Which of the flowing most logically completes the argument?
The attribution of the choral work Lacrimae to the composer Pescard (1400 – 1474) has been regarded as tentative, since it was based on a single treatise from the early 1500’s that named Pescard as the composer. Recently, several musical treatises from the late 1500’s have come to light, all of which name Pescard as the composer of Lacrimae. Unfortunately, these newly discovered treatises lend no support to the attribution of Lacrimae to Pescard, since _______.
A. the treatise from the early 1500’s misidentifies the composers of some of the musical works it considers
B. the author of the treatise from the early 1500’s had no very strong evidence on which to base the identification of Pescard as the composer of Lacrimae
C. there are works that can conclusively be attributed to Pescard that are not even mentioned in the treatise from the early 1500’s
D. the later treatises probably had no source for their attribution other than the earlier treatise
E. no known treatises from the 1600’s identify Pescard as the composer of Lacrimae
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OFFICIAL ANSWER IS CLEAR ENOUGH TO UNDERSTAND THE QUESTION
Here is the office answer
Situation: A choral work has been tentatively attributed to Pescard based on a single treatise from
the early 1500s. But several treatises from the late 1500s have recently been discovered,
and all of them attribute the work to Pescard.
Reasoning: Which of the answer choices provides the strongest reason for the conclusion? The argument’s
conclusion is that the newly discovered late-1500 treatises lend no support to the
attribution of Lacrimae to Pescard. It is worth noting that prior to the conclusion the
passage provides information which suggests that these newly discovered treatises do lend
support to the attribution. So the question is: Why don’t they? A good reason for
thinking they do not is that the newly discovered treatises probably derive solely from the
attribution given in the earlier text. Thus the attributions in the later treatises are only as
reliable as the attribution in the earlier treatise—and the argument suggests that that
reliability has not been conclusively established.
A This makes the treatise from the early 1500s less reliable, but it does not explain why the newly
discovered treatises are unreliable.
B Like answer choice (A), this is irrelevant. The question is not why the treatise from the early 1500s
fails to lend support to the attribution but why the treatises from the late 1500s fail to do so.
C This is irrelevant because it does not refer to the newly discovered treatises whose attribution of
Lacrimae is at issue.
D Correct. The question is whether these newly discovered treatises lend additional support.
Lacrimae has already been tentatively attributed to Pescard based on the text from the early 1500s.
So, if the later treatises base their attribution solely on the earlier treatise, then they provide no
additional support beyond that already provided by the earlier treatise.
E This leaves open the possibility that there was no treatise at all in the 1600s that discussed Pescard
or Lacrimae. Also, it fails to provide significant evidence either for or against Pescard’s having
composed Lacrimae. But even if it did provide such evidence, it would be irrelevant because the
issue is why the late-1500 treatises fail to provide significant support for the attribution of
Lacrimae to Pescard, not whether Pescard composed the work.
The correct answer is D.
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