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Surprise and remonstrance place a series of emphatic circumflexes on words.
What, will you tell me that you have done this?
That came a-wooing with you; and many a time
Hath ta'en your part; to have so much to do
A word or clause common to both parts of an antithesis follows quickly in a light tone the inflexion of the antithetic word before it.
Is he the protector' of his country, or its betrayer'?
Any word or clause conveying an idea which is common to both parts of the antithesis, is similarly treated.
When I measure the patrimonies of the wealthy with my own little pittance, they swell into proud and bloated dimensions; but when I take the universe' for my standard, how paltry is their size, how contemptible their figure!
The words, "for my standard," are previously included in "when I measure."
Emphasis effects a transposition of accent, when words which have a sameness in part of their formation are opposed to each other in sense.
Lucius Cataline was expert in all the arts of simulation' and dissimulation'.
Words may be rendered peculiarly emphatic by a long pause before them, and the adoption of a different key on the emphatic word.
Why should Rome fall-a moment' ere her time?
A pause might be made with effect after fall-and the emphatic word, a moment, commence in a low deep tone.
A clause may be rendered emphatic by the same change of key.
I did send to you
For certain sums of gold, which you denied me.
The clause which you denied me is commenced in a markedly low key; the voice rises a little on denied, and comes down with force on the same word.
Note.-The following definition of emphasis was given by an anonymous writer about sixty years ago, and has been copied into various works on Elocution without acknowledgment. The office of emphasis, he says, is solely to determine the meaning of a sentence with reference to something said before, presupposed by the author as general knowledge, or in order to remove an ambiguity, when a passage is capable of having more senses given to it than one. He illustrates his meaning thus:
Of man's first disobedience, and the fruit
Of that forbidden tree, whose mortal taste
Brought death into the world, and all our woe, &c.
Supposing, in reference to the above well-known lines, that originally other beings besides men have disobeyed the commands of the Almighty, and that the circumstance was well known to us, there would fall an emphasis upon the word man's in the first line, and hence it would be read thus:
Of man's first disobedience, and the fruit, &c.
But if it were a notorious truth that mankind had transgressed in a peculiar manner more than once, the emphasis would fall on first, and the line be read, Of man's first disobedience, and the fruit, &c.
Again, admitting death (as was really the case) to have been an unheard-of and dreadful punishment brought upon man in consequence of his transgression, on that supposition the third line would be read,
Brought death into the world, &c.
But if we were to suppose that mankind knew there was such an evil as death in other regions, though the place they inhabited had been free from it till their transgression, the line would run thus:
Brought death into the world, &c. &c.
Supposing, continues the author, that none of the senses there pointed out were precisely the true one, and that the meaning of the lines were no other than what is obviously suggested by their simple construction, in that case it may be asked, if, in reading them, there should be no word dignified with the emphatical accompaniment above described. I answer, not one with an emphasis of the same kind as that we have just been illustrating. The emphasis above noticed he denominates the emphasis of sense-that inferior force which is given to important words he denominates the emphasis of force. Sense is the regulator of the first, taste of the last.
INFLEXION AND MODULATION RESUMED.
EXTENT OF INFLEXION AND CHANGE OF PITCH IN SPEAKING.
In the rules which have been given, the situations where the principal inflexions take place have been pointed out. The connection of clauses, interrogation, and emphasis, have been shown to be its regulators. The division of sentences into oratorical words, gives the minuter inflexion which holds in clauses. With these regula
tors, the voice will be enabled to give the still more minute inflexion of single words pretty accurately.
The difference of opinion concerning the slides, their extent of employment, and their intervals, is very remarkable. The old masters in Elocution limited the change of voice to those keys which distinguish the pronunciation of a new sentence. Having pitched the sentence on this key, they maintained that the whole sentence was pronounced in precisely the same tone. The author of "The Introduction to the Art of Reading" tells us, that, on reading several passages from Milton and other poets, to one of our greatest masters in music, he, "after paying the utmost attention to the several articulate sounds in each sentence, declared them to be all of the same tone." This doctrine is now altogether exploded; indeed, it is astonishing that any person should doubt that there is a great variety in the play of the speaking voice. Some modern authors maintain that accent cannot be given without a slide; that, in fact, inflexion is accent. Accordingly, every accented syllable is marked by them with a slide either rising or falling. The clustering of words into what has been called oratorical words, appears the most practicable method of teaching the inflexions.
