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As you go down the “scale”-oh, aw, etc.the jaws gradually separate, the cheeks relax, and
the tongue flattens, until at ah the mouth is in its widest open position with the tongue lying flat and inert on the lower jaw and the soft palate hanging straight down.
From this position the jaws approach each other as the sounds er, uh, etc., are made, until
at ee they are close together; the lips are drawn tight across the teeth, as in a smile; the cheeks pushed apart and the tongue pushed forward and
up, making, in the resonance chamber, the flattest and broadest possible cavity through which a vowel can pass.
One cannot make the sound ee with the resonance chamber and the lips shaped for oo or for ah, or vice versa. Try it and see.
Repeat this "scale" of vocal sounds down and up until you are conscious of the changes in adjustment of the speech organs that have been described. Try to associate each sound with its position, and to remember the position. Practice frequently until the correct habit of producing each sound is fixed.
18. Exercise. Repeat the sounds 00-oh-ah -ay-ee.
Make these sounds slowly at first, then increase the speed. Keep each sound separate and distinct. Work for flexibility in the speech organs, particularly in the jaws and lips.
Practice this exercise daily, and frequently each day until each sound is correctly made and until the muscular action is rapid and accurate.
19. Exercise. Repeat in the same way the vowel sounds in pairs, in the order given in the columns below.
20. Exercise. Repeat in the same way the vowel sounds in pairs, in the order given in the columns below.
21. Exercise. Repeat in the same way the vowel sounds in pairs, in the order given in the columns below.
As yet no attention has been given to the quality of tone produced in these exercises. Quality is of no less importance than accuracy, and an acceptable quality should be cultivated from the beginning.
22. What qualities should a voice have? To be of greatest use, a voice should be clear and agreeable.
23. A voice should be clear. No voice is useful or pleasant to listen to unless it is clear. À clear voice is free from obstruction of all sorts. A voice may be obstructed in various ways: by
throat contraction, by nasality, by a stiff tongue, by rigid jaws, by set lips, and by breathiness.
24. Throat contraction. When the mouth is open for speech or song, the jaw should drop largely of its own weight as it does in a yawn. No great muscular effort should be made to pull it down. Such effort is one of the most common forms of throat contraction. Speaking in a key above or below the normal pitch of the voice is another source of throat contraction. Do not strain the voice beyond its proper range. Speaking louder than is natural is a third source of throat strain, especially when the voice is pitched too high. Regulate the volume of your voice to your vocal capacity. Faulty practice, tight collars, nervousness, embarrassment, and other minor matters may contribute to a tightened throat and the resultant throatiness of tone.
Try to overcome throat contraction by the removal of its cause, whatever that may be. In practicing the exercises think to keep the throat free and open and relaxed.
25. Nasality. A second hindrance to clearness is nasality. Nasality is caused by an abnormal physical condition or by faulty handling of the palate. The palate is the damper (See Fig. IV.) which determines how much breath or tone shall go into the nose and how much into the mouth. If the muscles controlling the palate do not operate normally, as in the condition of partial paralysis frequently following diphtheria, the palate may be allowed to hang too far forward and thus direct