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#3 - Beginning in the 1950s, popular music was

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Complete Question Explanation

Must be True. The correct answer choice is (D)

In this stimulus, the author discusses the electrification of instruments in popular music, which has led to
fewer musicians per band. Electrification has, nevertheless, increased the total number of musicians who
play popular music professionally.

When we consider these facts, it seems that if there are fewer musicians per band, yet a greater number
of professional popular musicians, these musicians’ play must then be accommodated by a greater
number of professional bands overall
. Since the stimulus provides something of a paradox, and the
question asks what is most strongly supported, we should watch for an answer choice that provides such
a resolution.

Answer choice (A): The stimulus provides no information about the number of amateur musicians who
play popular music, so this response is not necessarily true.

Answer choice (B): The stimulus provides no information about the proportion of professional
musicians able to play electric instruments. This answer is not supported by the statements in the
stimulus, and is therefore incorrect.

Answer choice (C): This answer choice is not necessarily true. There could simply be many new
professional bands, so the number of professional musicians would not necessarily increase in any single
band.

Answer choice (D): This is the correct answer choice, as it resolves the paradox presented in the
stimulus (which made this answer quite conducive to prephrasing). If the total number of professional
bands has increased due to electrification, then it makes sense that the number of professional musicians
has increased despite a lower number of musicians per band.

Answer choice (E): If many professionals each play in more than one band, it becomes more difficult to
explain an increase in the number of professional musicians.
eober
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Hi,

How can we infer that the number of professional bands increased. The stimulus states that the overall number of musicians increase but it doesn't say anything about the bands. Could you clarify?

Thanks!
Nikki Siclunov
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Hi eober,

It's a matter of proportions. If the overall number of musicians has increased (last sentence), but the number of musicians per band has decreased (second sentence), then the total number of bands must have increased. Let's try a simple hypothetical:

    1950: 1,000 musicians, 5 musicians per band = 200 bands

    2014: 2,000 musicians, 2 musicians per band = 1,000 bands
In fact, even if the average number of musicians per band had not decreased, an increase in the overall number of musicians would require the total number of professional bands to increase.

Does that make sense?

Thanks!
Nikki Siclunov
PowerScore Test Preparation
eober
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Thank you so much! That makes perfect sense!
bk1111
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Hello, I have a question regarding answer choice C. Must that be false? Or could it be true? I chose the correct answer hesitantly because there remains a possibility that even though the AVERAGE #/band is decreased, some could have increased? Is D just the "better" answer?
Francis O'Rourke
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Hi bk

Answer choice (C) could be true. We have no way of knowing if the number of musicians in some bands has increased. It's impossible to prove true or false from this stimulus, since we only know about the overall number of musicians and the average per band. It's impossible to prove such a specific statement from the general statements we are given.

Since answer choice (C) could be true or false, it is incorrect. Answer choice (D) is not simply better than answer choice (C). Choice (D) is the only statement that must be true, so it is the only good answer.

Remember that you are being asked for the answer that can be supported by the facts. If you see a statement that can be true or false, than it is not the correct answer.
Tomars
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I chose D because it seemed closest to the correct answer I was looking for (total number of professional musicians increased, whether in bands or not), but it does not seem supported. I rationalized by thinking along the same lines as the above, but found the numbers of bands do not have to increase to justify 1) an increase in total musicians and 2) a decrease in average number of musicians per band.

1950: 1,000 musicians = 100 bands (5 musicians per band on average) + 500 individual musicians
2014: 1,200 musicians = 100 bands (2 musicians per band on average) + 1,000 individual musicians.

Is my thinking wrong here? Are we not supposed to consider musicians who don't play in bands?
Malila Robinson
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Hi Tomars,
Your reasoning is good, as was your pre-phrasing. You just need something that will increase the number of musicians. It could have been an increase in solo musicians or it could have been an increase in the number of bands. They could not have included both as separate answers because they are equally as correct. In this case they focused on the number of bands in answer D so that one was the correct answer.
Hope that helps!
-Malila