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weary attention: or if they aim at avoiding this fault, they run into the high pitch; which is productive of consequences equally bad. The organs of the voice, in this unusual pitch, are soon wearied, and languor and hoarseness ensue. And as the reason for continuing it, will be equally strong during the whole discourse, as for the first setting out in it, the speaker must lose all the benefits which arise from variety, and fall into a disgusting monotony.

The prevalence of this practice arises from a common mistake in those who speak for the first time in a large room, and before a numerous auditory. They conclude it impossible that they should be heard in their common pitch of voice, and therefore change it to a higher. Thus they confound two very distinct things, making high and low, the same with loud and soft. Loud and soft in speaking, is like the fortè and piano in music, it only refers to the different degrees of force used in the same key: whereas high and low imply a change of key. A man may speak louder or softer in the same key; when he speaks higher or lower, he changes his key. So that the business of every one is to proportion the force or loudness of voice, to the room, and number of his auditory, in its usual pitch. If it be larger than ordinary, he is to speak louder, not higher; in his usual key, not in a new one. And whoever neglects this, will never be able to manage his voice with ease to himself, or pleasure to his hear


It is evident that he who begins in the high pitch on a supposition that he could not otherwise be heard,

must for the same reason continue in that pitch throughout. And they who set out under this delusion are apt to continue in it all their lives, having but little chance of being informed of their error. So that whenever they deliver any thing in public they of course fall into this unnatural key.

This error is no where more observable than in the usual manner of reading Divine Service. The unnatural pitch of voice, is the first thing that strikes every judicious ear, in the first sentence the clergyman utters, which is continued throughout; nor have I heard many in my life who read the Service in their own proper pitch. The quantity of sound, necessary to fill even a large space, is much smaller than is generally imagined; and to the being well heard, and clearly understood, a good and distinct articulation, contributes more than power of voice. Possessed of that, a man with a weak voice, has infinite advantages over him who has a strong one, without it. If the voice be weak, and the articulation good, the attention and silence of the auditory will be proportionally greater, that they may not miss any thing that is said; whereas they are under no such apprehensions from a loud speaker. He who delivers himself in a moderate pitch, whenever his subject demands that he should rise to a higher, or sink to a lower, does it with ease and due proportion; and produces the effects which are to be expected from such change, and agreeable variety. Whilst he who takes a high pitch, cannot rise, upon occasion, without running into discord, nor sink, with any rule of proportion to guide him. They who to avoid this

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fault run into the opposite extreme, and begin in a lower pitch than is natural to them, err indeed on the safer side, but are equally distant from the point of truth. It is true it is more easy to rise gradually and proportionally than to descend; but whilst they remain in that key, it will appear equally unnatural, and more languid than the other. And they will be very apt through the body of their discourse, to run chiefly into that key, in which they had set out. (The true, safe, and sure rule (unless upon extraordinary occasions indeed) is always to begin in your usual pitch of speaking; if that should not prove strong enough, strengthen it by practice; if there be such a natural weakness in the organs as that you cannot be heard in public assemblies in that pitch, you had better give up all thoughts of appearing in them; or if your profession obliges you to it, you must give up all hopes of speaking gracefully, and agreeably, or even intelligibly. For he who is obliged to strain his voice in order to be heard, will scarce articulate well. The office of articulation is of a very delicate nature, and requires that the organs which perform it, should not be disturbed, or suffer any violence; which must always be the case when the voice is pushed out upon them with uncommon force. I have known instances of persons with very strong voices, of whom in their utmost exertions of them, it has been very justly observed, that there was no hearing what they said, they spoke so loud; for the torrent of the voice, left neither time nor power in the organs, to shape the words properly, but

bore away with it clustered and uncouth masses of abortive syllables.

The best rule for a speaker to observe is, never to utter a greater quantity of voice, than he can afford without pain to himself, or any extraordinary effort. Whilst he does this, the other organs of speech will be at liberty to discharge their several offices with ease; and he will always have his voice under command. But whenever he transgresses these bounds, he gives up the reins, and has no longer any management of it. And it will ever be the safest way too, to keep within his compass, rather than go at any time to the utmost extent of it; which is a dangerous experiment, and never justifiable but upon some extraordinary emotion. For even in that case, the transgressing the limits in the least, (difficult as the task is for a speaker to keep within bounds, when under the influence of such emotion) will scarce be pardoned. For, as the judicious Shakspeare has well observed in his instructions to the player, In the very torrent, tempest, and as I may say, whirlwind of your passion, you must acquire and beget a temperance that may give it smoothness.' For the same reason also, every speaker should take care in the management of the breath, always to get a fresh supply before he feels any want of it; for whilst he has some to spare, he recruits it with such ease, that his hearers are not at all sensible of his doing it. Whereas if he waits untill he is put in mind of it by any degree of uneasiness, he not only does it with more difficulty to himself, but he may depend upon it that his hearers also have felt his uneasiness, and been sensible of his

difficulty. For so strong is the sympathy between the organs of speech, and those of hearing, that the least uneasiness in the one, is immediately perceived by the other.

I shall close my observations on this head with two rules; one, for giving strength and power to the voice in its natural pitch. The other for adjusting the proper quantity or degree of loudness in the voice, proportioned to the size of the room and the number of the auditory. The first rule for strengthening the voice, is this. Any one, who through habit, has fallen into a weak utterance, cannot hope suddenly to change it; he must do it by degrees and constant practice. I would therefore recommend it to him, that he should daily exercise himself in reading, or repeating in the hearing of a friend; and that too in a large room. At first his friend should stand at such a distance only as the speaker can easily reach, in his usual manner of delivering himself. Afterwards let him gradually increase his distance, and the speaker will in the same gradual proportion increase the force of the voice; for the method of increasing by degrees is easy in this as in every thing else, when sudden transitions are impracticable; and every new acquisition of power, enables you the better to go on to the next degree. When he shall have thus got to that distance, beyond which the speaker cannot be heard without straining, and forcing his voice, there let him stop; and let that be the usual place of his standing to hear the most part of what is declaimed; because when the speaker, is able by practice to manage his voice in that extent, he will

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