Music Composition

Sat 14 Mar 2015


Composers today use a wider variety of sounds than ever before, including many that were once considered undesirable noises. Composer Edgard Varese (1883-1965) called thus the "liberation of sound...the right to make music with any and all sounds." Electronic music, for example – made with the aid of computers, synthesizers, and electronic instruments – may include sounds that in the past would not have been considered musical. Environmental sounds, such as thunder, and electronically generated hisses and blips can be recorded, manipulated, and then incorporated into a musical composition. But composers also draw novel sounds from voices and nonelectronic instruments. Singers may be asked to scream, laugh, groan, sneeze, or to sing phonetic sounds rather than words. Wind and string players may lap or scrape their instruments. A brass or woodwind player may hum while playing, to produce two pitches at once; a pianist may reach inside the piano to pluck a string and then run a metal blade along it. In the music of the Western world, the greatest expansion and experimentation have involved percussion instruments, which outnumber strings and winds in many recent compositions. Traditional percussion instruments are struck with new types of beaters; and instruments that used to be couriered unconventional in Western music – tom-toms, bongos, slapsticks, maracas – are widely used.

In the search for novel sounds, increased use has been made in Western music of Microtones. Non-Western music typically divides and interval between two pitches more finely than Western music does, thereby producing a greater number of distinct tones, or micro tones, within the same interval. Composers such as Krzysztof Penderecki create sound that borders on electronic noise through tone clusters – closely spaced tones played together and heard as a mass, block, or band of sound. The directional aspect of sound has taken on new importance as well Loudspeakers or groups of instruments may be placed at opposite ends of the stage, in the balcony, or at the back and sides of the auditorium. Because standard music notation makes no provision for many of these innovations, recent music scores may contain graphlike diagrams, new note shapes and symbols, and novel ways of arranging notation on the page.

Questions:

1. What does the passage mainly discuss?
(A) The use of nontraditional sounds in contemporary music
(B) How sounds are produced electronically
(C) How standard musical notation has beer, adapted for nontraditional sounds
(D) Several composers who have experimented with the electronic production of sound

2. The word "wider" in one 1 is closest in meaning to
(A) more impressive        
(B) more distinctive
(C) more controversial        
(D) more extensive

3. The passage suggests that Edgard Varese is an example of a composer who
(A) criticized electronic music as too noiselike
(B) modified sonic of the electronic instruments he used in his music
(C) believed that any sound could be used in music
(D) wrote music with environmental themes

4. The word "it" in line 12 refers to
(A) piano    
(B)string    
(C) blade    
(D) music

5. According to the passage, which of the following types of instruments has played a role in much of the innovation in Western music?
(A) String    
(B) Percussion    
(C) Woodwind    
(D) Brass

6. The word "thereby" in line 20 is closest in meaning to
(A) in return for        
(B) in spite of
(C) by the way        
(D) by that means

7. According to the passage, Krzysztof Penderecki is known for which of the following practices?
(A) Using tones that are clumped together
(B) Combining traditional and nontraditional instruments
(C) Seating musicians in unusual areas of an auditorium
(D) Playing Western music for non-Western audiences

8. According to the passage, which of the following would be considered traditional elements of Western music?
(A) Microtones        
(B) Tom-toms and bongos
(C) Pianos    
(D) Hisses

9. In paragraph 3, the author mentions diagrams as an example of a new way to
(A) chart the history of innovation in musical notation
(B) explain the logic of standard musical notation
(C) design and develop electronic instruments
(D) indicate how particular sounds should be produced

Answers:

1)A 2)D 3)C 4)B 5)B 6)D 7)A 8)C 9)D

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