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Acting And Mimicry:
 Expressions - Part 1

 Expressions - Part 2

 The Smile—the Laugh

 Love In Its Different States And Expressions

 Intellectual And Other Expressions

 General Expressions

 Effects Of Pathological States On The Expressions

 Read More Articles About: Acting And Mimicry

Expressions - Part 1

( Originally Published Early 1900's )

Facial mimicry, one of the principal expressions of the nervous life, is produced by the playing of many muscles controlled by the nervous system. The action of these muscles produces changes in the countenance. While an extensive study of the anatomical construction of these mimicry elements is not required of the actor, still, a knowledge of the position of these muscles is most helpful. It is the best means of knowing where a given expression has its fullest development.

Gamba has divided the muscles of the face into three categories.

1. Muscles expressive by themselves.

2. Muscles expressive through association.

3. Auxiliary muscles.

1. Muscles expressive of themselves are :

The frontal muscle (Occipito frontalis) which acts during attention (A) .

The circular muscle of the eyelids (Orbicularis palpebrarum) which acts during reflection and meditation (C).

The muscle at the pyramid of the nose (Pyramidalis nasi) is active during expressions of fury, indignation, wrath, disdain, etc. (E) .

The muscle that knits and draws the eyebrows together (Corrugator supercilii) acts during painful expressions, grief, etc. (B).

The muscle that elevates the lip and dilates the nostril (Levator labii superioris alaeque nasi) is active during crying and weeping (D) .

The muscles at the angle of the mouth (Zygomaticus major) act in laughter (H) .

The muscles at the angle of the mouth (Zygomaticus minor) act during expressions of affection, love, tenderness, etc.

2. Muscles expressive through association :

The muscle which moves the scalp (Occipito frontalis) and the muscles which draw the eye-brows downward and inward (Corrugator supercilii) act when engaged in the remembrance of painful or pitiful objects.

The muscle at the pyramid of the nose (Pyramidalis), the muscle that elevates the chin or lower lip (Levator menti) (P) and the muscles which draw the eyebrow downward and inward (Corrugator supercilii) , all become engaged in menace ; danger.

The Pyramidalis, Levator menti, Corrugator supercilii and the muscle of mastication (Masseter) act in aggressiveness.

The circular (Orbicular) muscle of the lips, the Zygomaticus minor and the Corrugator supercilii are concerned with crying.

The frontal muscle (Occipito frontalis) and the muscles of the chin (Quadratus menti) act in surprise, agreement, ravishment, admiration and strong fear or terror.

The muscle that knits and draws the eyebrows together (Corrugator supercilii), and the muscle arising from the base of the lower jaw, and inserted into the angle of the mouth (Triangularis oris), act in depression or weakness.

3. Auxiliary muscles are :

The Orbicular, the muscle of the lips (K) . The Quadratus menti, the muscle of the chin (0).

The Buccinator, the muscle that compresses the cheeks (Q), retracts the angle of the mouth.

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