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INFLECTIONS. [Under Pitch we may consider Inflections.] STATE OF MIND IN WHICH TIE READER MAY BE. I. He may feel sure of the truth of some proposition, and wish to declare it.
This declaration, though positive in character, may be either positive or negative in form.
But, in either case, the voice falls in uttering the proposition. Examples : “Washington was a pàtriot. ”
“ Men are not always wise.”
Positive command, demand, entreaty, and exhortation come under the same head. Examples: “John, shut the
“I insist that this shall be done.” Help me, Cassius, or I sink.” “ Be sòber, and hòpe to the end."
II. The reader may be in a doubtful or inquiring state of mind, and his speech may be an expression of such doubt or inquiry. This requires the rising inflection, or sliue, and may take many
forms. 1. Direct inquiry: as, “ Are you síck, Hubert ?”
2. The expression of incredulity in regard to some statenent made by another : as, “Twenty bears! I think there were only ten.” 3. The repetition of another's words that are not under
you be out, I can mend you.” thou saucy féllow ?”
4. All parts of a statement preceding the positive point, that is the point in it at which the mind reaches the essence of the positive declaration : as,
stood : as,
- Ménd me,
“One day, at table, flushed with príde and wine,
His Honor, proudly freé, severely mérry,
To crack a joke upon his secretary.” The positive statement here culminates in the word “joke.” "Secretary" had been previously spoken of. Joke is now first introduced.
5. The expression of a condition that may or may not be fulfilled, as : “If I talk to him he will awake my mèrcy.”
III. It will often require great care to determine whether the clause we are considering is essentially positive or neg. ative. In doubtful cases, let the question be asked, whether the clause adds to, or takes away from, the force or extent of the main proposition. If the former, it is positive; if the latter, it is negative.
IV. Negative sentences require the rising inflection when the denial does not apply to the main verb, but to some adjunct; as,
“ Not as the conqueror comes,
They, the true-hearted, cáme." It is not intended here to deny that they came, but only that they came in that particular way, -as the conqueror comes. Such an inflection implies that the denial made would become an affirmation under different circumstances. If we substitute “humble worshipers” for “conqueror” in the above, the proposition, in order to be true, must become affirmative. They did come as humble worshipers. " It is not a hórse implies that it is something else.
V. The slide upon interrogative sentences is frequently changed by a repetition of the sentence for the sake of emphasis. Example: “John, are you going to town?” John does not hear, and the question is repeated :
Jòhn are you going to town ?” “ James, what do you see?” James himself repeats the inquiry, “What do I sée?” " What doth the poor man's son inherit?” is asked at the beginning of the fourth stanza of The Heritage, page 91. The same, repeated in the subsequent stanzas, becomes, “ What does the poor man's son inhérit?”
VI. In questions that may be answered by “yes” or “po”, the mind is evidently in an inquiring state, as shown in II. (1); but in other questions, usually called indirect, the assertion in the main verb is taken for granted, and some condition only is in doubt. “Whence come wàrs ?” Here it is taken for granted that wars come, and the only question is as to their origin, -one of the conditions of their coming. Hence the main element in such questions is positive, and the yoice falls upon
them. VII. Direct questions are often used to express a strong affirmation, and when so used, are often spoken with the falling inflection. In a series of such questions, all after the
first have the falling inflection For an example, take the seventh paragraph, page 381.
VIII. The terins of an address in colloquial language should have the rising inflection, because it is merely introductory, and expresses no positive assertion or command. Formal addresses, however, as in gravely addressing the presiding officer of a deliberative assembly, — which is equivalent to announcing an intention to speak, - require the falling inflection. Examples: “ Jóhn, shall we go to school? “ Friends and fellow-citizens : the hour has come.”
IX. Irony, mockery, words used with a double meaning, pity, &c., require the circumflex, or wave, which is a combination of both inflections. The circumflex is called the rising or falling, according to its terminal element. The circumflex beginning with the rising and ending with the falling inflection is called the falling circumflex, and the opposite is called the rising, as “I've câught you then at lăst.” “ And though heavy to wěigh as a score of fat sheep, He was not by any means heavy to sleep.” you
said so, then I said sô." “ They tell ŭs to be moderate, but thěy revel in profüsion." " And this man is now become a gôd.'
