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Thread: BB test13

  1. #1
    out to see the world! kfree's Avatar
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    TMians, I got stuck on this one. could you help me out?
    Also, can you explain why you made your choice? Thx!!

    "Popular art" has a number of
    meanings, impossible to define with
    any precision, which range from
    folklore to junk. The poles are clear
    enough, but the middle tends to blur. (5)
    The Hollywood Western of the 1930's,
    for example, has elements of
    folklore, but is closer to junk than
    to high art or folk art. There can be
    great trash, just as there is bad (10)
    high art. The musicals of George
    Gershwin are great popular art, never
    aspiring to high art. Schubert and
    Brahms, however, used elements of
    popular music--folk themes--in works (15)
    clearly intended as high art. The
    case of Verdi is a different one: he
    took a popular genre--bourgeois
    melodrama set to music (an accurate
    definition of nineteenth-century (20)
    opera)--and, without altering its
    fundamental nature, transmuted it into
    high art. This remains one of the
    greatest achievements in music, and
    one that cannot be fully appreciated (25)
    without recognizing the essential
    trashiness of the genre.

    As an example of such a
    transmutation, consider what Verdi
    made of the typical political elements (30)
    of nineteenth-century opera.Generally
    in the plots of these operas, a hero
    or heroine--usually portrayed only
    as an individual, unfettered by
    class--is caught between the immoral (35)
    corruption of the aristocracy and the
    doctrinaire rigidity or secret greed
    of the leaders of the proletariat.
    Verdi transforms this naive and
    unlike formulation with music of (40)
    extraordinary energy and rhythmic
    vitality, music more subtle than it
    seems at first hearing. There are
    scenes and arias that still sound
    like calls to arms and were clearly (45)
    understood as such when they were
    first performed. Such pieces lend an
    immediacy to the otherwise veiled
    political message of these operas
    and call up feelings beyond those (50)
    of the opera itself.

    Or consider Verdi's treatment of
    character. Before Verdi, there were
    rarely any characters at all in
    musical drama, only a series of (55)
    situations which allowed the singers
    to express a series of situations
    which allowed the singers to express
    a series of emotional states. Any
    attempt to find coherent psychological (60)
    portrayal in these operas is
    misplaced ingenuity. The only
    coherence was the singer's vocal
    technique: when the cast changed, new
    arias were almost always substituted, (65)
    generally adapted from other operas.
    Verdi's characters, on the other
    hand, have genuine consistency and
    integrity, even if, in many cases,
    the consistency is that of pasteboard (70)
    melodrama. The integrity of the
    character is achieved through the
    music: once he had become established,
    Verdi did not rewrite his music for
    different singers or countenance (75)
    alterations or substitutions of
    somebody else's arias in one of his
    operas, as every eighteenth-century
    composer had done. When he revised
    an opera, it was only for dramatic (80)
    economy and effectiveness.

  2. #2
    out to see the world! kfree's Avatar
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    24. It can be inferred that the author regards Verdi's revisions to his operas with
    (A) regret that the original music and texts were altered
    (B) concern that many of the revisions altered the plots of the original work
    (C) approval for the intentions that motivated the revisions
    (D) puzzlement, since the revisions seem largely insignificant
    (E) enthusiasm, since the revisions were aimed at reducing the conventionality of the operas' plots


    25. According to the passage, one of Verdi's achievements within the framework of nineteenth-century opera and its conventions was to
    (A) limit the extent to which singers influenced the musical compositions and performance of his operas
    (B) use his operas primarily as forums to protest both the moral corruption and dogmatic rigidity of the political leaders of his time
    (C) portray psychologically complex characters shaped by the political environment surrounding them
    (D) incorporate elements of folklore into both the music and plots of his operas
    (E) introduce political elements into an art form that had traditionally avoided political content


    26. Which of the following best describes the relationship of the first paragraph of the passage to the passage as a whole?
    (A) It provides a group of specific examples from which generalizations are drawn later in the passage.
    (B) It leads to an assertion that is supported by examples later in the passage.
    (C) It defines terms and relationships that are challenged in an argument later in the passage.
    (D) It briefly compares and contrasts several achievements that are examined in detail later in the passage.
    (E) It explains a method of judging a work of art, a method that is used later


    27. It can be inferred that the author regards the independence from social class of the heroes and heroines of nineteenth-century opera as
    (A) an idealized but fundamentally accurate portrayal of bourgeois life
    (B) a plot convention with no real connection to political reality
    (C) a plot refinement unique to Verdi
    (D) a symbolic representation of the position of the bourgeoisie relative to the aristocracy and the proletariat
    (E) a convention largely seen as irrelevant by audiences

  3. #3
    Eager!
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    Hi kfree,

    I'm not sure if I'm right, but here is what I think:

    24. I think it's E). I immediately eliminated A,B, and D largely because the author has a positive opinion of Verdi. E) is inferred in the second paragraph.

    25. E) because Verdi want's to unveil the "political message of these operas"

    26. B), mainly because he does point out Verdi's uniqueness in the first paragraph, and then backs up his point in the next two paragraphs.

    27. E) because in the second paragraph, it says, "Such pieces lend an immediacy to the otherwise veiled political message of these operas and call up feelings beyond those of the opera itself". This means that the audiences never saw the meaning of the opera for what it was before Verdi came along.

    Again, I'm not too sure if these answers are correct. Do you have the answers?

