LISTENING 5 “MUSIC APPRICIATION CLASS”
Narrator: Listen to part of a lecture in a music appreciation class.
- TOEFL IBT Listening Practice Test 05 from Barron’s TOEFL iBT
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As you know, tonight’s the concert that I want you to attend so I’ll keep the class short today. Let me tell you a little bit about the history of chamber music so you’ll be prepared to appreciate the music that you hear tonight. The University Quartet is one of the best in the region so you’ll be hearing an excellent example … anyway … about chamber music. From medieval times through the eighteenth century, musicians in Europe had basically two options for employment—the church or the nobility. So … when they weren’t creating pieces for religious occasions and performing at church functions … musicians were playing in the chambers of stately homes. Now a chamber is the name for a room where guests may be assembled, kind of like a hall. And because of their association with this room, this chamber, the musicians who played for the wealthy patrons came to be known as chamber players.
Chamber music is written to be performed by a relatively small group … more than one, but fewer than a dozen musicians. I should tell you that pieces for more than eight players are unusual though, and it’s very rare to see a conductor. It may surprise you to know that any combination of instruments can be used for chamber music. The strings, woodwinds, and piano are so often associated with cham¬ber music and — uh — they remain the most popular, even today, but chamber music has been written for other instruments as well.
Well, the history of chamber music is usually divided into three distinct periods. In the Classical Period . . . and that extends from the mid seventeen hundreds to around 1820 … so in the classical period, chamber music, like many other expressions of the arts . . . it reacted to the extravagant Baroque style by creating new structures, and these structures expressed simplicity, balance, and order. It was the age of the Enlightenment with the ideals of logic and reason. So this translated into compositions with one melodic line. Uh, the line … the melody … it was usually written for the violin and all other instruments provided an accompaniment. Early chamber music in the Classical tradition often included the recorder, the harpsichord, and the viola.
Vienna was a … a … hub … of activity … for chamber music, and three composers dominated the artistic scene. Franz Joseph Haydn is generally credited with organizing the string quartet, and he produced more than 80 pieces for it the quartet. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart also composed cham¬ber music, including not only quartets but also quintets, and trios with clarinet, and even piano sonatas. Since the music was relatively simple, many amateurs played for their own enjoyment This was new, but by then, music was being printed and more people had access to it. So music rooms became popu¬lar and people played chamber music as a social activity.
Well, it was Ludwig Von Beethoven who probably bridged between the Classical Period and the Romantic Period, and I say that because his works were longer and… and perhaps more complex than his predecessors. And I find this amazing since the later quartets were all created when he was totally deaf. In any case, composers and performers were beginning to… to break free of the formal confines of the Classical Period. Their works became increasingly more difficult, expressing some of the high emotions of the nineteenth century, which, as you will recall the backdrop of that century… the French and the American revolutions . . . they were defining moments. So Chopin, Liszt, and Wagner wrote very little chamber music … because they preferred the emotional power of the full orchestra … or, uh, the personal expression in a piano solo. It was also at about this time that Franz Schubert, Johannes Brahms, Felix Mendelssohn, and Antonin Dvorak made their contributions, and they wrote melodic, passionate compositions for chamber players But now the music was more difficult to play, and the patronage system was declining anyway, so … so most chamber music moved from the great homes of the wealthy and into the concert halls, which were frequented by a growing middle class. And it was a very creative period for chamber music, and professional chamber groups emerged during this time. The composers probably felt a new freedom because they weren’t so much pressed to please their patrons and they could explore their art.
Well, at the turn of the century, the Modem Period ushered in an opportunity for even greater exper–imentation. Painters were bringing Impressionism to the forefront of the artistic consciousness, and this was reflected musically in the work of Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel. Their chamber music was considered revolutionary … Debussy and Ravel… because, unlike previous composers, their compositions had recurring themes instead of a continuous melody. And there are a number of other composers who wrote chamber music in the Modem Period but… but whether they’ll be remembered is. well, a question to be answered by future historians. What we do know is that the Modernists gave chamber music new combinations of instruments and arrangements. And as the music became more … more … unexpected, often with unusual tonality, well, it also became even more difficult to play and that meant that the scores for modem chamber music had to be played by very skilled ensemble musicians.
This evening, at the concert, the University Quartet will perform one of the Classical pieces by Hayden. You’ll hear the Quartet in D Minor, Opus 76, Number 2, Third Movement. There are two violins, one cello, and one viola. So. that said … I’ll see you tonight.
LISTENING 6 “BOTANY CLASS”
Narrator: Listen to part of a discussion in a botany class. The professor is talking about hydroponics.
