three degrees in a regular succession, without becoming plaintive; this intonation has been named a semitone; it is marked between the third and fourth, and the sev. enth and eighth degree. If the reader, with this explanation, will now commence practising on the scale by striking A, No. 1, on the lowest pitch of his voice, and gradually ascend, giving each letter. a higher degree of pitch, till he reaches A, No. 8, he will have
passed through the Diatonic range of the voice. With the impression of the sound of A, No. 8, on his ear, let him now strike the opposite column on the 8th degree, and gradually descend. By this practice he will become acquainted with the regular ascent and descent of the voice, and acquire a power over its varied degrees of pitch, in the diatonic scale. In passing down the scale, the pupil will recognise, in the fall of the voice through the three last degrees, the impression which belongs to the termination of a sentence; the final cadence; which in its perfect condition is executed by the descent of the voice through three degrees, on the three terminating syllables, or words of the sentence, giving to the last, a further short descent. Few are they who can execute this movement. In many cases the voice falls so low as to be entirely lost on the last word of a sentence, while in others it rises into the higher intervals, conveying, by that movement, the impression of continuation, where the ear expects conclusion and repose. In the second condition, the voice moves through 2, 3, 5, or 8 degrees in a continued line; that is,
5 supposing the voice to commence on No. 1 of
4 the diatonic scale, it
3 would terminate in the
2 same points of sound as those commencing on æ
1 the 2d, 3d, 5th or 8th of the diatonic scale, accord
ing to the degree of pitch required. The perpendicular lines attached to diagram No. 2, represent this movement; thus if in pronouncing A, the voice opens on the lowest degree, or No. 1, and terminates the e sound of this vocal dipthong in the point of sound No. 8 of the diatonic scale, without any break, it will have passed, by the continued movement, through an octave, the lowest and highest points of the voice employed in speech. This explanation refers also to the continued 2d, 3d and 5th.
In calm and unimpassioned conversation, or reading, the voice moves by the diatonic progression, viz: through one degree on each spllable, varied as to pitch, according to taste; thus a reader might commence on the 1st degree, pass to the 2nd, from thence to the 3rd, again down to the 2nd, and in this manner rise and fall through the whole scale, giving every variety to the Melody
This diatonic movement is rarely of long continuance; either our own feelings, or the representation of those of others, require frequent emphatic distinction. In such cases the voice rises by the continued movement, through a 3rd, 5th or octave, and immediately descends to the general melody. By such a progression the perception of emphasis is strongly and forcibly impressed upon the ear.
The diatonic progression has an absolute power in shewing the Miere connection of passages, or in other language, vocally inpressing the simple continuation of sense, which is never violated without producing an unpleasant effect. I illustrate my meaning by the following example:
“On the thirtieth of June,
one thousand six hundred and eighty five.” On the word June, separated, by a comma, from the rest of the line, it is necessary the voice should be so far increased in pitch, as to produce on the ear an impression of continuation, or in other words, show the connection between that word and the rest of the sentence. The necessary rise would be through one degree, commencing at the point of sound on which the preceding word terminates.Should the voice rise through a WIDER RANGE, it would bring June forward as highly emphatic, distinguish it from the year in which it occurred, and destroy the general meaning of the sentence. In parenthetical clauses the voice falls one degree from the general melody, as His ponderous shield,
ethereal, temper, massy, large and round behind him cast. Upon reviewing my remarks, in this chapter, I perceive I have neglected to state, that the voice moves in a downward as well as an upward direction, through all the degrees, whether by the continuous or by the diatonic mode. In the downward continuous movement, it becomes strongly charged with the intonation of positiveness and command, the reverse of the upward, which is that of enquiry. The one is the intonation of certainty, the other, that of doubt.
The lengthened movements can be executed only on words admitting of quantity; short words are rendered emphatic by a suddeu rise or depression of pitch,
what-8th Degree. 1st degree. Into pit thou seest,
what-8th Degree. 1st-From
height fallen. The voice in this example suddenly skips from the 1st degree to the Sth, over the intermediate intervals, not through them; from the 8th, it falls again suddenly on the words succeeding the exclamation what; by such a movement producing powerful emphasis.
I have merely given general rules as to Melody; a knowledge of the scale, acquired by practice, will furnish the pupil with variety of voice almost without limit. The 2d, 3d, 5th and 8th degrees of the diatonic scale, are those employed in speech. It will be of course apparent, that in the continued movement, the voice may rise or fall through the whole scale, or any particular portion. Much more might be said.My object was merely to make general remarks. It would be inconsistent with this work to say more, I therefore conclude by endeavouring to impress on the reader who would acquire the grace which melody gives to speech, to practice on the scale till he acquires a perfect command over all its degrees, under both forms.
By attending to the movement of the voice in daily conversation, he will find it agrees with the principles I have developed. If I have resorted to art, that art is a true record of nature. In developing her laws I have endeavoured to follow the example of the pain