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The Brain and the Voice in Speech and Song by F. W. Mott

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F.W. MOTT, F.R.S., M.D., F.R.C.P.



The contents of this little book formed the subject of three lectures
delivered at the Royal Institution "On the Mechanism of the Human Voice"
and three London University lectures at King's College on "The Brain in
relation to Speech and Song." I have endeavoured to place this subject
before my readers in as simple language as scientific accuracy and
requirements permit. Where I have been obliged to use technical anatomical
and physiological terms I have either explained their meaning in the text,
aided by diagrams and figures, or I have given in brackets the English
equivalents of the terms used.

I trust my attempt to give a sketch of the mechanism of the human voice,
and how it is produced in speech and song, may prove of interest to the
general public, and I even hope that teachers of voice production may find
some of the pages dealing with the brain mechanism not unworthy of their



_July, 1910_


















1. The thoracic cage and its contents

2. The diaphragm and its attachments

3. Diagram illustrating changes of the chest and abdomen in breathing

4. Diagram of the cartilages of the voice-box or larynx with vocal cords

5. Front view of the larynx with muscles

6. Back view of the larynx with muscles

7. Diagram to illustrate movements of cartilages in breathing and phonation

8. Section through larynx and windpipe, showing muscles and vocal cords

9. The laryngoscope and its use

10. The glottis in breathing, whispering, and vocalisation

11. The vocal cords in singing, after French

12. Vertical section through the head and neck to show the larynx and

13. Diagram (after Aikin) of the resonator in the production of the vowel

14. Koenig's flame manometer

15. Diagram of a neurone

16. Left hemisphere, showing cerebral localisation

17. Diagram to illustrate cerebral mechanism of speech, after Bastian

18. The course of innervation currents in phonation


In the following pages on the Relation of the Brain to the mechanism of the
Voice in Speech and Song, I intend, as far as possible, to explain the
mechanism of the instrument, and what I know regarding the cerebral
mechanism by which the instrument is played upon in the production of the
singing voice and articulate speech. Before, however, passing to consider
in detail the instrument, I will briefly direct your attention to some
facts and theories regarding the origin of speech.


The evolutionary theory is thus propounded by Romanes in his "Mental
Evolution in Man," pp. 377-399: "Starting from the highly intelligent and
social species of anthropoid ape as pictured by Darwin, we can imagine that
this animal was accustomed to use its voice freely for the expression of
the emotions, uttering danger signals, and singing. Possibly it may also
have been sufficiently intelligent to use a few imitative sounds; and
certainly sooner or later the receptual life of this social animal must
have advanced far enough to have become comparable with that of an infant
of about two years of age. That is to say, this animal, although not yet
having begun to use articulate signs, must have advanced far enough in the
conventional use of natural signs (a sign with a natural origin in tone and
gesture, whether spontaneously or intentionally imitative) to have admitted
of a totally free exchange of receptual ideas, such as would be concerned
in animal wants and even, perhaps, in the simplest forms of co-operative
action. Next I think it probable that the advance of receptual intelligence
which would have been occasioned by this advance in sign-making would in
turn have led to a development of the latter--the two thus acting and
reacting on each other until the language of tone and gesture became
gradually raised to the level of imperfect pantomime, as in children before
they begin to use words. At this stage, however, or even before it, I think
very probably vowel sounds must have been employed in tone language, if not
also a few consonants. Eventually the action and reaction of receptual
intelligence and conventional sign-making must have ended in so far
developing the former as to have admitted of the breaking up (or
articulation) of vocal sounds, as the only direction in which any
improvement in vocal sign-making was possible." Romanes continues his
sketch by referring to the probability that this important stage in the
development of speech was greatly assisted by the already existing habit of
articulating musical notes, supposing our progenitors to have resembled the
gibbons or the chimpanzees in this respect. Darwin in his great work on the
"Expression of the Emotions" points to the fact that the gibbon, the most
erect and active of the anthropoid apes, is able to sing an octave in
half-tones, and it is interesting to note that Dubois considers his
Pithecanthropus Erectus is on the same stem as the gibbon. But it has
lately been shown that some animals much lower in the scale than monkeys,
namely, rodents, are able to produce correct musical tones. Therefore the
argument loses force that the progenitors of man probably uttered musical
sounds before they had acquired the power of articulate speech, and that
consequently, when the voice is used under any strong emotion, it tends to
assume through the principle of association a musical character. The work
of anthropologists and linguists, especially the former, supports the
progressive-evolution theory, which, briefly stated, is--that articulate
language is the result of an elaboration in the long procession of ages in
which there occurred three stages--the cry, vocalisation, and articulation.
The cry is the primordial, pure animal language; it is a simple vocal
aspiration without articulation; it is either a reflex expressing needs and
emotions, or at a higher stage intentional (to call, warn, menace, etc.).
Vocalisation (emission of vowels) is a natural production of the vocal
instrument, and does not in itself contain the essential elements of
speech. Many animals are capable of vocalisation, and in the child the
utterance of vowel sounds is the next stage after the cry.

The conditions necessary to the existence of speech arose with
articulation, and it is intelligence that has converted the vocal
instrument into the speaking instrument. For whereas correct intonation
depends upon the innate musical ear, which is able to control and regulate
the tensions of the minute muscles acting upon the vocal cords, it is
intelligence which alters and changes the form of the resonator by means of
movement of the lips, tongue, and jaw in the production of articulate
speech. The simple musical instrument in the production of phonation is
bilaterally represented in the brain, but as a speaking instrument it is
unilaterally represented in right-handed individuals in the left hemisphere
and in left-handed individuals in the right hemisphere. The reason for this
we shall consider later; but the fact supports Darwin's hypothesis.

Another hypothesis which was brought forward by Grieger and supported by
some authors is summarised by Ribot as follows: "Words are an imitation of
the movements of the mouth. The predominant sense in man is that of sight;
man is pre-eminently visual. Prior to the acquisition of speech he
communicated with his fellows by the aid of gestures and movement of the
mouth and face; he appealed to their eyes. Their facial 'grimaces,'
fulfilled and elucidated by gesture, became signs for others; they fixed
their attention upon them. When articulate sounds came into being, these
lent themselves to a more or less conventional language by reason of their
acquired importance." For support of this hypothesis the case of
non-educated deaf-mutes is cited. They invent articulate sounds which they
cannot hear and use them to designate certain things. Moreover, they employ
gesture language--a language which is universally understood.

Another theory of the origin of the speaking voice is that speech is an
instinct not evolved, but breaking forth spontaneously in man; but even if
this be so, it was originally so inadequate and weak that it required
support from the gesture language to become intelligible. This mixed
language still survives among some of the inferior races of men. Miss
Kingsley and Tylor have pointed out that tribes in Africa have to gather
round the camp fires at night in order to converse, because their
vocabulary is so incomplete that without being reinforced by gesture and
pantomime they would be unable to communicate with one another. Gesture is
indispensable for giving precision to vocal sounds in many languages, e.g.
those of the Tasmanians, Greenlanders, savage tribes of Brazil, and Grebos
of Western Africa. In other cases speech is associated with inarticulate
sounds. These sounds have been compared to clicking and clapping, and
according to Sayce, these clickings and clappings survive as though to show
us how man when deprived of speech can fix and transmit his thoughts by
certain sounds. These mixed states represent articulate speech in its
primordial state; they represent the stage of transition from pure
pantomime to articulate speech.

It seems, then, that originally man had two languages at his disposal which
he used simultaneously or interchangeably. They supported each other in the
intercommunication of ideas, but speech has triumphed because of its
greater practical utility. The language of gesture is disadvantageous for
the following reasons: (1) it monopolises the use of the hands; (2) it has
the disadvantage that it does not carry any distance; (3) it is useless in
the dark; (4) it is vague in character; (5) it is imitative in nature and
permits only of the intercommunication of ideas based upon concrete images.
Speech, on the other hand, is transmitted in the dark and with objects
intervening; moreover, distance affects its transmission much less. The
images of auditory and visual symbols in the growth of speech replace in
our minds concrete images and they permit of abstract thought. It is
dependent primarily upon the ear, an organ of exquisite feeling, whose
sensations are infinite in number and in kind. This sensory receptor with
its cerebral perceptor has in the long process of time, aided by vision,
under the influence of natural laws of the survival of the fittest,
educated and developed an instrument of simple construction (primarily
adapted only for the vegetative functions of life and simple vocalisation)
into that wonderful instrument the human voice; but by that development,
borrowing the words of Huxley, "man has slowly accumulated and organised
the experience which is almost wholly lost with the cessation of every
individual life in other animals; so that now he stands raised as upon a
mountain-top, far above the level of his humble fellows, and transfigured
from his grosser nature by reflecting here and there a ray from the
infinite source of truth." Thought in all the higher mental processes could
not be carried on at all without the aid of language.

Written language probably originated in an analytical process analogous to
the language of gesture. Like that, it: (1) isolates terms; (2) arranges
them in a certain order; (3) translates thoughts in a crude and somewhat
vague form. A curious example of this may be found in Max Mueller's "Chips
from a German Workshop," XIV.: "The aborigines of the Caroline Islands sent
a letter to a Spanish captain as follows: A man with extended arms, sign of
greeting; below to the left, the objects they have to barter--five big
shells, seven little ones, three others of different forms; to the right,
drawing of the objects they wanted in exchange--three large fish-hooks,
four small ones, two axes, two pieces of iron."

Language of graphic signs and spoken language have progressed together, and
simultaneously supported each other in the development of the higher mental
faculties that differentiate the savage from the brute and the civilised
human being from the savage. In spoken language, at any rate, it is not the
vocal instrument that has been changed, but the organ of mind with its
innate and invisible molecular potentialities, the result of racial and
ancestral experiences in past ages. Completely developed languages when
studied from the point of view of their evolution are stamped with the
print of an unconscious labour that has been fashioning them for centuries.
A little consideration and reflection upon words which have been coined in
our own time shows that language offers an abstract and brief chronicle of
social psychology.

Articulate language has converted the vocal instrument into the chief agent
of the will, but the brain in the process of time has developed by the
movements of the lips, tongue, jaw, and soft palate a kinaesthetic[A] sense
of articulate speech, which has been integrated and associated in the mind
with rhythmical modulated sounds conveyed to the brain by the auditory
nerves. There has thus been a reciprocal simultaneity in the development of
these two senses by which the mental ideas of spoken words are memorised
and recalled. Had man been limited to articulate speech he could not have
made the immense progress he has made in the development of complex mental
processes, for language, by using written verbal symbols, has allowed, not
merely the transmission of thought from one individual to another, but the
thoughts of the world, past and present, are in a certain measure at the
disposal of every individual. With this introduction to the subject I will
pass on to give a detailed description of the instrument of the voice.

[Footnote A: Sense of movement.]


A distinction is generally made in physics between sound and noise. Noise
affects our tympanic membrane as an irregular succession of shocks and we
are conscious of a jarring of the auditory apparatus; whereas a musical
sound is smooth and pleasant because the tympanic membrane is thrown into
successive periodic vibrations to which the auditory receptor (sense organ
of hearing) has been attuned. To produce musical sounds, a body must
vibrate with the regularity of a pendulum, but it must be capable of
imparting sharper or quicker shocks to the air than the pendulum. All
musical sounds, however they are produced and by whatever means they are
propagated, may be distinguished by three different qualities:

(1) Loudness, (2) Pitch, (3) Quality, timbre or klang, as the Germans call

Loudness depends upon the amount of energy expended in producing the sound.
If I rub a tuning-fork with a well-rosined bow, I set it in vibration by
the resistance offered to the rosined hair; and if while it is vibrating I
again apply the bow, thus expending more energy, the note produced is
louder. Repeating the action several times, the width of excursion of the
prongs of the tuning-fork is increased. This I can demonstrate, not merely
by the loudness of the sound which can be heard, but by sight; for if a
small mirror be fixed on one of the prongs and a beam of light be cast upon
the mirror, the light being again reflected on to the screen, you will see
the spot of light dance up and down, and the more energetically the
tuning-fork is bowed the greater is the amplitude of the oscillation of the
spot of light. The duration of the time occupied is the same in traversing
a longer as in traversing a shorter space, as is the case of the swinging
pendulum. The vibrating prongs of the tuning-fork throw the air into
vibrations which are conveyed to the ear and produce the sensation of
sound. The duration of time occupied in the vibrations of the tuning-fork
is therefore independent of the space passed over. The greater or less
energy expended does not influence the duration of time occupied by the
vibration; it only influences the amplitude of the vibration.

The second quality of musical sounds is the pitch, and the pitch depends
upon the number of vibrations that a sounding body makes in each second of
time. The most unmusical ear can distinguish a high note from a low one,
even when the interval is not great. Low notes are characterised by a
relatively small number of vibrations, and as the pitch rises so the number
of vibrations increase. This can be proved in many ways. Take, for example,
two tuning-forks of different size: the shorter produces a considerably
higher pitched note than the longer one. If a mirror be attached to one of
the prongs of each fork, and a beam of light be cast upon each mirror
successively and then reflected in a revolving mirror, the oscillating spot
of light is converted into a series of waves; and if the waves obtained by
reflecting the light from the mirror of the smaller one be counted and
compared with those reflected from the mirror attached to the larger fork,
it will be found that the number of waves reflected from the smaller fork
is proportionally to the difference in the pitch more numerous than the
waves reflected from the larger. The air is thrown into corresponding
periodic vibrations according to the rate of vibration of the
sound-producing body.

