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PREFACE.

It is only necessary to refer to the many instances of individuals among the professions, especially those which call for the most constant use of the voice on the platform, in the pulpit, at the bar, and in the school-room, to prove the necessity of attention to the training the organs of voice in speech.

Even in the social and home circle how few pleasing, musical, cultivated voices do we find; how few even who speak the English language with propriety and grace.

The speaking voice in common with the singing voice needs careful and systematic training to secure the best results. No person can produce tones in singing in a false or imperfect manner without injury to the organs of voice, and even oftentimes permanent injury to health. It is just as true of the speaking voice. Hundreds of professional people suffer with bronchial and throat diseases, and often from broken down, enfeebled health, simply because they have exerted the muscles and organs of voice in the wrong direction. They have never learned the secret of managing the breath and producing tones according to correct principles.

Nature's laws cannot be trampled upon without doing violence to a part or perhaps the whole of the physical machinery.

The study of Elocution seeks to remedy this imperfect use of the vocal organs, and apply appropriate remedies for establishing correct habits.

The printed page may serve as a guide in setting forth the principles of this science, but their practical application can be best known only through the voice of the instructor.

My chief' aim in this manual is to present the main principles of Elocution in a condensed and simplified form, so as to bring them within the limits of a student's capacity and possibility in the school-room.

It is to be hoped also that it may prove of service to teachers for use in connection with books of more lengthy and varied selections for reading.

M. J. W.

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ELOCUTIONARY INTRODUCTION.

CHAPTER I.

ELOCUTION.

Definition.The art of speaking. It embraces vocal utterance, expression of countenance and gesticulation.

GOOD READING.

Definition.—Appropriate intellectual and emotional utterance.

Intellectual utterance addresses itself chiefly to the understanding; emotional utterance to the feelings.

Correct habits in sitting and standing are essential as preparatory steps in the training of the voice.

Gymnastic Exercises, especially such as bring into action the muscles of the chest and waist, are excellent preparatives to attaining energy in vocal functions.

The vigor and power of the voice depend to a great extent upon the vigor of the physical system ; hence, whatever exer: cise tends to expand the chest and invigorate the body tends to give strength and clearness of tone to the voice.

Correct habits of breathing are of the utmost importance, as the lungs depend for their power, as a vocal organ, upon the quantity of breath which they are capable of receiving.

DIRECTIONS FOR SITTING AND STANDING. The position of the body in speaking as in singing must be such as in no way to interfere with the easy drawing in and giving out of the breath.

An erect posture implies that the shoulders are drawn downward and backward ; chest thrown outward ; lower part of the body slightly drawn in; head erect and chin slightly elevated.

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