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# Until Josquin des Prez, 1440–1521, Western music was liturgical, desig

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Until Josquin des Prez, 1440–1521, Western music was liturgical, desig  [#permalink]

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17 Nov 2019, 23:38
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New Project RC Butler 2019 - Practice 2 RC Passages Everyday
Passage # 458, Date: 17-Nov-2019
This post is a part of New Project RC Butler 2019. Click here for Details

Until Josquin des Prez, 1440–1521, Western music was liturgical, designed as an accompaniment to worship. Like the intricately carved gargoyles perched atop medieval cathedrals beyond sight of any human, music was composed to please God before anybody else; its dominant theme was reverence. Emotion was there, but it was the grief of Mary standing at the foot of the Cross, the joy of the faithful hailing Christ’s resurrection. Even the secular music of the Middle Ages was tied to predetermined patterns that sometimes seemed to stand in the way of individual expression.

While keeping one foot firmly planted in the divine world, Josquin stepped with the other into the human. He scored magnificent masses, but also newly expressive motets such as the lament of David over his son Absalom or the “Deploration d’Ockeghem,” a dirge on the death of Ockeghem, the greatest master before Josquin, a motet written all in black notes, and one of the most profoundly moving scores of the Renaissance. Josquin was the first composer to set psalms to music. But alongside Benedicite omnia opera Domini Domino (“Bless the Lord, all ye works of the Lord”) he put El Grillo (“The cricket is a good singer who manages long poems”) andAllegez moy(“Solace me, sweet pleasant brunette”). Josquin was praised by Martin Luther, for his music blends respect for tradition with a rebel’s willingness to risk the horizon. What Galileo was to science, Josquin was to music. While preserving their allegiance to God, both asserted a new importance for man.

Why then should Josquin languish in relative obscurity? The answer has to do with the separation of concept from performance in music. In fine art, concept and performance are one; both the art lover and the art historian have thousands of years of paintings, drawings and sculptures to study and enjoy. Similarly with literature: Poetry, fiction, drama, and criticism survive on the printed page or in manuscript for judgment and admiration by succeeding generations. But musical notation on a page is not art, no matter how lofty or excellent the composer’s conception; it is, crudely put, a set of directions for producing art. Being highly symbolic, musical notation requires training before it can even be read, let alone performed. Moreover, because the musical conventions of other days are not ours, translation of a Renaissance score into modern notation brings difficulties of its own. For example, the Renaissance notation of Josquin’s day did not designate the tempo at which the music should be played or sung. It did not indicate all flats or sharps; these were sounded in accordance with musicianly rules, which were capable of transforming major to minor, minor to major, diatonic to chromatic sound, and thus affect melody, harmony, and musical expression. A Renaissance composition might include several parts—but it did not indicate which were to be sung, which to be played, nor even whether instruments were to be used at all.

Thus, Renaissance notation permits of several interpretations and an imaginative musician may give an interpretation that is a revelation. But no matter how imaginative, few modern musicians can offer any interpretation of Renaissance music. The public for it is small, limiting the number of musicians who can afford to learn, rehearse, and perform it. Most of those who attempt it at all are students organized in collegia musica whose memberships have a distressing habit of changing every semester, thus preventing directors from maintaining the year-in, year-out continuity required to achieve excellence of performance. Finally, the instruments used in Renaissance times— drummhorns, recorders, rauschpfeifen, shawms, sackbuts, organettos—must be specially procured.

Spoiler: :: OA
A

1. The primary purpose of the passage is to

(A) introduce the reader to Josquin and account for his relative obscurity
(B) describe the main features of medieval music and show how Josquin changed them
(C) place Josquin’s music in an historical context and show its influence on later composers
(D) enumerate the features of Josquin’s music and supply critical commentary
(E) praise the music of Josquin and interest the reader in further study of medieval music

Spoiler: :: OA
E

2. The passage contains information that would help answer all of the following questions EXCEPT

(A) What are the titles of some of Josquin’s secular compositions?
(B) What are the names of some Renaissance musical instruments?
(C) Who was the greatest composer before Josquin?
(D) Where might it be possible to hear Renaissance music performed?
(E) What are the names of some of Josquin’s most famous students?

Spoiler: :: OA
E

3. The passage implies that all of the following are characteristics of modern musical notation EXCEPT

(A) The tempo at which a composition is to be played is indicated in the notation.
(B) Whether a note is a sharp or a flat is indicated in the notation.
(C) The notation indicates which parts of the music are to be played by which instruments.
(D) Whether a piece is in a major or minor key is clearly indicated.
(E) The notation leaves no room for interpretation by the musician.

Spoiler: :: OA
B

4. The author would most likely agree with which of the following statements?

(A) Music is a more perfect art form than painting or sculpture.
(B) Music can be said to exist only when it is being performed.
(C) Josquin was the greatest composer of the Middle Ages.
(D) Renaissance music is superior to music produced in modern times.
(E) Most people dislike Josquin because they do not understand his music.

