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CAT 2022 Reading Comprehension Solution 05

[PASSAGE]

The passage below is accompanied by a set of questions. Choose the best answer to each question.

Humans today make music. Think beyond all the qualifications that might trail after this bald statement: that only certain humans make music, that extensive training is involved, that many societies distinguish musical specialists from nonmusicians, that in today’s societies most listen to music rather than making it, and so forth. These qualifications, whatever their local merit, are moot in the face of the overarching truth that making music, considered from a cognitive and psychological vantage, is the province of all those who perceive and experience what is made. We are, almost all of us, musicians — everyone who can entrain (not necessarily dance) to a beat, who can recognize a repeated tune (not necessarily sing it), who can distinguish one instrument or one singing voice from another. I will often use an antique word, recently revived, to name this broader musical experience. Humans are musicking creatures. . . .

The set of capacities that enables musicking is a principal marker of modern humanity. There is nothing polemical in this assertion except a certain insistence, which will figure often in what follows, that musicking be included in our thinking about fundamental human commonalities. Capacities involved in musicking are many and take shape in complicated ways, arising from innate dispositions . . . Most of these capacities overlap with nonmusical ones, though a few may be distinct and dedicated to musical perception and production. In the area of overlap, linguistic capacities seem to be particularly important, and humans are (in principle) language-makers in addition to music-makers — speaking creatures as well as musicking ones.

Humans are symbol-makers too, a feature tightly bound up with language, not so tightly with music. The species Cassirer dubbed Homo symbolicus cannot help but tangle musicking in webs of symbolic thought and expression, habitually making it a component of behavioral complexes that form such expression. But in fundamental features musicking is neither language-like nor symbol-like, and from these differences come many clues to its ancient emergence.

If musicking is a primary, shared trait of modern humans, then to describe its emergence must be to detail the coalescing of that modernity. This took place, archaeologists are clear, over a very long durée: at least 50,000 years or so, more likely something closer to 200,000, depending in part on what that coalescence is taken to comprise. If we look back 20,000 years, a small portion of this long period, we reach the lives of humans whose musical capacities were probably little different from our own. As we look farther back we reach horizons where this similarity can no longer hold — perhaps 40,000 years ago, perhaps 70,000, perhaps 100,000. But we never cross a line before which all the cognitive capacities recruited in modern musicking abruptly disappear. Unless we embrace the incredible notion that music sprang forth in full-blown glory, its emergence will have to be tracked in gradualist terms across a long period.

This is one general feature of a history of music’s emergence . . . The history was at once sociocultural and biological . . . The capacities recruited in musicking are many, so describing its emergence involves following several or many separate strands.


Question: 1

Which one of the following statements, if true, would weaken the author's claim that humans are musicking creatures?

  1. As musicking is neither language-like nor symbol-like, it is a much older form of expression.

  2. Nonmusical capacities are of far greater consequence to human survival than the capacity for music.

  3. Musical capacities are primarily socio-cultural, which explains the wide diversity of musical forms.

  4. From a cognitive and psychological vantage, musicking arises from unconscious dispositions, not conscious ones.

Option: 3
Solution:
The first sentence of the third paragraph supports option 1, and is in sync with what the author has to stay. 1 goes out. Many of us are tempted to mark option 2 but though it appears to be weakening the author’s point of view, it is not at all weakening the author’s claim. The author has nowhere compared non musical capacities with musical capacities with respect to human survival. He has nowhere claimed that humans’ capacity for music is of greater importance than any other capacity. So, in effect option 2 does nothing to weaken the author’s point of view. Even if option 2 is correct, the author’s argument in the passage remains valid. Option 3 is the right answer because it contradicts what the author has stated in the first paragraph where he says “… that extensive training is involved…. these qualifications, whatever their local merit, are moot in the face of the overarching truth…” The author does not believe that extensive musical training makes us musical, suggesting that it is not something that society or culture gives us. Instead, he suggests that it is an inborn trait “…innate dispositions.” Thus 3 is the best choice. It directly contradicts the author’s point of view expressed in the first paragraph. Option 4 also goes out because the author says that musicking is born out of ‘innate dispositions’, which means it is not entirely a conscious/social or cultural process.

Question: 2

Which one of the following sets of terms best serves as keywords to the passage?

  1. Humans; Psychological vantage; Musicking; Cassirer; Emergence of music.

  2. Musicking; Cognitive psychology; Antique; Symbol-makers; Modernity.

  3. Humans; Capacities; Language; Symbols; Modernity.

  4. Humans; Musicking; Linguistic capacities; Symbol-making; Modern humanity.

Option: 4
Solution:
While answering this question, we must remember that we should not pick a choice because the words given in it are there in the passage. We should pick the answer based on whether those words are important or not. We will go by picking the odd one out. Both option 2 and option 3 have the word ‘modernity’ in them. Modernity is different from modern humans. Modernity implies being from or in the modern world. In the last two paragraphs the author specifically discusses modern humans, not modernity. Thus, we can eliminate options 2 and 3. Let’s compare 1 with 4. Linguistic capacities and symbol making are far more important words than Cassirer and psychological vantage, though all the four find mention in the passage. Thus 4 has the right keywords and should be the right answer

Question: 3

Based on the passage, which one of the following statements is a valid argument about the emergence of music/musicking?

  1. Although musicking is not language-like, it shares the quality of being a form of expression.

  2. All musical work is located in the overlap between linguistic capacity and music production.

  3. Anyone who can perceive and experience music must be considered capable of musicking.

  4. 20,000 years ago, human musical capacities were not very different from what they are today.

Option: 4
Solution:
This should be an easy question to answer because the question asks us to pick the valid argument. It means that there is one valid argument and the other three are not. 3 is a valid argument because it is the very theme of the passage. 2 also finds mention in the passage. To prove 2, you just have to look at the options and the right answers of the preceding two questions. 1 also is true as per the passage. 4 is also correct.
You must be wondering, then, why option 4 is the right answer if all the other choices are factually correct. For this you have to read the question carefully. It asks you to pick a choice ‘about the emergence of music/musicking’. Options 1,2, and 3, though correct, have nothing to do with the emergence of musicking. Emergence of musicking has been discussed in the last two paragraphs.

Question: 4

" Think beyond all the qualifications that might trail after this bald statement . . ." In the context of the passage, what is the author trying to communicate in this quoted extract?

  1. Thinking beyond qualifications allows us to give free reign to musical expressions.

  2. A bald statement is one that is trailed by a series of qualifying clarifications and caveats.

  3. Although there may be many caveats and other considerations, the statement is essentially true.

  4. A bald statement is one that requires no qualifications to infer its meaning.

Option: 3
Solution:
In CAT RCs you will often find questions whose answers are purely contextual and cannot be proven by logic. The quoted part has nothing do with musical expressions. There is no connection between these two. 1 is not the right choice. A bald statement is that which is very simple and straightforward. It need not always be trailed by a series of clarifications. Both 2 and 4 make the mistake of defining a bald statement as though ‘bald statement’ were some sort of scientific concept. Both these options overlook the contextual reference. If you read the entire first paragraph, you will realize that 3 is the best choice and the right answer. The author states all the caveats after making the bald statement.

CAT 2022 RC passage with solution

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