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RISING AND FALLING INFLECTIONS, THROUGH VARIOUN
INTERVALS OF PITCH. (Diag. 11.)
a? a. a? a. a? a. a? a. a? a. a? a. In the above diagram, each falling inflection cominences in a lower degree of pitch than that in which its corresponding rising inflection terminates. Should a falling inflection be made to extend through the same interval as its corresponding rising inflection, it would be a drawling note, and not a pure note of speech.
Falling inflections may be uttered with greater force than rising inflections. This is shown, in Diag. 11, by the relative widths of the notes.
Rising inflections are far more numerous than falling inflections: the former constitute the main body of oral language, while the latter are employed for the purposes of emphasis, and in the formation of cadences. Rising inflections are often emphatic; but their emphasis is weaker than that of falling inflections.
The circumflexes are used for the purposes of em. phasis. The acuto-grave circumflex, when carried through a wide interval, is employed for the expression of irony and scorn.* When the circumflexes are properly introduced, they are very expressive. These movements of the voice, however, are seldom required; when improperly employed, they affect the ear of a good reader as unpleasantly as the too frequent use of the portamento does that of a good musician.
* « The circumflexes, acuto-grave," says Mr. Steele, "are characteristic of the Irish tone ; and the circumflexes, gravo-acute, are characteristic of the Scottish tone." — (See Steele's Prosodia Ra tronalis.)
Writers on Elocution have given numerous rules for the regulation of inflections; but most of these rules are better calculated to make bad readers than good ones. Those founded on the construction of sentences might, perlaps, do credit to a mechanic, but they certainly do none to an elocutionist.
The subject is of such a nature that it would be difficult, if not impossible, to give rules for the regulation of all the inflections of the voice, in reading and speaking; and, as any rule on this part of elocution must necessarily be limited in its application, I have thought proper to dispense with them altogether. This work, however, does not leave the reader without a guide: in the practical part of it, numerous examples are given, which, I trust, will have a tendency to form a correct taste. When the student shall have acquired a knowledge of the principles of elocution, he will have no occasion for rules.
The reader should bear in mind that a falling inflection gives more importance to a word than a rising inflection. Hence it should never be employed merely for the sake of variety ; but for emphasis and cadences. Neither should a rising inflection be used for the sake of mere “harmony," where a falling inflection would better express the meaning of the author.
The sense should, in all cases, determine the direction of inflections. Hence the absurdity of the term "harmonic inflection," as employed by Walker and his disciples-an inflection which, for the sake of harmony. takes a direction contrary to that required by the sense : If a sentence is pronounced so as to bring out the sense in the most forcible manner, all the inflections must necessarily be harmonic, or, more correctly speak. ing, melodic.* Every modification of the voice, which is not compatible with the sentiment, weakens the force of the elocution by drawing off the attention of the hearer from the sense to the sound.
* See the note at the bottom of page 72.
ELODY is a series of simple sounds, emanating from the voice, or an instrument, so varied in pitch as to produce a pleasing effect upon the ear. The series of graphic notes by which these sounds are repre
sented, is also called melody. Melody is distinguished from harmony by not necessarily includ. ing a combination of parts. The term harmony, as employed in the science of music, signifies a union of melodies, a succession of combined sounds, moving at consonant intervals, according to the laws of modulation.
Notation is the graphic representation of a melodyin other words, the expression of a melody by written characters.
INTONATION is the act of sounding the notes of a melody, either with the voice, or an instrument. When each note is produced in its proper degree of pitch, the intonation is true; when the intervals are not observed with exactness, the intonation is false. Correct intonation, in speech, is highly important; in song, and instrumental music, it is indispensable; for, if the intonation is false, melody loses its charms, and harmony becomes discord.
The melody of speech is founded on sense ; that of song, generally, on sound. Words containing opposite
The term harmonious is correctly employed when applied to two or more sounds whose union is consonant, or agreeable; it is incorrectly employed when applied to the notes of a single melody, as is done by some authors, who confound it with the word melo dious.
sentiments may be sung to the same air, with effects equally good, if the force and time be properly varied. Thus, if the two songs, March to the Battle Field, and Oft in the Stilly Night, be sung to the same air — the former with great force, and in quick time — the latter with diminished force, and in slow time, there will be as much difference of expression between them as there is between that of joy and sorrow.* But speech is not so accommodating. Here every sentence must not only have its appropriate tune, but the tune must be properly pitched.
The melody of song is graduated on a scale whose degrees are as definite as those of the scale of Gunter. But the melody of speech is not formed with such mathematical exactness — it has no scale of determinate degrees. Hence it is difficult to represent it graphi. cally — to give to each note
“A local habitation and a name.” But even if an exact notation of the melody of speech should be given, it is doubtful whether it would be of much practical importance to the generality of mankind, as none but a Paganini would be able to read it. Such a notation, however, is a desideratum — it would be highly interesting to the philosopher; and I would advise all elocutionists who have a good ear for music, and can perform on stringed instruments of the violin species, to direct their attention to the subjectif
For practical purposes, however, it is not essential to present every syllable in speech under its proper note, as is done in song: it is only necessary to give a notation of the relative pitch of the emphatic syllables.
• The reader must not infer that I entertain the opinion that in song melody cannot be adapted to sentiment. I believe that if the composers of music were elocutionists, they would always construct their melodies with reference to the sentiments to be expressed.
† Any essays on this subject by one who cannot perform on a musical instrument, must prove entirely abortive.
Such a notation may be read by those who have no knowledge of music whatever, and, consequently, does not require the aid of a Paganini. Besides, if the relative pitch of the heavy, or emphatic syllables, and their inflections, are given, the light, or unemphatic syllables will naturally take their proper degrees of eleva
The series of notes by which the relative pitch, and inflections of the emphatic syllables are represented, is denominated an emphasis melody. The emphasis melodies are written on four horizontal, parallel lines. These lines are called the staff of speech, in contradistinction to the staff of music, which consists of five horizontal, parallel lines, and the intermediate spaces.
“ Ye are the things that tower, that shine, whose smile makes glad, whose frown is terrible.”
In the above sentence there are four emphatic points, which are represented by the following
EXAMPLE OF EMPHASIS MELODY. (Diag. 12.)
tower, shine, glad, terrible. Each note in the above diagram has the falling inflection, and no two have the same radical pitch. There is a gradual increase in the size of the notes from the first to the last, which represents a gradual increase of force, forming a sort of climax.
In that part of this work which consists of ESERCISES IN READING AND DECLAMATION, the notes of the emphasis melodies are represented by graphic inflections placed at different degrees of elevation, thus :
“ Ye are the things that tower, that shine, whose smile makes glad', whose frown is ter rible.”
In reading and speaking there is one note whico