CAT 2019 - Slot 1 - Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension
- "Free of the taint of manufacture" – that phrase, in particular

"Free of the taint of manufacture" – that phrase, in particular, is heavily loaded with the ideology of what the Victorian socialist William Morris called the "anti-scrape", or an anticapitalist conservationism (not conservatism) that solaced itself with the vision of a preindustrial golden age. In Britain, folk may often appear a cosy, fossilised form, but when you look more closely, the idea of folk – who has the right to sing it, dance it, invoke it, collect it, belong to it or appropriate it for political or cultural ends – has always been contested territory....

In our own time, though, the word "folk" . . . has achieved the rare distinction of occupying fashionable and unfashionable status simultaneously. Just as the effusive floral prints of the radical William Morris now cover genteel sofas, so the revolutionary intentions of many folk historians and revivalists have led to music that is commonly regarded as parochial and conservative. And yet – as newspaper columns periodically rejoice – folk is hip again, influencing artists, clothing and furniture designers, celebrated at music festivals, awards ceremonies and on TV, reissued on countless record labels. Folk is a sonic "shabby chic", containing elements of the uncanny and eerie, as well as an antique veneer, a whiff of Britain's heathen dark ages. The very obscurity and anonymity of folk music's origins open up space for rampant imaginative fancies...

[Cecil Sharp, who wrote about this subject, believed that] folk songs existed in constant transformation, a living example of an art form in a perpetual state of renewal. "One man sings a song, and then others sing it after him, changing what they do not like" is the most concise summary of his conclusions on its origins. He compared each rendition of a ballad to an acorn falling from an oak tree; every subsequent iteration sows the song anew. But there is tension in newness. In the late 1960s, purists were suspicious of folk songs recast in rock idioms. Electrification, however, comes in many forms. For the early-20th-century composers such as Vaughan Williams and Holst, there were thunderbolts of inspiration from oriental mysticism, angular modernism and the body blow of the first world war, as well as input from the rediscovered folk tradition itself.

For the second wave of folk revivalists, such as Ewan MacColl and AL Lloyd, starting in the 40s, the vital spark was communism's dream of a post-revolutionary New Jerusalem. For their younger successors in the 60s, who thronged the folk clubs set up by the old guard, the lyrical freedom of Dylan and the unchained melodies of psychedelia created the conditions for folkrock's own golden age, a brief Indian summer that lasted from about 1969 to 1971 Four decades on, even that progressive period has become just one more era ripe for fashionable emulation and pastiche. The idea of a folk tradition being exclusively confined to oral transmission has become a much looser, less severely guarded concept. Recorded music and television, for today's metropolitan generation, are where the equivalent of folk memories are seeded....

Q. 1: All of the following are causes for plurality and diversity within the British folk tradition EXCEPT: 

1. the fluidity of folk forms owing to their history of oral mode of transmission.
2. that British folk continues to have traces of pagan influence from the dark ages
3. that British folk forms can be traced to the remote past of the country.
4. paradoxically, folk forms are both popular and unpopular.

1. The oral mode of transmission with regard to folk music has been mentioned in paragraph 4. Therefore, option 1 is not the answer. Option 2 is also true and can be derived from paragraph 2. Thus, option 2 is also not the answer. Option 3 can be asserted from the following extract in paragraph 2 – “a whiff of Britain’s heathen dark ages” with regard to folk music. Thus, option 3 is also eliminated. Option 4 may also be true but it does not answer the question asked. The popularity or unpopularity of folk music has nothing to do with the plurality and diversity of folk music in Britain. Thus, option 4 is the correct answer.

Hence, the correct answer is option 4.

 
Q. 2: Which of the following statements about folk revivalism of the 1940s and 1960s cannot be inferred from the passage?
1.      It reinforced Cecil Sharp’s observation about folk’s constant transformation
2.      Freedom and rebellion were popular themes during the second wave of folk revivalism
3.      Electrification of music would not have happened without the influence of rock music.
4.      Even though it led to folk-rock’s golden age, it wasn’t entirely free from critique.

2. Option 1 can be inferred from the passage. In the 1940s folk music “the vital spark was communism’s dream of a post-revolutionary New Jerusalem. For their younger successors in the 60s, who thronged the folk clubs set up by the old guard, the lyrical freedom of Dylan and the unchained melodies of psychedelia created the conditions for folk rock’s own golden age, a brief Indian summer that lasted from about 1969 to 1971. This extract reinforces Cecil Sharp’s observation about folk’s constant transformation. Eliminate option 1.

