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The Brain and the Voice in Speech and Song by Frederick Walker Mott Free Audiobook Study

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Episode   ·  7 Plays

Episode   ·  7 Plays  ·  2:23:14  ·  Nov 29, 2021


The Brain and the Voice in Speech and Songby Frederick Walker Mottauto text by our robotssection one of the brain and the voice in speech and song this is a librivox recording all infobox recordings are in the public domain for more information or to volunteer please visit librivox.org recording by maria james the brain and the voice in speech and song by f w mott section one preface 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 endeavored to place this subject before my readers in a 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 attention f w mott london july 1910 the brain and the voice in speech and song 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 theories on the origin of speech the evolutionary theory is thus propounded by romanus in his mental evolution in man pages 377-399quote 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 assigned 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 cooperative 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 close quote romanus 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 direct 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 pethicanthropus 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 vocalization 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 worn menace etc vocalization 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 vocalization 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 summarized by ribal as follows words are an imitation of the movements of the mouth the predominant sense in man is that of sight man is preeminently visual prior to the acquisition of speech he communicated with his fellows by the aid of gesture 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 close quote 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 tyler have pointed out that tribes in africa have to gather around the campfires 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 eg those of the tasmanians greenlanders savage tribes of brazil and the 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 case 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 one it monopolizes the use of the hands two it has the disadvantage that it does not carry any distance three it is useless in the dark four it is vague in character five 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 and 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 vocalization into that wonderful instrument the human voice but by that development borrowing the words of huxley quote man has slowly accumulated and organized the experience which is almost wholly lost with the ces

2h 23m 14s  ·  Nov 29, 2021

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