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B.He did not make the inflections he named. He read prosperity, gains and adversity with rising circumflexes : not rising slides as he supposed : and tries with a falling circumflex, for the falling slide. The divisions were bad. He made a full bar at prosperity, and a jog, or hiatus in his voice ; instead of which, it should be a half bar and the stream of sound should be kept up till lost in gains. The same might be said of adversity, the last syllable of which should be swelled into tries. I should read it in this way. Prospérity 'gáins friends and advérsity I tries thèm.
G.--I see very well where the fault lay, and how I happened to make it. By aiming at great distinctness, I made circumflexes when I intended to make slides.
T.--Yes, Sir, and your case is by no means a singular one : in changing old habits, while guarding against one error, we are liable to run into another in an opposite direction. Whatever the change may be in utterance or manner, time is needed to prepare us to exhibit either with ease and grace. A person who has been well educated, and brought into correct and well settled habits, never thinks of his tones, inflections or other things connected with a good utterance while reading ; nor of his manners, his grammar and rhetoric, while conversing : nor of his attitudes and gestures in public speaking: if he does he is very likely to be constrained and unnatural.
H.-And it appears to me, when a person has overcome all his bad habits, and has become settled in good ones, he is so intent, all the time, upon the matter he is uttering, that it is his mind that talks, that reads and speaks.
T.-An excellent idea! Yes, all other things spontaneously adjust themselves to his thoughts and feelings. And so will it soon be with Master Gordon; and his father then will not think his performance so “far from being natural.”
MODULATION. TONE-PITCH-QUANTITY-QUALITY OF VOICE.
THAT agreeable variety of changes through which the voice passes in reading and speaking, is called modulation: a term derived from the word modulor, which signified among the Romans, to measure sounds, to sing, to warble, to trill, to play on an instrument.
While listening to a good speaker, we perceive the syllables and words constantly on the change upward and downward, in some respects like the notes in music, and no two succeeding exactly in the same line of sound. Sometimes the voice sweeps through the scale like the rise and fall of the eight notes : sometimes it skips through an interval of several notes from low to high, from high to low, and rarely approaches monotony, and never to what is called sing-song. Of course, modulation is inseparably connected with pause and inflection, accent, emphasis and cadence; and all the modifications arising from tone, pitch, quantity, rate of utterance, and quality of voice. It adapts its changes to every succeeding sentiment and emotion, and adjusts them to the laws of an ever varying harmony.
The tones which indicate the various kinds of thought and feeling, are familiar to all. We all are alive to the softened tone of affection, and to the harsh tone of severity. We have a tone for cheerfulness and joy, for sorrow and grief, for anger and rage, for fear and terror, reverence and
awe, and for almost every thing we feel. Tones have been justly called the language of nature : the true language of the passions. It is the first understood by children ; and even in the absence of words, it is the quickest to waken sensibility, and impel to action. Words may be chosen and arranged ever so skilfully, and expressed ever so well in other respects; yet, if not expressed in nature's proper tones, they are sure to come short of their intended effect. Hence many a well written discourse comes powerless from the lips of the speaker, mainly from this defect in his delivery.
In our colloquial habits, we are all very sure to give the right tones of meaning, though we may not always hit upon the right words ; but the moment we attempt the language of another, or even our own from manuscript, we are almost as certain to give it an artificial affected air. So difficult it is to throw the same vivid freshness into language already prepared, as we do into that which is formed at the time of utterance.
Pitch or key_in the language of music—is that particular note in the scale whence all the other notes proceed. The principal key notes are generally reckoned three—the high, the middle, and the low key.
We use the high key in calling to a person at a distance; the middle, in ordinary conversation ; the low, when we wish no one to hear except the person to whom we speak: or it is that deep grave undertone which is sometimes used in the solemn parts of a public discourse.
The middle one, we should adopt in public ; because it is a point from which we may have the broadest scope to rise and fall as the case may require ; and in this key the organs of the voice are stronger and more pliable from constant use; and we can also with greater ease to ourselves, speak louder or softer, in accordance with the space we have to fill, or the sentiments we wish to enforce ; and we can the better shift it to the highest, or lowest, or any intermediate pitch we choose. It may be well to interpose a caution here, lest high be considered the same as loud, or low the same as soft. We can speak louder and softer, and still continue the same pitch or key; but we cannot speak higher or lower without shifting the key.
Quantity, it has already been observed, is the term applied to the utterance of long and short syllables ; as pāpěr, cāpēr, lēttěr, běttěr. When applied to language, long quantity is an increased swell and fulness of the words; and is of course a slower movement: short quantity is just the reverse : or the one consists of a full and slow, the other, a short and quick utterance.
Long quantity is used in dignified and deliberate discourse to express reverence and awe, doubt, grief or despondence, or where great precision is required.
Short quantity is used to express gayety, sprightliness, eager argument, impatience, confidence and courage; or to separate as in parenthetic clauses, the less important from the more important parts of a discourse.
Rate of utterance is so similar to quantity, as just
explained, that I think any farther notice of it is unnecessary.
The following extract from the parable of “The Prodigal Son,” if read properly, will show in some degree what is meant by long and short quantity.
"And the son said unto him ; (lq) Father, I have sinned against heaven and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.
(sq) “But the father said unto his servants, bring forth the best robe and put it on him ; and put a ring on his hand and shoes on his feet; and bring forth the fatted calf, and kill it, and let us eat and be merry : for this my son was dead and is alive again ; he was lost and is found."
The Lord's Prayer, the Commandments, and most parts of the Bible afford good examples of long quantity.
(19) “Our father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven."
(19) “ Then Jesus answering, said unto them, Go your way, and tell John what things ye have seen and heard ; how that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the poor the gospel is preached. And blessed is he whosoever shall not be offended in me."
The other modifications which are of any importance to notice here, are plaintiveness, tremor, increase, decrease, explosive force, suppressed force; and the qualities of the voice, called the orotund, the smooth, the harsh, the aspirated, the guttural, and the pectoral. What they are inay be sufficiently inferred from their