Thirdly, the quality, timbre, or klang depends upon the overtones, in
respect to which I could cite many experiments to prove that whenever a
body vibrates, other bodies near it may be set in vibration, but only on
condition that such bodies shall be capable themselves of producing the
same note. A number of different forms of resonators can be used to
illustrate this law; a law indeed which is of the greatest importance in
connection with the mechanism of the human voice. Although notes are of the
same loudness and pitch when played on different instruments or spoken or
sung by different individuals, yet even a person with no ear for music can
easily detect a difference in the quality of the sound and is able to
recognise the nature of the instrument or the timbre of the voice. This
difference in the timbre is due to harmonics or overtones. Could we but see
the sonorous waves in the air during the transmission of the sound of a
voice, we should see stamped on it the conditions of motion upon which its
characteristic qualities depended; which is due to the fact that every
vocal sound whose vibrations have a complex form can be decomposed into a
series of simple notes all belonging to the harmonic series. These
harmonics or overtones will be considered later when dealing with the
timbre or quality of the human voice.

The vocal instrument is unlike any other musical instrument; it most nearly
approaches a reed instrument. The clarionet and the oboe are examples of
reed instruments, in which the reed does not alter but by means of stops
the length of the column of air in the resonating pipe varies and
determines the pitch of the fundamental note. The organ-pipe with the
vibrating tongue of metal serving as the reed is perhaps the nearest
approach to the vocal organ; but here again it is the length of the pipe
which determines the pitch of the note.

The vocal instrument may be said to consist of three parts: (1) the
bellows; (2) the membranous reed contained in the larynx, which by the
actions of groups of muscles can be altered in tension and thus variation
in pitch determined; (3) the resonator, which consists of the mouth, the
throat, the larynx, the nose, and air sinuses contained in the bones of the
skull, also the windpipe, the bronchial tubes, and the lungs. The main and
important part of the resonator, however, is situated above the glottis
(the opening between the vocal cords, _vide_ fig. 6), and it is capable of
only slight variations in length and of many and important variations in
form. In the production of musical sounds its chief influence is upon the
quality of the overtones and therefore upon the timbre of the voice;
moreover, the movable structures of the resonator, the lower jaw, the lips,
the tongue, the soft palate, can, by changing the form of the resonator,
not only impress upon the sound waves particular overtones as they issue
from the mouth, but simultaneously can effect the combination of vowels and
consonants with the formation of syllables, the combination of syllables
with the formation of words, and the combination of words with the
formation of articulate language. The reed portion of the instrument acting
alone can only express emotional feeling; the resonator, the effector of
articulate speech, is the instrument of intelligence, will, and feeling. It
must not, however, be thought that the vocal instrument consists of two
separately usable parts, for phonation (except in the whispered voice)
always accompanies articulation.

In speech, and more especially in singing, there is an art of breathing.
Ordinary inspiration and expiration necessary for the oxygenation of the
blood is performed automatically and unconsciously. But in singing the
respiratory apparatus is used like the bellows of a musical instrument, and
it is controlled and directed by the will; the art of breathing properly is
fundamental for the proper production of the singing voice and the speaking
voice of the orator. It is necessary always to maintain in the lungs, which
act as the bellows, a sufficient reserve of air to finish a phrase;
therefore when the opportunity arises it is desirable to take in as much
air as possible through the nostrils, and without any apparent effort; the
expenditure of the air in the lungs must be controlled and regulated by the
power of the will in such a manner as to produce efficiency in loudness
with economy of expenditure. It must be remembered, moreover, that mere
loudness of sound does not necessarily imply carrying power of the voice,
either when speaking or singing. Carrying power, as we shall see later,
depends as much upon the proper use of the resonator as upon the force of
expulsion of the air by the bellows. Again, a soft note, especially an
aspirate, owing to the vocal chink being widely opened, may be the cause of
an expenditure of a larger amount of air than a loud-sounding note.
Observations upon anencephalous monsters (infants born without the great
brain) show that breathing and crying can occur without the cerebral
hemispheres; moreover, Goltz's dog, in which all the brain had been removed
except the stem and base, was able to bark, growl, and snarl, indicating
that the primitive function of the vocal instrument can be performed by the
lower centres of the brain situated in the medulla oblongata. But the
animal growled and barked when the attendant, who fed it daily, approached
to give it food, which was a clear indication that the bark and growl had
lost both its affective and cognitive significance; it was, indeed, a
purely automatic reflex action. It was dependent upon a stimulus arousing
an excitation in an instinctive automatic nervous mechanism in the medulla
oblongata and spinal cord presiding over synergic groups of muscles
habitually brought into action for this simplest form of vocalisation,
connected with the primitive emotion of anger.

I will now consider at greater length each part of the vocal instrument.


[Illustration: Fig 1]

[Description: FIG. 1.--Front view of the thorax showing the breastbone, to
which on either side are attached the (shaded) rib cartilages. The
remainder of the thoracic cage is formed by the ribs attached behind to the
spine, which is only seen below. The lungs are represented filling the
chest cavity, except a little to the left of the breastbone, below where
the pericardium is shown (black). It can be seen that the ribs slope
forwards and downwards, and that they increase in length from above
downwards, so that if elevated by the muscles attached to them, they will
tend to push forward the elastic cartilages and breastbone and so increase
the antero-posterior diameter of the chest; moreover, the ribs being
elastic will tend to give a little at the angle, and so the lateral
diameter of the chest will be increased.]

The bellows consists of the lungs enclosed in the movable thorax. The
latter may be likened to a cage; it is formed by the spine behind and the
ribs, which are attached by cartilages to the breastbone (sternum) in front
(_vide_ fig. 1). The ribs and cartilages, as the diagram shows, form a
series of hoops which increase in length from above downwards; moreover,
they slope obliquely downwards and inwards (_vide_ fig. 2). The ribs are
jointed behind to the vertebrae in such a way that muscles attached to them
can, by shortening, elevate them; the effect is that the longer ribs are
raised, and pushing forward the breastbone and cartilages, the thoracic
cage enlarges from before back; but being elastic, the hoops will give a
little and cause some expansion from side to side; moreover, when the ribs
are raised, each one is rotated on its axis in such a way that the lower
border tends towards eversion; the total effect of this rotation is a
lateral expansion of the whole thorax. Between the ribs and the cartilages
the space is filled by the intercostal muscles (_vide_ fig. 2), the action
of which, in conjunction with other muscles, is to elevate the ribs. It is,
however, unnecessary to enter into anatomical details, and describe all
those muscles which elevate and rotate the ribs, and thereby cause
enlargement of the thorax in its antero-posterior and lateral diameters.
There is, however, one muscle which forms the floor of the thoracic cage
called the diaphragm that requires more than a passing notice (_vide_ fig.
2), inasmuch as it is the most effective agent in the expansion of the
chest. It consists of a central tendinous portion, above which lies the
heart, contained in its bag or pericardium; on either side attached to the
central tendon on the one hand and to the spine behind, to the last rib
laterally, and to the cartilages of the lowest six ribs anteriorly, is a
sheet of muscle fibres which form on either side of the chest a dome-like
partition between the lungs and the abdominal cavity (_vide_ fig. 2). The
phrenic nerve arises from the spinal cord in the upper cervical region and
descends through the neck and chest to the diaphragm; it is therefore a
special nerve of respiration. There are two--one on each side supplying the
two sheets of muscle fibres. When innervation currents flow down these
nerves the two muscular halves of the diaphragm contract, and the floor of
the chest on either side descends; thus the vertical diameter increases.
Now the elastic lungs are covered with a smooth pleura which is reflected
from them on to the inner side of the wall of the thorax, leaving no space
between; consequently when the chest expands in all three directions the
elastic lungs expand correspondingly. But when either voluntarily or
automatically the nerve currents that cause contraction of the muscles of
expansion cease, the elastic structures of the lungs and thorax, including
the muscles, recoil, the diaphragm ascends, and the ribs by the force of
gravity tend to fall into the position of rest. During expansion of the
chest a negative pressure is established in the air passages and air flows
into them from without. In contraction of the chest there is a positive
pressure in the air passages, and air is expelled; in normal quiet
breathing an ebb and flow of air takes place rhythmically and
subconsciously; thus in the ordinary speaking of conversation we do not
require to exercise any voluntary effort in controlling the breathing, but
the orator and more especially the singer uses his knowledge and experience
in the voluntary control of his breath, and he is thus enabled to use his
vocal instrument in the most effective manner.

[Illustration: FIG. 2

Adapted from Quain's "Anatomy" by permission of Messrs. Longmans, Green &

[Description: FIG. 2.--Diagram modified from Quain's "Anatomy" to show the
attachment of the diaphragm by fleshy pillars to the spinal column, to the
rib cartilages, and lower end of the breastbone and last rib. The muscular
fibres, intercostals, and elevators of the ribs are seen, and it will be
observed that their action would be to rotate and elevate the ribs. The
dome-like shape of the diaphragm is seen, and it can be easily understood
that if the central tendon is fixed and the sheet of muscle fibres on
either side contracts, the floor of the chest on either side will flatten,
allowing the lungs to expand vertically. The joints of the ribs with the
spine can be seen, and the slope of the surface of the ribs is shown, so
that when elevation and rotation occur the chest will be increased in
diameter laterally.]

[Illustration: FIG 3]

[Description: FIG 3.--Diagram after Barth to illustrate the changes in the
diaphragm, the chest, and abdomen in ordinary inspiration _b-b_', and
expiration _a-a_', and in voluntary inspiration _d-d_' and expiration
_c-c_', for vocalisation In normal breathing the position of the chest and
abdomen in inspiration and expiration is represented respectively by the
lines _b_ and _a_; the position of the diaphragm is represented by _b_' and
_a_'. In breathing for vocalisation the position of the chest and abdomen
is represented by the lines _d_ and _e_, and the diaphragm by _d_' and
_c_'; it will be observed that in voluntary costal breathing _d-d_ the
expansion of the chest is much greater and also the diaphragm _d_' sinks
deeper, but by the contraction of the abdominal muscles the protrusion of
the belly wall _d_ is much less than in normal breathing _b_.]

A glance at the diagram (fig. 3) shows the changes in the shape of the
thorax in normal subconscious automatic breathing, and the changes in the
voluntary conscious breathing of vocalisation. It will be observed that
there are marked differences: when voluntary control is exercised, the
expansion of the chest is greater in all directions; moreover, by voluntary
conscious effort the contraction of the chest is much greater in all
directions; the result is that a larger amount of air can be taken into the
bellows and a larger amount expelled. The mind can therefore bring into
play at will more muscular forces, and so control and regulate those forces
as to produce infinite variations in the pressure of the air in the
sound-pipe of the vocal instrument. But the forces which tend to contract
the chest and drive the air out of the lungs would be ineffective if there
were not simultaneously the power of closing the sound-pipe; this we shall
see is accomplished by the synergic action of the muscles which make tense
and approximate the vocal cords. Although the elastic recoil of the lungs
and the structure of the expanded thorax is the main force employed in
normal breathing and to some extent in vocalisation (for it keeps up a
constant steady pressure), the mind, by exercising control over the
continuance of elevation of the ribs and contraction of the abdominal
muscles, regulates the force of the expiratory blast of air so as to employ
the bellows most efficiently in vocalisation. Not only does the contraction
of the abdominal muscles permit of control over the expulsion of the air,
but by fixing the cartilages of the lowest six ribs it prevents the
diaphragm drawing them upwards and _inwards_ (_vide_ fig. 2). The greatest
expansion is just above the waistband (_vide_ fig. 3). We are not conscious
of the contraction of the diaphragm; we are conscious of the position of
the walls of the chest and abdomen; the messages the mind receives relating
to the amount of air in the bellows at our disposal come from sensations
derived from the structures forming the wall of the chest and abdomen, viz.
the position of the ribs, their degree of elevation and forward protrusion
combined with the feeling that the ribs are falling back into the position
of rest; besides there is the feeling that the abdominal muscles can
contract no more--a feeling which should never be allowed to arise before
we become conscious of the necessity of replenishing the supply of air.
This should be effected by quickly drawing in air through the nostrils
without apparent effort and to as full extent as opportunity offers between
the phrases. By intelligence and perseverance the guiding sense which
informs the singer of the amount of air at his disposal, and when and how
it should be replenished and voluntarily used, is of fundamental importance
to good vocalisation. Collar-bone breathing is deprecated by some
authorities, but I see no reason why the apices of the lungs should not be
expanded, and seeing the frequency with which tubercle occurs in this
region, it might by improving the circulation and nutrition be even
beneficial. The proper mode of breathing comes almost natural to some
individuals; to others it requires patient cultivation under a teacher who
understands the art of singing and the importance of the correct methods of

The more powerfully the abdominal muscles contract the laxer must become
the diaphragm muscle; and by the law of the reciprocal innervation of
antagonistic muscles it is probable that with the augmented innervation
currents to the expiratory centre of the medulla there is a corresponding
inhibition of the innervation currents to the inspiratory centre (_vide_
fig. 18, page 101). These centres in the medulla preside over the centres
in the spinal cord which are in direct relation to the inspiratory and
expiratory muscles. It is, however, probable that there is a direct
relation between the brain and the spinal nerve centres which control the
costal and abdominal muscles independently of the respiratory centres of
the medulla oblongata (_vide_ fig. 18). The best method of breathing is
that which is most natural; there should not be a protruded abdomen on the
one hand, nor an unduly inflated chest on the other hand; the maximum
expansion should involve the lower part of the chest and the uppermost part
of the abdomen on a level of an inch or more below the tip of the
breastbone; the expansion of the ribs should be maintained as long as
possible. In short phrases the movement may be limited to an ascent of the
diaphragm, over which we have not the same control as we have of the
elevation of the ribs; but it is better to reserve the costal air, over
which we have more voluntary control, for maintaining a continuous pressure
and for varying the pressure.


I will now pass on to the consideration of the voice-box, or larynx,
containing the reed portion of the vocal instrument.

[Illustration: FIG. 4 From Behnke's "Mechanism of the Human Voice"]

[Description: FIG. 4.--The cartilages of the larynx or voice-box. A large
portion of the shield cartilage on the right side has been cut away, in
order to show the two pyramid cartilages; these are seen jointed by their
bases with the ring cartilage; anteriorly are seen the two vocal processes
which give attachment to the two vocal cords (white ligaments), which
extend across the voice-box to be inserted in front in the angle of the
shield cartilage. Groups of muscles pull upon these cartilages in such a
manner as to increase, or diminish, the chink between the vocal cord in
ordinary inspiration and expiration; in phonation a group of muscles
approximate the cords, while another muscle makes them tense.]

