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Bear constantly in mind that all sounds are made of vibrations of air. We will vocalize the sound of a, thus: Ha
-h. We will next produce the vocal-sound, leaving off the aspirate, which will give us the grave sound of a, commencing full and strong, gradually diminishing in force and quantity of sound until it ceases. Great care must be observed to make the a.
h expulsion of the breath even, that the sound emitted may be smooth and pure, bearing in mind that converting all the breath into sound gives purity and sweetness; whereas, if it is allowed to escape without being thus used, a husky or rasping noise will accompany the voice-sound. After having repeated a few times the example given, we will reverse the effort; after which we will unite the swell and diminish; and then reverse it.
These are daily exercises for the voice; and in each succeeding daily practice the endeavor should be to increase the volume and length of sound; but caution must be used, lest it fatigue the organs too much.
For a second step in measure, we will divide the swell into half the length, the teacher beating or counting the time.
" Then I heard a strain of music,
So mighty, so pure, so dear,
And my heart stood still to hear.
Of mingled voices and strings,
On the music's outspread wings.
In sound more perfect than speech;
Farther than soul can reach.
Has passed through the golden gate;
And I am content to wait." We will now practice on three notes of the scale involving the diminish and swell. Commence softly on the second note, increasing and slurring into a full swell on the first note; gradually diminish and slur again to the second note, making it an almost imperceptible sound; rise to the third note, and descend in the same way, catching breath at the diminishing note.
To shorten this vocalized breath-sound cut it up for the formation of words and syllables. We will repeat the word Ah a great many times in quick succession, making three sounds at each effort: the first one very loud, the second much fainter, and the third one a mere echo of the second : Ah-ah-ah.
In the examples just given we take the first step in forming words. By giving stress or force to the first effort, lessening it on the second, and letting the third receive the natural diminution of the sound, we bring into use accent. In this second unaccented expulsion we get the true sound of ah as used in all conditions where there is no particular stress needed.
EXAMPLES.—I saw a man and a boy in a field after a horse, a cow, and a sheep; while a hawk, a swallow, and a robin few over them all. Charles bought a large and a small apple for a cent of a woman who had a stall beside a stream where a lad caught a pike, a roach, and a trout. Ah, alms, arch, ark, arms, art, aunt, ardent, argue.
Here is an illustration of the manner in which words are enunciated: ART-ful-ly, ART-less-ly, ART-i-zan.
In these examples the accent is on the first syllable, while the others are merely spoken loud enough to be heard.
In the following examples the accent is on the second syllable, the first one being like the last sound of the preceding measure: Ap-PLIance, so-NO-rous, be-HAV-ior.
The accented syllables should be as prominent to the ear as these letters are to the eye.
"Let each cadence melt in languor
Softly on my ravished ears,
With a rapture of sweet tears.
Such as gentle sounds prolong;
In the amber of a song."
«Then read from the treasured volume
The poem of thy choice,
The beauty of thy voice.
And the cares that infest the day
And as silently steal away.”
In expelling the vowel-sounds we find the first one in each measure is strongly accented. Now this accent is the element of emphasis. Let us give it several times, as heretofore, and increase in strength and loudness in each succeeding effort.
A as in ale is the name sound of a, and must receive the same kind and amount of practice as the preceding sound. Ace, ache, age. This is always the sound of the article a when contrasted with the word the; as, I said a man, not the man; a book, not the book; a horse, not the horse; a knife, not the knife; a star, not the star.
Now let us again expel this sound, and instead of making the emphasis, we will prolong the sound equally, as we did the first a.
Let us do the same, but give the swell and diminish instead of the last equal long sound.
Let us notice particularly the important principles here indicated, which are the expulsion of sounds, the accented and unaccented syllables, the emphasis, and the measure of speech and song, for these elements are involved in every word and sentence. The practice of these different sounds, according to examples, is for drilling and educating the organs to produce the sounds distinctly, clearly, and musically; and, as these vowels are all distinct sounds, not one should be neglected. Pupils might expect as rationally to perfect themselves in all the notes in the musical scale by practicing one or two as to think to render all these sounds correctly by practicing one or two of them. Each one requires a different position of the organs, and, of course, exercise on that position to insure strength of the class of muscles used.