But the voice not merely slides in speaking; it often takes a leap from one note to another. Thus, in the sentence which was given in page 29, "Nothing valuable can be obtained without labour," the word can commences at a lower pitch than the word nothing. This leaping of the voice, from high to low, or from low to high, is the secret of a pleasing modulation; and unless inflexion is accompanied by it, it becomes extremely tiresome. The student should therefore not be contented with inflexion merely he should be anxious to ascertain the pitch from which the inflexion commences. The concluding part of a sentence, or of a clause, very often demands a low pitch, from which the voice rises again with a diminished slide favourable to a graceful cadence.
INTERVALS OF INFLEXION.
In common reading, or familiar discourse, the voice frequently confines itself to the interval of a second, except perhaps on emphatic words. It is not meant that the voice plays on two notes merely, but that it never ascends more than a second at a time: with this gradation, it may have the range of many notes in the scale. This modified action of the voice, however, is not suited to animated conversation or to pathetic reading; these require slides of a third and fifth, besides many changes of pitch or key. A few exercises on the measure of the slides will lead to delicacy in the application of them.
Slide of a Half Note in pleasing melancholy.
Thy nightly visits to my chamber made,
That thou mightst know me safe and warmly laid
Slide of a Second may be employed in calm conversation or in unimpassioned reading.
Slide of a Minor Third rising, in melancholy exclamations, or in interrogations where there is something deprecatory.
Oh banish me, my lord, but kill' me not.
Slide of a Minor Third falling in despondency and despair.
No friends, no hope! no kindred weep for me!
In passion, a leap of the voice has often a fine effect.
In the above example, the word grave assumes the minor third without a slide; of course, it is measured from the pitch of almost
Slide of a Major Third rising in exclamations, emphases, and questions of common animation.
Indeed'! has he deserted his party'?
You malapert boy! do you address your father' thus? Slide of a Major Third falling in emphasis of common
I shall never submit to these indignities.
The same slide, if given forcibly, and with considerable prolonga tion, is well calculated to express vehemence united with dignity. Thou dost belie' him, Percy, thou dost belie' him; He never' did encounter with Glendower;
I tell thee
He durst as well have met the devil alone
Art not ashamed'? But, sirrah, henceforth
The slides of a Fifth and an Octave rising and falling are employed in expressions of extreme wonder, or vehement remonstrance and indignation, and in passionate interrogation.
In the following dialogue, the slides in Brutus's part should not exceed a third; in that of Cassius, who is more excited, the fifth may be employed; perhaps in some of the sentences, as, I an itching palm, some speakers might reach the octave.
Brutus. Let me tell you, Cassius, you yourself'
Cassius. I' an itching palm?
You know that you are Brutus' that speak this,
Cassius. Chastisement' !
In exclamations of wonder and anger, the voice, after rising and dying away, concludes with a sudden swell. What'? traitor' did you say ?
Instead of a swell at the conclusion, a jerk is often given; but this is common only in mean situations.
Strongly emphatic words, when falling, have a preparatory rise, and when rising, a preparatory fall; thus, in the next example, the word child should first ascend, and then descend a third.
A child might understand it.
The circumflexes denoting irony are generally given with a fifth or an octave, and appear to be emphasis overdone, the voice approaching to a break, and the inflexion being whining or prolonged.
Hear him, my lord; he's wondrous condescending.
The ironical circumflex differs from that employed in emphasis, in as far as the stress of the voice in the ironical rising circumflex is more exerted on the conjoined fall, and in the ironical falling on the conjoined rise.
The monotone may be properly explained as a succession of sounds arising from the same note, the slides in such sounds being limited in their extent within a half note.
Hail hōly light, offspring of Heaven first born.
A climax of emphases requires variety in the extent and force of the slide, and frequently, at the highest point of the climax, a shift of voice.