_The Larynx_.--The larynx is situated at the top of the sound-pipe (trachea
or windpipe), and consists of a framework of cartilages articulated or
jointed with one another so as to permit of movement (_vide_ fig. 4). The
cartilages are called by names which indicate their form and shape: (1)
shield or thyroid, (2) the ring or cricoid, and (3) a pair of pyramidal or
arytenoid cartilages. Besides these there is the epiglottis, which from its
situation above the glottis acts more or less as a lid. The shield
cartilage is attached by ligaments and muscles to the bone (hyoid) in the
root of the tongue, a pair of muscles also connect this cartilage with the
sternum or breastbone. The ring cartilage is attached to the windpipe by
its lower border; by its upper border in front it is connected with the
inner surface of the shield cartilage by a ligament; it is also jointed on
either side with the shield cartilage. The posterior part of the ring
cartilage is much wider than the anterior portion, and seated upon its
upper and posterior rim and articulated with it by separate joints are the
two pyramidal cartilages (_vide_ fig. 4). The two vocal cords as shown in
the diagram are attached to the shield cartilage in front, their
attachments being close together; posteriorly they are attached to the
pyramidal cartilages. It is necessary, however, to describe a little more
fully these attachments. Extending forwards from the base of the pyramids
are processes termed the "vocal processes," and these processes give
attachment to the elastic fibres of which the vocal cords mainly consist.
There are certain groups of muscles which by their attachment to the
cartilages of the larynx and their action on the joints are able to
separate the vocal cords or approximate them; these are termed respectively
abductor and adductor muscles (figs. 5 and 6). In normal respiration the
posterior ring-pyramidal muscles contract synergically with the muscles of
inspiration and by separating the vocal cords open wide the glottis,
whereby there is a free entrance of air to the windpipe; during expiration
this muscle ceases to contract and the aperture of the glottis becomes
narrower (_vide_ fig. 10). But when the pressure is required to be raised
in the air passages, as in the simple reflex act of coughing or in
vocalisation, the glottis must be closed by approximation of the vocal
cords, and this is effected by a group of muscles termed the adductors,
which pull on the pyramid cartilages in such a way that the vocal processes
are drawn towards one another in the manner shown in fig. 7. Besides the
abductor and adductor groups of muscles, there is a muscle which acts in
conjunction with the adductor group, and by its attachments to the shield
cartilage above and the ring cartilage below makes tense the vocal cords
(_vide_ fig. 5); it is of interest to note that this muscle has a separate
nerve supply to that of the abductor and adductor muscles.

[Illustration: FIG. 5

Diagram after Testut (modified), showing the larynx from the front.]

[Illustration: FIG. 6

Diagram after Testut (modified), showing the posterior view of the larynx
with the muscles.]

On the top of the pyramid cartilages, in the folds of mucous membrane which
cover the whole inside of the larynx are two little pieces of yellow
elastic cartilage; and in the folds of mucous membrane uniting these
cartilages with the leaf-like lid cartilage (epiglottis) is a thin sheet of
muscle fibres which acts in conjunction with the fibres between the two
pyramid cartilages (_vide_ fig. 8). I must also direct especial attention
to a muscle belonging to the adductor group, which has another important
function especially related to vocalisation: it is sometimes called the
vocal muscle; it runs from the pyramid cartilage to the shield cartilage;
it apparently consists of two portions, an external, which acts with the
lateral ring-shield muscle and helps to approximate the vocal cords; and
another portion situated within the vocal cord itself, which by contracting
shortens the vocal cord and probably allows only the free edge to vibrate;
moreover, when not contracting, by virtue of the perfect elasticity of
muscle the whole thickness of the cord, including this vocal muscle, can be
stretched and thrown into vibration (_vide_ fig. 8). In the production of
chest notes the whole vocal cord is vibrating, the difference in the pitch
depending upon the tension produced by the contraction of the tensor
(ring-shield) muscle. When, however, the change from the lower to the upper
register occurs, as the photographs taken by Dr. French and reproduced in a
lecture at the Royal Institution by Sir Felix Semon show, the vocal cords
become shorter, thicker, and rounder; and this can be explained by
supposing that the inner portion of the vocal muscle contracts at the break
from the lower to the upper register (_vide_ fig. 11); and that as a result
only the free edges of the cords vibrate, causing a change in the quality
of the tone. As the scale is ascended the photographs show that the cords
become longer and tenser, which we may presume is due to the continued
action of the tensor muscle. Another explanation is possible, viz. that in
the lower register the two edges of the vocal cords are comparatively thick
strings. When the break occurs, owing to the contraction of the inner
portion of the vocal muscle, we have a transformation into thin strings, at
first short, but as the pitch of the note rises, the thin string formed by
the edge of the vocal cord is stretched and made longer by the tensor. It
should be mentioned that Aikin and many other good authorities do not hold
this view.

[Illustration: FIG. 7 A-A', Ring cartilage. B, Shield cartilage. 1, Pyramid
cartilage. 2, Vocal process, with 2', its position after contraction of
muscle. 3, Postero-external base of pyramid, giving attachment to abductor
and adductor muscles at rest, with 3', its new position after contraction
of the muscles. 4, Centre of movement of the pyramid cartilage. 5, The
vocal cords at rest. 5', Their new position after contraction of the
abductor and adductor muscles, respectively seen in I and II. 6, The
interligamentous, with 7, the intercartilaginous chink of the glottis. 8,
The arrow indicating respectively in I and II the action of the abductor
and adductor in opening and closing the glottis.]

[Description: FIG. 7.--Diagram after Testut (modified), showing: (i.) the
action of the abductor muscle upon the pyramid cartilages in separating the
vocal cords; (ii.) the action of the adductor muscles in approximating the
vocal cords.]

[Illustration: FIG. 8]

[Description: FIG. 8.--Diagram after Testut (modified) with hinder portion
of larynx and windpipe cut away, showing the conical cavity of the
sound-pipe below the vocal cords. The ventricle above the vocal cords is
seen with the surface sloping upwards towards the mid line.]

A diagram showing a vertical section through the middle of the larynx at
right angles to the vocal cords shows some important facts in connection
with the mechanism of this portion of the vocal instrument (_vide_ fig. 8).
It will be observed that the sound-pipe just beneath the membranous reed
assumes the form of a cone, thus the expired air is driven like a wedge
against the closed glottis. Another fact of importance may be observed,
that above the vocal cords on either side is a pouch called a ventricle,
and the upper surfaces of the vocal cords slope somewhat upwards from
without inwards, so that the pressure of the air from above tends to press
the edges together. The force of the expiratory blast of air from below
overcomes the forces which approximate the edges of the cords and throws
them into vibration. With each vibration of the membranous reeds the valve
is opened, and as in the case of the siren a little puff of air escapes;
thus successive rhythmical undulations of the air are produced,
constituting the sound waves. The pitch of the note depends upon the number
of waves per second, and the _register_ of the voice therefore depends upon
two factors: (1) the size of the voice-box, or larynx, and the length of
the cords, and (2) the action of the neuro-muscular mechanism whereby the
length, approximation, and tension of the vocal cords can be modified when
singing from the lowest note to the highest note of the register.

Thus the compass of the--

Bass voice is D to f 75- 354 vibs. per sec.
Tenor " c " c'' 133- 562 " "
Contralto " e " g'' 167- 795 " "
Soprano " b " f''' 239-1417 " "

The complete compass of the human voice therefore ranges from about D 75 to
f''' 1417 vibrations per second, but the quality of the same notes varies
in different individuals.

[Illustration: Fig. 9]

[Description: Fig. 9.--_Description of the laryngoscope and its mode of
use_.--The laryngoscope consists of a concave mirror which is fixed on the
forehead with a band in such a way that the right eye looks through the
hole in the middle. This mirror reflects the light from a lamp placed
behind the right side of the patient, who is told to open the mouth and put
out the tongue. The observer holds the tongue out gently with a napkin and
reflects the light from the mirror on his forehead on to the back of the
throat. The small mirror, set at an angle of 45 deg. with the shaft, is of
varying size, from half an inch to one inch in diameter, and may be fixed
in a handle according to the size required. The mirror is warmed to prevent
the moisture of the breath obscuring the image, and it is introduced into
the back of the throat in such a manner that the glottis appears reflected
in it. The light from the lamp is reflected by the concave mirror on to the
small mirror, which, owing to its angle of 45 deg., illuminates the glottis and
reflects the image of the glottis with the vocal cords.]

The discovery of the laryngoscope by Garcia enabled him by its means to see
the vocal cords in action and how the reed portion of the vocal instrument
works (_vide_ fig. 9 and description). The chink of the glottis or the
opening between the vocal cords as seen in the mirror of the laryngoscope
varies in size. The vocal cords or ligaments appear dead white and contrast
with the surrounding pink mucous membrane covering the remaining structures
of the larynx. Fig. 10 shows the appearance of the glottis in respiration
and vocalisation. The vocal cords of a man are about seven-twelfths of an
inch in length, and those of a boy (before the voice breaks) or of a woman
are about five-twelfths of an inch; and there is a corresponding difference
in size of the voice-box or larynx. This difference in length of the vocal
cords accounts for the difference in the pitch of the speaking voice and
the register of the singing voice of the two sexes. We should also expect a
constant difference in the length of the cords of a tenor and a bass in the
male, and of the contralto and soprano in the female, but such is not the
case. It is not possible to determine by laryngoscopic examination what is
the natural register of an individual's voice. The vocal cords may be as
long in the tenor as in the bass; this shows what an important part the
resonator plays in the timbre or quality of the voice. Still, it is
generally speaking true, that a small larynx is more often associated with
a higher pitch of voice than a large larynx.

[Illustration: Fig. 10]

[Description: Fig. 10.--Diagram (modified from Aikin) illustrating the
condition of the vocal cords in respiration, whispering, and phonation. (1)
Ordinary breathing; the cords are separated and the windpipe can be seen.
(2) Deep inspiration; the cords are widely separated and a greater extent
of the windpipe is visible. (3) During the whisper the vocal cords are
separated, leaving free vent for air through the glottis; consequently
there is no vibration and no sound produced by the cords. (4) The soft
vocal note, or aspirate, shows that the chink of the glottis is not
completely closed, and especially the rima respiratoria (the space between
the vocal processes of the pyramidal cartilages.) (5) Strong vocal note,
produced in singing notes of the lower register. (6) Strong vocal note,
produced in singing notes of the higher register.]

Musical notes are comprised between 27 and 4000 vibrations per second. The
extent and limit of the voice may be given as between C 65 vibrations per
second and f''' 1417 vibrations per second, but this is most exceptional,
it is seldom above c''' 1044 per second. The compass of a well-developed
singer is about two to two and a half octaves. The normal pitch, usually
called the "diapason normal," is that of a tuning-fork giving 433
vibrations per second. Now what does the laryngoscope teach regarding the
change occurring in the vocal cords during the singing of the two to two
and a half octaves? If the vocal cords are observed by means of the
laryngoscope during phonation, no change is _seen_, owing to the rapidity
of the vibrations, although a scale of an octave may be sung; in the lower
notes, however, the vocal cords are seen not so closely approximated as in
the very high notes. This may account for the difficulty experienced in
singing high notes piano. Sir Felix Semon in a Friday evening lecture at
the Royal Institution showed some remarkable photographs, by Dr. French, of
the larynx of two great singers, a contralto and a high soprano, during
vocalisation, which exhibit changes in the length of the vocal cords and in
the size of the slit between them. Moreover, the photographs show that the
vocal cords at the break from the lower to the upper register exhibit
characteristic changes.

[Illustration: Fig. 11]

[Description: Fig. 11.--Drawings after Dr. French's photographs in Sir
Felix Semon's lecture on the Voice, (1) Appearance of vocal cords of
contralto singer when singing F# to D; it will be observed that the cords
increase in length with the rise of the pitch, presumably the whole cord is
vibrating, including the inner strand of the vocal muscle. At the break
from D to E (3 and 4) the cords suddenly become shorter and thicker;
presumably the inner portion of the vocal muscle (thyro-arytenoid) is
contracting strongly, permitting only the edge of the cord to vibrate. For
the next octave the cords are stretched longer and longer; this may be
explained by the increasing force of contraction of the tensor muscle
stretching the cords and the contained muscle, which is also contracted.]