    Tina

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    out to see the world! kfree's Avatar
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    Good post? Yes | No
    Here are the answers:
    24. C
    25. A
    26. B
    27. B

  5. #5
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    Hi Tina,
    There are some display errors in my previous post. I am sorry about that.


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    24. It can be inferred that the author regards Verdi's revisions to his operas with
    (A) regret that the original music and texts were altered
    (B) concern that many of the revisions altered the plots of the original work
    (C) approval for the intentions that motivated the revisions
    (D) puzzlement, since the revisions seem largely insignificant
    (E) enthusiasm, since the revisions were aimed at reducing the conventionality of the operas' plots
    This one is okay.C.Refer to line 80- that Verdi changed his composition only for dramatic economy and effectiveness.

    25. According to the passage, one of Verdi's achievements within the framework of nineteenth-century opera and its conventions was to
    (A) limit the extent to which singers influenced the musical compositions and performance of his operas
    (B) use his operas primarily as forums to protest both the moral corruption and dogmatic rigidity of the political leaders of his time
    (C) portray psychologically complex characters shaped by the political environment surrounding them
    (D) incorporate elements of folklore into both the music and plots of his operas
    (E) introduce political elements into an art form that had traditionally avoided political content
    I would have gone for C but complex characters are not portrayed as I understand now. I guess A is right .refer to lines 55-60.and again 75.

    26. Which of the following best describes the relationship of the first paragraph of the passage to the passage as a whole?
    (A) It provides a group of specific examples from which generalizations are drawn later in the passage.
    (B) It leads to an assertion that is supported by examples later in the passage.
    (C) It defines terms and relationships that are challenged in an argument later in the passage.
    (D) It briefly compares and contrasts several achievements that are examined in detail later in the passage.
    (E) It explains a method of judging a work of art, a method that is used later
    I would have gone for C or E.But B is rightBut thinking of it- the first para does end in an assertion- of Verdis greatest achievement... and the remaining paras do clarify that.Sad that I dont pay attention enough

    27. It can be inferred that the author regards the independence from social class of the heroes and heroines of nineteenth-century opera as
    (A) an idealized but fundamentally accurate portrayal of bourgeois life
    (B) a plot convention with no real connection to political reality
    (C) a plot refinement unique to Verdi
    (D) a symbolic representation of the position of the bourgeoisie relative to the aristocracy and the proletariat
    (E) a convention largely seen as irrelevant by audiences
    I would have gone for E here. Tough RC this one.Thanks for posting it,Kfree.

  7. #7
    out to see the world! kfree's Avatar
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    Hi eagle and Tina,

    I feelings about RC has always been ambivalent: good and bad. Good because it is the section with least awkward verbals. Bad because I still keep on getting them wrong. Sometimes over half of them wrong.

    I posted here because I was hoping that we could discuss some techniques to finding the answers.
    Here is how I view the entire passage:

    I: Introduction. I think the author wants to show that Verdi's work is unique. He starts by pointing out that sometimes there is a thin line between junk art and high art. Then, he points some examples to show difference between popular art and high art. These examples also serve as a contrast to his main subject: Verdi. The author points out that Verdi's work is unique because Verdi is able to transmute popular art into high art.

    II: The author uses the politics as an example on how he changes the music (But I really don't understand this paragraph!)

    III: The author points out how Verdi treats the characters in his musical. From the paragraph, we can understand that before Verdi, concerts would change the music to meet the abilities of the singers. But Verdi is against that. Verdi only revised his music when he think there is a need to change in the music. But I don't understand. How does this paragraph have to do with transmuting of bourgeois music to high art????


    Now, the problems:

    Q24) I think the cue is "Verdi's revisions to his operas". After reading this line, we should be directed right to paragraph 3. As Tina pointed out, we should rule out A, B, D right away. And as eagle says, the correct selection is (C)



    Q25) "according to the passage" is a cue that this is a detail problem.
    The problem is on "Verdi's achievements vs. the conventional ways".
    I think there are two points in the passage:
    1. unveiling of political message
    2. singers no longer influence the musical
    seems like only (A) is on the right track.


    Q27) inference problem, "the independence from social class of the heroes and heroines of nineteenth-century opera" is the cue for us to quickly find it in paragraph 2.
    But I really don't know how to deal with inference problems.

  8. #8
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    hi kfree,

    I totally agree on your take in paragraph 1.

    For par. 2, I think the author is just trying to praise Verdi for his ability to portary the politics of bourgeois life in art. I'm sure you're familiar with the saying "Life imitates art". I think in this case, it's more so "Art imitates life". The politics seen in the opera is really the politics we see in real life, that is, in the nineteenth century.

    As for the third paragraph, Verdi does not want the characters to just sing and show off their voice. He wants his characters to mean something. And that's the main difference between his works and those of other famous composers. I think Verdi wants the audience to open their eyes to the life in the nineteenth century bourgeois life, and he wants people to think about it, not just mindlessly watching the opera itself.

    Yes, inference questions can be hard. It means you have to find clues before and after the sentence of interest. For Q27, I made the mistake of what Verdi was thinking, not what the author was inferring. Well, Verdi wanted the opera to be reality, so when the author mentions what the opera was like before Verdi, it had to be the exact opposite, hence answer B.

    Anyway, kfree, I'm not very strong in RC's, either. But I hope my post helped you a bit. All I can suggest is to practice, my personal motto

    Tina

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    Tina, your post was most helpful

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    Unfortunately all the correct choices shown were my second best choices, except for the third question.

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