1. Improvisation characterizes which musical style?
E. Rock and roll
2. What is a dithyramb?
I. A forerunner of Greek tragedies.
II. A scene of action in a tragedy.
III. A frenzied and impassioned hymn performed by a chorus of men.
IV. The conclusion of a play during which the chorus continues to chant as the characters depart.
A. I only
B. I and IV
C. I and III
D. IV only
E. II only
3. Who developed the technique of “the Method,” in which actors use emotions from their past to bring depth to their acting?
A. Eugene O’Neill
B. Stella Adler
C. Konstantin Stanislavsky
D. Henrik Ibsen
E. Auguste Comte
4. Which is true of ballet?
I. One of its principles is to keep the feet turned in.
II. It was established during the reign of King Louis XIV.
III. It is based on six different positions of the feet.
IV. Marius Petipa is often referred to as its father.
A. II only
B. IV only
C. I and IV
D. II and IV
E. II, III and IV
5. The Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty and Swan Lake are all ballets composed by
A. Peter Tchaikovsky
B. Felix Mendelssohn
C. Martha Graham
D. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
E. Igor Stravinsky
6. Which of the following terms will you not hear in a ballet class?
C. Grands battements
7. The Peabody, the foxtrot, the jitterbug and the mashed potato all have what in common?
A. They are all types of folk dances.
B. They are all types of ballroom dances.
C. They are all characterized by flat-footed steps and syncopated rhythms.
D. They are all popular forms of dance in American musicals.
E. They are all popular American dances of the 1930s, 1940s or 1950s
8. Jazz dance played a prominent role in all of the following American musicals except
B. West Side Story
C. 42nd Street
E. A Chorus Line
9. What do Don Juan, The Jazz Singer and Steamboat Willie have in common?
A. They are some of the first color films.
B. They are some of the first films with sound.
C. They are some of the first films to win Academy Awards.
D. They are all produced by Thomas Edison’s motion picture company.
E. They are all produced by Walt Disney.
10. Which film genre was produced only in the 1950s?
C. Science fiction
CLEP Humanities Practice Question Answer Key
- ANSWER: (B) Jazz music is characterized by improvisation, where performers agree on a tune, key, tempo and form, and then make up what they play or sing as they go along in a spontaneous way. Folk music, impressionist music, opera and rock and roll are not characterized by the use of improvisation.
- ANSWER: (B) A dithyramb is a frenzied and impassioned hymn performed by a chorus of 50 men costumed in goat-skins during the earliest period of Greek plays. Aristotle described the dithyramb as the forerunner of tragedy. A scene of action in a play is referred to as an episode. The conclusion of a play, during which the chorus continues to chant as characters depart, is called an exodus.
- ANSWER: (C) Russian Konstantin Stanislavsky developed “the Method,” so dubbed because of its broad impact on the training of Western actors. Eugene O’Neill was a 20th century American playwright. Stella Adler was a teacher of Method acting. Henrik Ibsen was a 19th century European playwright. Auguste Comte was a French philosopher who influenced the theater of realism.
- ANSWER: (D) Ballet was established during the reign of Louis XIV of France, who was a great champion of dance. Marius Petipa was a dancer, teacher and choreographer who is often referred to as the father of classical ballet. Ballet is based on five different positions of the feet, not six, and it is a principle of ballet to keep the feet turned out, not in.
- ANSWER: (A) Peter Tchaikovsky composed three ballets during the Romantic period: The Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty, and Swan Lake. Felix Mendelssohn was another Romantic era composer. Martha Graham was a 20th century American dancer and choreographer. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was a leading classical era composer of symphonies, concertos and operas. Igor Stravinsky was a prominent Russian composer of ballets and other instrumental works of the 20th century.
- ANSWER: (D) Sonore is a term used in instrumental music, meaning resonant or rich in tone. Plie, releve, grands battements and fouette are all ballet exercises or movements.
- ANSWER: (E) The Peabody, foxtrot, jitterbug and mashed potato were popular in America from the 1930s to the 1950s. The Peabody and foxtrot were popular in the 1930s, the jitterbug in the 1940s, and the mashed potato in the 1950s. They are not types of folk or ballroom dances. Jazz is characterized by flat-footed steps and syncopated rhythms, and is a popular form of dance in American musicals.
- ANSWER: (A) Oklahoma! is an American musical of the 1940s which includes a barn dance and other choreography, but not jazz. West Side Story, 42nd Street, Chicago, and A Chorus Line all incorporate jazz dance.
- ANSWER: (B) Don Juan was released in 1926, and was the first film to have orchestral accompaniment and sound effects. The Jazz Singer, released in 1927, was a part sound/part silent film. Steamboat Willie, produced by Walt Disney, was Disney’s first musical cartoon and contributed to the sound film genre. None of the films were in color, won Academy Awards, or were produced by Edison’s motion picture company. Only Steamboat Willie was produced by Walt Disney.
- ANSWER: (E) Anti-communist films appeared only in the 1950s, although their themes can be seen in later films. Comedies, Westerns, science fiction films and gangster films were all popular in the 1950s, but have also been produced in other decades.