Although the recent interest in hydroponics may lead you to believe that it’s a relatively new idea, the process probably originated in ancient times. In fact, the famous Hanging Gardens of Babylon may well have been one of the first successful attempts to grow plants in water, that is, hydroponically. Early agriculture in Pakistan and India as well as other areas throughout the Middle East included water crops, and we also have evidence that the Egyptians were growing plants in water along the Nile … and that was without soil. Asia and the South Pacific were prime locations for earty hydroponic gardens. And, in the Western Hemisphere, we know that the Aztecs had developed an advanced system of water agriculture along the marshlands– of Lake Tenochtitlan in the Central Valley of Mexico because, when the Spanish arrived, they made drawings in their journals of “floating islands of trees and vegetation,’ in other words, hydroponic agriculture.
Okay, wed, this isn’t a history class. It’s a botany class. But I think it’s important when we’re talking about scientific discoveries that we understand how science works. Sometimes we’re rediscovering and refining methods that have been used for a very long time, and that’s certainly the case of hydroponics. Through the years, it’s been called nutricutture, chemiculture, acquiculture, soilless culture, but the current term is hydroponics, and that encompasses the modem science of growing plants without soil by using an inert medium such as sand, peat, gravel, or… or even sawdust or Styrofoam. Of course, you have to add a solution of nutrients.
Clearly, good soil has the nutrients necessary for plant growth, but when plants are grown without soil, all the nutrients must be provided in another way. So, why do you think that we would go to all of this additional effort to replace soil?
Well, I think the book mentioned something about keeping the growing medium more sterile.
Umhum. Soil–borne diseases and pests and even weeds can be … virtually eliminated … by using a soil alternative.
So I was thinking probably you wouldn’t require as much labor, to get rid of the pests and weeds.
Good thought. Now tell me what you know about fertilizer and water.
Oh, right Less fertilizer and water are required per plant since they’re constantly reused, and aren’t the results more uniform because of the highly controlled conditions?
Right on both counts. But probably the most important advantage is the ability to cultivate a larger number of plants in a limited space…. Where would this be important do you think?
Well, small or isolated environments or very arid climates with limited fresh water supplies probably. Students Or regions with poor soils, for instance, in developing countries where the weather conditions aren’t dependable and… and famine might… could happen.
Professor. So hydroponics is limited to developing regions then.
I’m not sure about that Even in highly industrialized nations, populations are growing and … and isn’t the total acreage in cultivation dropping to accommodate the expansion of urban areas?
Well stated. As agricultural land is sold for development, hydroponics has become a viable option for, well, for almost every country in the world.
Now earlier, I said that we’re often rediscovering ancient methods in science, but we’re also adapt-ing them by using improvements from other scientific research. In the case of hydroponics, there are probably two modem discoveries that have supported progress in hydroponics. Okay. First, the devel-opment of plastics… that allowed growers to abandon the old concrete beds, which were costly to con-struct and problematic because … because they leached into the nutrient solution. But, plastic beds are cheap, they’re light, and sterile … an ideal replacement for concrete. And many of the greenhouses themselves are even built of plastic panels. Okay. The other important advancement is the knowledge we’ve accumulated about plant nutrition. Of course, like I said, good soil has the nutrients necessary for plant growth, but when plants are grown without soil, all the nutrients must be provided in another way. And now we have a much better idea of what we need to use in the solution to obtain the best results.
So… all of that said, let’s talk about the lab experiment that we’ve set up here. This solution contains potassium nitrate, ammonium sulfate, magnesium sulfate, monocalcium phosphate, and calcium sulfate. Don’t try to write down all of that now. You can refer to your lab workbook for the list of substances and the proportions needed for proper plant growth.
For now, just look at this diagram. The drawing in your lab workbook should look more or less like this one. As you know, for plants grown in soil, the roots absorb water and nutrients, but they also serve to anchor the plant. That’s why the roots of our hydroponic plants aren’t placed directly in the water and nutrient solution. We used sterile gravel held in place by wire mesh to anchor the plants and that allowed us to suspend the roots in the tank below. Remember, the tank contains the water and nutrient solution. So … because oxygen is also taken in by the roots, we had to attach an air pump to mix oxygen into the solution. Remember, a constant source of oxygen is one of the major problems with hydroponics tanks of this kind. And you can see the way that the pump is attached to the tank.
Okay, it’s almost time for our break this morning, so I’d like you to come over to the hydroponics area and examine the experiment dose up. I’d also like you to take a doser look at this spedmen of nutrient solution. What do you notice about this? Can you draw any conclusions? Today is Day 1 for you to record your observations on the chart in your workbook.