The following extract, “For the second wave of folk revivalists, such as Ewan MacColl and AL Lloyd, starting in the 40s, the vital spark was communism’s dream of a post-revolutionary New Jerusalem” validates option 2. Thus, option 2 is eliminated. Option 3 cannot be inferred from the passage. Purists were against the electrification of folk music but the passage is silent on the origins of the electrification of music except for the fact that “In the late 1960s, purists were suspicious of folk songs recast in rock idioms. Electrification, however, comes in many forms.” Therefore, rock music is not necessarily the originator of electrification in music. Thus, option 3 is the correct answer.

Option 4 can be inferred from the following extract, “For their younger successors in the 60s, who thronged the folk clubs set up by the old guard, the lyrical freedom of Dylan and the unchained melodies of psychedelia created the conditions for folk rock’s own golden age, a brief Indian summer that lasted from about 1969 to 1971. . . . Four decades on, even that progressive period has become just one more era ripe for fashionable emulation and pastiche.” Pastiche means to imitate or copy and the author is critical about this phenomenon. Thus, option 4 is eliminated.

Hence, the correct answer is option 3.

 

Q. 3: The author says that folk “may often appear a cosy, fossilised form” because:

1. the notion of folk has led to several debates and disagreements.
2. it has been arrogated for various political and cultural purposes
3. of its nostalgic association with a pre-industrial past.
4. folk is a sonic “shabby chic” with an antique veneer.

3. The first paragraph clearly gives the link between folk music appearing as a cosy, fossilized form because of its association with a pre-industrial past. Thus, option 3 is the correct answer. Options 1 and 2 may be true but are not connected with folk being referred to as a cosy, fossilized form. “Shabby chic” in option 4 refers to modern folk music that is now hip and fashionable.

Hence, the correct answer is option 3

 

Q. 4: The primary purpose of the reference to William Morris and his floral prints is to show:

1. the pervasive influence of folk on contemporary art, culture, and fashion.
2. that what is once regarded as radical in folk, can later be seen as conformist.
3. that despite its archaic origins, folk continues to remain a popular tradition.
4. that what was once derided as genteel is now considered revolutionary

4. The following extract from paragraph 2, “Just as the effusive floral prints of the radical William Morris now cover genteel sofas, so the revolutionary intentions of many folk historians and revivalists have led to music that is commonly regarded as parochial and conservative” points to the fact that what was once radical in folk music is now seen as conformist. Thus, option 2 is the correct answer. Option 1 is not true as per the extract given above. Option 3 has nothing to do with the metaphor of William Morris and his floral prints with folk music. Option 4 inverts the relationship given in the passage. Folk music that was once considered revolutionary is now genteel and acceptable. Hence, the correct answer is option 2.

 

Q. 5: At a conference on folk forms, the author of the passage is least likely to agree with which one of the following views?

1. Folk forms, in their ability to constantly adapt to the changing world, exhibit an unusual poise and homogeneity with each change.
2. Folk forms, despite their archaic origins, remain intellectually relevant in contemporary times
3. The plurality and democratising impulse of folk forms emanate from the improvisation that its practitioners bring to it.
4. The power of folk resides in its contradictory ability to influence and be influenced by the present while remaining rooted in the past.

5. The following extract from paragraph 3, “[Cecil Sharp, who wrote about this subject, believed that] folk songs existed in constant transformation, a living example of an art form in a perpetual state of renewal.”One man sings a song, and then others sing it after him, changing what they do not like” is the most concise summary of his conclusions on its origins” combined with “But there is tension in newness. In the late 1960s, purists were suspicious of folk songs recast in rock idioms” clearly assert the fact that although folk music was able to adapt to the changing world, this change was not viewed with favour by purists (such as folk songs being recast in rock idioms). This is in conformity with the view presented in option 1. Option 2 is true and is something that the author would agree with. Refer to paragraph 2. Option 3 is also true and is something that the author would agree with. Refer to the following extract in paragraph 3, “”One man sings a song, and then others sing it after him, changing what they do not like”. Option 4 can also be derived from the passage. Refer to paragraph 2, “In our own time, though, the word “folk” . . . has achieved the rare distinction of occupying fashionable and unfashionable status simultaneously. Just as the effusive floral prints of the radical William Morris now cover genteel sofas, so the revolutionary intentions of many folk historians and revivalists have led to music that is commonly regarded as parochial and conservative.”

Hence, the correct answer is option 1.

 

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