Of all modern instruments, the violin is apparently one of the simplest. It consists in essence of a hollow, varnished wooden sound box, or resonator, and a long neck, covered with a fingerboard, along which four strings are stretched at high tension. The beauty of design, shape, and decoration is no accident: the proportions of the instrument are determined almost entirely by acoustical considerations. Its simplicity of appearance is deceptive. About 70 parts are involved in the construction of a violin. Its tone and its outstanding range of expressiveness make it an ideal solo instrument. No less important, however, is its role as an orchestral and chamber instrument. In combination with the larger and deeper-sounding members of the same family, the violins form the nucleus of the modern symphony orchestra.
The violin has been in existence since about 1550. Its importance as an instrument in its own right dates from the early 1600's, when it first became standard in Italian opera orchestras. Its stature as an orchestral instrument was raised further when in 1626 Louis XIII of France established at his court the orchestra known as Les vingt-quatre violins du Roy (The King's 24 Violins), which was to become widely famous later in the century.
In its early history, the violin had a dull and rather quiet tone resulting from the fact that the strings were thick and were attached to the body of the instrument very loosely. During the eighteenth and nineteenth century, exciting technical changes were inspired by such composer-violinists as Vivaldi and Tartini. Their instrumental compositions demanded a fuller, clearer, and more brilliant tone that was produced by using thinner strings and a far higher string tension. Small changes had to be made to the violin's internal structure and to the fingerboard so that they could withstand the extra strain. Accordingly, a higher standard of performance was achieved, in terms of both facility and interpretation. Left-hand technique was considerably elaborated, and new fingering patterns on the fingerboard were developed for very high notes.
1. The word standard in line 12 is closest in meaning to
2. The King's 24 Violins is mentioned in line 15 to illustrate
(A) how the violin became a renowned instrument
(B) the competition in the 1600's between French and Italian orchestras
(C) the superiority of French violins
(D) why the violin was considered the only instrument suitable to be played by royalty
3. What is the main idea presented in paragraph 3?
(A) The violin has been modified to fit its evolving musical functions.
(B) The violin is probably the best known and most widely distributed musical instrument in the
(C) The violin had reached the height of its popularity by the middle of the eighteenth century.
(D) The technique of playing the violin has remained essentially the same since the 1600's.
4. The author mentions Vivaldi and Tartini in line 19 as examples of composers whose
(A) inspired more people to play the violin
(B) had to be adapted to the violin
(C) demanded more sophisticated violins
(D) could be played only by their students
5. The word they in line 22 refers to
(A) Civaldi and Tartini
(B) thinner strings and a higher string tension
(C) small changes
(D) internal structure and fingerboard
6. The word strain in line 22 is closest in meaning to
7. The word Accordingly in line 23 is closest in meaning to
8. According to the passage , early violins were different from modern violins in that early violins
(A) were heavier
(B) broke down more easily
(C) produced softer tones
(D) were easier to play
9. According to the passage , which of the following contributes to a dull sound being produced
by a violin?
(A) A long fingerboard
(B) A small body
(C) High string tension
(D) Thick strings
10. Which of the following terms is defined in the passage ?
(A) resonator (line 2)
(B) solo (line 7)
(C) left-hand technique (line 25)
(D) fingering patterns (lines 24-25)
11. All of the following are mentioned in the passage as contributing to the ability to play modern
violin music EXCEPT
(A) more complicated techniques for the left hand
(B) different ways to use the fingers to play very high notes
(C) use of rare wood for the fingerboard and neck
(D) minor alterations to the structure of the instrumentANSWER KEYS
PASSAGE 100 BAACD DBCAA C