When we desire to produce a particular vocal sound, a mental perception of
the sound, which is almost instinctive in a person with a musical ear,
awakens by association motor centres in the brain that preside over the
innervation currents necessary for the approximation and minute alterations
in the tensions of the vocal cords requisite for the production of a
particular note. We are not conscious of any kinaesthetic (sense of
movement) guiding sensations from the laryngeal muscles, but we are of the
muscles of the tongue, lips, and jaw in the production of articulate
sounds. It is remarkable that there are hardly any sensory nerve endings in
the vocal cords and muscles of the larynx, consequently it is not
surprising to find that the ear is the guiding sense for correct modulation
of the loudness and pitch of the speaking as well as the singing voice. In
reading music, visual symbols produced by one individual awakens in the
mind of another mental auditory perceptions of sound varying in pitch,
duration, and loudness. Complex neuro-muscular mechanisms preside over
these two functions of the vocal instrument. The instrument is under the
control of the will as regards the production of the notes in loudness and
duration, but not so as regards pitch; for without the untaught instinctive
sense of the mental perception of musical sounds correct intonation cannot
be obtained by any effort of the will. The untaught ability of correct
appreciation of variations in the pitch of notes and the memorising and
producing of the same vocally are termed a musical ear. A gift even to a
number of people of poor intelligence, it may or may not be associated with
the sense of rhythm, which, as we have seen, is dependent upon the mental
perception of successive movements associated with a sound. Both correct
modulation and rhythm are essential for melody. The sense of hearing is the
primary incitation to the voice. This accounts for the fact that children
who have learnt to speak, and suffer in early life with ear disease, lose
the use of their vocal instrument unless they are trained by lip language
and imitation to speak. The remarkable case of Helen Keller, who was born
blind and deaf, and yet learned by the tactile motor sensibility of the
fingers to feel the vibrations of the vocal organ and translate the
perceptions of these vibrations into movements of the lips and tongue
necessary for articulation, is one of the most remarkable facts in
physiological psychology. Her voice, however, was monotonous, and lacked
the modulation in pitch of a musical voice. Music meant little to her but
beat and pulsation. She could not sing and she could not play the piano.
The fact that Beethoven composed some of his grandest symphonies when stone
deaf shows the extraordinary musical faculty he must have preserved to bear
in his mind the grand harmonies that he associated with visual symbols.
Still, it is impossible that Beethoven, had he been deaf in his early
childhood, could ever have developed into the great musical genius that he

[Illustration: Fig. 12]

[Description: Fig. 12.--Diagram showing the position of the larynx in
respect to the resonator and tongue. The position of the vocal cords is
shown, but really they would not be seen unless one half of the shield
cartilage were cut away so as to show the interior of the voice-box. Sound
vibrations are represented issuing from the larynx, and here they become
modified by the resonator; the throat portion of the resonator is shown
continuous with the nasal passages; the mouth portion of the resonator is
not in action, owing to the closure of the jaw and lips. The white spaces
in the bones of the skull are air sinuses. In such a condition of the
resonator, as in humming a tune, the sound waves must issue by the nasal
passages, and therefore they acquire a nasal character.]


_The Resonator_.--The resonator is an irregular-shaped tube with a bend in
the middle; the vertical portion is formed by the larynx and pharynx, the
horizontal by the mouth. The length of the resonator, from the vocal cords
to the lips, is about 6.5 to 7 inches (_vide_ fig. 12). The walls of the
vertical portion are formed by the vertebral column and the muscles of the
pharynx behind, the cartilages of the larynx and the muscles of the pharynx
at the sides, and the thyroid cartilage, the epiglottis, and the root of
the tongue in front; these structures form the walls of the throat and are
all covered with a mucous membrane. This portion of the resonator passage
can be enlarged to a slight degree by traction upon the larynx below
(sterno-thyroid muscle), by looseness of the pharyngeal muscles, and still
more by the forward placement of the tongue; the converse is true as
regards diminution in size. The horizontal portion of the resonator tube
(the mouth) has for its roof the soft palate and the hard palate, the
tongue for its floor, and cheeks, lips, jaw, and teeth for its walls. The
interior dimensions of this portion of the resonator can be greatly
modified by movements of the jaw, the soft palate, and the tongue, while
the shape and form of its orifice is modified by the lips.

There are accessory resonator cavities, and the most important of these is
the nose; its cavity is entirely enclosed in bone and cartilage,
consequently it is immovable; this cavity may or may not be closed to the
sonorous waves by the elevation of the soft palate. When the mouth is
closed, as in the production of the consonant m, e.g. in singing _me_, a
nasal quality is imparted to the voice, and if a mirror be placed under the
nostrils it will be seen by the vapour on it that the sound waves have
issued from the nose; consequently the nasal portion of the resonator has
imparted its characteristic quality to the sound. The air sinuses in the
upper jaws, frontal bones, and sphenoid bones act as accessory resonators;
likewise the bronchi, windpipe, and lungs; but all these are of lesser
importance compared with the principal resonating chamber of the mouth and
throat. If the mouth be closed and a tune be hummed the whole of the
resonating chambers are in action, and the sound being emitted from the
nose the nasal quality is especially marked. But no sound waves are
produced unless the air finds an exit; thus a tune cannot be hummed if both
mouth and nostrils are closed.

From the description that I have given above, it will be observed that the
mouth, controlled by the movements of the jaw, tongue, and lips, is best
adapted for the purpose of articulate speech; and that the throat, which is
less actively movable and contains the vocal cords, must have greater
influence on the sound vibrations without participating in the articulation
of words. While the vocal cords serve the purpose of the reed, the
resonator forms the body of the vocal instrument. Every sound passes
through it; every vowel and consonant in the production of syllables and
words must be formed by it, and the whole character and individual
qualities of the speaking as well as the singing voice depend in great part
upon the manner in which it is used.

The acoustic effect is due to the resonances generated by hollow spaces of
the resonator, and Dr. Aikin, in his work on "The Voice," points out that
we can study the resonances yielded by these hollow spaces by whispering
the vocal sounds; but it is necessary to put the resonator under favourable
conditions for the most efficient production. When a vowel sound is
whispered the glottis is open (_vide_ fig. 10) and the vocal cords are not
thrown into vibration; yet each vowel sound is associated with a distinct
musical note, and we can produce a whole octave by alteration of the
resonator in whispering the vowel sounds. In order to do this efficiently
it is necessary to use the bellows and the resonator to the best advantage;
therefore, after taking a deep inspiration in the manner previously
described, the air is expelled through the open glottis into the resonating
cavity, which (as fig. 13 shows) is placed under different conditions
according to the particular vowel sound whispered. In all cases the mouth
is opened, keeping the front teeth about one inch apart; the tongue should
be in contact with the lower dental arch and lie as flat on the floor of
the mouth as the production of the particular vowel sound will permit. When
this is done, and a vowel sound whispered, a distinctly resonant note can
be heard. Helmholtz and a number of distinguished German physicists and
physiologists have analysed the vowel sounds in the whispering voice and
obtained very different results. If their experiments show nothing else,
they certainly indicate that there are no universally fixed resonances for
any particular vowel sound. Some of the discrepancies may (as Aikin points
out) be due to the conditions of the experiment not being conducted under
the same conditions. Aikin, indeed, asserts that if the directions given
above be fulfilled, there will be variations between full-grown men and
women of one or two tones, and between different men and different women of
one or two semi-tones, and not much more. As he truly affirms, if the tube
is six inches long a variation of three-quarters of an inch could only make
a difference of a whole tone in the resonance, and he implies that the
different results obtained by these different experimenters were due to the
faulty use of the resonator.

In ordinary conversation much faulty pronunciation is overlooked so long as
the words themselves are intelligible, but in singing and public speaking
every misuse of the resonator is magnified and does not pass unnoticed.
Increased loudness of the voice will not improve its carrying power if the
resonator is improperly used; it will often lead to a rise of pitch and the
production of a harsh, shrill tone associated with a sense of strain and
effort. Aikin claims that by studying the whispering voice we can find for
every vowel sound that position of the resonator which gives us the maximum
of resonance. By percussing[A] the resonator in the position for the
production of the various vowel sounds you will observe a distinct
difference in the pitch of the note produced. I will first produce the
vowel sound _oo_ and proceed with the vowel sounds to _i_; you will observe
that the pitch rises an octave; that this is due to the changes in the form
of the resonator is shown when I percuss the resonator in the position of
the different vowel sounds. You will observe that I start the scale of C
with _oo_ on f and proceed through a series of vowel sounds as in
whispering _who_, _owe_, _or_, _on_, _ah_. I rise a fifth from f to c, and
the diagram shows the change in the form of the resonator cavity to be
mainly due to the position of the dorsum of the tongue. Proceeding from
_ah_ to the middle tone of the speaking register, we ascend the scale to
_i_ as in _me_, and the dorsum of the tongue now reaches the roof of the
mouth; but the tongue not only rises, it comes forward, and the front
segment of the resonator is made a little smaller at every step of the
scale while the back segment becomes a little larger. I consider this
diagram of Aikin to be more representative of the changes in the resonator
than the description of Helmholtz, who stated that the form of the
resonator during the production of the vowel sound _u_ and _o_ is that of a
globular flask with a short neck; during the production of _a_ that of a
funnel with the wide extremity directed forward; of _e_ and _i_ that of a
globular flask with a long narrow neck.

[Footnote A: This was done by the lecturer placing his left forefinger on
the outside of the right cheek, then striking it with the tip of the middle
finger of the right hand, just in the same way as he would percuss the

[Illustration: FIG. 13 I & II To face page 47]

[Description: FIG. 13.--Diagram after Aikin.

1. To show position of tongue and lips in the production of the vowel
sounds _a, o, oo_.

2. To show successive positions of the tongue in the production of the
vowel sounds _a, ei, e, i_.]

I have already said that Helmholtz showed that each vowel sound has its
particular overtones, and the quality or "timbre" of the voice depends upon
the proportional strength of these overtones. Helmholtz was able by means
of resonators to find out what were the overtones for each vowel sound when
a particular note was sung. The flame manometer of Koenig (_vide_ fig. 14)
shows that if the same note be sung with different vowels the serrated
flame image in the mirror is different for each vowel, and if a more
complicated form of this instrument be used (such as I show you in a
picture on the screen) the overtones of the vowel sounds can be analysed.
You will observe that this instrument consists of a number of resonators
placed in front of a series of membranes which cover capsules, each capsule
being connected with a jet of gas.

[Illustration: FIG. 14

Four-sided revolving mirror

Images of gas jets

Resonators, with capsules connected with gas jets]

[Description: FIG. 14.--Koenig's flame manometer. The fundamental note C is
sung on a vowel sound in front of the instrument; the lowest resonator is
proper to that note and the air in it is thrown into corresponding periodic
rhythmical vibrations, which are communicated through an intervening
membrane to the gas in the capsule at the back of the resonator; but the
gas is connected with the lighted jet, the flame of which is reflected in
the mirror, the result being that the flame vibrates. When the mirror is
made to revolve by turning the handle the reflected image shows a number of
teeth corresponding to the number of vibrations produced by the note which
was sung. The remaining resonators of the harmonic series with their
capsules and gas-jets respond in the same manner to the overtones proper to
each vowel sound when the fundamental note is sung.]

Each resonator corresponds from below upwards to the harmonics of the
fundamental note c. In order to know if the sound of the voice contains
harmonics and what they are, it is necessary to sing the fundamental note c
on some particular vowel sound; the resonators corresponding to the
particular harmonics of the vowel sound are thus set in action, and a
glance at the revolving mirror shows which particular gas jets vibrate.
Experiments conducted with this instrument show that the vowel _U=oo_ is
composed of the fundamental note very strong and the third harmonic (viz.
g) is fairly pronounced.

_O_ (_on_) contains the fundamental note, the second harmonic (the octave
c') very strong, and the third and fourth harmonics but weak.

The vowel _A_ (_ah_) contains besides the fundamental note, the second
harmonic, weak; the third, strong; and the fourth, weak.

The vowel _E_ (_a_) has relatively a feeble fundamental note, the octave
above, the second harmonic, is weak, and the third weak; whereas the fourth
is very strong, and the fifth weak.

The vowel _I_ (_ee_) has very high harmonics, especially the fifth, which
is strongly marked.

We see from these facts that there is a correspondence between the
existence of the higher harmonics and the diminished length of the
resonator. They are not the same in all individuals; for they depend also
upon the _timbre_ of the voice of the person pronouncing them, or the
special character of the language used, as well as upon the pitch of the
fundamental notes employed.

Helmholtz inferred that if the particular quality of the vowel sounds is
due to the reinforcement of the fundamental tone by particular overtones,
he ought to be able to produce synthetically these vowel sounds by
combining the series of overtones with the fundamental note. This he
actually accomplished by the use of stopped organ pipes which gave sensibly
simple notes.

* * * * *

Having thus shown that the fundamental note is dependent upon the tension
of the vocal cords--the reed portion of the instrument--and the quality,
timbre, or "klang" upon the resonator, I will pass on to the formation of
syllables and words of articulate speech by the combination of vowel sounds
and consonants.

"The articulate sounds called consonants are sounds produced by the
vibrations of certain easily movable portions of the mouth and throat; and
they have a different sound according as they are accompanied by voice or
not" (Hermann).

The emission of sounds from the resonator may be modified by interruption
or constriction in three situations, at each of which added vibrations may
occur, (1) At the lips, the constriction being formed by the two lips, or
by the upper or lower lip with the lower or upper dental arch. (2) Between
the tongue and the palate, the constriction being caused by the opposition
of the tip of the tongue to the anterior portion of the hard palate or the
posterior surface of the dental arch. (3) At the fauces, the constriction
being due to approximation of the root of the tongue and the soft palate.
Consonants can only be produced in conjunction with a vowel sound,
consequently the air is thrown into sonorous waves of a complex character,
in part dependent upon the shape of the resonator for the production of the
vowel, in part dependent upon the vibrations at each of these situations
mentioned above. Consonants may accordingly be classified as they are
formed at the three places of interruption--lips, teeth, and fauces
respectively: (1) labial; (2) dental; (3) guttural.

The sounds formed at each of the places of interruption are divided into--
1. _Explosives_.--At one of the situations mentioned the resonator is
suddenly opened or closed during the expulsion of air--(_a_) without the
aid of voice, p, t, k; (_b_) with the aid of voice, b, d, g. When one of
these consonants begins a syllable, opening of the resonator is necessary,
e.g. pa; when it ends a syllable, closure is necessary, e.g. ap. No sharp
distinction is possible between p and b, t and d, and k and g if they are

2. _Aspirates_.--The resonator is constricted at one of the points
mentioned so that the current of air either expired or inspired rushes
through a small slit. Here again we may form two classes: (_a_) without the
aid of the voice, f, s (sharp), ch, guttural; (_b_) with the aid of voice,
v, z, y. The consonants s and l are formed when the passage in front is
closed by elevation of the tongue against the upper dental arch so that the
air can only escape at the sides between the molar teeth: sh is formed by
the expulsion of the current of air through two narrow slits, viz. (1)
between the front of the tongue and the hard palate, the other between the
nearly closed teeth. If a space be left between the tip of the tongue and
the upper teeth two consonant sounds can be produced, one without the aid
of the voice--th (hard) as in that; the other with the aid of voice--th
(soft) as in thunder. Ch is a guttural produced near the front of the
mouth, e.g. in Christ, or near the back as in Bach.

