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ELEMENTS OF ELOCUTION.
Memory—is the purveyor of reason.
The great pursuit of man—is after happiness. The good reader will perceive the propriety of pausing after the first word, as the subject of the sentence. By this pause the mind is fixed upon the principal object of attention, and prepared to proceed with clearness and deliberation to the reception of what follows.
PITCH OF VOICE. By Pitch of Voice is meant those high and low tones which prevail in speaking. Every person has three pitches of voice, which are easily distinguished; viz.—the natural or middle pitch,--the high pitch,—and the low pitch. The natural or middle pitch is that which is heard in common conversation. The high pitch is used in calling to one at a distance. The low pitch is employed when we speak to one quite near, and who, though surrounded by many, is the only one supposed to hear.
The learner must be informed here, that high and loud, and low and soft, have not the least affinity. To render the different pitches of the voice clear and intelligible to the learner, the following diagram is ins hibiting to the eye a scale of speaking tones, similar to that used in music.
Let the learner commence in as low a bass-key as possible, and count up the diagram, rising a tone* each number, the same as sounding the eight notes in music, and he will easily discover that the degrees of pitch in speaking, are the same as those in singing: This scale of speaking tones, may seem difficult at first, but a very little practice will render it easy. Let the learner speak one in as low a bass-key as possible—then two, &c. and he will find that he can speak these with as much ease and correctness as he can sing them. When he has acquired a knowledge of these different pitches and tones let him take a sentence and read it on the lowest note-then read it on a note higher, and so on, till he has reached the highest note of his voice. Take the following line.
“ On-on-to the just and glorious strife." • The Semitone between the 3 and 4 is not noticed here, being unnecessary in the present case.
ELEMENTS OF ELOCUTION.
A little practice, it is believed, will give the reader a perfect command of his voice in all the degrees of tone from the lowest to the highest notes to which the voice can be raised.
ACCENT. Accent is a stress of voice given to a particular syllable to distinguish it from others in the same word; as in the word a-tone'-ment, the stress is laid on the second syllable. Accent is, in a measure, dependent on emphasis, and is transposed where the claims of emphasis require it; as when words occur, which have a partial sameness in form, but are contrasted in sense; as,
Neither jústice nor injustice.
EMPHASIS. Emphasis is a stress of voice laid on particular words in a sentence, to distinguish them from others, and convey their meaning in the best manner; as, “ You were not sent here to play, but to study.” The learner will perceive that the words play and study are pronounced with more force than the rest of the sentence, and are therefore termed the emphatical words.
A word, on which the meaning of a sentence is suspended, or placed in contrast, or in opposition to other words, is always emphatical.
As to the degree or intensity of force that the reader or speaker should give to important words in a sentence, no particular rules can be given. He must enter into the spirit of what he reads-feel the sentiment expressed, and he will seldom fail in giving each word its proper force, or emphatic stress. Emphasis is ever associated with thought and emotion; and he who would become eminent as a reader, or speaker, must remember that the “soul of eloquence is feeling.”
EXAMPLES FOR EXERCISE.
'Tis hard to say, if greater want of skill
Appear in writing or in judging ill.
A METHOD OF MARKING THE DIFFERENT FORCES OF WORDS. Various methods have been devised to mark the different forces of words in sentences, in such a manner as to convey a clear idea of the pronunciation. The most simple and practical method is to unite the unaccented words to those that are accented, as if they were syllables of them. This classification naturally divides a sentence into just so many portions, as it contains accents; as in the following sentence :
Prosperity I gains friends and adversity | tries them. When there is no uncommon emphasis in a sentence, we can pronounce it with more or fewer accents, without materially affecting the sense. The
following sentence may be pronounced in four portions, or in ten, without
Pitchuponthátcourseoflife | whichisthemostéxcellent | andcustom I will
Pitch uponthát | course oflife | whichisthemòst | excellent | andcús-
Some place the bliss 1 in action | some , in ease.
Those call it | pleasure | and contentment | these.
And is the son of Semo fallen? | Mournful are Tura's walls. / Sorrow
| He shall lift his eyes to the wall, / and see his father's sword. | Whose
LESSONS IN PROSE.
115: On Sincerity,
D. Webster. 254
Edinburgh Review. 268
LESSONS IN POETRY.