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Efficiency Through Change Of Pitch. Part 2

In natural conversation you think of an idea first, and then find words to express it. In memorized speeches you are liable to speak the words, and then think what they mean - and many speakers seem to trouble very little even about that. Is it any wonder that reversing the process should reverse the result? Get back to nature in your methods of expression.

Read the following selection in a nonchalant manner, never pausing to think what the words really mean. Try it again, carefully studying the thought you have assimilated. Believe the idea, desire to express it effectively, and imagine an audience before you. Look them earnestly in the face and repeat this truth. If you follow directions, you will note that you have made many changes of pitch after several readings.

It is not work that kills men; it is worry. Work is healthy; you can hardly put more upon a man than he can bear. Worry is rust upon the blade. It is not the revolution that destroys the machinery but the friction. - Henry Ward Beecher.

Change Of Pitch Produces Emphasis

This is a highly important statement. Variety in pitch maintains the hearer's interest, but one of the surest ways to compel attention - to secure unusual emphasis - is to change the pitch of your voice suddenly and in a marked degree. A great contrast always arouses attention. White shows whiter against black; a cannon roars louder in the Sahara silence than in the Chicago hurly burly - these are simple illustrations of the power of contrast.

"What is Congress going to do next? (High pitch)

I do not know." (Low pitch)

By such sudden change of pitch during a sermon Dr. Newell Dwight Hillis recently achieved great emphasis and suggested the gravity of the question he had raised.

The foregoing order of pitch-change might be reversed with equally good effect, though with a slight change in seriousness - either method produces emphasis when used intelligently, that is, with a common-sense appreciation of the sort of emphasis to be attained.

In attempting these contrasts of pitch it is important to avoid unpleasant extremes'. Most speakers pitch their voices too high. One of the secrets of Mr. Bryan's eloquence is his low, bell-like voice. Shakespeare said that a soft, gentle, low voice was "an excellent thing in woman;" it is no less so in man, for a voice need not be blatant to be powerful, - and must not be, to be pleasing.

In closing, let us emphasize anew the importance of using variety of pitch. You sing up and down the scale, first touching one note and then another above or below it. Do likewise in speaking.

Thought and individual taste must generally be your guide as to where to use a low, a moderate, or a high pitch.

Questions And Exercises

1. Name two methods of destroying monotony and gaining force in speaking.

2. Why is a continual change of pitch necessary in speaking?

3. Notice your habitual tones in speaking. Are they too high to be pleasant?

4. Do we express the following thoughts and emotions in a low or a high pitch? Which may be expressed in either high or low pitch? Excitement. Victory. Defeat. Sorrow. Love. Earnestness. Fear.

5. How would you naturally vary the pitch in introducing an explanatory or parenthetical expression like the following:

He started - that is, he made preparations to start - on September third.

6. Speak the following lines with as marked variations in pitch as your interpretation of the sense may dictate. Try each line in two different ways. Which, in each instance, is the more effective - and why?

What Have I To Gain From You? Nothing

To engage our nation in such a compact would be an infamy.

Note: In the foregoing sentence, experiment as to where the change in pitch would better be made.

Once the flowers distilled their fragrance here, but now see the devastations of war.

He had reckoned without one prime factor - his conscience.

7. Make a diagram of a conversation you have heard, showing where high and low pitches were used. Were these changes in pitch advisable? Why or why not?

8. Read the selections on pages 34, 35, 36, 37 and 38, paying careful attention to the changes in pitch. Reread, substituting low pitch for high, and vice versa.

Selections Far Practise

Note: In the following selections, those passages that may best be delivered in a moderate pitch are printed in ordinary (roman) type. Those which may be rendered in a high pitch - do not make the mistake of raising the voice too high - are printed in italics. Those which might well be spoken in a low pitch are printed in CAPITALS. These arrangements, however, are merely suggestive - we cannot make it strong enough that you must use your own judgment in interpreting a selection. Before doing so, however, it is well to practise these passages as they are marked.

Yes, all men labor. RUFUS CHOATE AND DANIEL WEBSTER labor, say the critics. But every man who reads of the labor question knows that it means the movement of the men that earn their living with their hands; THAT ARE EMPLOYED, AND PAID WAGES: are gathered under roofs of factories, sent out on farms, sent out on ships, gathered on the walls. In popular acceptation, the working class means the men that work with their hands, for wages, so many hours a day, employed by great capitalists; that work for everybody else. Why do we move for this class? " Why" asks a critic, "don't you move FOR ALL WORKINGMEN?" BECAUSE, WHILE DANIEL WEBSTER GETS FORTY THOUSAND DOLLARS FOR ARGUING THE MEXICAN CLAIMS, there is no need of anybody's moving for him. BECAUSE, WHILE RUFUS CHOATE GETS FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS FOR MAKING ONE ARGUMENT TO A JURY, there is no need of moving for him, or for the men that work with their brains, - that do highly disciplined and skilled labor, invent, and write books. The reason why the Labor movement confines itself to a single class is because that class of work DOES NOT GET PAID, does not get protection. MENTAL LABOR is adequately paid, and MORE THAN ADEQUATELY protected. IT CAN SHIFT ITS CHANNELS; it can vary according to the supply and demand.


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