3. _Resonants_.--In the production of the consonant m, and sometimes n, the
nasal resonator comes into play because the soft palate is not raised at
all and the sound waves produced in the larynx find a free passage through
the nose, while the mouth portion of the resonator is completely closed by
the lips. The sounds thus produced are very telling in the singing voice.

4. _Vibratory Sounds_.--There are three situations in which the consonant r
may be formed, but in the English language it is produced by the vibration
of the tip of the tongue in the constricted portion of the cavity of the
mouth, formed by the tongue and the teeth.

The consonants have been grouped by Hermann as follows:--

| |Labials.|Dentals. |Gutturals.|
|1. Explosives-- | | | |
|a. Without the voice|P |T |K |
|b. With the voice |B |D |G |
|2. Aspirates-- | | | |
|a. Without the voice|F |S (hard), L, Sh,|Ch |
| | |Th (hard) | |
|b. With the voice |V |Z, L, Th, Zh |Y in yes |
| | |(soft) | |
|3. Resonants |M |N |N (nasal) |
|4. Vibratory sounds|Labial R|Lingual R |Guttural R|

H is the sound produced in the larynx by the quick rushing of the air
through the widely opened glottis.

Hermann's classification which I have given is especially valuable as
regards the speaking voice, but Aikin classifies the consonants from the
singing point of view, according to the more or less complete closure of
the resonator.


Jaw fully open H, L, K, G
" less " T, D, N, R
" nearly closed, lips closed P, B, M
" " " upper lip on lower teeth F, V
" quite closed S, Z, J, N, Ch, Sh

Aikin, moreover, points out that the English language is so full of
closures that it is difficult to keep the resonator open, and that accounts
for one of the principal difficulties in singing it.

"The converse of this may be said of Italian, in which most words end in
pure vowels which keep the resonator open. In fact, it is this circumstance
which has made the Italian language the basis of every point of voice
culture and the producer of so many wonderful singers." As an example
compare the English word 'voice,' which begins with closure and ends with
closure, and the Italian 'voce,' pronounced _voche_, with its two open
vowel sounds. The vowel sound ah on the note c is the middle tone of the
speaking register, and as we know, can be used all day long without
fatigue; therefore in training the voice the endeavour should be made to
develop the register above and below this middle tone. In speaking there is
always a tendency under emotional excitement, especially if associated with
anger, to raise the pitch of the voice, whereas the tender emotions lead
rather to a lowering of the pitch. Interrogation generally leads to a rise
of the pitch; thus, as Helmholtz pointed out, in the following sentence
there is a decided fall in the pitch--"I have been for a walk"; whereas in
"Have you been for a walk?" there is a decided rise of pitch. If you utter
the sentence "Who are you?" there is a very definite rise of pitch on


As I have before remarked, children utter vowel sounds before consonants,
and I used this as an argument that phonation preceded articulation; but
there is another reason for supposing that articulate sounds are of later
development phylogenetically, as well as ontogenetically. Not only are they
more dependent for their proper production on intelligence, but in those
disorders of speech which occur as a result of degenerative processes of
the central nervous system the difficulty of articulate speech precedes
that of phonation. Take, for example, bulbar paralysis, a form of
progressive muscular atrophy, a disease due to a progressive decay and
destruction of the motor nerve cells presiding over the movements of the
tongue, lips, and larynx, hence often called glosso-labial-laryngeal palsy.
In this disease the lips, tongue, throat, and often the larynx are
paralysed on both sides. "The symptoms are, so to speak, grouped about the
tongue as a centre, and it is in this organ that the earliest symptoms are
usually manifested." (Gowers). Imperfect articulation of those sounds in
which the tongue is chiefly concerned, viz. the lingual consonants l, r, n,
and t, causing indistinctness of speech, is the first symptom; the lips
then become affected and there is difficulty in the pronunciation of sounds
in which the lips are concerned, viz. u, o, p, b, and m. Eventually
articulate speech becomes impossible, and the only expression remaining to
the patient is laryngeal phonation, slightly modulated and broken into the
rhythm of formless syllables.

The laryngeal palsy _rarely_ becomes complete. The nervous structures in
the _physiological mechanism_ of speech and phonation are affected in this
disease; but there are degenerative diseases of the brain in which the
_psychical mechanism_ of speech is affected, e.g. General Paralysis of the
Insane, in which the affection of speech and hand-writing is quite
characteristic. There is at first a hesitancy which may only be perceptible
to practised ears, but in which there is no real fault of articulation once
it is started; sometimes preparatory to and during the utterance there is a
tremulous motion about the muscles of the mouth. The hesitation increases,
and instead of a steady flow of modulated, articulate sounds, speech is
broken up into a succession of irregular, jerky, syllabic fragments,
without modulation, and often accompanied by a tremulous vibration of the
voice. Syllables are unconsciously dropped out, blurred, or run into one
another, or imperfectly uttered; especially is difficulty found with
consonants, particularly explosive sounds, b, p, m; again, linguals and
dentals are difficult to utter. Similar defects occur in written as in
vocal speech; the syllables and even the letters are disjointed; there is a
fine tremor in the writing, and inco-ordination in the movements of the
pen. Silent thoughts leave out syllables and words in the framing of
sentences; consequently they are not expressed by the hand. The ideation of
a written or spoken word is based upon the association of the component
syllables, and the difficulty arises primarily from the progressive
impairment of this function of association upon which spoken and written
language so largely depends. Examination of the brain in this disease
explains the cause of the speech trouble and the progressive dementia (loss
of mind) and paralysis with which it is associated. There is a wasting of
the cerebral hemispheres, especially of the frontal lobes, a portion of the
brain which, later on, we shall see is intimately associated with the
function of articulate speech.


Neither vocalisation nor articulation are essentially human. Many of the
lower animals, e.g. parrots, possess the power of articulate speech, and
birds can be taught to pipe tunes. The essential difference between the
articulate speech of the parrot and the human being is that the parrot
merely imitates sounds, it does not employ these articulate sounds to
express judgments; likewise there are imbecile human beings who,
parrot-like, repeat phrases which are meaningless. Articulate speech, even
when employed by a primitive savage, always expresses a judgment. Even in
the simple psychic process of recalling the name aroused by the sight of a
common object in daily use, and in affixing the verbal sign to that object,
a judgment is expressed. But that judgment is based upon innumerable
experiences primarily acquired through our special senses, whereby we have
obtained a knowledge of the properties and uses of the object. This
statement implies that the whole brain is consciously and unconsciously in
action. There is, however, a concentration of psychic action in those
portions of the brain which are essential for articulate speech;
consequently the word, as it is mentally heard, mentally seen, and mentally
felt (by the movements of the jaw, tongue, lips, and soft palate), occupies
the field of clear consciousness; but the concept is also the nucleus of an
immense constellation of subconscious psychic processes with which it has
been associated by experiences in the past. In language, articulate sounds
are generally employed as objective signs attached to objects with which
they have no natural tie.

In considering the relation of the Brain to the Voice we have not only a
physiological but a psychological problem to deal with. Since language is
essentially a human attribute, we can only study the relation of the Brain
to Speech by observations on human beings who during life have suffered
from various speech defects, and then correlate these defects with the
anatomical changes found in the brain after death.

Between the vocal instrument of the primitive savage and that of the most
cultured singer or orator there is little or no discoverable difference;
neither by careful naked-eye inspection of the brain, nor aided by the
highest powers of the microscope, should we be able to discover any
sufficient structural difference to account for the great difference in the
powers of performance of the vocal instrument of the one as compared with
that of the other; nor is there any sufficient difference in size or minute
structure of the brain to account for the vast store of intellectual
experiences and knowledge of the one as compared with the other. The
cultured being descended from cultured beings inherits tendencies whereby
particular modes of motion or vibration which have been experienced by
ancestors are more readily aroused in the central nervous system; when
similar stimuli producing similar modes of motion affect the sense organs.
But suppose there were an island inhabited only by deaf mutes, upon which a
ship was wrecked, and the sole survivors of the wreck were infants who had
never used the voice except for crying, would these infants acquire
articulate speech and musical vocalisation? I should answer, No. They would
only be able to imitate the deaf mutes in their gesture language and
possibly the musical sounds of birds; for the language a child learns is
that which it hears; they might however develop a simple natural language
to express their emotions by vocal sounds. The child of English-speaking
parents would not be able spontaneously to utter English words if born in a
foreign country and left soon after birth amongst people who could not
speak a word of English, although it would possess a potential facility to
speak the language of its ancestors and race.

It is necessary, however, before proceeding further, to say a few words
explanatory of the brain and its structure, and the reader is referred to
figs. 15, 16, 17. The brain consists of (1) the great brain or cerebrum,
(2) the small brain or cerebellum, and (3) the stem of the brain, which is
continuous with the spinal cord. The cerebro-spinal axis consists of grey
matter and white matter. The grey matter covers the surface of the cerebrum
and cerebellum, the white matter being internal. The stem of the brain, the
medulla oblongata, and the spinal cord, consists externally of white
matter, the grey matter being internal. The grey matter consists for the
most part of nerve cells (ganglion cells), and the white matter consists of
nerve fibres; it is white on account of the phosphoretted fatty
sheath--myelin--that covers the essential axial conducting portion of the
nerve fibres. If, however, the nervous system be examined microscopically
by suitable staining methods, it will be found that the grey and white
matters are inseparably connected, for the axial fibres of the nerves in
the white matter are really prolongations of the ganglion cells of the grey
matter; in fact the nervous system consists of countless myriads of nervous
units or neurones; and although there are structural differences in the
nervous units or neurones, they are all constructed on the same general
architectural plan (_vide_ fig. 15). They may be divided into groups,
systems, and communities; but there are structural differences of the
separate systems, groups, and communities which may be correlated with
differences of function. The systems may be divided into: (1) afferent
sensory, including the special senses and general sensibility; (2) motor
efferent; (3) association.

[Illustration: Fig. 15]

[Description: FIG. 15.--Diagrammatic representation of a motor neurone
magnified 300 diameters. Whereas the nerve cell and its branching processes
(the dendrons) form but a minute speck of protoplasm, the nerve fibre which
arises from it, although microscopic in diameter, extends a very long
distance; in some cases it is a yard long; consequently only a minute
fraction of the nerve fibre is represented in the diagram.]

The great brain or cerebrum consists of two halves equal in weight, termed
hemispheres, right and left; and the grey matter covering their surface is
thrown into folds with fissures between, thus increasing enormously the
superficial area of the grey matter and of the neurones of which it
consists without increasing the size of the head. The pattern of the folds
or convolutions shows a general similarity in all human beings, certain
fissures being always present; and around these fissures which are
constantly present are situated fibre systems and communities of neurones
having particular functions (_vide_ fig. 16.) Thus there is a significance
in the convolutional pattern of the brain. But just as there are no two
faces alike, so there are no two brains alike in their pattern; and just as
it is rare to find the two halves of the face quite symmetrical, so the two
halves of the brain are seldom exactly alike in their pattern. Although
each hemisphere is especially related to the opposite half of the body, the
two are unified in function by a great bridge of nerve fibres, called the
corpus callosum, which unites them. The cortical centres or structures with
specialised functions localised in particular regions of one hemisphere are
associated by fibres passing to the same region in the opposite hemisphere
by this bridge.

[Illustration: Fig. 16]

[Description: FIG. 16.--Diagram of the left hemisphere of the brain showing
localised centres, of which the functions are known. It will be observed
that the centres for the special senses, tactile, muscular, hearing, and
vision, are all situated behind the central fissure. The tactile-motor
kinaesthetic sense occupies the whole of the post-central convolution; the
centre for hearing (and in the left hemisphere memory of words) is shown at
the end of the first temporal convolution, but the portion shaded by no
means indicates the whole of the grey cortex which possesses this function;
a large portion of this centre cannot be seen because it lies within the
fissure forming the upper surface of the temporal lobe. Behind this is the
angular gyrus which is connected with visual word memory. The half-vision
centre, and by this is meant the portion of brain which receives
impressions from each half of the field of vision, is situated for the most
part on the inner (unseen) surface of the occipital lobe. In front of the
central fissure is situated the motor area, or that region destruction of
which causes paralysis of the muscles moving the structures of the opposite
half of the body. If the situations indicated by black dots be excited by
an interrupted electric current, movements of the limbs, trunk, and face
occur in the precise order shown, from the great toe to the larynx. In
front of this precentral convolution are the three frontal convolutions,
and it would seem that the functions of these convolutions are higher
movements and attention in fixation of the eyes; moreover, in the lowest
frontal region, indicated by fine dots, we have Broca's convolution, which
is associated with motor speech; above at the base of the second middle
frontal convolution is the portion of cortex in which is localised the
function of writing. Taste and smell functions reside in brain cortex only
a small portion of which can be seen, viz. that at the tip of the temporal

Muscles and groups of muscles on the two sides of the body which invariably
act together may thus be innervated from either hemisphere, e.g. the
muscles of the larynx, the trunk, and upper part of the face.

