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THE ORGANS OF VOICE.1
A LABORED and minute description of the organs of the human voice, would be incompatible with the design of a brief and practical work, such as this. Nor is an exact anatomical knowledge of these parts of the human frame, or a profound investigation of the physiology of their functions, essential to the purposes of culture. All that is aimed at, in the following observations, is, to impart such an idea of organic structure and action, as is indispensable to an intelligent, voluntary use of the vocal organs.
To examine the corporeal mechanism of speech, we commence with a survey of the trunk of the body, the great cavity, or main pipe, of vocal sound, and the seat of the principal apparatus whose motions give origin to voice. As the first step in our investigation, then, we wish to withdraw the student's attention entirely from the tongue, the mouth, and the throat, the immediate, and, as it were, conscious instruments of utterance, and to fasten the thoughts on the sources of voice, – the unconscious, and, in part, the involuntary, action of the muscles which enlarge and compress the cavity of the organic frame, and render it a resonant body.
The production of vocal sound, is, to a certain extent, identical with the function of breathing. A person in health, and free from pain, breathes without any perceptible sound, but that gentle whispering effect which is produced by inspiration and expiration, drawing in and giving forth the breath. We observe this process exemplified in the tranquil breathing of one who is reading silently. But let the reader come to a passage of intense interest and exciting
fc facilitate the use of this manual in practical instruction, subjects which aemand the attention of adult students principally, are transferred to the appendix of this edition. Individuals who can command the requisite op; portunities of acquiring actual information concerning the structure of the vocal organs, would do well to attend anatomical dissections, and particularly post mortem examinations of the parts; as the tendency of the membranous lining of the organic apparatus to shrink, when cold, and to shrivel, when dry, does not easily admit of a true exhibition, either in mannikin models, anatomical preparations, or engraved illustrations, of the most important of all the instruments of phonation, — the surface of the vocal ligaments. M. Colombat de l'Isère, in his work on the hygiène and diseases of the voice, indicates the not uncommon errors, even of professional men, on this point.