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Extraordinary creative activity has been characterized as revolutionar

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Joined: 16 Oct 2011
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Schools: Haas EWMBA '23
Extraordinary creative activity has been characterized as revolutionar  [#permalink]

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5-1 SECTION B 21-27

Extraordinary creative activity has been characterized as revolutionary, flying in the face of what is established and producing not what is acceptable but what will become accepted. According to this formulation, highly creative activity transcends the limits of an existing form and establishes a new principle of organization. However, the idea that extraordinary creativity transcends established limits is misleading when it is applied to the arts, even though it may be valid for the sciences. Differences between highly creative art and highly creative science arise in part from a difference in their goals. For the sciences, a new theory is the goal and end result of the creative act. Innovative science produces new propositions in terms of which diverse phenomena can be related to one another in more coherent ways. Such phenomena as a brilliant diamond or a nesting bird are relegated to the role of data, serving as the means for formulating or testing a new theory. The goal of highly creative art is very different: the phenomenon itself becomes the direct product of the creative act. Shakespeare’s Hamlet is not a tract about the behavior of indecisive princes or the uses of political power; nor is Picasso’s painting Guernica primarily a propositional statement about the Spanish Civil War or the evils of fascism. What highly creative artistic activity produces is not a new generalization that transcends established limits, but rather an aesthetic particular. Aesthetic particulars produced by the highly creative artist extend or exploit, in an innovative way, the limits of an existing form, rather than transcend that form.

This is not to deny that a highly creative artist sometimes establishes a new principle of organization in the history of an artistic field; the composer Monteverdi, who created music of the highest aesthetic value, comes to mind. More generally, however, whether or not a composition establishes a new principle in the history of music has little bearing on its aesthetic worth. Because they embody a new principle of organization, some musical works, such as the operas of the Florentine Camerata, are of signal historical importance, but few listeners or musicologists would include these among the great works of music. On the other hand, Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro is surely among the masterpieces of music even though its modest innovations are confined to extending existing means. It has been said of Beethoven that he toppled the rules and freed music from the stifling confines of convention. But a close study of his compositions reveals that Beethoven overturned no fundamental rules. Rather, he was an incomparable strategist who exploited limits—the rules, forms, and conventions that he inherited from predecessors such as Haydn and Mozart, Handel and Bach—in strikingly original ways



1. The author considers a new theory that coherently relates diverse phenomena to one another to be the

(A) basis for reaffirming a well-established scientific formulation
(B) byproduct of an aesthetic experience
(C) tool used by a scientist to discover a new particular
(D) synthesis underlying a great work of art
(E) result of highly creative scientific activity



2. The author implies that Beethoven’s music was strikingly original because Beethoven

(A) strove to outdo his predecessors by becoming the first composer to exploit limits
(B) fundamentally changed the musical forms of his predecessors by adopting a richly inventive strategy
(C) embellished and interwove the melodies of several of the great composers who preceded him
(D) manipulated the established conventions of musical composition in a highly innovative fashion
(E) attempted to create the illusion of having transcended the musical forms of his predecessors


3. The passage states that the operas of the Florentine Camerata are

(A) unjustifiably ignored by musicologists
(B) not generally considered to be of high aesthetic value even though they are important in the history of music
(C) among those works in which popular historical themes were portrayed in a musical production
(D) often inappropriately cited as examples of musical works in which a new principle of organization was introduced
(E) minor exceptions to the well-established generalization that the aesthetic worth of a composition determines its importance in the history of music


4. The passage supplies information for answering all of the following questions EXCEPT:

(A) Has unusual creative activity been characterized as revolutionary?
(B) Did Beethoven work within a musical tradition that also included Handel and Bach?
(C) Is Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro an example of a creative work that transcended limits?
(D) Who besides Monteverdi wrote music that the author would consider to embody new principles of organization and to be of high aesthetic value?
(E) Does anyone claim that the goal of extraordinary creative activity in the arts differs from that of extraordinary creative activity in the sciences?


5. vThe author regards the idea that all highly creative artistic activity transcends limits with

(A) deep skepticism
(B) strong indignation
(C) marked indifference
(D) moderate amusement
(E) sharp derision


6. The author implies that an innovative scientific contribution is one that

(A) is cited with high frequency in the publications of other scientists
(B) is accepted immediately by the scientific community
(C) does not relegate particulars to the role of data
(D) presents the discovery of a new scientific fact
(E) introduces a new valid generalization


7. Which of the following statements would most logically concluded the last paragraph of the passage?


(A) Unlike Beethoven, however, even the greatest of modern composers, such as Stravinsky, did not transcend existing musical forms.
(B) In similar fashion, existing musical forms were even further exploited by the next generation of great European composers.
(C) Thus, many of the great composers displayed the same combination of talents exhibited by Monteverdi.
(D) By contrast, the view that creativity in the arts exploits but does not transcend limits is supported in the field of literature.
(E) Actually, Beethoven’s most original works were largely unappreciated at the time that they were first performed.


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Extraordinary creative activity has been characterized as revolutionar   [#permalink] 21 Jan 2020, 05:49
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