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to the speaker it is sometimes of infinite importance, while it cannot interfere with any other vocal function. To him who is called to address large assemblies, or to speak in the open air, a powerful voice gives the double advantage of making himself distinctly heard, and of exhibiting what is always strongly demanded by a popular audience-evidence of earnestness and sincerity. Its acquisition, then, should be among the first objects of him who would prepare for the practice of the orator's art. The capabilities of the human voice, in point of power, are rarely developed, for the simple reason that they can be brought out only by education; and education, in any proper sense of the term, is here rarely applied. The hand is trained to penmanship, and even the voice is sometimes slightly disciplined in regard to some of its functions, by the teacher of music; but who now thinks of giving the voice a full system of training for the high and responsible duties connected with oratory? Had it been thus in Greece, she would have had no Demosthenes: had it been thus in Rome, Cicero would have lived for nought. Unless perchance we should except a very few of those trained for the stage, the practical speaker is not now to be found, who has been trained as was either of these men whose oratorical powers have made them immortal.
If I mistake not, the learner has already thought that our exercises and suggestions for practice were becoming too numerous and too tedious. But there is no “royal road” to the orator's proud elevation. We suggest the system of elementary practice, because we know of no other in which the future orator can learn to execute the high principles of his art. It is a very different thing to judge of a good piece of workmanship in the handicraft arts, from what it is to execute such a piece. There is the same difference between the mere theoretical and the practical orator ;between him who has learned the principles of good speaking by study and by listening to lectures, and him who has been instructed on such a system as is here taught.
In no respect is the voice more capable of improvement than in regard to its force ; and this may be combined with long or with short quantity, with all the kinds of stress, with every variety of pitch, and with all the slides and waves of the voice. Thus for the purpose of training this function of the voice, the learner may repeat all or any of the lessons suggested for practice in the preceding sections, only with greater fulness and energy. But while a careless and transient recurrence to these lessons will be of little service in developing the full powers of the voice, an injudicious exercise on them may produce permanent injury. An hour spent in vociferating the elements or syllabic combinations, and that perhaps on an improper pitch, or without due regard to the proper radical and vanishing movements of the voice, might with subsequent exposure of itself produce the results we are preparing to guard the future speaker against. These exercises, when properly conducted, have a twofold operation : first, they teach how the various functions of the voice can be employed the most successfully, and with the greatest ease; and secondly, they habituate the voice to the exercise of its powers. That the greatest good however may result from the training here proposed, the following rules ought to be observed.
1. Let the exercise be repeated daily, or perhaps twice each day, if it is found the voice will bear it. 2. Let not the exercise at first be long continued, not
more than ten or fifteen minutes,-nor till any degree of hoarseness is produced.
3. Let not the voice at first be exercised to the full extent of its powers; nor the exercise be long continued, either on the highest or the lowest pitch of the voice.
4. Special care should be used to guard against harshness or hoarseness of voice in these exercises. The voice should be formed low down in the throat, the tongue being retracted and depressed, and the mouth sufficiently open to emit a smooth volume of sound.
5. The articulation of every element employed in the exercise should be perfect. Austin in his Chironomia says, in regard to the articulation of words, “ They are not to be hurried over; nor precipitated syllable over syllable; nor as it were melted together into a mass of confusion. They should be neither abridged nor prolonged ; nor swallowed, nor forced ; they should not be trailed, nor drawled, nor let to slip out carelessly, so as to drop unfinished. They are to be delivered out from the lips as beautiful coins newly issued from the mint, deeply and accurately ima pressed, perfectly finished, neatly struck by the proper organs, distinct, in due succession, and of due weight.” But the articulation of the words depends on the articulation of the elements which compose
them. 6. When in these exercises force is connected with long quantity, whether radical or median stress is employed, special care should be given to the utterance of the vanish. The gentle and gradual decline of sound, as heard in the finely executed vanish, delights the ear scarcely less than the higher graces attending musical execution.
7. At first, these exercises should be remitted during a period of feeble health, or during the hoarseness attendant on a cold ; or else abated in energy, so as not greatly to fatigue the vocal organs. With a little familiarity however, and special care to preserve the erect position, and to use chiefly for the production of sound the abdominal and intercostal muscles, this will be found a most healthful exercise. It should not follow immediately a hearty meal, nor be preceded or followed by stimulating drinks; nor, if the exercise has been violent, should it be followed by a careless exposure to the cold or damp air.
8. There is a period of youth, when the voice begins to break and to assume the manly tone, during which no violent exertion of the voice should be made. While all the other exercises of this Manual may be practiced during this period, those of this section should be reserved till the voice becomes confirmed and established.
9. Any successful effort to attain great power of voice must presuppose an observance of all the rules essential to the general health. Intemperance in drink, the use of tobacco, or excess of any kind, injures the voice, not less than the other powers of both body and mind.
But there is an exercise still to be suggested, which aids perhaps in a higher degree the acquisition of a powerful voice, than any of those already proposed. It is on what Dr. Rush calls the explosive power of the vowel elements. To commence this exercise, let each of these elements as presented in Table I, be uttered with a suddenness like that presented in the abrupt vocality heard in the cough. The
organs of speech must be open and free from compression, according to one of the foregoing directions, and each sound must be produced by a single instantaneous effort of the voice; which is neither more nor less than the forcible application of the radical stress, with the shortest possible quantity. And when a facility of thus producing these sounds has been acquired, let the learner repeat them with increasing degrees of force on all the different degrees of pitch from the lowest to the highest of which his voice has the command. This exercise may be continued and varied by using Table IV, and extending it by adding to the foot of each vertical column the six short vowel elements as found in Table I. Then let it be repeated, sometimes giving the shortest possible quantity both to consonants and vowels; and at others, protracting the consonants as much as possible, and bursting with sudden full explosive force on the vowel sounds, giving them as before the shortest possible quantity.
Table V, extended as it has just been proposed to extend Table IV, may also be used for practice, never attempting however to protract the atonic elements.
Energy and perseverance can alone overcome difficulties, and it seerns the decree of Heaven that real value cannot be procured but by labor. If the learner supposes that the full benefits proposed by this and the preceding exercises are to be obtained by the few occasional exercises of the lecture room, or in an ordinary course of lessons by a master, he has mistaken the nature of his undertaking. It is not in this way that the arts of penmanship, of fencing, or horsemanship are brought to their perfection. The business of the teacher here is to direct the learner how to educate his own powers; and this discipline, conducted in the way we have proposed, may be advantageously carried
years. And what would men think of the clergyman, the lawyer, or the physician, who should count his education finished, when he entered on the practice of his profession!