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cavity of the chest, while the high tones necessitate the resonance being placed in the head. The speaker, however, must not allow his thought to dwell on the placing of the resonance; he must think only of getting the speech into the air, because the resonance, or the spirit of the voice, will enter the proper chamber if the passage is free and the speaker thinks of where he wishes the voice to go, and pays no attention as to whence it comes. The voice instantly obeys the thought, if the mechanism works properly, consequently it is well for the speaker to think of the end he has in view and not cumber the vocal machine by worrying about the means to be employed in accomplishing that end. While cultivating and disciplining the voice it is necessary to think of the means, and to make a conscious effort to use those means, but when in the act of producing speech no conscious thought should be directed toward that act. All effort used while in the process of producing speech must be subconscious, and entirely free from physical effort.
How to obtain a good voice. Mainly by ceasing to abuse it, for the most of the vocal defects are acquired by bad habits. Improper breathing is responsible for work being placed upon the larynx which nature never intended it to perform, and this overworking, or straining, of the larynx produces throaty tones and causes an irritation of that organ which finally develops into laryngitis. A failure to form the sounds on the lips is the cause of mouthing, and a lack of moulding the voice into correct sound deprives the sound of its carrying power,
because of its exit being impeded. For instance, round sounds like o require a round mould to pass through, and if, instead of such a mould, a fat one is formed, the sound is barely able to squeeze through after having lost half of its vitality in the effort. Speak the word soul with the lips rounded while uttering the vowel o and then attempt to speak the same word with the lips flattened when producing that sound, and the necessity of moulding will be instantly apparent. Shakespeare says: “Speak the speech, I pray you, as I pronounced it to you trippingly on the tongue,” and if speakers would follow this splendid advice which Hamlet gives to the players, throaty tones would be abolished. But how are speakers to do this? By thoroughly developing the breathing muscles by proper exercise, so as to enable them to perform their functions correctly, thereby taking away the strain from the larynx and permitting the opening of the throat, bringing the voice forward and moulding it on the lips. These are the only means that will enable anyone to speak “trippingly on the tongue,” and the importance of so doing is forcefully expressed by Cardinal Newman, that master of English composition, in the following:
Our intercourse with our fellow men goes on, not by sight but by sound, not by eyes but by ears. Hearing is the social sense and language is the social bond.
HOW TO PRODUCE SPEECH EFFECTS The first duty of man is to speak, that is his chief business in this world, and talk, which is the harmonious speech of
two or more, is by far the most accessible of pleasures. It costs nothing; it is all profit; it completes our education; it founds and fosters our friendships; and it is by talk alone that we learn our period and ourselves.*
Speech is the one great outward evidence that separates the human from the brute, and the more this faculty is cultivated the higher man rises in the scale of civilization. Speech permits man to clothe the immortal thought in palpable shape and present it to other minds exactly as it is perceived by the original thinker. It makes manifest that which otherwise would remain in the realm of the unseen, and permits of that communion of mind with mind which strengthens and uplifts mankind. It is the humanizing medium, the glorifying agent, and the magnifying reflector of the soul.
How is speech produced? Speech is produced by the organs of articulation acting on the voice, cutting it up, joining, blending, and moulding the separate sounds, until symbols are produced that represent thoughts.
The Greek rhetorician and orator, Gorgias, speaking more than two thousand four hundred years ago, said:
The power of speech is mighty. Insignificant in themselves, words accomplish the most remarkable ends. They have power to remove fear and assuage pain. Moreover they can produce joy and increase pity.
Words really possess the magic power ascribed to them by this master of words, this great writer and speaker of Greece at the time when she flourished in the mag
*Robert Louis Stevenson.
nificent days of Pericles, the days when Athens was adorned by buildings, pictures, and statuary, and her citizens listened to oratory that has never been surpassed. Printed words are mighty when read by the intelligent reader, but spoken words are mightier when voiced by the imaginative speaker. Then they become living things, impregnated by the voice of the speaker, and they go forth to the mind of the listener carrying their interpreted message with them. This power of expression is what Gorgias meant in his reference to words, and it is this life of words that we are to consider, this explaining by tone, pitch, force, time, and color of the voice the meaning of the spoken words.
It is the tone of voice in which a thought is uttered that gives that thought its power for good or evil, for pleasure or for pain, for success or failure. Words spoken in one manner will be devoid of meaning; spoken in another, they will be illumined with the light of reason. Words that are spoken as words will remain nothing but words, but those that are spoken as thoughts will disappear as words, and the ideas will step forward and be seen in the expressive countenance and heard in the tones of the voice.
There is a soul to the voice just as there is a soul to the body, and unless this soul rays forth its light in the form of vocal color, it will be as devoid of spirituality, as bereft of all magnetic influence, as is the lifeless clay after the soul has winged its flight from the earthly habitation. It is for this reason that words struck off
at white heat often sound much better than they read; they have leaped into existence willingly to perform their errand and, being full of the mentality of the being who created them, they go on their mission in a manner to carry conviction and bring about persuasion.
To speak effectively. In the first place, by having good working tools for the making of speech. This means that one must use the muscles and organs of breath, sound, and speech in such manner as to produce the voice with ease and utter the words distinctly and with the desired force. Secondly, one should so master inflection, emphasis, pitch, and color as to be able to present the thought precisely as he conceives it. The whole vocal mechanism, in both its physical and mental parts, must be under perfect control, and this control can only be gained by patient practice. Attention to technique is necessary if one desires to become an artist in any department of life, and unless the seeker after oratorical honors pays particular attention to controlling those different parts of his mental and physical being that are employed in the labor of producing speech, he will never become a master of that art. Nature may have endowed him with exceptional powers, but unless those powers are developed and practiced, they will be taken away. Students of oratory are strongly advised to master deep breathing, articulation, modulation, emphasis, and delivery, for unless they do so they will never possess the power of conveying thought by means of the spoken word, no matter how many or what number of beautiful