Gall, the founder of the doctrine of Phrenology, wrecked his fame as a
scientist by associating mental faculties with conditions of the skull
instead of conditions of the brain beneath; nevertheless, he deserves the
highest credit for his discoveries and deductions, for he was the first to
point out that that part of the brain with which psychic processes are
connected must be the cerebral hemispheres. He said, if we compare man with
animals we find that the sensory functions of animals are much finer and
more highly developed than in man; in man, on the other hand, we find
intelligence much more highly developed than in animals. Upon comparing the
corresponding anatomical conditions, we see, he said, that in animals the
deeper situated parts of the brain are relatively more developed and the
hemispheres less developed than in man; in man, the hemispheres so surpass
in development those of animals that we can find no analogy. Gall therefore
argued that we must consider the cerebral hemispheres to be the seat of the
higher functions of the mind. We must moreover acknowledge that the
following deductions of Gall are quite sound: "The convolutions ought to be
recognised as the parts where the instincts, feelings, thoughts, talents,
the affective qualities in general, and the moral and intellectual forces
are exercised." The Paris Academy of Science appointed a commission of
inquiry, May, 1808, which declared the doctrine of Gall to be erroneous.
Gall moreover surmised that the faculty of language lay in the frontal
lobes, and Bouillaud supported Gall's proposition by citing cases in which
speech had been affected during life, and in which after death the frontal
lobes were found to be damaged by disease. A great controversy ensued in
France; popular imagination was stirred up especially in the republic by
the doctrine of Gall, which was an attempt to materialise and localise
psychic processes. Unfortunately Gall's imagination, encouraged by a
widespread wave of popular sympathy, overstepped his judgment and launched
him into speculative hypotheses unsupported by facts. His doctrine of
Phrenology was shown to be absolutely illogical; consequently it was
forgotten that he was the pioneer of cerebral localisation.


The next step in Cerebral Localisation was made by a French physician, Marc
Dax, who first observed that disease of the left half of the cerebrum
producing paralysis of the right half of the body (right hemiplegia) was
associated with loss of articulate speech. This observation led to the
establishment of a most important fact in connection with speech, viz. that
right-handed people use their left cerebral hemisphere as the executive
portion of the brain in speech. Subsequently it was shown that when
left-handed people were paralysed on the left side by disease of the right
hemisphere, they lost their powers of speech. But the great majority of
people are born right-handed, consequently the right hand being especially
the instrument of the mind in the majority of people, the left hemisphere
is the leading hemisphere; and since probably specialisation of function of
the right hand (dexterity) has been so closely associated with that other
instrument of the mind, the vocal instrument of articulate speech, the two
have now become inseparable; for are not graphic signs and verbal signs
intimately interwoven in the development of language and human

What has determined the predominance of the left hemisphere in speech? I
can find no adequate anatomical explanation. There is no difference in
weight of the two hemispheres in normal brains. Moreover, I am unable to
subscribe to the opinion that there is any evidence to show that the left
hemisphere receives a larger supply of blood than the right. Another theory
advanced to explain localisation of speech and right-handedness in the left
hemisphere is that the heavier organs, lung and liver, being on the right
side have determined a mechanical advantage which has led to
right-handedness in the great majority of people. This theory has, however,
been disposed of by the fact that cases in which there has been a complete
transposition of the viscera have not been left-handed in a larger
proportion of cases. The great majority of people, modern and ancient,
civilised and uncivilised, use the right hand by preference. Even graphic
representations on the sun-baked clay records of Assyria, and the drawings
on rocks, tusks, and horns of animals of the flint-weapon men of
prehistoric times show that man was then right-handed. There is a
difference of opinion whether anthropoid apes use the right hand in
preference to the left. Professor Cunningham, who made a special study of
this subject, asserts that they use either hand indifferently; so also does
the infant at first, and the idiot in a considerable number of cases. Then
why should man, even primitive, have chosen the right hand as the
instrument of the mind? Seeing that there is no apparent anatomical reason,
we may ask ourselves the question: Is it the result of an acquired useful
habit to which anatomical conditions may subsequently have contributed as a
co-efficient? Primitive man depended largely upon gesture language, and the
placing of the hand over the heart is universally understood to signify
love and fidelity. Uneducated deaf mutes, whose only means of communicating
with their fellow-men is by gestures, not only use this sign, but imply
hatred also by holding the hand over the heart accompanied by the sign of
negation. Moreover, pointing to the heart accompanied by a cry of pain or
joy would indicate respectively death of an enemy or friend. Again,
primitive man protected himself from the weapons of his enemies by holding
the shield in his left hand, thus covering the heart and leaving the right
hand free to wield his spear. The question whether it would have been to
his advantage to use either hand indifferently for spear and shield has
been, to my mind, solved by the fact that in the long procession of ages
evolution has determined right-handed specialisation as being more
advantageous to the progress of mankind than ambidexterity.
Right-handedness is an inherited character in the same sense as the
potential power of speech.


In 1863 Broca showed the importance in all right-handed people (that is in
about ninety-five per cent of all human beings) of the third _left_ frontal
convolution for speech (_vide_ figs. 16 and 17); when this is destroyed by
disease, although the patient can understand what is said and can
understand written and printed language, the power of articulate speech is
lost. _Motor Aphasia_. This portion of the brain is concerned with the
revival of the motor images, and has been termed by Dr. Bastian "the
glosso-kinaesthetic centre," or the cortical grey matter, in which the
images of the sense of movement of the lips and tongue are formed (_vide_
fig. 17). A destruction of a similar portion of the cortex in a
right-handed person produces no loss of speech; but if the person is
left-handed there is aphasia, because he, being left-handed, uses the third
_right_ inferior frontal convolution for speech. These facts have for long
been accepted by most neurologists, but recently doubts have been cast upon
this fundamental principle of cerebral localisation by a most distinguished
French neurologist, M. Marie; he has pointed out that a destructive lesion
of the cortex may be accompanied by subcortical damage, which interrupts
fibres coming from other parts of the brain connected with speech.

In the study of speech defects it is useful to employ a diagram; a certain
part of the brain corresponds to the _Speech Zone_ there indicated, and
lesions injuring any part of this area in the left hemisphere cause speech
defects (_vide_ fig. 17). All neurologists, M. Marie included, admit this,
and the whole question therefore is: Is a destruction of certain limited
regions of the superficial grey matter the cause of different forms of
speech defects, or are they not due more to the destruction of subcortical
systems of fibres, which lie beneath this cortical speech zone?

There is a certain portion of the speech zone which is assumed to be
connected with the revival of written or printed language, and is called
the _visual word-centre_. There is another region connected with the memory
of spoken words--the _auditory word-centre_; you will observe that it is
situated in the posterior third of the first temporal convolution, but this
does not comprise nearly the whole of it, for there is an extensive surface
of grey matter lying unseen within the fissure, called the transverse
convolutions, or gyri. Lesions of either of these regions give rise to
_Sensory Aphasia_, which means a loss of speech due to inability to revive
in memory the articulate sounds which serve as verbal symbols, or the
graphic signs which serve as visual symbols for language.

[Illustration: FIG. 17]

[Description: FIG. 17.--Diagram to illustrate the Speech Zone of the left
hemisphere (Bastian). This scheme is used to explain the mechanism of
speech, but probably the centres are not precisely limited, as shown in the
diagram; it serves, however, to explain disorders of speech. Destruction of
the brain substance in front of the central fissure gives rise to what is
termed Motor Aphasia and Motor Agraphia, because the patient no longer
recalls the images of the movements necessary for expressing himself in
articulate speech or by writing. Destructive lesions behind the central
fissure may damage the portion of the brain connected with the mental
perception of the sounds of articulate language, or the portion of the
brain connected with the mental perception of language in the form of
printed or written words--Sensory Aphasia; the former entails inability to
speak, the latter inability to read.

This speech zone acts as a whole, and many disorders of speech may arise
from destructive lesions within its limits. It has a special arterial
supply, viz. the middle cerebral, which divides into two main branches--an
anterior, which supplies the motor portion, and a posterior, which supplies
the posterior sensory portion. The anterior divides into two branches and
the posterior into three branches, consequently various limited portions of
the speech zone may be deprived of blood supply by blocking of one of these
branches. The speech zone of the left hemisphere directly controls the
centres in the medulla oblongata that preside over articulation and
phonation; innervation currents are represented by the arrows coming from
the higher to the lower centres.]

These several cortical regions are connected by systems of subcortical
fibres to two regions in front of the ascending frontal convolution (_vide_
fig. 17), called respectively the "glosso-kinaesthetic" (sense of movement
of tongue) and the "cheiro-kinaesthetic" (sense of movement of hand) centres.
Now a person may become hemiplegic and lose his speech owing either to the
blood clotting in a diseased vessel, or to detachment of a small clot from
the heart, which, swept into the circulation, may plug one of the arteries
of the brain. The arteries branch and supply different regions,
consequently a limited portion of the great brain may undergo destruction,
giving rise to certain localising symptoms, according to the situation of
the area which has been deprived of its blood supply. Upon the death of the
patient, a correlation of the symptoms observed during life and the loss of
brain substance found at the _post-mortem_ examination has enabled
neurologists to associate certain parts of the brain surface with certain
functions; but M. Marie very rightly says: None of the older observations
by Broca and others can be accepted because they were not examined by
methods which would reveal the extent of the damage; the only cases which
should be considered as scientifically reliable are those in which a
careful examination by sections and microscopic investigation have
determined how far subcortical structures and systems of fibres uniting
various parts of the cortex in the speech zone have been damaged. Marie
maintains that the speech zone cannot be separated into these several
centres, and that destruction of Broca's convolution does not cause loss of
speech (_vide_ figs. 16, 17). There are at present two camps--those who
maintain the older views of precise cortical centres, and those who follow
Marie and insist upon a revision.

Herbert Spencer says that "our intellectual operations are indeed mostly
confined to the auditory feelings as integrated into words and the visual
feelings as integrated into ideas of objects, their relations and their

Stricker by introspection and concentration of attention upon his own
speech-production came to the conclusion that the primary revival of words
was by the feeling of movements of the muscles of articulation; but there
is a fallacy here, for the more the attention is concentrated upon any
mental process the more is the expressive side brought into prominence in
consciousness. This can be explained by the fact that there is in
consequence of attention an increased outflow of innervation currents to
special lower executive centres, thence to the muscles, but every change of
tension in the speech muscles is followed by reciprocal incoming
impressions appertaining to the sense and feeling of the movement. The more
intense the sense of movement, the greater will be the effect upon
consciousness. In fact, a person who reads and thinks by articulating the
words, does so because experience has taught him that he can concentrate
his attention more perfectly; therefore his memory or understanding of the
subject read or thought of will be increased. Very many people think and
commit to memory by this method of concentrating attention; they probably
do not belong to the quick, perceptive, imaginative class, but rather to
those who have power of application and who have educated their minds by
close voluntary attention. Galton found a large proportion of the Fellows
of the Royal Society were of this motor type. But the fact that certain
individuals make use of this faculty more than others does not destroy the
arguments in favour of the primary revival of words in the great majority
of persons by a subconscious process in the auditory centre, which is
followed immediately by correlated revival of sensori-motor images.
Although the sensori-motor images of speech can be revived, it is almost
impossible without moving the hand to revive kinaesthetic impressions
concerned in writing a word. Both Ballet and Stricker admit this fact, and
it tends to prove that the sense of hearing is the primary incitation to

Charcot in reference to the interpretation of speech defects divided
persons into four classes--auditives, visuals, motors, and indifferents.
There are really no separate classes, but only different kinds of
word-memory in different degrees of excellence as regards the first three;
and as regards the fourth there is no one kind of memory developed to a
preponderating degree. Bastian doubts the second class, but does not deny
that the visual type may exist; for Galton has undoubtedly shown that
visual memory and power of recall of visual word images varies immensely in
different individuals, and it is unquestionable that certain individuals
possess the visualising faculty to an extraordinary degree; some few,
moreover, can see mentally every word that is uttered; they give their
attention to the visual symbolic equivalent and not to the auditory. Such
persons may, as Ribot supposes, habitually think and represent objects by
visual typographic images. Lord Macaulay and Sir James Paget were notable
possessors of this visualising faculty. The former is said to have been
able to read a column of "The Times" and repeat it _verbatim_; the latter
could deliver his lectures _verbatim_ as he had written them. Both saw
mentally the print or MS. in front of them.

Nevertheless it is a question of degree how much motor images enter into
silent thought and into the primary revival of words in different
individuals. Mach in "Analysis of Sensations" says: "It is true that in my
own case words (of which I think) reverberate loudly in my ear. Moreover, I
have no doubt that thoughts may be directly excited by the ringing of a
house-bell, by the whistle of a locomotive, etc., that small children and
even dogs understand words which they cannot repeat. Nevertheless I have
been convinced by Stricker that the ordinary and most familiar, though not
the only possible way, by which speech is comprehended is really _motor_
and that we should be badly off if we were without it. I can cite
corroborations of this view from my own experience. I frequently see
strangers who are endeavouring to follow my remarks slightly moving their


Since destructive lesions of the speech zone of the left hemisphere in
right-handed persons leads to inability to revive the memory pictures of
the sounds of words as heard in ordinary speech, the revival of visual
impressions as seen in printed or written characters, and of the
kinaesthetic (sense of movement) impressions concerned with the alterations
of the minute tensions of the muscle structures employed in the
articulation of words, it must be presumed that the left hemisphere in
right-handed persons is dominant in speech and silent thought; it may even
dominate the use of the left hand for many movements. But does not the
right hemisphere take a part? Yes; and I will give my reasons later for
supposing that the whole brain is in action. During the voluntary recall of
words in speech and thought by virtue of the intimate association tracts
connecting the grey matter of the whole speech zone, it is not a single
part of this zone which is in action, but the whole of it; and when we
assign to definite parts of the speech zone different functions in
connection with language, we really refer to areas in which the process is
most active or is primarily initiated, for the whole brain is in action
just as it is in the recognition of an object which we see, hear, feel, or
move. What really comes before us is contributed more by the mind itself
than by the present object.

There is, however, a direct functional association between the auditory and
glosso-kinaesthetic (sense of movement of the tongue) centres on the one
hand and the visual and cheiro-kinaesthetic (sense of movement of the hand)
on the other. No less intimate must be the connection between the auditory
word-centre and the visual word-centre; they must necessarily be called
into association actively in successive units of time, as in reading aloud
or writing from dictation. Educated deaf mutes think with revived visual
symbols either of lips or fingers. Words are to a great extent symbols
whereby we carry on thought, and thinking becomes more elaborate and
complex as we rise in the scale of civilisation, because more and more are
verbal symbols instituted for concrete visual images.