X. Clauses making concessions, and adversative clauses, are negative in character, because their purpose is to take away from the extent or force of the statement to which they are attached. They usually require, therefore, the rising inflection. “Cicero was ambitious, but he loved his country.” In this example, the statement, “Cicero was ambitious," is a concession and takes away from the general effect of the sentence, the object of which is to speak well of Cicero. This statement has, therefore, a negative character, and takes the rising inflection. The Duke of Wellington is reported to have said of the young men of London who were in his army, “ They are foppish and frivolous, but the puppies fight well.” The last clause, which is adversative, requires the rising inflection. The Duke had, on the whole, a low opinion of these Londoners, but their courage diminished his dislike.
XI. In speaking, we utter all words not requiring the falling inflection with a very slight rise at the end. This is the case even in what we call the monotone. In reading or speaking there is no absolute monotone; only in singing is such monotone possible. Let this be carefully tested. This slight rise constitutes what is called the suspensive slide. It is often required on clauses that leave a thought incomplete.
XII. Inflections vary greatly in intensity, or in the number of degrees of the musical scale through which the voice passes in giving them. Much care is necessary in graduating the intensity of the inflection to the requirement of the thought. XIII. It will be noticed that the inflection in
clause comes upon the emphatic word of that clause. Let this principle be fully tested.
XIÙ. A correct use of inflections is exceedingly important. An unskillful application of them often effectually conceals the meaning. “ He does not hălf perform his work,” means that he performs it well. “ He does not half perform his work,” means that he does it very imperfectly. “ Edward would run the greatest risks to please his făvorite.” Here the circumflex implies that he would do very little to please others. The following is frequently quoted : “A man who is in the daily use of ardent spirits, if he does not become a drunkard, is in danger of losing his health and character." The falling circumflex on “ drunkard” gives the correct meaning. The opposite declares that only by being a drunkard can one preserve his health and character. “ The dog would have died if they had not cut off his head.” The rising circumflex died ” makes good sense here. The opposite makes cutting off his head necessary to saving his life.
In endeavoring to escape monotony, many readers fall into the habit of excessive inflection,—that is of frequent and sharp turns of the voice. Too much of this makes the reading harsh and angular.
EXAMPLES FOR PRACTICE, WITH EXPLANATION OF THEIR
RELATIONS IN THE COMPOSITIONS TO WHICH THEY BELONG. In 1775, an assembly of delegates convened at Richmond, Virginia, to consider the state of the country. The measures of the British government had been tyrannical. The country was determined to resist these measures. But there were some men in the assembly who so much desired to maintain peace, that they were willing to submit to the unjust exactions of the British ministry. Patrick Henry, the eloquent champion of liberty, answers their cowardly suggestions as follows The extract requires great force, radical stress, medium pitch, full volume, moderate speed, pure quality, and moderate pauses :
Sir, we have done everything that could be done, to avert the storm that is now coming on.
We have petitioned; we have remonstrated; we have supplicated; we have prostrated ourselves before the throne, and have implored its interposition to arrest the tyrannical hands of the ministry and Parliament. Our petitions have been slighted; our remonstrances have produced additional violence and insult ; our supplications have been disregarded; and we have been spurned, with contempt, from the foot of the throne !
Marmion, in Walter Scott's novel of that name, is an English nobleman of bad character, who is employed as a messenger to the Scottish King, just before the battle of Flodden, in 1513. King James IV., of Scotland, orders the Earl of Douglas, a high-spirited, brave, and impetuous nobleman of his own court, to receive Marmion as a guest during his stay in Scotland. The latter, on leaving, offers his hand to his host, which Douglas, knowing the character of the guest whom he has unwillingly entertained, indignantly refuses to accept, when the following dialogue takes place. The selection is like the above in kind, but higher in degree, the force is more intense, the stress more decidedly radical, the pitch higher, and the speed, in parts, more rapid. In those parts of the dialogue instinct with hate, the quality becomes impure.
Angus was another title of Douglas. Pauses mostly short. Douglas is an historical character; Marmion is fictitious :
“My castles are my king's alone,