Spoiler: :: OA
D

5. The passage leads most logically to a proposal to

(A) establish more collegia musica
(B) study Josquin’s compositional techniques in greater detail
(C) include Renaissance music in college studies
(D) provide funds for musicians to study and play Josquin
(E) translate Josquin’s music into modern notation

Spoiler: :: OA
B

6. The author cites all of the following as reasons for Josquin’s relative obscurity EXCEPT

(A) the difficulty one encounters in attempting to read his musical notation
(B) the inability of modern musicians to play instruments of the Renaissance
(C) the difficulty of procuring unusual instruments needed to play the music
(D) the lack of public interest in Renaissance music
(E) problems in finding funding for the study of Renaissance music

Spoiler: :: OA
A

7. The author’s attitude toward Galileo (Highlighted) can best be described as

(B) critical
(C) accepting
(D) analytical
(E) noncommittal

Source: Master GMAT
Difficulty Level: 650

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Re: Until Josquin des Prez, 1440–1521, Western music was liturgical, desig  [#permalink]

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20 Nov 2019, 18:21
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Joined: 10 Oct 2018
Posts: 11
Until Josquin des Prez, 1440–1521, Western music was liturgical, desig  [#permalink]

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24 Dec 2019, 22:41
1
1. The primary purpose of the passage is to

(A) Perfect! the first two paragraphs introduce Josquin and describe his accomplishments.
While the last two explain his relative obscurity (Renaissance Music interpretation problems) - correct answer.
(B) describe the main features of medieval music and show how Josquin changed them
(C) This option just mentions one part of the passage and does not cover the rest.
(D)This option does not mention or talk about problems of Renaissance Music interpretation.
(E)Cannot be inferred. In fact, the author does the opposite : In the the last paragraphs by explaining the difficulties of interpretation of Renaissance music, the author is discouraging the study of medieval music (albeit not in a direct manner)

2. The passage contains information that would help answer all of the following questions EXCEPT

(A) What are the titles of some of Josquin’s secular compositions? - mentioned in second paragraph
(B) What are the names of some Renaissance musical instruments? - mentioned in last paragraph
(C) Who was the greatest composer before Josquin? mentioned in second paragraph
(D) Where might it be possible to hear Renaissance music performed? mentioned in last paragraph (colleges/universities)
(E) What are the names of some of Josquin’s most famous students? Not mentioned anywhere! hence, correct answer.

3. The passage implies that all of the following are characteristics of modern musical notation EXCEPT

Read this bit "It did not indicate all flats or sharps.......nor even whether instruments were to be used at all." in the third paragraph. It should eliminate all options except [E]

4. The author would most likely agree with which of the following statements?

(A) Cannot be inferred!
(B) Music can be said to exist only when it is being performed. Can be inferred!
Read this bit: "But musical notation on a page is not art, no matter how lofty or excellent the composer’s conception; it is, crudely put, a set of directions for producing art".
(C) This is what I selected first but there no evidence to support this!
(D) Cannot be inferred! There is no comparison between Renaissance and contemporary music.
(E) Just because the audience for this music is small, doesn't mean most people "dislike" it. cannot be inferred!

5. The passage leads most logically to a proposal to

(A) More colleges are definitely not required.
(B) study Josquin’s compositional techniques in greater detail B & E are similar, eliminate!
(C) include Renaissance music in college studies - It is already included in colleges.
(D) provide funds for musicians to study and play Josquin - " The public for it is small, limiting the number of musicians who can afford to learn, rehearse, and perform it" Correct option!
(E) translate Josquin’s music into modern notation. B & E are similar, eliminate!

6. The author cites all of the following as reasons for Josquin’s relative obscurity EXCEPT

All of the options except B is mentioned in the last paragraph. Hence correct option is B

7. The author’s attitude toward Galileo (Highlighted) can best be described as

(A) admiring - Yes! Correct!
(B) critical - most definitely not.
(C) accepting - The Author holds both Galileo and Josquin in high regards, so definitely not accepting.
(D) analytical - not really.. the author isn't explaining both good and bad characteristics of Galileo/Josquin
(E) noncommittal - The Author isn't hiding his opinion or admiration of Galileo/Josquin

Hope this helps! Please correct me if I'm wrong. Thank you!
Senior RC Moderator
Status: GMAT Club Team Member
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Re: Until Josquin des Prez, 1440–1521, Western music was liturgical, desig  [#permalink]

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29 Mar 2020, 08:19
+1 Kudos to posts containing answer explanation of all questions
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Re: Until Josquin des Prez, 1440–1521, Western music was liturgical, desig   [#permalink] 29 Mar 2020, 08:19
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# Until Josquin des Prez, 1440–1521, Western music was liturgical, desig

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