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observations on THE PRINCIPLEs of good READING.
To read with propriety" is a
ment:" productive" of improvement both to the understanding, and
It is essential" to a complete reader, that he minutely? nabit thence acquired, of doing this with facility," both when reading silently and aloud, they would constitute" a sufficient compensation” for all the labour we can bestow upon the subject, But the pleasure” derived to ourselves and others, from a clear communication” of ideas and feelings; and the strong and durable impressions made thereby on the minds of the reader and the audience," are considerations, which give additional importance to the study of this necessary and useful art. The perfect attain. ment of it doubtless' requires great attention and practice, joined". to extraordinary" natural powers; but as there are many degrees of excellence" in the art," the student whose aims fall short of perfection will find himself amplyw rewarded" for every exertion? he may think proper to make.
r Au-di-ence, àw'-dé-ense, the act of hearing, persons collected to h
ear. s Doubt-less, dööt'-lès, unquestionably.
of excelling, eminence. v Art, 3rt, science, skill. w Am-ply, àm'-plé, largely, liberal
ly. a Re-ward, ré-wärd', a recompense,
to recompense, to repay. g Ex-er-tion, êgz-Ér'- à, the act of exerting, effort. z Nec-es-sar-y, needful, requisite. a Pause, pâwz, a stop, suspense. b Em-pha-sis, ém'-fä-sls, a remarkable stress laid upon a word. c At-tain-a-ble, àt-tāne'-à-bl, that may be obtained. d Im-i-ta-tive, im'-&-tà-tly, inclinea to copy. e Ut-ter-ance, àt'-tūr-ánse, pronunciation. f Ac-cu-rate, ák'-kū-råte, exact, without desect. g Com-prise, kóm-prize', to contain, include.
pleasing and important" attain
perceive the ideas, and enter into the feelings of the author, whose sentiments he professes to repeat: for how is it possible to represent clearly to others, what we have but faint or inaccurate; conceptions" of ourselves 2 If there were no other benefits resulting from the art of reading well, than the necessity it lays us under, of precisely ascertaining" the meaning of what we read; and the
Not E.-For many of the observations contained in this preliminary tract, the author is indebted to the writings of Dr. Blair, and to the En
To give rules for the management of the voice in reading, by which the necessary” pauses", emphasis”, and tones, may be discovered and put in practice, is not possible. After, all the directions that can be offered on these points, much will remain to be taught by the living instructer: much will be attainable" by no other means, than the force of example influencing the imitative" powers of the learner. Some rules and principles on these heads will, however, be found useful, to prevent erroneous and vicious modes of utterance;" to give the young reader some taste of the subject; and to assist him in acquiring a just and accurates mode of delivery. The observations which we have to make, for these purposes, may be comprised; under the following heads: PRoPER Lou DN Ess of voice; Distinct NEss; slow N Ess; PRoPRIETY of PR on UNCIATION; EMPHAsis; Ton Es; PA Us Es; and MoDE of READING verse. ,
FROPER LOUD NESS OF VoICE THE first attention of every person who reads to others, doubtess, must be, to make himself be heard by all those to whom he reads. He must endeavour" to fill with his voice the space occupied by the company. This power of voice, it may be thought, is wholly a natural talent.c. It is, in a good measure, the gift of nature; but it may receive eonsiderable assistanced from art Much depends, for this purpose, on the proper pitch and management" of the voice. Every person has three pitches in his voice; the HIGH, the MIDDLE, and the Low one. The high, is that which he uses in calling aloud to some person at a distance. The low is, when he approachess to a whisper. The middle is, that which he employs in common conversation, and which he should generally use in reading to others. For it is a great mistake, to imagine that one must take the highest pitch of his voice, in order to be well heard in a large company. This is confoundings two things which are different, loudness or strength of sound, with the key or note in which we speak. There is a variety" of sound within the compass of each key. A speaker may therefore renderi his voice louder, without altering the key; and we shall always be able to give most body, most persevering force of sound, to that pitch of voice, to which in conversation we are accustomed. Whereas by setting out on our highest pitch or key, we certainly allow ourselves less compass, and are likely to strain our voice before we have done. We shall