Page images

the blowing through a pipe or concave, though soft, is an exterior. So likewise the greatest winds, if they have no coarctation, or blow not hollow, give an interior sound; the whistling or hollow wind yieldeth a singing, or exterior sound; the former being pent by some other body; the latter being pent in by its own density: and therefore we see, that when the wind bloweth hollow, it is a sign of rain. The flame, as it moveth within itself or is blown by a bellows, giveth a murmur or interior sound.

189. THERE is no hard body, but struck against another hard body, will yield an exterior sound greater or lesser: insomuch as if the percussion be over-soft, it may induce a nullity of sound; but never an interior sound; as when one treadeth so softly that he is not heard.

190. WHERE the air is the percutient, pent or not pent, against a hard body, it never giveth an exterior sound; as if you blow strongly with a bellows against a wall.

191. SOUNDS, both exterior and interior, may be made as well by suction as by emission of the breath as in whistling or breathing.

Experiments in consort touching articulation of sounds.

192. It is evident, and it is one of the strangest secrets in sounds, that the whole sound is not in the whole air only; but the whole sound is also in every small part of the air. So that all the curious diversity of articulate sounds, of the voice of man or birds, will enter at a small cranny inconfused.

193. THE unequal agitation of the winds and the like, though they be material to the carriage of the sounds farther or less way; yet they do not confound the articulation of them at all, within that distance that they can be heard; though it may be, they make them to be heard less way than in a still; as hath been partly touched.

194. OVER GREAT distance confoundeth the articulation of sounds; as we see, that you may hear the


sound of a preacher's voice, or the like, when you cannot distinguish what he saith. And one articulate sound will confound another, as when many speak at


195. IN the experiment of speaking under water, when the voice is reduced to such an extreme exility, yet the articulate sounds, which are the words, are not confounded, as hath been said.

196. I CONCEIVE, that an extreme small or an extreme great sound cannot be articulate; but that the articulation requireth a mediocrity of sound: for that the extreme small sound confoundeth the articulation by contracting; and the great sound by dispersing: and although, as was formerly said, a sound articulate, already created, will be contracted into a small cranny; yet the first articulation requireth more dimension.

197. IT hath been observed, that in a room, or in a chapel, vaulted below and vaulted likewise in the roof, a preacher cannot be heard so well, as in the like places, not so vaulted. The cause is, for that the subsequent words come on before the precedent words vanish: and therefore the articulate sounds are more confused, though the gross of the sound be greater.

198. THE motions of the tongue, lips, throat, palate, etc. which go to the making of the several alphabetical letters, are worthy inquiry, and pertinent to the present inquisition of sounds: but because they are subtle, and long to describe, we will refer them over, and place them amongst the experiments of speech. The Hebrews have been diligent in it, and have assigned which letters are labial, which dental, which guttural, etc. As for the Latins and Grecians, they have distinguished between semi-vowels and mutes; and in mutes between muta tenues, media, and aspirata; not amiss, but yet not diligently enough. For the special strokes and motions that create those sounds, they have little inquired: as, that the letters B, P, F, M, are not expressed, but with the contracting or shutting of the mouth; that the

letters N and B, cannot be pronounced but that the letter N will turn into M; as hecatonba will be hecatomba. That M and T cannot be pronounced together, but P will come between; as emtus is pronounced emptus ; and a number of the like. So that if you inquire to the full, you will find, that to the making of the whole alphabet there will be fewer simple motions required than there are letters.

199. THE lungs are the most spungy part of the body; and therefore ablest to contract and dilate itself; and where it contracteth itself, it expelleth the air; which through the artery, throat, and mouth, maketh the voice: but yet articulation is not made but with the help of the tongue, palate, and the rest of those they call instruments of voice.

200. THERE is found a similitude between the sound that is made by inanimate bodies or by animate bodies, that have no voice articulate, and divers letters of articulate voices: and commonly men have given such names to those sounds, as do allude unto the articulate letters; as trembling of water hath resemblance with the letter L; quenching of hot metals with the letter Z; snarling of dogs with the letter R; the noise of screech-owls with the letter Sh; voice of cats with the diphthong Eu; voice of cuckows with the diphthong Ou; sounds of strings with the letter Ng; so that if a man, for curiosity or strangeness sake, would make a puppet or other dead body to pronounce a word, let him consider, on the one part, the motion of the instruments of voice; and on the other part, the like sounds made in inanimate bodies; and what conformity there is that causeth the similitude of sounds; and by that he may minister light to that effect.



Experiments in consort touching the motions of sounds, in what lines they are circular, oblique, straight, upwards, downwards, forwards, backwards.

201. ALL sounds whatsoever move round; that is to say, on all sides; upwards, downwards, forwards, and backwards. This appeareth in all instances.

202. SOUNDS do not require to be conveyed to the sense in a right line, as visibles do, but may be arched; though it be true, they move strongest in a right line; which nevertheless is not caused by the rightness of the line, but by the shortness of the distance; linea recta brevissima. And therefore we see if a wall be between, and you speak on the one side, you hear it on the other; which is not because the sound passeth through the wall, but archeth over the wall.

203. IF the sound be stopped and repercussed, it cometh about on the other side in an oblique line. So, if in a coach one side of the boot be down, and the other up, and a beggar beg on the close side; you will think that he were on the open side. So likewise, if a bell or clock be, for example, on the north side of a chamber, and the window of that chamber be upon the south; he that is in the chamber will think the sound came from the south.

204. SOUNDS, though they spread round, so that there is an orb or spherical area of the sound, yet they move strongest, and go farthest in the fore-lines, from the first local impulsion of the air. And therefore in preaching, you shall hear the preacher's voice better before the pulpit, than behind it, or on the

[blocks in formation]

So a harquebus, or

sides, though it stand open. ordnance, will be farther heard forwards from the mouth of the piece, than backwards, or on the sides.

205. IT may be doubted, that sounds do move better downwards than upwards. Pulpits are placed high above the people. And when the ancient generals spake to their armies, they had ever a mount of turf cast up, whereupon they stood; but this may be imputed to the stops and obstacles which the voice meeteth with, when one speaketh upon the level. But there seemeth to be more in it; for it may be that spiritual species, both of things visible and sounds, do move better downwards than upwards. It is a strange thing, that to men standing below on the ground, those that be on the top of Paul's seem much less than they are, and cannot be known ; but to men above, those below seem nothing so much lessened, and may be known: yet it is true, that all things to them above seem also somewhat contracted, and better collected into figure: as knots in gardens shew best from an upper window or terras.

206. BUT to make an exact trial of it, let a man stand in a chamber not much above the ground, and speak out at the window, through a trunk, to one standing on the ground, as softly as he can, the other laying his ear close to the trunk: then via versa, let the other speak below, keeping the same proportion of softness; and let him in the chamber lay his ear to the trunk and this may be the aptest means to make a judgment, whether sounds descend or ascend better.

Experiments in consort touching the lasting and perishing of sounds; and touching the time they require to their generation or delation.

207. AFTER that sound is created, which is in a moment, we find it continueth some small time, melting by little and little. In this there is a wonderful error amongst men, who take this to be a continuance of the first sound; whereas, in truth, it is a renovation, and not a continuance; for the body percussed hath, by reason of the percussion, a trepi

« PreviousContinue »