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spoke an hour and a half, without any variation in pitch, force, or time; and, what rendered his delivery still more offensive, every syllable was marred with an intolerable drawling. Such elocution is discreditable to any man who speaks in public, and ought not to be tolerated by an educated community.
ORCE is the degree of the loudness of sounds. It is also the degree of exertion with which sounds are made.
A lax division of force is into loud and soft : those sounds are called loud, which are made
with greater effort than the ordinary tones of conversation ; and those are called soft, which are made with less effort.
Some use the terms high and low, as synonymous with loud and soft. But this is an improper application of these words. High and low regard the acuteness and gravity of sounds only, and not their force: a sound may be high and soft, as well as high and louda sound may also be low and loud, as well as low and soft.
For convenience, force is divided into nine degrees. These degrees are expressed by the following abbreviations :
ppp (pianissimo), as soft as possible.
(mezzo), half, middle, mean.
loud. (più forte),. more loud, very loud. fff (fortissimo),... as loud as possible.
The nine degrees of force are represented by Diag; 14. The upper line of the diagram contains notes of song; the lower one, notes of speech.
FORCE, OR STRESS. (Diag. 14.)
Force may be considered in reference to its application to sentences and paragraphs, as well as in reference to its application to syllables. The application of force to sentences may be varied in the following
1. A sentence may be pronounced with uniform force.
2. A sentence may be pronounced with a gradual diminution of force.
3. A sentence may be pronounced with a gradual increase of force.
4. The first part of a sentence may be pronounced with a gradual increase of force, and the second part, with a gradual diminution of force.
5. The first part of a sentence may be pronounced with a gradual diminution of force, and the second part, with a gradual increase of force.
Force, however, is generally applied to sentences in a more irregular manner. It should always be varied according to the varying demands of sentiment.
Force, applied to a note, or syllable, is denominated stress.
Radical stress is the application of force at the beginning of a note, or syllable; it corresponds to the diminuendo, in music. Median stress is the application of force at the middle
note, or syllable; it corresponds to the swell, or crescendo et diminuendo, in music.
Final stress is the application of force at the end of a note, or syllable; it corresponds to the crescendo, or rather, rinforzando,* in music.
Explosive stress is the abrupt application of force to a note, or syllable; it corresponds to the forzando, in music.t
á? à. á ? à.
á? a. Tremour is iterated stress on a note, or syllable. Examples of the tremour are given in the following diagram:
á? d. á ? à. á? à. The tremour, in all its forms, may be illustrated on the violin by sounding the notes with a vibratory motion of the bow.
Great attention should be paid to the subject of force, as much of what is called expression, depends on some modification of this attribute of the voice. In
* RINFORZANDO is a sudden increase of sound from softness to loudness.
† NATHAN, in his Essay on the History and Theory of Music, has given diagrams representing sixty modifications of force applicable to the voice of song.
deed, force may be considered the light and shade of elocution.
“ Mr. Alison observes, that loud sounds are connected with ideas of power and danger; and that many objects in nature, which have such qualities, are distinguished by such sounds. On the contrary, soft sounds are connected with ideas of gentleness and delicacy. The contrasts produced by the different degrees of force with which sounds are uttered, form the most prominent effects of musical expression. The rushing of the fortissimo brings with it dread and alarm; but in the pianissimo, the chiaroscúro* of the art, we feel the opposite sensation. The indistinctness of sounds apparently removes them to a distance - like the faint touches in painting, they seem to retire from us. Upon this principle, the ventriloquist deceives the ear, by directing the attention to a point from which the voice may be supposed to proceed; and effects the deception by reducing it to the exact degree of softness that it would seem to possess had it really proceeded from the spot.”
CRESCENDO AND DIMINUENDO. “What is more alarming than the gradual increase of a mighty sound, when it pours upon the ear from a distance; whether it proceeds from the roar of a multitude, or the raging of a storm, the auditory sense is overwhelmed, and the mind is filled with imaginary danger! When the increasing force accumulates to excessive loudness, the vibrations become too great for the soul to bear. There is also a sublimity in the gradual decrease of sounds.
“It is equally sublime to listen to sounds when they retire from us. Handel has aimed at this poetic effect in the • Messiah,' when he pictures the ascent of the heavenly host, giving an idea of their distance and flight.
“There is no accomplishment in the art of singing more fascinat. ing than the swelling and dying away of the voice; when used with taste and judgment, it never fails to delight us. The performance of the • Miserere,' in the Sixtine Chapel, in Rome, so often described by travellers, owes its shadowy effect to this approaching and retiring of the sounds. Farinelli moved his audience to a state of ecstasy by the manner in which he commenced his famous song, • Son qual nave,' the first note of which was taken with such delicacy, swelled by minute degrees to such an amazing volume, and afterwards diminished in the same manner to a mere point, that it was applauded for five minutes.' Beethoven is the only composer • who has introduced this effect into choral music: we find it applied at the termination of some of the choruses in his posthumous Mass; - here the voices alone pour upon the ear with an effect like the swelling and dying away of the storm.
* CHIAROSCURO (Italian), the light of a shade of a picture.
FORZANDO. * Explosive force forms a strong feature in the character of modern music; we never find it expressed in any author before the time of Haydn. It may be described as a forcible expression of sound which is no sooner uttered than it drops into the utmost degree of softness. It has its origin in the ebullition of our passions. We hear it in the expressions of joy, rage, despair, &c. Indeed it is natural to persons under any violent emotion. It properly belongs to the sublime, although it may be so burlesqued as to assume a ridiculous character. Like all other forcible expressions, its meaning will depend upon the situation and manner in which it is used."*
IME is the measure of sounds in regard to their duration.
Time, in song, and instrumental music, is divided into equal measures by rhythmical pulsation - in
other words, by a periodical return
V of similar accents.t In graphic music, these measures are rendered conspicuous to the eye by vertical bars, as in the following line of poetry:
| Hail to the chief who in I triumph ad- | vances. I In speech there is also a return of similar accents; but they do not always occur at regular intervals of
* GARDINER'S MUSIC OF NATURE.
† It is rhythmical pulsation which enables a band of musicians to perform in concert. It is this also which enables a company of soldiers to march synchronously, and which governs the movements of the feet in dancing.