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June 2007, Passage 2, Setup


Passage two is this test, hard science passage. It's also, this test, comparative passage. So we get two passages on related subjects. And our job is to read them like usual, take stock of the information, but also as we read to consider the relationship between the two passage. Take note, at the beginning they do give us some information about where the passages come from.

Don't skip over that sort of thing. So the italicized part of the beginning says that these passages come from two papers on recent scientific research on music presented at a scientific conference. So, two people who are operating in the same general intellectual climate, they probably aren't directly responding to each other but they're on similar topics, specifically music.

Go into passage A. So passage A begins straight to the point with a question, did music and language arise independently or did they arise together? The rest of the paragraph more or less consists of reasons why we might think that they rose together, their similarities, the things that they have in common.

So the second paragraph introduces a source of evidence that's relevant to the question from the first paragraph, and that's brain imaging. But before it gets around to answering that question from the first paragraph the passage also gives us some differences between music and language. People create language very often, they don't often create music and so on. Now, in the final paragraph, the author gets back to that question and presents the answer to it.

The answer is that they probably evolved together. However, a slight complication, language was the primary function. Music was sort of a bonus that evolved along with it and doesn't have any particular evolutionary adaptive role. So did they evolve together? Yes, music was kind of a bonus, okay?

On to passage B. So, passage B also starts with a question and it is the same question though it does kind of hide it behind that quote from Darwin. But still the question is basically, where did music come from? The author in this passage, passage B, presents their answer immediately. Basically music evolved because it's useful for bonding mothers and children together.

So, that means that this passage's author definitely disagrees with the guy from passage A, who thought that music was sort of just an extra thing. This author says, no, no, music evolve for a specific reason to help bond mothers and children together. So the second paragraph then gives you evidence for that answer. Two pieces of evidence, lullabies and something that the passage calls ritual sequential behavior.

Note, they don't actually spend very much time talking about lullabies, most of it is about that behavior and they talk about how it works. Then the final paragraph explains how that evidence is relevant to the question, because humans are helpless at birth, they need better maternal care, which is helped by having a stronger bond between mother and child. And those premusical interactions, the ritualized sequential behavior, that stuff bonds mothers and children tighter together, so that's where music came from.

Now before you go on the questions you should pause and make sure you understand the main point of each passage and the relationships between them. So here, passage A and passage B are both giving you an explanation of where music came from. It's a different explanation, passage A says that it evolved at the same time as language as kind of an extra bonus on top of language, passage B says it evolved independently of language as a way of bonding babies with their mothers.

So, with that, go on to the questions.

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