ACT Reading Practice Test 65: Humanities - Michael Nyman: Minimalist Composer

DIRECTIONS: Each passage is followed by several questions. After reading a passage, choose the best answer to each question and fill in the corresponding oval on your answer document. You may refer to the passages as often as necessary.

1. One of the main arguments the author is trying to make in the passage is that:

A. until recently, classical music had been fading in popularity among Western societies.
B. Michael Nyman has produced much important music, but remains underappreciated.
C. modern classical music is changing the way in which artists interpret the world.
D. The Piano gained widespread popularity because of Michael Nyman's impressive soundtrack.

2. Considering the information given in the first two paragraphs (lines 1–23), which of the following is the most accurate description of modern classical music?

F. It lacks the intellectual richness of classical music from earlier periods.
G. It has not progressed since the emergence of Minimalism.
H. It shares audiences with other forms of music, but has not stopped evolving.
J. It has become more of an artistic medium than it had been historically.

3. As it is used in the passage, "fare" (line 21) most nearly means:

A. a fee paid to attend a minimalist concert.
B. Michael Nyman's ability to write minimalist music.
C. the collection of minimalist music.
D. a feeling evoked by minimalist music.

4. Which of the following statements from the passage is an acknowledgment by the author that the Michael Nyman Band enjoys limited popularity?

F. English composer Michael Nyman has emerged as one of the great writers, conductors, and performers of experimental and often minimalist pieces of music (lines 14–17).
G. Nyman's compositions vary greatly in mood and orchestration (lines 19–20).
H. These works, though, would not reach his largest audience (lines 38–39).
J. Despite this oversight, the music remains among the bestselling film music recordings of all time (lines 47–49).

5. The author's claim that Michael Nyman used the music for Gattaca to impose a trance on the audience (lines 61–62) is best supported by which of the following statements?

A. The music reverberates with layers of emotional string melodies.
B. The music features sorrowful melodies instead of uplifting ones.
C. The music reflects the harsh reality of the world portrayed in the film.
D. The music dulls the raw emotion caused by the futuristic crisis in the film.

6. When the author says that Michael Nyman is "rarely rewarded" (line 70), he most likely means that Nyman:

F. lacks the musical merit to deserve critical acclaim.
G. produces obscure music that fails to appeal to a modern audience.
H. gives many long recitals throughout the year.
J. deserves praise, but does not receive enough of it.

7. The author implies by the phrase snub by the Academy (line 64) that Michael Nyman:

A. did not deserve to win an Academy Award nomination.
B. prepared a superficial composition for The Piano.
C. considers the score for The Piano his crowning achievement.
D. deserved an Academy Award nomination, but was denied one.

8. According to the passage, by considering classical music only a historical form of music, many people lose the sense that:

F. playing unamplified, traditional instruments remains an enriching enterprise.
G. classical music has never disappeared, but rather has evolved with the times.
H. Michael Nyman is a valuable contributor to Western music.
J. classical music is the highest form of recorded music.

9. The second paragraph (lines 12–23) states that, at the time of Michael Nyman's emergence as a composer, Minimalism was:

A. in a period of stylistic turmoil.
B. an ancient practice in classical music.
C. a young musical style.
D. invented by Michael Nyman.

10. When the author says that "austere blues and greens of the film's cinematography blend with Nyman's round melodies" (lines 59–61), he most likely means that the film:

F. presents a conflicting viewpoint to the audience.
G. tempers its severe elements with appeals to human emotion.
H. juxtaposes ugliness with whimsy.
J. is really a tongue-in-cheek commentary on the progress of science.