Page images

which the human voice is capable of producing. A tone may be raucous, because it is held in the throat; it may be nasal, through being held in the head; it may be breathy, through a waste of breath; or, on the other hand, it may possess those qualities of clearness, smoothness, and richness that come only from a properly developed and correctly used vocal mechanism. The quality of the voice may be pure, aspirated, or whispered; as,

Pure Quality. This uncounted multitude before me and around me proves the feeling which the occasion has excited. These thousands of human faces, glowing with sympathy and joy, and from the impulses of a common gratitude turned reverently to heaven in this spacious temple of the firmament, proclaim that the day, the place, and the purpose of our assembling have made a deep impression on our hearts.

- DANIEL WEBSTER This example should be spoken in a clear, ringing, buoyant voice; and, if so spoken, the quality would be pure.

Aspirated Quality. Gracious God! In the nineteenth century to talk of constructive treason!

- WILLIAM PINKNEY The words, “Gracious God!" are expressive of repressed indignation, and should be uttered in a tone that is only partly vocalized; and, when so spoken, the quality is aspirated. An aspirated tone is one that is surrounded with breath, only a portion of which is vocalized.

Whispered Quality. The whisper is seldom used by the orator, but is often employed by the actor. Whispered speech is speech that is produced by the articulation of breath without that breath being converted into voice.

For instance, when Hamlet sees the ghost of his father he articulates, but does not vocalize, the following: Angels and ministers of grace defend us !

- SHAKESPEARE Hamlet is so awed by the presence of the spirit of his father as to be deprived of the use of his voice, although he retains the ability to speak, and when one produces speech without voice he is using the whispered quality. The whisper is articulated breath, but not vocalized breath. It is speech, but not voice.

Location. By location is meant the position that the word or phrase holds in the sentence. If the emphasis is properly built up, the speaker will move from the weaker to the stronger, from the lesser to the greater; as,

Here, then, are the three liberties: liberty of the producer, liberty of the distributer, liberty of the consumer. The first two need no discussion — they have been long, thoroughly, and brilliantly illustrated by the political economists of Great Britain, and by her eminent statesmen; but it seems to me that enough attention has not been directed to the third, and, with your patience, I will dwell on that for a moment before proceeding to other topics.

- HENRY WARD BEECHER Mr. Beecher states that his intention is to speak on the liberty of the consumer; therefore, in enumerating the three liberties, he places the one he intends to discuss in the vantage position - the last. .

When a word, phrase, or sentence is set against another word, phrase, or sentence, both members of the op sition require emphasis; as,

Law and arbitrary power are in eternal enmity.

- EDMUND BURKE The placing of "law" against "arbitrary power" requires that the opposing words should be made emphatic by means of emphasis as well as by inflection. All words or thoughts that are contrasted (single, double, or triple opposition) should be emphasized by the application of force, and the contrast brought out through the proper placing of the inflection. It is by means of inflection and emphasis that all contrasts in delivery are marked.

The repetition of a word or phrase requires that the repetition should be made more emphatic than the first utterance by means of greater force; as,

They have answered then, that although two hundred thousand of their countrymen have offered up their lives, there yet remain lives to offer; and that it is the determination of all, yes, of all, to persevere until they shall have established their liberty, or until the power of their oppressors should have relieved them from the burden of existence.

- DANIEL WEBSTER A series of emphatic words requires that there should be a general increase in force on all the members of the series; as,

The universal cry is — let us move against Philip FIGHT FOR OUR LIBERTIES — LET US CONQUER OR DIE.

- R. B. SHERIDAN Where a word is used to qualify another, the qualifying word should be emphasized; as,


They planted no sluggard people, passive while the world's

work calls them. They established no reactionary nation. They unfurled no retreating flag.

- ALBERT J. BEVERIDGE The fathers planted a people, established a nation, and unfurled a flag; but they did not plant a sluggard people, establish a reactionary nation, nor unfurl a retreating flag. It is by means of placing the emphasis on the qualifying words in this example that the meaning is instantly interpreted.

Some years ago a critic,* in commenting on E. H. Sothern's reading of the line from The Love Chase,

The cause of causes, lady,” justly criticised him for emphasizing the unimportant word of, but the critic himself fell into as great an error as the actor when he cited the following as correct placing of emphasis: My heart of HEARTS, the man of men, great among the GREATEST, mightiest in the MIGHTIEST, and cause of CAUSES. The meaning in each instance is best brought out by placing the principal emphasis on heart, man, great, mightiest, and cause, and the secondary emphasis on hearts, men, greatest, mightiest, and causes. The ideas being that it is in the very center of the heart, that he towers above all others, that it is stronger than all others, and that it is the creator of creatures. Therefore the phrases should read: My HEART of hearts, the man of men, GREAT among the greatest, MIGHTIEST in the mightiest, the CAUSE of causes.

The same critic, a little further on in the same book,t *Alfred Ayres in “ Acting and Actors,” page 128. †Page 157.

takes Julia Marlowe to task for reading the following lines from Romeo and Juliet thus:

Deny thy father and refuse thy name. He states it should be read:

Deny thy father and refuse thy name. In the opinion of the author, both the actress and the critic are half right and half wrong, the sense requiring that emphasis should be placed on the four words; thus,

Deny thy father and refuse thy name. This reading clearly denotes what Juliet desires shall be done with both the father and the name; the other readings do not.

Daniel Webster, in his reply to Senator Hayne, used this striking arrangement of words to express his idea of the unity of liberty and union:

Liberty and union, now and forever, one and inseparable. In most readers the passage is marked, liberty and union, thus making the unimportant connective and, which has practically nothing to do with conveying the thought, allimportant, and sinking into insignificance the thought words of the orator. Webster distinctly says that “liberty" and "union" are "one and inseparable," whereas by placing emphasis on the word and the speaker distinctly states that they are two. Webster undoubtedly intended "liberty" and "union” to be synonymous ‘liberty” meaning the same as "union," and "union the same as “liberty”— what constituted the one being

« PreviousContinue »