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repeat "O precious hours," first in normal (nasal) tone, then in a pure tone, that is, sending the vocalization wholly through the mouth. Repeat with the nostrils open.
V. The Guttural or Throaty Voice. This arises from a constriction of the throat muscles, and the process of correction lies in coaxing the muscles gradually in and about the throat into a state of relaxation. Take a deep breath, open the mouth widely in every way, open the throat by a relaxation of all the muscles, and vocalize, in turn, in a single breath, each of the open vowel sounds, such as ah, aw, oh, oo. Let the sounds float out, without effort at first. Think of the voice as coming from the lungs, and not from the throat. Note the quality of the tone, as you give these vowel sounds, and gradually acquire the habit of opening the voice channels so that the sound is free and unobstructed -pure.
VI. The Aspirate, Breathy Voice. When all the air is not vocalized, the voice is said to be "breathy." It is often due to taking into the lungs too much air before speaking, so that it cannot be controlled properly. The remedy lies in applying to the vocal cords just enough air to produce the given sound.
1. Inhale deeply. Exhale in saying ah. Apply the air very gently to the vocal cords and use as little air as possible.
2. Count from one to ten in a whisper; then in a pure vocal tone.
3. Read the following stanza. Try to read it with one expiration.
At midnight, in his guarded tent,
The Turk lay dreaming of the hour
When Greece, her knee in suppliance bent,
In dreams, through camp and court he bore
In dreams, his song of triumph heard;
Then wore his monarch's signet-ring;
Then pressed that monarch's throne—a king;
As Eden's garden-bird.
PLACING THE VOICE. Among other classifications, vocal sounds are distinguished as being head tones or chest tones. The head tone, whereby the head is the center of resonance, is the ordinary conversational tone, and is expressive of unemotional matter which is addressed to the intellect: hence it is sometimes called the intellective voice. In the chest tone, the center of resonance is deeper. This type of voice is properly employed in the expression of ideas of breadth, bigness, grandeur, sublimity, or solemnity. But both the head and the chest tones require that the voice be projected properly from the resonance chamber; that it be given due carrying power; that it neither be swallowed, (the squeezedback voice), nor forced by the position of the tongue and mouth cavity to bang against the roof of the mouth (the hard, or quacky tone), nor made to rebound because of the mouth's being partially closed.
A successful plan to place the voice properly is to imagine it coming from your diaphragm and hitting gently the hard palate just back of the front teeth.
TONE PROJECTION. To make a tone carry well it must come from the mouth unobstructed by secondary vibrations of the false cords, soft palate, tongue, teeth, etc. It must have good support from the diaphragm which sends it out on its journey. Imagine it hitting the hard palate just back of the front teeth and going right through and coming out between your eyes. This will insure the proper face resonance so essential to the re-enforcement of the tone.
I. Give the short sound of a (as in flat), first with the chest tone, then with the metallic hard tone, then with a pure, clear resonant head tone, deflecting the center of resonance to the hard palate just behind the front teeth.
II. Count from one to twenty, prolonging the “n's” and feel the vibration of the face, especially at the base of the
III. Repeat ten times with strong projecting force in a pure clear ringing tone, observing proper breath control: ah, mo, po; to, po, ee.
IV. Repeat in the same way: ring, sing, thing, wing; bend, end, lend, mend, rend, send, tend, wend.
V. Prolong with a musical quality and clear resonance the repetition of "bells" in the following lines from Poe:
Hear the mellow wedding bells
What a world of happiness their harmony foretells!
Oh, from out the sounding cells,
On the future! how it tells
To the rhyming and the chiming of the bells!
LISPING. This is merely the confirmed habit of advancing the tip of the tongue too far in articulating the sibilant consonants. Care should be exercised with small children who exhibit a tendency to lisp. The proper position of the tongue required to make the sounds and z should be shown them.
STAMMERING. This defect is due to lack of control over the muscles of articulation, and seldom to any anatomical defect. Just as it is necessary to learn to walk, so every
body must learn to speak. It is not a natural gift. Some people have never succeeded in co-ordinating the movements of the organs of speech. Especially is this lack of control obvious when attempting words beginning with b, p, t, or d, and generally when the next sound is a consonant, as, bl, br, pr, etc.
Some children have a tendency to repeat the initial letter in their efforts to pronounce the word, this is called stuttering. This defect usually begins at five years of age or earlier, and seldom lasts later than twenty. Sickness, fear, embarrassment may be assigned as causes. The principal active causes are:
I. Pressing lips tightly together.
Pressing the lips too tightly against the teeth. III. Not opening the glottis so that the air may pass through.
IV. Tension in the lower jaw.
V. Pressing the tongue too tightly against the teeth or palate.
A young child who begins to stammer should be told to speak slowly and thoughtfully, assuring him that he has nothing to fear; for embarrassment frequently makes many stammer who under normal conditions never show this defect. A strong determination to be cured; the exercise of more self-control and self-reliance, and a patient, persistent effort to speak slowly and to articulate distinctly, will go far to remove this defect. When proper articulation is impossible, stop. Take a deep breath, and then slowly force out the word. Speak in a slow, rhythmic measure; stammerers seldom have any difficulty in singing. To accompany each word with some physical movement is often a great aid. It is said that Demosthenes overcame this defect by reciting poems while running up hill.
CARE OF THE VOICE. Breathing through the nose should be enforced upon children at a very early age. It is of great
value to the nose itself and protects the vocal cords. Some tribes of the American Indian enforce this rule by tying up the babies' mouths while they are not being fed. The child should be taught deep breathing and correct phonological co-ordination.
When girls and boys have reached the age when their voices undergo a very rapid change, no strain should be placed on them by vigorous training, either speaking or singing. At the age of seventeen, girls and boys may begin rigorous vocal training.
The bright glare of the sun is fatal to the eye sight. The noise of cannon and deafening machinery is not good for the delicate ear. Likewise, those who have any regard for the voice should not indulge in shouting or screaming themselves hoarse, whatever the excitement may be.
Vocal malformations can often be modified by the surgeon, and the sooner this is done the better; especially such as clipping the small membrane under the tongue to correct a lack of flexibility of the tongue; clipping of the uvula to correct a nasal tone; and the removal of adenoids to increase the purity of resonance. Catarrh and other nasal affections usually can be remedied through nasal vibration and the application of salt water to the mucous lining of the nose. Proper diet is an essential factor, also.
Do not speak in a room where the atmosphere is overheated or vitiated with dust, smoke, and disease germs. A cold will destroy a good voice more quickly, perhaps, than anything else except smoking and alcoholic drinks.
Use a medium tone when you are obliged to speak for a long time. Trying to make yourself heard above the noise of the street or train has a tendency to coarsen the delicate tones of the speaking voice. A speaker should exercise great care not to expose himself to damp or cold air immediately after exercising his voice. The neck should never be muffled.
If the sympathetic nervous system suppresses the free flow of saliva when you first begin to speak, and your tongue