Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 21.djvu/141

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133
LITERARY NOTICES.

The Art of Voice-Production, with Special Reference to the Method of Correct Breathing. By A. A. Patton, author of "The Voice as an Instrument." New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons. Pp. 106. Price, $1.

Application is made in this work of the investigations which have been carried on, by means of the laryngoscope, into the structure and mode of action of the vocal organs, to the study of a scientific cultivation, or, as the author, with but little exaggeration, calls it, production of voice. The foundation of voice-culture is laid in correct breathing. This should always be full and easy, and done by the action of the muscles of the diaphragm, not of the clavicle or ribs. The technic consists in learning to know when the voice-organs act properly, and how to make them act so. Particular stress is laid upon what is called the articulate action of the glottis—an action under which, in its perfection, the individual notes of a series are divided in such a manner that a complete scale of fractional tones of very small degree may be produced with perfect smoothness, and with unchanging though naturally modifying tone-quality, by the voice, as the best violinists accomplish the same through their instruments. To this, the author believes, such singers as Nilsson and Stanley owe their marvelous powers of execution; and, in illustration of the fineness to which it is possible to reduce it, the case is cited of Madame Mara, who was able to perform twenty-one hundred changes of pitch within the compass of three octaves, or one hundred changes between each two notes of the ordinary scale.

The Study of Trance, Muscle-Reading, and Allied Nervous Phenomena, in Europe and America. With a Letter on the Moral Character of Trance-Subjects; and a Defense of Dr. Charcot. By George M. Beard, A. M., M. D. New York. Pp. 40.

This is a setting forth, in brief, of what has been done in Europe during the past two or three years, in a department of psychology in which the author was one of the earliest and is still one of the most indefatigable workers, and offers a means of comparing American (of which Dr. Beard's have been the most conspicuous) and European researches in it.

Sparks from a Geologist's Hammer. By Alexander Winchell, LL. D. Chicago: S. C. Griggs & Co. Pp. 400. Price, $2.

This is a very pleasant volume of essays, descriptive, scientific, and philosophic, though predominantly geological, and written in a style intended to suit the general reader. As is well known, the author has command of a very entertaining style, and his long and varied experience with the practical study of nature has given him ample materials for an attractive volume. Books of this kind perform a most important office, not only in awakening a feeling for science, but in instructing the public on many interesting topics which are hardly touched in our scientific manuals. A few of his titles will suggest the variety there is in these pages: "Mont Blanc and its Ascent," "Obliterated Continents," "A Grasp of Geological Time," "Geological Seasons," "Salt Enterprise in Michigan," "Huxley and Evolution," and "The Metaphysics of Science. We need not commit ourselves to everything Professor Winchell says in this volume, but it will prove instructive and provocative of thought to most readers, and may be therefore cordially recommended.

Principles of Chemical Philosophy. By Josiah Parsons Cooke, of Harvard College. Revised edition. Boston: John Allyn. Pp. 623. Price, 83.50.

We are glad to see that this well-known standard work devoted to the higher grade of chemistry has undergone careful and extensive revision by the author, and been so largely rewritten as to make it in many respects a new book. Not only is the work itself essentially improved by this further elaboration, but the results of the last ten years of chemical progress are thoroughly embodied in its text, and many features of scientific interest are here brought forward for the first time. The distinctive aim of the work is philosophical, that is, it presents the great body of the chemical truths in a closely correlated and thoroughly systematized form. "Thus alone," says the author, "can the student give breadth and dignity to his knowledge, and come to know nature not as a sum of certain parts, but as a grand and related whole." Such a generalized knowledge of chemistry this book aims to