The third sound of A is broad; and is so called because in making it the mouth is, perpendicularly, more opened, or broader, than it is when we make other sounds of the same letter. This is shown by dropping and projecting the jaw, bringing the corners of the mouth nearer together, and projecting the lips. Awe, all, awl, Al-ba-ny, al-be-it, al-most, al-ter, al-ways, au-burn, au-dit, au-ger, au-thor, au-tumn, aw-ful, pal-frey, wa-ter (not wot-ter, as many say.)
“Once the welcome light was broken, who shall say
Aid the dawning, tongue and pen;
Aid it, for the hour is ripe,
We will practice these sounds as before, and see if we can not improve our manner of giving them by making the accent and the emphasis more prominent and musical: Awaawe-awe. Being careful to observe the important points in this exercise, let us repeat, and give the long equal sound instead of the emphatic one. In making all the long single sounds we must keep the mouth and lips in the same position, from beginning to end, whether we make them equal all the way, or give the swell and diminish.
The fourth sound of A is short, because we can not prolong it at all without changing this peculiar characteristic, as may be seen by trying it: ab, ac, ad, ap, ag, al, am, an, and, apt, as, ash, asp, at, ab-bot, ac-cent, ag-ile, af-ter, al-ley, am-ple, An-na, ap-ple, ar-row, as-pen, ax-es, hash, dash, can, fast, rash, sat, trap, rat, rams. Many incorrectly tell us to give a long, intermediate sound to this a, nearly like the radical sound, as in fa-ther; but this is entirely wrong, and comes from their not opening the mouth properly, and bringing forward its corners so as to avoid a very unpleasant nasal, whining sound. Thus they run from one extreme into another. Beware of such mistakes in this class of words—grasp, pass, etc.
In passing from the radical sound into a in all and ale, and in gliding into a in at, we see in the former case that there is a continuous sound, which is called long because it can be continued without alteration; while in the latter it was instantly stopped because it is a short sound, and never can be prolonged in speech without being altered or changed into something else. Let us try them again, and we shall see the marked difference between long and short sounds.
To give the short sounds of a in mat, rat, cat, etc., open wide the mouth, project the under jaw and lips, and let them play freely in speaking such words as has, cast, etc. If any attempt is made to prolong this sound in such words as his and hat, it will run into the sound of e, as hah-et, hi-es. This short explosive sound can not be made without a violent effort of the abdominal muscles.
" Poison be their drink,
“Though the mills of God grind slowly, yet they grind exceeding small; Though with patience he stand waiting, with exactness grinds he all."
VOCAL GYMNASTICS, CONTINUED—SOUNDS OF E; SOUNDS OF I; SOUNDS OF 0;
SOUNDS OF U-QUANTITY AND QUALITY.
E has two regular sounds; first, the name-sound, which is capable of great prolongation, and must receive practice on all the examples given for the long and broad sounds of a. Eve, east, eel.
The second sound of E is short, because we can not prolong it without altering it. Ebb, edge, egg, eld, elf, emblem, en-ter, ep-ic, er-rand, Es-sex, eth-ics, er-ror, ex-cel, ex-cept, ex-empt, ex-pense, extend, beg, cell, dell, pen, gem, hen, jest, let, met, net, pet, guess, rent, sell, test, vest, well, yes, rest. Any attempt to prolong this sound will give us the mongrel sound æ as in short a.
In expelling this short sound of e we must remember and distinguish those important things, accent, emphasis, etc. We must be particular to drop and project the jaw a little in making this sound.
"Ye clouds that gorgeously repose
Around the setting sun,
Whose earthly race is run ?
We vanish from the sky;
"Joys, that leap'd
In silence to the dust." I has two regular sounds: we give the first sound, which is long, in speaking its name. When pronounced in full it is diphthongal, commencing with the sound of ah and ending with e. Ice, ides, ire, isle, i-dle, i-ron (i-urn), i-o-ta, i-vo-ry, bide, cite, drive, pine, knife, hide, mite, nine, pie, ride, site, tile, vile, wine, etc. What part of a sound should be prolonged? As a general rule, the radical part, which is