In which portion of the brain are words primarily and principally revived
during the process of thinking? I have already alluded to the views of
Stricker and those who follow him, viz. that words are the revived images
of the feelings of the sense of movement, caused by the alteration in the
tension of the muscles of articulation occurring during speech, with or
without phonation. There is another which I think the correct view, that
words are revived in thought primarily as auditory images, so that the
sense of hearing is essential for articulation as well as phonation; the
two operations of the vocal organ as an instrument of the mind being
inseparable. The arguments in favour of this are:--

1. The part of the brain concerned with the sense of hearing develops
earlier and the nerve fibres found in this situation are myelinated[1] at
an earlier period of development of the brain than the portion connected
with the sense of movement of the muscles of articulation.

[Footnote 1: The covering of the fibres by a sheath of phosphoretted fat
serving to insulate the conductile portion of the nerve is an indication
that the fibre has commenced to function as a conductor of nervous

2. As a rule, the child's first ideas of language come through the sense of
hearing; articulate speech is next evolved, in fact the child speaks only
that which it has heard; it learns first to repeat the names of persons and
objects with which it comes into relation, associating visual images with
auditory symbols.

An example of this was communicated by Darwin to Romanes. One of his
children who was just beginning to speak, called a duck a "quack." By an
appreciation of the resemblance of qualities it next extended the term
"quack" to denote all birds and insects on the one hand, and all fluid
objects on the other. Lastly, by a still more delicate appreciation of
resemblance the child called all coins "quack" because on the back of a
French sou it had seen the representation of an eagle (Romanes' "Mental
Evolution in Man," p. 183). Later on, children who have been educated
acquire a knowledge of the application of visual symbols, and how to
represent them by drawing and writing, and associate them with persons and

3. There is more definiteness of impression and readiness of recall for
auditory than for articulatory motor sense feelings.

4. After the acquirement of speech by the child, auditory feelings are
still necessary for articulate speech processes; for if it were not so, how
could we explain the fact that a child up to the fifth or sixth year in
full possession of speech will become dumb if it loses the sense of hearing
from middle-ear disease, unless it be educated later by lip language.

5. Cases have been recorded of bilateral lesion of the auditory centre of
the brain producing loss of hearing and loss of speech, the motor centres
being unaffected. This is called Wernicke's sensory aphasia. The following
case occurring in my own practice is probably the most complete instance


A woman at the age of twenty suddenly became unconscious and remained so
for three hours; on recovery of consciousness it was found she could not
speak; this condition remained for a fortnight; speech gradually returned,
although it was impaired for a month or more. She married, but soon after
marriage she suddenly lost her hearing completely, remaining permanently
stone deaf; and although she could understand anything of a simple
character when written, and was able imperfectly to copy sentences, she was
unable to speak. Once, however, under great emotional excitement, while I
was examining her by written questions, she uttered, "Is that." But she was
never heard to speak again during the subsequent five years that she lived.
The utterance of those two words, however, showed that the loss of speech
was not due to a defect of the physiological mechanism of the vocal
instrument of speech, nor to the motor centres in the brain that preside
over its movements in the production of articulate speech. She recognised
pictures and expressed satisfaction or dissatisfaction when correct or
incorrect names were written beneath the pictures; moreover, in many ways,
by gestures, facial expression, and curious noises of a high-pitched,
musical, whining character, showed that she was not markedly deficient in
intelligence. Although in an asylum and partially paralysed, she was not
really insane in the proper sense, but incapable of taking care of herself.
When other patients were getting into mischief this patient would give a
warning to the attendants by the utterance of inarticulate sounds, showing
that she was able to comprehend what was taking place around and reason
thereon, indicating thereby that although stone deaf and dumb, it was
probable that she possessed the power of silent thought. I observed that
during emotional excitement the pitch of the sounds she uttered increased
markedly with the increase of excitement. After having been discharged from
Claybury Asylum she was sent to Colney Hatch Asylum. Upon one of my visits
to that institution I learnt that she had been admitted, and upon my
entering the ward, although more than a year had elapsed since I last saw
her, she immediately and from afar recognised me; and by facial expression,
gesture, and the utterance of inarticulate sounds showed her great pleasure
and satisfaction in seeing one who had taken a great interest in her case.
This poor woman must have felt some satisfaction in knowing that someone
had interpreted her mental condition, for of course, her husband and
friends did not understand why she could not speak. I may mention that the
first attack of loss of speech was attributed to hysteria.

This woman died of tuberculosis seven years after the second attack, and
examination of the brain _post-mortem_ revealed the cause of the deafness.
There was destruction of the centre of hearing in both hemispheres (_vide_
fig. 17), caused by blocking of an artery supplying in each hemisphere that
particular region with blood. The cause of the blocking of the two arteries
was discovered, for little warty vegetations were found on the mitral valve
of the left side of the heart. I interpreted the two attacks thus: one of
these warty vegetations had become detached, and escaping into the arterial
circulation, entered the left carotid artery and eventually stuck in the
posterior branch of the middle cerebral artery, causing a temporary loss of
word memory, consequently a disturbance of the whole speech zone of the
left hemisphere. This would account for the deafness to spoken language and
loss of speech for a fortnight, with impairment for more than a month,
following the first attack. But both ears are represented in each half of
the brain; that is to say, sound vibrations entering either ear, although
they produce vibrations only in one auditory nerve, nevertheless proceed
subsequently to both auditory centres. The path most open, however, for
transmission is to the opposite hemisphere; thus the right hemisphere
receives most vibrations from the left ear and _vice versa_. Consequently
the auditory centre in the right hemisphere was able very soon to take on
the function of associating verbal sounds with the sense of movement of
articulate speech and recovery took place. _But_, when by a second attack
the corresponding vessel of the opposite half of the brain was blocked the
terminal avenues, and the central stations for the reception of the
particular modes of motion associated with sound vibration of all kinds
were destroyed _in toto_; and the patient became stone deaf. It would have
been extremely interesting to have seen whether, having lost that portion
of the brain which constitutes the primary incitation of speech, this
patient could have been taught lip language.

There is no doubt that persons who become deaf from destruction of the
peripheral sense organ late in life do not lose the power of speech, and
children who are stone deaf from ear disease and dumb in consequence can be
trained to learn to speak by watching and imitating the movements of
articulation. Helen Keller indeed, although blind, was able to learn to
speak by the education of the tactile motor sense. By placing the hand on
the vocal instrument she appreciated by the tactile motor sense the
movements associated with phonation and articulation. The tactile motor
sense by education replaced in her the auditory and visual senses. The
following physiological experiment throws light on this subject. A dog that
had been deprived of sight by removal of the eyes when it was a puppy found
its way about as well as a normal dog; but an animal made blind by removal
of the occipital lobes of the brain was quite stupid and had great
difficulty in finding its way about. Helen Keller's brain, as shown by her
accomplishments in later life, was a remarkable one; not long after birth
she became deaf and blind, consequently there was practically only one
avenue of intelligence left open for the education of that brain, viz. the
tactile kinaesthetic. But the tactile motor sense is the active sense that
waits upon and contributes to every other sense. The hand is the instrument
of the mind and the agent of the will; consequently the tactile motor sense
is intimately associated in its structural representation in the brain with
every other sense. This avenue being open in Helen Keller, was used by her
teacher to the greatest possible advantage, and all the innate
potentialities of a brain naturally endowed with remarkable intellectual
powers were fully developed, and those cortical structures which normally
serve as the terminal stations (_vide_ fig. 16) for the reception and
analysis of light and sound vibrations were utilised to the full by Helen
Keller by means of association tracts connecting them with the tactile
motor central stations. The brain acts as a whole in even the simplest
mental processes by virtue of the fact that the so-called functional
centres in the brain are not isolated fields of consciousness, but are
inextricably associated one with another by association fibres.


I have on page 77 referred to Stricker's views on the primary revival of
words in the sense of movement of the lips and tongue. Mach ("Analysis of
the Sensations") says: "The supposition that the processes in the larynx
during singing have had something to do with the formation of the tonal
series I noticed in one of my earlier publications, but did not find it
tenable. Singing is connected in too extrinsic and accidental a manner with
hearing to bear out such an hypothesis. I can hear and imagine tones far
beyond the range of my own voice. In listening to an orchestral performance
with all the parts, or in having an hallucination of such a performance, it
is impossible for me to think that my understanding of this broad and
complicated sound-fabric has been effected by my _one_ larynx, which is,
moreover, no very practised singer. I consider the sensations which in
listening to singing are doubtless occasionally noticed in the larynx a
matter of subsidiary importance, like the pictures of the keys touched
which when I was more in practice sprang up immediately into my imagination
on hearing a performance on the piano or organ. When I imagine music, I
always distinctly hear the notes. Music can no more come into being merely
through the motor sensations accompanying musical performances, than a deaf
man can hear by watching the movements of players. I cannot therefore agree
with Stricker on this point" (comp. Stricker, "Du langage et de la
musique," Paris, 1885).

Of the motor type myself and having a fairly good untrained ear for music,
I find that to memorise a melody, whether played by an instrument or by an
orchestra, I must either try to sing or hum that melody in order to fix it
in my memory. Every time I do this, association processes are being set up
in the brain between the auditory centres and the centres of phonation; and
when I try to revive in my silent thoughts the melody again, I do so best
by humming aloud a few bars of the melody to start the revival and then
continuing the revival by maintaining the resonator in the position of
humming the tune, viz. with closed lips, so that the sound waves can only
escape through the nose; under such circumstances the only definite
conscious muscular sensation I have is from the effect of closure of the
lips; the sensations from the larynx are either non-existent or quite
ill-defined, although I hear mentally the tonal sensations of the melody.
No doubt by closing the lips in silent humming I am in some way
concentrating attention to the sensori-motor sphere of phonation and
articulation, and by reactive association with the auditory sphere
reinforcing the tonal sensations in the mind. The vocal cords (ligaments)
themselves contain very few nerve fibres; those that are seen in the deeper
structures of the cords and adjacent parts mainly proceed to the mucous
glands. This fact, which I have ascertained by numerous careful
examinations, is in accordance with the fact that there are no conscious
kinaesthetic impressions of alterations of position and tension of the vocal
cords. A comparative microscopic examination of the tip of the tongue and
the lips shows a remarkable difference, for these structures are beset with
innumerable sensory nerves, whereby every slightest alteration of tension
and minute variations in degrees of pressure of the covering skin is
associated with messages thereon to the brain. The sense of movement in
articulate speech is therefore explained by this fact. There is every
reason then to believe that auditory tonal images are the sole primary and
essential guides to the minute alterations of tension in the muscles of the
larynx necessary for the production of corresponding vocal sounds. By
humming a tune we concentrate our attention and thereby limit the activity
of neural processes to systems and communities of neurones employed for the
perception of tonal images and their activation in motor processes; and
this helps to fix the tune in the memory.


A musical speaking voice denotes generally a good singing voice, and it
must be remembered that articulation cannot be separated from phonation in
the psychic mechanism. In speaking, we are unconscious of the breath
necessary for the production of the voice. Not so, however, in effective
singing, the management of the breathing being of fundamental importance;
and it is no exaggeration to say that only the individual who knows how to
breathe knows how to sing effectually. A musical ear and sense of rhythm
are innate in some individuals; in others they are not innate and can only
be acquired to a variable degree of perfection by persevering efforts and
practice. The most intelligent persons may never be able to sing in tune,
or even time; the latter (sense of rhythm) is much more easily acquired by
practice than the former (correct intonation). This is easily intelligible,
for rhythmical movement appertains also to speech and other acts of human
beings, e.g. walking, dancing, running, swimming, etc.; moreover,
rhythmical periodicity characterises the beat of the heart and respiration.

But how does a trained singer learn to sing a song or to take part in an
opera? He has to study the performances of two parts for the vocal
instrument--the part written by the composer and the part written by the
poet or dramatist--and in order to present an artistic rendering, the
intellectual and emotional characters of each part must be blended in
harmonious combination. A singer will first read the words and understand
their meaning, then memorise them, so that the whole attention subsequently
may be given to applying the musical part to them and employing with proper
phrasing, which means more than knowing when to breathe; it means imparting
expression and feeling. A clever actor or orator can, if he possess a high
degree of intelligence and a fairly artistic temperament, so modulate his
voice as to convey to his audience the passions and emotions while feeling
none of them himself; so many great singers who are possessed of a good
musical ear, a good memory, and natural intelligence, although lacking in
supreme artistic temperament and conspicuous musical ability, are
nevertheless able to interpret by intonation and articulation the passions
and emotions which the composer has expressed in his music and the poet or
dramatist in his words. The intelligent artist possessed of the musical
ear, the sense of rhythm, and a well-formed vocal organ accomplishes this
by the conscious control and management of his breathing muscles and the
muscles of articulation, which by education and imitation he has brought
under complete control of the will. With him visual symbols of musical
notes are associated with the visual symbols of words in the mind, and the
visual symbols whether of the words or of the musical notes will serve to
revive in memory the sound of the one or the other, or of both. But he
produces that sound by alteration of tension in co-ordinated groups of
muscles necessary for vocalisation, viz. the muscles of phonation in the
larynx, the muscles of articulation in the tongue, lips, jaw, and palate,
and the muscles of costal respiration. _The mind_ of the orator, actor, and
dramatic singer exercises a profound influence upon the respiratory system
of nerves, and thereby produces the necessary variations in the force,
continuance, and volume of air required for vocal expression.

