« PreviousContinue »
Swaying the Hip.
Stand in the Speaker's Position, let us say upon the right foot. Place the hands upon the hips
. at the broadest part (not at the waist). Slowly push the hip across with the right hand until the weight of the body has been changed to the left side. Let everything else follow the movement of the hip. When this exercise is properly performed, the body will be in perfect poise upon the left foot. Return again in the same way to the right foot, and
repeat many times. Avoid jerks and twists of the body everywhere.
Standing as before, carry the hip outward at the strong side as far as possible, without losing the balance or stiffening the body. The shoulders will, of course, move in the opposite direction. Be careful not to bend the knee nor let the chest collapse. Return to the erect position and repeat. Then change the weight to the opposite foot and practise in the same way. (See Fig. 3.)
When the voice has little or no inflection, we are said to speak in monotone. The monotone is appropriate to passages of great solemnity. It is often heard when we call to someone at a distance. It is usually indicated as in the following examples:
Lord of the üniverse, shield ūs and guide ūs!
Come bāck, come bāck, Horatius!
In suspense and reflection the voice approaches monotone.
Hush! Hark! Did stealing steps go by ?
The curfew tolls the knell of parting day,
TO THE TEACHER:-Practise Exercises V. and VI. with the feet
apart at various widths, and, as soon as the movement is understood, with the arms hanging at the sides. Later, have the pupil go through the exercises with the free foot behind and around the strong ankle, also swaying the arms above the head. Be careful to distinguish between Melody, discussed in Lesson V., and Inflection. Melody has to do with pitch-relation between different words or syllables; Inflection notes the variation in pitch of the syllable itself. In the last example, for instance, while the Inflection of each word approaches the monotone, there is decided downward progression in the Melody of the line.
EXAMPLES FOR PRACTICE IN MONOTONE.
Be careful not to chant. There is always in speech some degree of inflection, except when suggesting or imitating a musical sound, Notice the varied shades of expression required in these examples. Think of the emotion rather than of imitating a particular tone.
The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces,
A boom!—the lighthouse gun!
(How its echo rolls and rolls!)
Off the shoals!-Aldrich.
And once behind a rick of barley.
Somewhat back from the village street
Lord, thou hast been our dwelling-place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.—David.
The Vocal Apparatus.
Whenever we speak or sing, we make use of the lungs, the larynx, the mouth and the nose.
The Lungs are contained in the cavity of the chest and furnish the breath, which is to speech what the steam is to an engine. When the supply of steam is low in the boiler, the engine comes to a standstill, and when the supply of breath is less than it should be, it is impossible to speak well. It is important, therefore, to learn to keep the breath back while speaking, and not allow it to escape faster than is necessary; also to increase the capacity of the lungs for containing air. It is for this reason that we practise breathing-exercises, which strengthen and develop the lungs and give control of the breath. It is quite as important, however, that we should be able to let the breath go at will as that we should be able to retain it, and we should pay just as much attention to the relaxing movements which occur when we cease to hold the breath. This relaxation must be natural and gentle. The lungs should not collapse like a bursted bag, but the air must pass out quietly as it entered. Until we have gained control of the breath, all exercises should be practised very slowly. After a time, however, we may also practise taking and letting go of the breath suddenly, being very careful that movements are never violent.
The BREASTBONE has an important function in voiceproduction. It acts like the sounding-board of a piano or a, violin, and serves to increase the resonance of the voice. If the chest be passive or sunken, the tone will be weak, no matter how much force we use ; on the contrary, if the chest be active, the tones of the voice will be strong and vigorous.
The WINDPIPE OR TRACHEA is the tube through which the air passes from the mouth to the lungs and back again. At its upper part it expands into a sort of box,