What they are, how to choose and deliver one
A declamation speech is the term used to describe the re-giving of a famous speech. The speaker 'lives into' the original, reproducing its power once more.
This is a Wikipedia page with ongoing links to the National Catholic Forensic League and the Theodore Gibson Oratorical Project.
And here's a link to Kelli Fontenot's excellent blog entry:
Choosing a Declamation Speech
Kelli, an ex-competitor and member of the The Speech Debate and Forensic Community, judges contests.
Often this task will be set as part of studying public speaking skills. The purpose is to have the student directly experience the power of masterfully crafted language. Through imitation the techniques and skills of the original orator are learned.
Today's declamation speech practice orginated in ancient Greece where public speaking was considered a neccessary art for anybody embarking on a career in public service. A declamation was a practice piece set by a teacher for exactly the same reason they are set these days: so the student could learn the skills of combining eloquent language with equally eloquent delivery.
What to look for when choosing a declamation speech
A great declamation piece will combine all of the qualities listed in the following areas:-
- Style of Language:-
Elevated, inspirational, elegant, poetic, masterful - the speech should be an example of 'beautiful' language and construction.
The message or theme running through it should be worthy of its oratorical treatment, ie. the style of language specified above. It must be important and applicable beyond the time it was first delivered. For example, Martin Luther King's 'I Had a Dream' speech has carried its theme down the years without any loss of potency or relevance.
The speech must have reached and grabbed the hearts and minds of its listeners. It will have persuasively challenged and changed the way people thought and acted, uniting and inspiring them toward a common goal or course of action.
If you're choosing for a competition before you make your choice be sure to review the guidelines and do take note of the allocated time. Be prepared to cut your selection to fit.
Search For a Declamation Piece
Famous Speeches from African Americans
Famous American Speeches
Famous Speeches - World Wide
Famous Speeches by Women
Listen to Famous Speeches
Rehearsing your declamation speech
- Understanding is your top priority
If you learn or memorize the text without it your delivery will be empty - an ultimate talking head presentation.
- Find out about context
What was the occasion the speech was written for?
Who was the audience?
What did they need or expect from the speech?
- Find out about the original speech maker
Who was he or she?
What delivery characterisitcs did they use?
What passions drove them?
What did they want from the speech? (Its purpose or goal.)
- What does this speech mean to you?
Can you put what is being said into your own words?
The more you dig into the meaning of the piece, emotionally and intellectually, the more able you'll be to convey it convincingly.
- Print the speech out in a clear font, double spaced
You will use the gaps to write yourself notes and mark it up for delivery. For example, putting in the pauses, or breath points, the places to soften your voice, or increase the volume.
- If you can, listen to original speech while reading from your copy.
Note how the voice is being used.
What qualities are you hearing?
Do they change for different portions of the speech?
Can you hear a beat or rhythm?
Listen until you can clearly identify changes in tone, pitch, and pace.
And now practice.
The goal is not to impersonate the speech maker. You don't have to 'become' Winston Churchill but you do have to find and sincerely draw out the qualities of the speech that made it memorable.
There are full guidelines on how to rehearse here as well as tips for vocal variety, using pace and pause effectively as well as diction exercises to clear up any sloppy pronunciation issues.
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You'll find tried and tested ways for overcoming fear of public speaking, breathing exercises and so on.
Go well in your declamation speech!
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- The action or art of declaiming; the repeating or uttering of a speech, etc. with studied intonation and gesture.
- A public speech or address of rhetorical character; a set speech in rhetorical elocution.
- Declaiming or speaking in an impassioned oratorical manner; fervid denunciation with appeals to the audience.
- A speech of a rhetorical kind expressing strong feeling and addressed to the passions of the hearers; a declamatory speech, a harangue.
- Renunciation, repudiation, disclaimer.
|Reference: www.wordinfo.info an etymological treasure trove.|