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halls of emotion, and to kindle the light of inspiration in the souls of men? Is there any reality in oratory? It is all real.-BEECHER.
II. An indefinite question takes the Falling Slide. An indefinite question is one that cannot be answered by yes or no.
1. What can this man say? What can he do? Where can he go?
2. Why was the French Revolution so bloody and destructive? Why was our Revolution of 1641 comparatively mild? Why was our Revolution in 1688 milder still? Why was the American Revolution, considered as an internal movement, the mildest of all?
3. Shut now the volume of history, and tell me, on any principle of human probability, what shall be the fate of this handful of adventurers? Tell me, man of military science, in how many months were they all swept off by the thirty_savage tribes enumerated within the early limits of New England? Tell me, politician, how long did this shadow of a colony, on which your conventions and treaties had not smiled, languish on the distant coast?
Melodic Change in Pitch. In inflection there is a gradual and definite rise or fall of the voice; usually this change is made in a syllable of a word. In reading and speaking it is essential that there be a great variety of changes of pitch in the same sentence, as well as inflectional changes.
Imagine listening to a song that had all whole notes and these all on the same line on the staff! Some people talk like that; many more read like that. When in earnest conversation, we usually have a pleasing variety of pitch, but it is very difficult to secure such variety when reading. In practicing the following, suppose that the space between each line represents one note on the musical staff. It does not matter so much just where the change of pitch comes, but it is very important that you do have a change of pitch of some kind. No two readers would likely agree on the melodic changes in any selection.
FAULTS IN SPEECH MELODY
General Monotone. The monotone is a comparatively unvarying change of pitch in reading or speaking. It is sticking to one tone all the time. This droning tone is often heard in the pulpit and everybody feels like taking a nap. Cultivate an "agile" tone, not one that is "stiff." Variation is restful to the speaker as well as to the audience. Most of us have been given good voices, but we do not use them. Everything is read and spoken on a dead level. Singing is good practice in learning to get away from the monotone in speaking, but the best way is to will to make your voice more agile.
There is no greater fault in reading than the habitual monotone. But do not run up and down the scale as you read or speak just for the sake of changing; let there be a mental reason for the change. The thought and emotion must determine not only your key, but your change in pitch.
A Monotony of the Rising Inflection. The effect is a continuous flow of words without any breaks or stops. The
audience feels impelled to say "Give us a rest!" It is frequently noticed that this habit is carried to such ridiculous extremes that those speakers who swing into a "ministerial" or "oratorical" tone, will close a speech or address with the rising inflection. The hearers are left suspended, as it were, in mid-air, and must come down of their own accord, after they realize that the speaker has concluded. The habit has its origin, no doubt, in the use of the rising inflection for voicing an appeal,-a characteristic of oratory proper. But it is sadly overworked, even by prominent and successful orators. Young would-be orators imitate and perpetuate the fault, just as young preachers imitate the faults of their elders. Avoid it.
A Monotony of the Falling Inflection. We have seen the use of the falling inflection in expressing "momentary completeness,”-in giving added emphasis, strong affirmation, positiveness. For such purposes it is widely serviceable in oratory. But the proper use of the falling inflection is a very different matter from its habitual and almost constant use. Many speakers never seem to see farther than the length of a phrase or clause, and at well-nigh every pause the voice goes down, no matter what the phrase relation may be. This habit gives a scrappy, disconnected, heavy and tedious effect to speech. Avoid it.
Using a Semitone Instead of a Complete Downward Slide at the End of a Sentence. Speakers, especially ministers, often drop their voices a semitone instead of a full note. This defect is usually accompanied with a prolongation and a rise in pitch on the final sound. There are a number of variations of this fault, but all result in a pathetic, plaintive, wail or whine that is neither pleasing nor effective. Drop your voice at least a whole tone, and make a definite, straight, downward inflection when the thought is complete, or at a full pause.
Dropping the Voice so Suddenly or so Low That the Last Syllable is Husky or Inaudible, This may arise either from
an excessive fall of the voice on the final word or syllable, or from delivering the syllable or word preceding the close in so low a key that there is no room in the compass for a further distinct fall. The fault may be corrected by keeping the voice up or raising it if need be-on the syllable or word preceding the close, and thus preparing for the complete and normal fall.
The High Pitch. It is natural to speak in a low key when talking to a friend, and when we address a large crowd we think it is necessary not only to speak louder but to raise the key. This results from the fact that we have only a certain amount of breath to use, and desiring to increase the amplitude of the vibrations of our cords, we bring them closer together so as to vocalize all our breath. This produces a tension on the cords resulting in a higher pitch. But remember that the carrying power of a voice is not dependent on pitch. Again, those who speak in this high key seldom have a great range of pitch at this high level, and this accounts for the lack of agility of tone in so many speakers when before an audience.
I. Read the sentence, Do you have your lesson? first as a rhetorical, and then as an ordinary question.
II. Read the following:
1. Questioning: Do you like this book?
3. Begging: Lend me your pencil.
5. Irony: Give you money? The idea.
Othello: "Indeed? ay, indeed! Discern'st thou
aught in that? Is he honest?"
Iago: "Honest, my lord?"