fatigue ourselves, and read with pain, and whenever a person speaks with pain to himself, he is always heard with pain by his audience. Let us therefore give the voice full strength and swell of sound; but always pitch it on our ordinary speaking key. It should be a constant rule never to utter a greater quantity of voice than we can afford without pain to ourselves, and without any extraordinary effort. As long as we keep within these bounds, the other organs of speech will be at liberty to discharge their several offices with ease; and we shall always have our voice under command. But whenever we transgress" these bounds, we give up the reins, and "have no longer any management of it. It is a useful rule too, in order to be well heard, to cast our eye on some of the most distant persons in the company, and to consider ourselves as reading to them. We naturally and mechanically utter our words with such a degree of strength, as to make ourselves be heard by the person whom we address, provided he is within the reach of our voice. As this is the case in conversation, it will hold also in reading to others. But let us remember, that in reading, as well as in conversation, it is possible to offend by speaking too loud. This extreme hurts the ear, by making the voice come upon it in rumbling, indistinct masses. . By the habit of reading, when young, in a loud and vehement"
manner, the voice becomes fixed in a strained and unnatural key; and is rendered incapable of that variety of elevation” and depression,” which constitutes the true harmony" of utterance, and affords ease to, the reader, and pleasure to the audience. ... This unnatural pitch of the voice, and disagreeable monotony," are most observable in persons who were taught to read in large rooms; who were accustomed to stand at too great a distance, when reading to their teachers; whose instructers were very imperfect in their hearing; or who were taught by persons, that considered loud expression as the chief requisite' in forming a good reader. These are circumstances which demand the serious attention of every one to whom the education of youth is committed. -o-, SECTION II. a Ar-tic-u-la-tion, Ar-tik-to-lès-shān,e El-e-men-tar-y, &l-è-mèn'-tár-é, joint of bones, the act of forming simple, uncompounded.
IN the next place, to being well heard and clearly understood, distinctness of articulation” contributes" more than mere loudness of sound. The quantity of sound necessary to fill even a large space, is smaller than is commonly imagined; and with distinct articulation, a person with a weak voice will make it reach farther, than the strongest voice can reach without it. To this, therefore, every reader ought to pay great attention. . He must give every sound which he utters, its due proportion; and make every syllable, and even every letter in the word which he pronounces, be heard distinctly; without slurring," whispering, or suppressing" any o the proper sounds. t
An accurate knowledge of the simple, elementary" sounds of the language, and a facility in expressing them, are so necessary to distinctness of expression, that if the learner's attainments are, in this respect, imperfect, (and many there are in this situation) it will he incumbents on his teacher, to carry him back to these primary; articulations; and to suspend" his progress, till he become perfectly master of them. It will be in vain to press him forward, with the hope of forming a good reader, if he cannot completely articulate every elementary sound of the language.
e In-sip-id, in-sip'-id, without spirit.
: DUE DEGREE of slow N Ess.
IN order to express ourselves distinctly, moderation is requisite with regard to the speed of pronouncing. Precipitancy” of speech, confounds all articulation, and all meaning. It is scarcely necessary to observe, that there may be also an extreme on the opposite side. It is obvious" that a lifeless, drawling manner of reading, which allows the minds of the hearers to be always outrunning the speaker, must render every such performance insipide. and fatiguing. But the extreme of reading too fast is much more common, and requires the more to be guarded against, because, when it has grown into a habit, few errors are more difficult to
be corrected. To pronounce with a proper degree of slowness
and with full and clear articulation, is necessary to be studied by all, who wish to become good readers; and it cannot be too much recommended" to them. Such a pronunciation" gives weight and dignity to the subject. It is a great assistance to the voice, by the pauses and rests which it allows the reader more easily to make; and it enables the reader to swell all his sounds, both with more force and more harmony.