CLEP Humanities : Understanding Terminology That Describes Classical Music

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for CLEP Humanities

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Example Questions

Example Question #66 : Performing Arts

The note allegro on sheet music tells musicians __________.

Possible Answers:

to play the music softly

to play the music in half time

to play the music at a slow, somber pace

to play the music loudly

to play the piece at a brisk, bright pace

Correct answer:

to play the piece at a brisk, bright pace

Explanation:

"Allegro" is one of the many Italian words that can be placed above a staff on sheet music, to indicate at what tempo a piece should be played. "Allegro" indicates a brisk pace, and for the musician to play the piece brightly. Usually, a tempo marker is given for an entire piece, but sometimes multiple tempo markers can be given throughout a piece.

Example Question #67 : Performing Arts

What is the name of the traditional first movement in a classical symphony?

Possible Answers:

Sonata

Minuet

Opera

Concerto

Allegro

Correct answer:

Sonata

Explanation:

The "classical symphony" features four separate movements: a sonata, or up-tempo section; an adagio, or slow movement; a minuet, or 3/4 dance section; and another up-tempo piece. This format was developed in the late eighteenth century by composers such as Mozart and Haydn. Nonetheless, despite its typical form, a symphony does not always have to adhere to such a strict format. 

Example Question #1 : Understanding Terminology That Describes Classical Music

The concertmaster in an orchestra usually plays which instrument?

Possible Answers:

Viola

Flute

Violin

Trumpet

Cello

Correct answer:

Violin

Explanation:

The concertmaster is the leader of the musicians in an orchestra, and in some smaller ensembles takes the place of a conductor in controlling the pace, rhythm, and timing of a piece. The concertmaster is almost always a violinist, and sits in the front row of the orchestra, so the audience can clearly see him or her.

Example Question #2 : Classical Music (1750 1830)

How many keys does a typical piano keyboard have?

Possible Answers:

144

88

52

100

36

Correct answer:

88

Explanation:

The modern piano was developed from the Baroque harpsichord, which plucked instead of hammered the strings in the soundboard. In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, particularly fueled by Romantic compositions, the piano was made to both be larger and sound larger. Around this time, the keyboard was expanded to include 88 keys, to give it a full 7 1/3 octaves, where the standard for a piano remains today.

Example Question #3 : Classical Music (1750 1830)

Which of the following voice types is the highest in register?

Possible Answers:

Bass

Baritone

Alto

Soprano

Tenor

Correct answer:

Soprano

Explanation:

In order to identify which singers can sing which part in classical music, human voices are divided into various parts. The highest, and typically most showy, is the soprano, a category usually reserved for the highest female registers. A soprano is usually the lead part and takes some of the most impressive solo work.

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