Sir Charles Bell, who discovered the respiratory system of nerves, pointed
out how the lungs, from being in the lower animals merely the means of
oxygenating the blood, become utilised in the act of expelling air from the
body for the production of audible sounds--the elements of human voice and
speech. Likewise he drew attention to the influence which powerful emotions
exercise upon the organ of respiration, including the countenance, e.g. the
dilated nostrils in anger. Again, "when the voice suffers interruption and
falters, and the face, neck, and chest are animated by strong passion
working from within the breast, language exerts its most commanding

In hemiplegia or paralysis of one half of the body, there is a difference
between the two sides for ordinary automatic unconscious diaphragmatic
breathing and voluntary or costal breathing. Thus in ordinary breathing the
movements are increased on the paralysed side, especially in the upper part
of the chest, while in voluntary breathing they are increased on the sound
side. Hughlings Jackson suggested the following theory to explain these
facts: "_Ordinary breathing_ is an automatic act governed by the
respiratory centre in the medulla. The respiratory centre is double, each
side being controlled or inhibited by higher centres on the opposite side
of the brain. Voluntary costal breathing, such as is employed in singing,
is of cerebral origin, and controlled by centres on the opposite side of
the brain, the impulses being sent down to the respective centres for the
associated movements of the muscles of articulation, phonation, and
breathing, in the same way as they are sent to the centres for the
movements of the arm or leg. With voluntary breathing the respiratory
centre in the medulla has nothing to do. It is in fact out of gear or
inhibited for the time being, so that the impulses from the brain pass by
or evade it. There are thus two sets of respiratory nerve fibres passing
from the brain--the one inhibiting or controlling to the opposite half of
the respiratory centre in the medulla; the other direct, evading the
respiratory centre and running the same course to the spinal centres for
the respiratory movements as the ordinary motor fibres do to the centres
for other movements. Both sets would be affected by the lesion (or damage)
which produced the hemiplegia. The inhibitory fibres being damaged, the
opposite half of the respiratory centre would be under diminished control
and therefore the movements of ordinary breathing on the paralysed side
would be exaggerated. The damage to the direct fibres would prevent the
passage of voluntary stimuli to the groups of respiratory muscles (as it
would do to the rest of the muscles of the paralysed side), and thus the
voluntary movement of respiration would be diminished--diminished only and
not completely abolished as in the limbs; because according to the theory
of Broadbent, in the case of such closely associated bilateral movements
the lower nervous respiratory centres of both sides would be activated from
either side of the brain." This certainly applies also to the muscles of
phonation, but not to the principal muscles of articulation, viz. the
tongue and lips. It is not exactly known what part of the cerebral cortex
controls the associated movements necessary for voluntary costal (rib)
respiration in singing; probably it is localised in the frontal lobe in
front of that part, stimulation of which gives rise to trunk movements
(_vide_ fig. 16). Whatever its situation, it must be connected by
association fibres with the centres of phonation and articulation.

[Illustration: FIG. 18]

[Description: FIG. 18.--The accompanying diagram is an attempt to explain
the course of innervation currents in phonation.

1. Represents the whole brain sending voluntary impulses _V_ to the regions
of the brain presiding over the mechanisms of voluntary breathing and
phonation. These two regions are associated in their action by fibres of
association _A_; moreover, the corresponding centres in the two halves of
the brain are unified in their action by association fibres _A'_ in the
great bridge connecting the two hemispheres (Corpus Callosum). On each side
of the centre for phonation are represented association fibres _H_ which
come from the centre of hearing; these fibres convey the guiding mental
images of sounds and determine exactly the liberation of innervation
currents from the centre of phonation to the lower centres by which the
required alterations in tension of the laryngeal muscles for the production
of the corresponding sounds are effected. Arrows are represented passing
from the centre of phonation to the lower centres in the medulla which
preside over the muscles of the jaw, tongue, lips, and larynx. Arrows
indicate also the passage of innervation currents from the centres in the
brain which preside over voluntary breathing. It will be observed that the
innervation currents which proceed from the brain pass over to the opposite
side of the spinal cord and are not represented as coming into relation
with the respiratory centre _R_. This centre, as we have seen, acts
automatically, and exercises especially its influence upon the diaphragm,
which is less under the control of the will than the elevators of the ribs
and the abdominal muscles.

The diagram also indicates why these actions of voluntary breathing and
phonation can be initiated in either hemisphere; it is because they are
always bilaterally associated in their action; consequently both the higher
centres in the brain and the lower centres in the medulla oblongata and
spinal cord are united by bridges of association fibres, the result being
that even if there is a destruction of the brain at _a-b_, still the mind
and will can act through both centres, although not so efficiently.
Likewise, if there is a destruction of the fibres proceeding from the brain
centres to the lower medullary and spinal centres, the will is still able
to act upon the muscles of phonation and breathing of both sides of the
body because of the intimate connection of the lower medullary and spinal
centres by association fibres.]

Experiments on animals and observations on human beings show that the
centres presiding over the muscles of the larynx are situated one in each
hemisphere, at the lower end of the ascending frontal convolution in close
association with that of the tongue, lips, and jaw. This is as we should
expect, for they form a part of the whole cerebral mechanism which presides
over the voice in speech and song. But because the muscles of the tongue,
the lower face muscles, and even the muscles of the jaw do not necessarily
and always work synchronously and similarly on the two sides, there is more
independence in their representation in the cerebral cortex. Consequently a
destruction of this region of the brain or the fibres which proceed from it
to the lower executive bulbar and spinal centres is followed by paralysis
of the muscles of the opposite side. Likewise stimulation with an
interrupted electric current applied to this region of the brain in monkeys
by suitable electrodes produces movements of the muscles of the lips,
tongue, and jaw of the opposite side only. Not so, however, stimulation of
the region which presides over the movements of the muscles of the larynx,
for then _both_ vocal cords are drawn together and made tense as in
phonation. It is therefore not surprising if removal or destruction of this
portion of the brain _on one side_ does not produce paralysis of the
muscles of phonation, which, always bilaterally associated in their
actions, are represented as a bilateral group in both halves of the brain.
These centres may be regarded as a part of the physiological mechanism, but
the brain acts as a whole in the psychic mechanism of speech and song. From
these facts it appears that there is: (1) An automatic mechanism for
respiration and elemental phonation (the cry) in the medulla oblongata
which can act independently of the higher centres in the brain and even
without them (_vide_ p. 18). (2) A cerebral conscious voluntary mechanism
which controls phonation either alone or associated with articulation. The
opening of the glottis by contraction of the abductor (posterior
ring-pyramid muscles) is especially associated with descent of the
diaphragm in inspiration in ordinary breathing; whereas the voluntary
breathing in singing is associated with contraction of the adductor and
tensor muscles of the vocal cords.

A perfect psychic mechanism is as necessary as the physiological mechanism
for the production of perfect vocalisation, especially for dramatic
singing. A person, on the one hand, may be endowed with a grand vocal
organ, but be a failure as a singer on account of incorrect intonation, of
uncertain rhythm or imperfect diction; on the other hand, a person only
endowed with a comparatively poor vocal instrument, but knowing how to use
it to the best advantage, is able to charm his audience; incapable of
vigorous sound production, he makes up for lack of power by correct
phrasing and emotional expression. We see then that the combination of a
perfect physiological and psychological mechanism is essential for
successful dramatic singing, the chief attributes of which are: (1) Control
of the breath, adequate volume, sustaining power, equality in the force of
expulsion of air to avoid an unpleasant vibrato, and capability of
producing and sustaining loud or soft tones throughout the register. (2)
Compass or range of voice of not less than two octaves with adequate
control by mental perception of the sounds of the necessary variation in
tension of the laryngeal muscles for correct intonation. (3) Rich quality
or timbre, due partly to the construction of the resonator, but in great
measure to its proper use under the control of the will. Something is
lacking in a performance, however perfect the vocalisation as regards
intonation and quality, if it fails to arouse enthusiasm or to stir up the
feelings of an audience by the expression of passion or sentiment through
the mentality of the singer.

The general public are becoming educated in music and are beginning to
realise that shouting two or three high-pitched chest notes does not
constitute dramatic singing--"a short _beau moment_ does not compensate for
a _mauvais quart d'heure_." It would be hard to describe or define the
qualities that make a voice appeal to the multitude. Different singers with
a similar timbre of voice and register may sing the same song correctly in
time, rhythm, and phrasing, and yet only one of them may produce that
sympathetic quality necessary to awaken not only the intellectual but the
affective side of the mind of the hearers. Undoubtedly the effects produced
upon the mind by dramatic song largely depend upon circumstances and
surroundings, also upon the association of ideas. Thus I was never more
stirred emotionally by the human voice than upon hearing a mad Frenchman
sing at my request the Marseillaise. Previously, when talking to him his
eyes had lacked lustre and his physiognomy was expressionless; but when
this broad-chested, six foot, burly, black-bearded maniac rolled out in a
magnificent full-chested baritone voice the song that has stirred the
emotions and passions of millions to their deepest depth, and aroused in
some hope, in others despair, as he made the building ring with "Aux armes,
citoyens, formez vos bataillons" I felt an emotional thrill down the spine
and a gulp in the throat, while the heart and respirations for an instant
stayed in their rhythmical course. Not only was I stirred by the effect of
the sounds heard, but by the change in the personality of the singer. It
awakened in my mind the scenes in the French Revolution so vividly
described by Carlyle. The man's facial expression and whole personality
suddenly appeared changed; he planted his foot firmly forward on the
ground, striking the attitude of a man carrying a musket, a flag, or a
pike; his eyes gleamed with fire and the lack-lustre expression had changed
to one of delirious excitement. A pike in his hand and a red cap on his
head would have completed the picture of a _sans culotte_. Dramatic song
therefore that does not evoke an emotional response is _vox et praeterea



Abductors and Adductors of Vocal cords, 30 _seq._
Aikin, Dr., 33, 45, 46, 47
Classification of Consonants, 54
"The Voice," 44
Aphasia, Motor and Sensory, 72 _seq_.
Articulation and phonation, 57 _seq_., 92, 94 _seq_., fig. 18
Assyria, clay records, 70


Ballet, 78
Bastian, Dr., 72, 78
Beethoven, symphonies, 40
Bell, Sir Charles, 97
Bouillaud, M., 68
How developed, 10
Localisation of Speech Centres, 72 _seq_., fig. 17
Primary Revival of Sensations, 90
Primary Site of Revival of words in Silent thought, 80 _seq._
Relation to the Voice, 61 _et passim_
Structure, 63 _seq_., figs. 15, 16, 17
Breathing, art of, 16 _seq_., 22, 26, 27, 94 _seq._
Broadbent, Sir W., 99
Broca, 72, 76


Charcot, 78
Consonants, 50 _seq._
Classifications, 54
Cunningham, Professor, 71


Darwin, 83
"Expression of the Emotions," 3
Dax, Marc, 69
Deaf Mutes, 62, 71, 82
Deafness causing loss of speech, 84 _seq._
Diaphragm, 20 _seq_., 103, fig. 2


Ear in Music, 39
English, difficult to sing, 55
Epiglottis, 28, 31


Flame Manometer, 48, fig. 14
French, Dr., 32, 37


Gall, founder of Phrenology, 67, 68
Galton, 78, 79
Garcia, 34
Gibbon, the, 3
Glottis, 30, 35, 44, 103, fig. 10
Goltz's dog, 18
Gowers, on Bulbar Paralysis, 57
Grieger, 5


Harmonics, 14, 47 _seq_.
Hearing and Speech, 78, 82 _seq_.
Helmholtz, 45, 47, 48, 50, 55
Hermann, on Articulate Sounds, 50
Groups of Consonants, 54
Huxley, 8


Italian, easy to sing, 55


Jackson, Hughlings, 97


Keller, Helen, 40, 89, 90
Kingsley, Miss, 6
Klang, 13
Koenig, flame manometer, 48, fig. 14


Language, a human attribute, 61
Of Gesture, 6, 7, 71
Written, 8
Laryngoscope, 34, 35, 37, fig. 9
Larynx, 28 _seq_., figs. 4-8


Macaulay, Lord, 79
Mach, "Analysis of Sensations," 79, 90
Marie, M., 73, 76
Marseillaise, 106
Memory, visual, 79, 80
Mouth, 43, 44
Mueller, Max, "Chips from a German Workshop," 8


Nerves of Respiration, 21
Neurologists, 73


Overtones, 14, 47 _seq_.


Paget, Sir James, 79
Bulbar, 57
Hemiplegia, 97
Of the Insane, 58
Paris Academy of Science, 68
Parrot, Speech, 60
Phonation and Articulation, 57 _seq_., 92, 94 _seq._., fig. 18
Phrenology, 67, 68
Pitch, 34, 36, 37, 39, 46, 50, 55


Reading and Thinking by Articulating Words, 77
Resonator, 15 _seq_., 41 _seq_.
Rhythmical Movement, 94
Ribot, 79
On Words, 5
Right-handedness and Speech, 69 _seq_., 80
Rodents, 3
Romanes, "Mental Evolution in Man," 1, 3, 83


Sayce, 6
Semon, Sir Felix, 32, 37
Singing, 95, 98 _seq_.
Chief Attributes, 104 _seq_.
Hearing and, 91
Sound-pipe, 33
Sounds, articulate, 50 _seq_., 60 _seq_.
Sounds, musical, three qualities, 11 _seq._
Cerebral Mechanism of song and, 60 _seq._
Defects, 57 _seq_., 73
Hearing and, 78, 82 _seq_.
Localisation centres in the brain, 72 _seq_., fig. 17
Loss of, caused by deafness, 84 _seq_.
Right-handedness, 69 _seq_., 80
Theories on the origin of, 1 _seq._
Three stages, 4
Spencer, Herbert, 76
Stricker, 77, 78, 80, 82, 90


Thorax, 18 _seq_., fig. 3
Throat, 43
Timbre, 13
Tuning-forks, 12, 13, 37
Tylor, 6


Ventricle, 33
Vocal cords, 29 _seq_., 35, 36, 37, 43, 93, figs. 10, 11
Vocal instrument, three parts 15 _seq_., 62 _et passim_
Bellows, 18 _seq_., fig. 1
Reed, 28 _seq_., _See also_ Larynx
Resonator, 41 _seq_.
Vocal Muscle, 31
Vocalisation. _See_ Singing
Voice, compass of, 34, 37
Voice, psychic mechanism, 94 _seq_.


Wernicke's sensory aphasia, 84
Word-memory, 78
Words, defined, 82

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