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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 38.djvu/22

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.
register: while speech continues to obey in a natural way the physiological laws of emotion" (p. 117.)

That in exaggerating and emphasizing the traits of emotional speech, the singer should be led to make "conscious efforts" is surely natural enough. What would Mr. Gurney have said of dancing? He would scarcely have denied that saltatory movements often result spontaneously from excited feeling; and he could hardly have doubted that primitive dancing arose as a systematized form of such movements. Would he have considered the belief that stage-dancing is evolved from these spontaneous movements to be negatived by the fact that a stage-dancer's bounds and gyrations are made with "conscious efforts"?

In his elaborate work on The Power of Sound, Mr. Gurney, repeating in other forms the objections I have above dealt with, adds to them some others. One of these, which appears at first sight to have much weight, I must not pass by. He thus expresses it:—

"Any one may convince himself that not only are the intervals used in emotional speech very large, twelve diatonic notes being quite an ordinary skip, but that he uses extremes of both high and low pitch with his speaking voice, which, if he tries to dwell on them and make them resonant, will be found to lie beyond the compass of his singing voice" (p. 479).

Now the part of my hypothesis which Mr. Gurney here combats is that, as in emotional speech so in song, feeling, by causing muscular contractions, causes divergences from the middle tones of the voice, which become wider as it increases; and that this fact supports the belief that song is developed from emotional speech. To this Mr. Gurney thinks it a conclusive answer that higher notes are used by the speaking voice than by the singing voice. But if, as his words imply, there is a physical impediment to the production of notes in the one voice as high as those in the other, then my argument is justified if, in either voice, extremes of feeling are shown by extremes of pitch. If, for example, the celebrated ut de poitrine with which Tamberlik brought down the house in one of the scenes of William Tell, was recognized as expressing the greatest intensity of martial patriotism, my position is warranted, even though in his speaking voice he could have produced a still higher note.

Of answers to Mr. Gurney 's objections the two most effective are suggested by the passage in which he sums up his conclusions. Here are his words:

"It is enough to recall how every consideration tended to the same result; that the oak grew from the acorn; that the musical faculty and pleasure, which have to do with music and nothing else, are the representatives and linear descendants of a faculty and pleasure which were musical and nothing else; and that, however rudely and tentatively applied to speech, Music was a separate order" (p. 492).