Music Critical Reading Practice Exercises Set 1 (page 2)

Updated on Sep 27, 2011


  1. c. The passage describes swing as vibrant, (line 6) a synonym for lively. It is also stated that soloists in big bands improvised from the melody , (line 11) indicating that the music was melodic .
  2. d. In the 1940s, you would most likely hear bebop being played in clubs, such as Minton's Playhouse in Harlem (line 25).
  3. b.In lines 21–22 the author states that rhythm is the distinguishing feature of bebop.
  4. a. Aficionado, derived from the word affection, means a devotee or fan. The meaning can be inferred from the sentence, which states that aficionados flocked to clubs to soak in the new style. The use of fans in line 26 is a direct reference to the aficionados of the previous sentence.
  5. c. The tone of the passage is neutral so only the answers beginning with explain or instruct are possible choices. The passage does not explain how to play bebop music, so c is the best choice.
  6. b. Lines 2–7 describe how glam rock musicians were characterized by their flashy hair and makeup, and refers to their music as a product, as if it was something packaged to be sold. The choice that best describes a musician who puts outward appearance before the quality of his or her music is choice b, style over substance.
  7. c. Ostentatious is an adjective that is used to describe someone or something that is conspicuously vain, or showy. There are numerous context clues to help you answer this question: Line 5 states that the glam rockers had a flashy style, and their music was symbolic of the superficial 1980s (line 8).
  8. d. Trappings usually refer to outward decoration of dress. If you did not know the definition of trappings, the prior sentence (lines 21–24) supplies the answer: Grunge rockers derived their fashion sense from the youth culture of the Pacific Northwest: a melding of punk rock style and outdoors clothing . . . . The author makes no judgment of the attractiveness of grunge fashion (choice c).
  9. e. Line 5 states that White Snake was a glam rock band and therefore not associated with the Seattle grunge scene. Don't be distracted by choice a; Mr. Epps and the Calculations may not have been a real band, but the name will nonetheless be forever associated with grunge music.
  10. b. The relationship between grunge music and its mainstream popularity is best described as contrary. The most obvious example of this is found in lines 50–51, when in describing the relationship, the author states it is very hard to buck the trend when you are the one setting it.
  11. d. Ephemeral is used to describe something that lasts only a short time, something that isfleeting. The context clue that best helps you to answer this question is found in lines 47–48, where the author states that grunge faded out of the mainstream as quickly as it rocketed to prominence.
  12. a. If Dale was trying out equipment before it became available to the public, it makes sense that he was given original models. The passage does not specify the type of amplifiers Dale tested, so choices c, d, and e don't work. It specifically mentions prototypes amplifiers, so choice b is also wrong.
  13. c. The clue is in the last sentence, which states that Dale was playing differently than other musicians at that time, and rock was not yet invented. Do not be distracted by the other answers, which are not supported by evidence in the passage.
  14. d. His playing style was part of the reason the amplifiers blew up, so the answer that fits best is abrupt and disconnected. Volume was already mentioned, so you can infer that staccato does not mean loud. Line 12 holds another clue, describing his playing as a virtual assault on the instrument.
  15. b. The passage is primarily about Dick Dale and his contributions to the history of playing electric guitar. The first paragraph mentions that he was called the King of Heavy Metal, and the last sentence notes that Dale made music history by playing a new kind of music that would later be called heavy metal.
  16. c. To be fazed by something means to be disturbed or affected by it. Unfazed is therefore to not be affected or bothered by something. Even though the guitar was made for a right-handed player, Dale tried it anyway. He wasn't bothered by the fact that it seemingly wasn't right for him.
  17. a. The line refers to the new transformer. Dale wanted to play louder, and that the new transformer was designed to allow him to do that. Thus, it was a scream machine.
  18. d. The passage mentions that Ozzy Osbourne is often called the Father of Heavy Metal, but gives no other information about him.

For more practice on music critical reading questions, review:

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