LEAP 2025 ELA Grade 8 Chapter 5

LEAP 2025 ELA Grade 8 Chapter 5 Sample

From Troubadours to Beatboxing: The Art of Vocal Percussion

1 Vocal percussionists use their lips, tongue, mouth, throat, and voice to imitate the sounds of percussion instruments like drums. Vocal percussion is usually used by a cappella singers to produce beat patterns in the absence of instruments. This musical art form has a long history, and it dates as far back to the 15th century.

2 In the late 1400s in Southern France and Italy, troubadours (lyric poet-musicians) began singing together in small groups. They would wander the streets performing. The groups used harmony to produce a unified voice. They also used vocal percussion to give the illusion of a band playing with them. This early musical movement continued for a century until full orchestras became common in Europe.

3 Later, baroque and classical music grew popular in Europe. Vocal percussion dwindled. However, it continued to blossom in Africa. Vocal patterns were commonly used to produce the beat in ceremonial music. Many of these same techniques are still used in Africa today. Performers use them to produce rhythm and accompany singers.

4 Over time, these vocal percussion techniques appeared in the United States. In the early 1900s, the blues, a musical expression of life’s sorrows, used controlled breathing, tongue clicks, and sounds as background. As the blues evolved into the American jazz movement, the vocal percussion sounds became more sophisticated and varied. Singers learned to use their voices to imitate the soft, smooth sounds of the snare drum and the hi-hat. By the 1930s, scatting, or improvising with nonsense syllables, became popular. Scatting allowed singers to expand beyond percussion instruments. Singers could imitate the sounds of saxophones and trumpets by using syllables like "doot" and "wawp." Another change in vocal percussion was the use of actual instruments. Singers in jazz clubs would scat with the support of instruments. However, it was also common for scat singers to roam the streets or stand on corners and perform a cappella.

5 Vocal percussion had a rebirth in the late 1990s when beatboxing became popular. Rather than being background music for the singer, often beatboxing is the heartbeat of the music. The term beatboxing came from beat box, a name given to rhythm machines. Singers rap to the beat of a drum machine. However, beat boxes are expensive, so beatboxers took a lesson from history and applied it to their art form. They used vocal percussion techniques to imitate the sounds of the beat box.

6 The addition of vocal percussion was an important change in music. It is still used today in the United States and around the world. The techniques continue to grow and adapt to the ever-changing music world.

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1.

Which sentence expresses the author’s personal viewpoint?

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2.

Which sentence expresses the author’s personal viewpoint?

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4.

Which type of media would best help readers understand the information in this passage?

1 On April 14, 1865, John Wilkes Booth shot and killed Abraham Lincoln while Lincoln was watching a performance of Our American Cousin at Washington, D.C.’s Ford Theater. Witnesses reported Booth jumped off the stage and managed to get away. However, what happened after Booth ran out of the theater has been a subject of debate ever since Lincoln was assassinated.

2 Most historians believe Booth and his co-conspirators made their way to Garrett’s tobacco farm in Port Royal, Virginia. They claim Booth was shot, but he refused to surrender, so soldiers set the barn on fire, and Booth crawled out and died soon after. There is no doubt a man died at that tobacco farm, but some historians believe it wasn’t Booth.

3 Other historians believe that in the confusion of what occurred on the farm, evidence may have been recorded incorrectly or perhaps even covered up; in fact, some high-ranking military officers questioned the official story of Booth’s death. In the early 1900s, John Shumaker, the army’s General Counsel to the Department of the Army wrote: "The evidence put forth by the government to support the conclusion that the body was that of John Wilkes Booth was so insubstantial that it would not stand up in a court of law."

4 Historian Nate Orlowek spent years studying the Lincoln assassination. According to Orlowek, eyewitnesses also refuted the government’s identification of the man killed at the Garrett’s tobacco farm. Orlowek states, "Lieutenant William C. Allan worked for the United States Secret Service in 1865. In August of 1937, his widow, Mrs. Helen Allan, told a journalist that her husband had told her that he saw the man at Garrett’s farm who had been killed and that the man had red hair. And that the government knew that that man was not Booth, but they were determined to foist this man on the nation as Booth."

5 After many years of further investigation, it appears people may have been incorrectly informed about the identity of the man who died on Garrett’s farm. Perhaps in an attempt to "solve" the case, the U.S. government mistakenly believed the man was John Wilkes Booth even though the man’s appearance conflicted with Booth’s known physical features, such as his hair color. No one will ever know for certain if Booth really was killed in that barn, but this uncertainty will not stop the debate over what happened to John Wilkes Booth on that fateful night.

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5.

Which statement best presents the author’s point of view?

Winsor McCay: Animation Pioneer

1 In the early 1900s, artist Winsor McCay created one of the most extravagant comic strips ever to grace the American newspaper. His weekly Sunday comic, the full-page Little Nemo in Slumberland, was a breathtaking weekly display of dazzling colors, stunning visuals, and detailed architectural perspective. Since Nemo’s story line took place in the mind of a dreaming little boy, anything and everything could happen, and in McCay’s able hands, the impossible happened fifty-two times a year.

2 As a man, McCay was driven. Besides producing the wildly imaginative Little Nemo, he also entertained vaudeville audiences with what he called "chalk talks." Standing onstage, he would crack jokes while "speed-sketching" drawings on a large blackboard to the delight of his audience. One day, McCay hit upon the inspired idea of working animation into his act.

3 By 1914, only a handful of cartoons had been attempted; the animation process was involved, and the results were primitive. The animator would draw a picture, and then another, and another, changing each one slightly to produce a sequence of actions. When the pictures were transferred to film, the effect was the illusion of motion. But each second of film required twenty-four individual frames, so one minute of film needed almost 1500 drawings — a tedious, laborious process, but the result was a kind of magic. And magic was what Winsor McCay loved to make.

4 McCay came up with "Gertie the Dinosaur," the first character created specifically for animation. With no animator’s guidebook to follow, McCay had to invent his technique as he went along, devising strategies to increase the efficiency of his drawing. Over the course of six months, McCay drew over 10,000 pictures of this friendly, lumbering dinosaur who could bow gracefully, shuffle from foot to foot, and drink up an entire lake. When he was finished drawing and the sketches were transferred to film frame by frame, he had a five-minute black-and-white cartoon of his spirited fantasy beast. The effect was astonishing: as his film played on the screen behind him, McCay would stand on stage, speak to Gertie, and seemingly get pantomimed responses from the huge cartoon critter. At the end of the show, using a little inventive trickery, Gertie would appear to put McCay on her back and McCay’s popularity increased. McCay began performing on Vaudeville; his act consisted of "Speed Drawing" various characters including those from his strips.

5 At the same time, McCay produced several daily strips and editorial cartoons for William Randolph Hearst’s magazine the New York American, and Hearst believed McCay’s vaudeville act was taking valuable time away from the newspaper. Because McCay was under contract, Hearst forbid him from any more live performances outside the New York area, so Gertie was made into a feature film with a live-action prologue and epilogue and shown around the world. Hearst eventually forbid McCay from any vaudeville related performances and even doing daily strips, so McCay was only allowed to draw editorial cartoons.

6 McCay’s animation was exceptional, and McCay and his celebrated dinosaur became a multimedia sensation. Winsor McCay’s groundbreaking Gertie the Dinosaur stood as the ultimate example of animation art for over twenty years and is well regarded to this day. In fact, the film Gertie the Dinosaur has been named as #6 of the top fifty cartoons of all time.

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8.

Which sentence is an example of an opinion?