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7. Position. Relax the head and drop the arms down as if reaching to the floor. The knees should be straight. Slowly assume an upright position and inhale deeply. The head should be raised last.
8. The waist. Relax the head and revolve at the waist. Reverse.
9. Yawning. While inhaling, slowly raise the arms as in yawning, then stretch and relax.
The student will find it beneficial to hold some lofty and appropriate thought in mind while practising these exercises.
A brief outline of the organs used in speech, or closely related thereto, is all that is necessary in the present volume. Those who wish to make a comprehensive study of this branch of the subject will find numerous books upon the physiology and anatomy of the vocal organs.
1. Chest. The chest is formed by the backbone, ribs, breast-bone and collar-bone. It is lined and covered with membranes supported and worked by muscles. It contains the lungs, heart and principal arteries and veins.
2. Lungs. The lungs are conical, formed of five lobes, honeycombed with hexagonal cells of various sizes to contain air. The duty of the lungs is to supply oxygen to, and take up carbon from, the blood.
3. Heart. The heart is situated between the two lungs under the breast-bone, inclined to the left. The duty of the heart is to regulate the passage of the blood; the blood is passed into the lungs to receive oxygen and deposit carbon; it is then passed through the arteries to the extremities, then returned through the veins to the heart, and again undergoes the same process.
4. Larynx. The larynx is formed by the top ring of the windpipe, the two shield cartilages, and epiglottis or lid.
5. The vocal cords. These consist of two slight, elastic bands, situated in the larynx, and immediately below its outward projection, known as the “Adam's apple." In the act of voice production, they are thrown forward into the current of air escaping from the lungs, causing them to vibrate rapidly.
6. The epiglottis. This is the lid of the glottis, preventing foreign bodies from entering the larynx. The epiglottis is raised during the action of breathing, and closes to allow food to pass over it into the gullet.
7. The soft palate. This is the membranous, muscular curtain at the back of the mouth, forming a partition between the mouth below and the nasal passages above it. When it is raised as high as possible, it closes the opening from the back of the mouth to the nostrils, and the vocal current passes out entirely through the mouth. When it is allowed to fall upon the tongue, the passage to the mouth is closed, and the vocal current escapes by the nostrils, producing a nasal tone.
8. The uvula. This is the pendent portion of the soft palate.
9. The hard palate. The hard portion of the roof of the mouth above the upper teeth.
10. The pharynx. This is the cavity into which the mouth and nose open.
11. The diaphragm. This consists of two muscles and a central tendon, forming a floor on which the lungs rest and partitioning them from the abdominal organs. To the former it is convex in shape and to the latter concave. This arch contracts in inspiration, pressing the abdominal organs downward and outward, thus making room for the increased body of the inflated lungs. In expiration, it recovers its former position, thus pushing or pressing against the lungs and drawing the air out. It has been termed the bellows of the vocal organs. It takes a slanting direction from the breastbone to the loins.
12. The glottis. This is the mouth of the larynx, and is a membranous or muscular fissure, the edges of which constitute the vocal cords or glottis lips.
13. The trachea or windpipe. A cylindrical, cartilaginous and membranous tube, forming the common air passage to the lungs. It is partly situated in the neck and partly in the chest, and measures about four and a half inches in length.
14. The articulative organs are the tongue, teeth and lips.
In order to keep the voice in the best condition, strict obedience must be paid to laws for general health. Care should be taken as to daily physical exercise, bathing, fresh air, sleep, food and clothing. A speaker should never expose himself to cold or damp air immediately after exercising the voice. Loud and animated conversation, whispering and immoderate laughter, should be avoided. Cold or iced drinks are not good for the throat, but if used they should be taken slowly and in small quantities. The outside throat should not be muffled, but hardened by exposure. Cultivate the habit of breathing through the nose and keeping the mouth firmly closed.
Lozenges, troches and drugs are not generally recommended. If the mouth becomes uncomfortably dry just before speaking, the flow of saliva will be quickly promoted by chewing a piece of paper. A gargle for the throat, to be used night and morning, is made of one pint of water, a teaspoonful of salt and ten drops of carbolic acid. The following method of gargling is recommended: 1st. Raise the head slightly. 2d. Open the mouth moderately. 3d. Bring the lower jaw forward by raising the chin. 4th. Sound the vowel e as in the word her. 5th. Breathe easily and regularly.
ARTICULATION Essential to good speaking and reading is a distinct and correct enunciation. This may be attained by daily practise upon exercises in articulation. The student will discover combinations of letters difficult for him to produce and these should be practised over and over again until facility is gained and a uniformly good enunciation acquired. Reading slowly, giving full play to the flexibility of the tongue and lips, will aid materially in securing fluency and accuracy.