Desktop version

Home arrow Philosophy arrow The fathers of the church

On voice.

One inquires further into the voice. And first, whether the power of breathing in is the formative power of the voice.

It seems that it is not. For whatever is impeded by forming the voice is not a formative power of voice. But the power of breathing in is of this sort. Therefore, etc.

In addition, a person can desist from forming vocalizations by his free will. But he cannot cease to inhale or exhale. Therefore, etc.

To the contrary. Only animals that have respiration give voice. And the organs of respiration are designated as the organs of voice. Therefore, etc.

Second, one inquires whether different voices follow upon the disposition of the tracheal artery or upon the strength or weakness of the power.

And it seems that they follow upon the disposition of the tracheal artery. Because this is the way it is in musical instruments: a thick string makes a deeper sound, and a thin string makes a higher sound. Therefore, it will be the same with respect to the voice from the tracheal artery.

In addition, a high-pitched voice is a function of subtlety and thinness. But these are found on the part of the tracheal artery. Therefore, etc.

The Philosopher implies the opposite.

To the first, one must reply that the power of breathing in is not the vocative power, but it is necessarily required for it. First it is clear that when air is being inhaled or exhaled, the voice cannot be formed, but instead it is necessary that the air be at rest and retained for the formation of voice so that it may be struck by the tongue. Therefore, when the tongue strikes the air against the teeth or the palate, a voice is formed and it varies in its shape according to the difference in the striking. Therefore, there is one power that forms the voice and another that draws in air. This is clear among mutes who draw in air and yet do not form a voice.

Therefore, one must reply to the argument to the contrary that although only animals that have respiration give voice, and they accomplish the formation of the voice by the organs of respiration, nevertheless it does not follow that this is a natural power. And besides this, the respiratory organs accomplish the formation of a voice only on account of the air, and the formative power of the voice is in the tongue, whereas the power of breathing in is in the lungs.

To the second question one must reply that differences in the voice follow upon the disposition of the tracheal artery and the disposition of the agent power, because, just as the Philosopher says, a high voice is one that quickly moves what is heard, and a deep voice does so slowly. Now, however, a quick movement is caused by the victory of the thing moving over the movable, whereas a slow movement is caused by the mover's weakness and the victory of the movable over it. When, then, the vocative power forms a voice by moving a lot of air, the movement will be slow and as a result the voice will be deep. When, however, a modest amount of air is moved, then the voice will be quick, and, as a result, it will be high. And this is why children and women have a high voice, because they have weak powers that move little air. But this power is strengthened in men and old people, and they move a lot of air, and this is why their sound is deeper. Moreover, this motive power lies in the nerves, which are stronger in men than they are in women, and stronger in old people than in children. Now some differences follow upon the disposition of the tracheal artery, since a voice is rendered harsh from its dryness (since dry things are very often hard and unbalanced), and a harsh voice is like this. And when the tracheal artery is infused with a viscous humor, the voice is rendered hoarse, because then the air that is struck against the artery is analogous to a piece of lead struck against lead, in comparison to other metals. The artery's breadth and the power's strength contribute to a loud voice, and its narrowness and the brevity of power contribute to a small voice. Therefore, the voice varies according to the diversity of the agent and of the organ, like the tracheal artery, the tongue, and the palate.

Therefore, the arguments arrive at a true conclusion in part, on each side. Nevertheless, the Philosopher proposes that a voice varies because of the agent, because diversity in the organ stems more from matter, and diversity in the agent stems more from form, as is self-evident. This is why, etc.

 
Found a mistake? Please highlight the word and press Shift + Enter  
< Prev   CONTENTS   Next >

Related topics