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RUSH'S PHILOSOPHY OF THE HUMAN VOICE.
ILLUSTRATION OF GESTURE.
BY SULLIVAN H. WESTON.
HOLD THE MIRROR UP TO NATURE.-Hamlet.
DUTTON AND WENTWORTH'S PRINT.
។ PRE FACE. The importance of the subject under consideration, ren. ders an apology unnecessary for the appearance of the following work. Elocution has now become a science, clothed in all the dignity and amenable to the unbending laws of an inductive philosophy. We, therefore, offer no idle and unmeaning excuses. The only question that can arise is, as to the manner of instruction. If any are disposed to reiterate the hackneyed cry of “innovation,” wé refer them to high authority. We make no ostentatious pretensions to originality; we claim nothing for ourselves, but walk humbly in the footsteps of our illustrious predeces
The synopsis we have given, is essentially the system developed in the elegant and masterly essays of Dr. Rush and Prof. Barber. Fortunate for a science when it can boast such advocates. True, we have consulted numerous other authors on the subject, and have endeavored to collocate and condense their various excellences, so far as different systems would permit; the whole has been arranged and modified as experience has suggested, and adapted to practical instruction. Among those we have examined, are, Rush, Barber, Porter, Austin, Steele, Walker, Sheridan, Abercrombie, Russell and Bronson. We were induced to prepare the Rudiments of Elocution from repeated requests from different quarters. Rush's Philosophy of the Human Voice (the most perfect work of the kind in any language,) was considered too voluminous and expensive, and indeed was never intended as a text book. Prof. Barber's Gram mar of Elocution was out of print, and its author in Europe ; and without any invidious references to other distinguished works, all of which have their peculiar excellences, we had a decided preference for the system we have presented. We have chosen, to display the various functions of the voice, selections, not only from the standard writers of the present age, but also from the golden sources of the past-productions which posterity has sanctioned, and over which time has no power. We have spared no labor in the research, and we fatter ourselves they will be found pertinent illustrations. We acknowledge our indebtedness
to the invaluable work by Prof. Barber, and have unhesitatingly availed ourselves of his combinations of consonant sounds. The section on “ Measure of Speech,” we have copied entire, from the same work. It is profound, original, and eminently practical, and is the system of "scoring," as developed by the celebrated elocutionist, Steele ; its principles should be familiar to all.
We would call the attention of the student particularly to the Elementary Exercise, on the tables. This Chart is emphatically a "working plan,” and affords a complete Gymnasium for the voice, giving it depth, strength, smoothness, flexibility and compass, and enabling it to perform its high office with that energy, beauty, variety, effect, and ease, of which the skilfully modulated, alone, are capable. Once get a complete command over the various functions of speech, and learn to apply them with discrimination and taste, on a few examples, and it is far more advantageous than much reading with careless application.
Elocution is the science of reading and speaking, and necessarily implies the use of the following properties of the voice, -Quality, Force, Time, Abruptness, Pitch. There are multiplied combinations of species under these genera, which will be noticed in due order.
By the term Quality, we mean a distinction in the kind of voice employed; as rough, smooth, full, thin, slender, harsh, soft, musical, &c. Full, strong, smooth and sonorous, are the most important distinctions.
Force implies the sounds we utter are strong, weak, feeble, loud, soft, forcible, and faint. Force of voice may be heard at the beginning, middle, termination, and at both ends of a syllable. They are termed the Radical, Vanishing, Median, and Compound Stresses; we shall, hereafter, treat of this function under the head of Stress and Explosion.
Time is divided into long, short, quick, slow, rapid, &c. A person possessed of any skill in sounds, can perceive that a in fat, is shorter than in fate. Time, then, can be long or short, on the same syllable. Some are Immutable, or short, naturally. Others are Mutable, or admit of either long or short time. A third class are called Indefinites, from the fact that they can be prolonged to any ex