Although early jazz music featured a great deal of improvisation, this improvisation did not stray too far from the r...

Grace on November 26, 2018

Why is the answer E?

I felt like A or B would be better answers.

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Katherine on December 21, 2018


The passage says that early jazz had a good amount of improvisation, but the improvisation did not vary much from the melodies on which it was based. It goes on to argue that later music, in which the improvisation strayed far from the melody, should therefore not be classified as jazz. The question stem asks you to choose the answer that most weakens this argument.

This question is a little tricky because the argument of the passage is weak and does not make intuitive sense. Most of us know that improvisation, maybe especially that which strays far from a melody, is central to jazz music. This is directly opposed to the argument. However, in order to answer this question correctly you need to embrace the logic of the passage’s argument and find an answer that weakens the argument as presented and not what we intuitively know outside of this question.

Answer E says that later music featuring improvisation has much more in common with early jazz than with any other type of music. The argument in the passage is that later music should not be classified as jazz. If the later music with improvisation resembles early jazz more than anything else, that would suggest that it should be classified as jazz. Therefore this answer weakens the argument and is the correct choice.

Answer A is not correct because it does not weaken the argument. It states a necessary condition - in order to be jazz, there must be some amount of improvisation. However, this is not a sufficient condition - just because there is improvisation, does not mean that the music is jazz. Therefore, later music featuring improvisation is not necessarily jazz. This is consistent with the argument which says it should not be classified as jazz.

Answer B also does does not necessarily weaken the argument. It says that the later music featuring improvisation was influenced by early jazz. Just because the later music was influenced by early jazz does not mean that it should properly be classified as jazz. New styles of music are influenced by earlier styles, but are different enough to be classified as their own genre. Therefore, this statement is still consistent with the argument that the later music should not be classified as jazz.

on March 16, 2020

I am still a bit confused. I can see how other answers are not correct. I can also see how E can weaken the argument but it doesn't have to. For instance if later music has 5% of its characteristics in common with jazz and at most 1% with any other given type of music....It is possible that it has enough original characteristics to establish a new type of music. I don't know if this makes sense, but could someone explain why E must weaken, and why my reasoning is flawed . Thanks