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This property of voice is dependent primarily on the amplitude of the vibrations of the vocal cords. When a violin string is struck, it makes a sound. If it is struck harder, it will vibrate with a greater amplitude and make a louder sound. The vocal cords are like the violin strings; the more forcefully the breath is thrown against the cords, the greater the amplitude and the louder the tone.
There are several properties of force when applied to expression,-Loudness, Volume, Intensity, and Stress.
LOUDNESS. This property is the direct result of the amplitude of the vocal cords and proper resonance. As a vocal quality, it is of great importance. Who has not been sadly disappointed in a reader or speaker because of being unable to hear what was said? One extreme is about as bad as another; speak so that you can be distinctly heard, but not too loud. Do not speak with the same degree of loudness all the time. As in pitch, avoid monotony.
A student often asks, "How can I make my voice carry?" The carrying power of the voice does not depend on mere loudness of tone-not alone on the amount of breath that is expended, but also on the amount of breath that still remains in the lungs. The first thing you do in trying to make one hear you at a distance is to take in a deep breath, -you instinctively want more breath support. Hence breathe often and deeply. When reading, always retain as much air in your lungs as possible.
The degree of loudness is governed by mental concept
rather than by emotions. When the mind contrasts two objects, this contrast may be expressed by using different degrees of loudness.
From every hill, by every sea,
In shouts proclaim the great decree,
The first part should be said in a low tone; the second in a strong, loud tone.
Again, in interpreting a selection, it is necessary to be governed by the meaning to be expressed, as:
"Halt!”—the dust brown ranks stood fast;
The words of command should be spoken louder than the explanations which follow.
A high key and a loud tone frequently go together; they both result from an excited mental state. Therefore, passions such as aesthetic joy, defiance, alarm, terror, or rage require a louder tone than timidity, contentment, pathos, reverence, or veneration.
EXERCISES IN LOUDNESS
Say Halt to one person, to ten, to fifty, to one thousand, as loud as you can.
I. Softly! She is lying
With her lips apart.
Softly! She is dying
Of a broken heart.
O balmy breath that dost almost persuade
Justice to break her sword! Once more, once more.
And love thee after. Once more, and this the last;
But they are cruel tears: this sorrow's heavenly;
III. Jean Valjean listened but there was no sound; he pushed the door with the tip of his finger lightly. He heard from the end of the room the calm and regular breathing of the sleeping bishop. Suddenly he stopped, for he was close to the bed; he had reached it sooner than he had anticipated.
Whither, 'midst falling dew,
While glow the heavens with the last steps of day,
Vainly the fowler's eye.
Might mark thy distant flight to do thee wrong,
Thy figure floats along.
Seek'st thou the plashy brink
Of weedy lake, or marge of river wide,
Or where the rocking billows rise and sink
On the chafed ocean side?
To a Waterfowl.
II. How often is it the case, that when impossibilities have come to pass, and dreams have condensed their misty substances into tangible reality, we find ourselves calm and even coldly selfpossessed, amid circumstances which it would have been a delirium of joy or agony to anticipate.
Ring the alarum-bell.-Murder and treason!-