Also see:
You might be a theory geek if . . .
Toby Appel's Guide to the Orchestra

Hope you enjoy the Culture Test, which has been on the internet a long time. I invented it to perhaps amuse people who are not conversant with the particular minutia cluttering up my mind - but the truth is, anyone could write a similar "culture test," based on their own areas of expertise. I'd love to receive one from someone. Nobody's ever taken up the challenge.

Click on the questions to get the answers. . .

  1. Russell and Whitehead were responsible for what volume?

  2. Dr. Suzuki and what German scientist were friends, and what did they have in common?

  3. Who wrote "toasted Susie is my icecream?"

  4. Who's love was "nothing like the rose?"

  5. What did Roy Harris and Abraham Lincoln have in common?

  6. What is a pietà and what does it represent?

  7. What can be accomplished in a global search?

  8. What internationally known violinist is known for a peculiarity of his bow hold?

  9. What did Beethoven and Goethe think of each other, and why?

  10. What characteristics did Marx, Freud and Einstein have in common?

  11. What is the tragedy of Nannerel?

  12. What English novel first described a female orgasm?

  13. What painting depicted the Spanish Civil War?

  14. Who is Jean-Christophe?

  15. Who thought they could "turn and live with animals" because they are so "placid and self-contained?"

  16. Who is not resigned to the shutting away of hearts into the cold ground?

  17. Who wrote about Mildred Klinghoffer, who "whirled through youth in bloom?"

  18. What does DOS stand for?

  19. What Renaissance genius wrote his diaries in mirror cursive? Wonder why?

  20. Of three classical composers, two of them were friends, and one of them referred to the other as "the Great Mogul?" Who were they?

  21. What do Charleston, South Carolina and a small town in northern Italy have in common?

  22. What are Salzberg and Bayreuth known for?

  23. What kind of things can be accomplished with a modem?

  24. Where do sand paintings originate?

  25. Who's brother Theo sent money for paints?

  26. Who complained "a rose is a rose is an onion?"

  27. Who is "the red priest?"

  28. Who is Mimi?

  29. In what poem did people speak about Michelangelo, and who is the poet?

  30. What composer also sold insurance?

  31. The popular song "Strange in Paradise" is taken from what set of dances?

  32. What do you associate with the phrase "The Kreutzer Sonata?"

  33. What Native Americans are known for making very expensive dolls and having a language so beautiful and intricate, that it was used as a unbreakable code during WWII?

  34. What kind of work is Mondrian known for? Moore? Kandinsky? Klee?

  35. What prominent American university refused to hire a man, based on his views of marriage and morals? Who was he?

  36. Who made his living grinding lenses?

  37. Who wrote "The Drunken Boat?"

  38. Why is Ashley Montigue beloved of women?

  39. Why is Linus Pauling a great man?

  40. What is Chance Music? What is I Ching? How do they relate?

  41. What is the Hammerklavier?

  42. What is the "Spring" sonata?

  43. Who is Magister Ludi?

  44. In what country is a veal and spinach dish extremely popular?

  45. What is Zeno's paradox?

  46. Who worte about the cave paradox?

  47. What famous pianist's husband ended his life in suicide, and who loved her?

  48. Who loved George Sand: where was he born and what was he known for?

  49. What recipe was Alice Toklas known for, and who would she be making it for?

  50. Who said "if I were holding you any closer, I'd be standing behind you?"

  51. Who wrote Cantos and where was he on the radio?

  52. What do Oscar Wilde and Leonard Bernstein have in common?

  53. Who sang about mommie's hand being left in the snow?

  54. Name two composers who used a chorus in their symphonies?

  55. Who is famous for his study of genetics via small plants?

  56. Who studied the culture of South Sea islanders, and ended her career as curator of a museum?

  57. What was James Baldwin known for?

  58. Name five feminists. Name four important feminist books.

  59. Who was known for conducting the NBC orchestra?

  60. What is the bell curve, and to what kinds of things is it applied?

  61. Who is Li Po?

  62. By what would you measure the difference between a haiku and a sonnet?

  63. "Abraham, Martin and John" refers to whom?

  64. Who wrote My Antonia? Can you name several of her other works? What religion was she?

  65. What was one of the principle causes of the second world war? What was the central cause of its end?

  66. What king could have prevented the American Revolution, had he been more flexible and sane?

  67. Who wrote The History of the Pelophonesian War? Who wrote The Prince? What do they have in common?

  68. What composer originally dedicated a symphony to a famous man, and then changed the dedication? Why did the composer change the dedication?

  69. Aside from being involved in the same career (music), what do Pinchas Zukerman and Mozart have in common? (Nadia does this, too).

  70. What work was played at the funeral of the murdered Israeli Olympic athletes?

  71. What work brought together the work of Stravinsky, Picasso and Nijinsky?

  72. What poet had a characteristically eccentric and non-capitalized style?

  73. Who wrote that "the soul selects its own society?"

  74. How did Alfred Nobel earn his fortune?

  75. What is Summerhill?

  76. Who shot Andy Warhol? What does SCUM stand for?

  77. Economically, what is the difference between the careers of Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven?

  78. How are Sandburg and Steichen related? What are they known for?

  79. What do Harry Truman and Will Rogers have in common? Where is Rogers buried and what ancestry is he?

  80. Describe the poem, "The People, Yes."

  81. What Italian composer, after rising from poverty to great success, retired to enjoy the rest of his life, without writing any more music?

  82. Who is the American poet who wrote I know Why the Caged Bird Sings, and was interviewed by Bill Moyers? At whose inauguration did she speak?

  83. What American actor promotes the cause of Tibet?

  84. In what work was Mowgli the principle character?

  85. What are some examples of "original instruments?"

  86. Name four important books (or authors) in the literature on education.

  87. A "leading tone" always or generally leads to what?

  88. Name one popular desktop publishing application.

  89. What principle would cause succeeding generations of black moths to turn white?

  90. What characteristics do minnesingers and troubadors have in common with modern, free-lance musician? In what ways are conditions better?

  91. The work "Carmina Burana" and works by Brahms have what in common?

  92. What poet's wife wrote the original Frankenstein story?

  93. Who was "silly like us, but your gift survived us all"? in what poem is this sentiment expressed?

  94. After being asked, "What are you doing here, Henry?" he replied "what are you doing out there?" Who were the individuals involved and what were the circumstances?

  95. Name a famous vegetarian author, ofter referred to by three initials, who is known for his wit and political satire.

  96. Who said "A man's a man for a that?"

  97. Who said, "Come live with me and be my love.."?

  98. What do Poe and Rilke have in common?

  99. What television personality and his wife did a program based on imaginary (and imaginative) conversations with eminent historical figures? Who were some of the people portrayed?

  100. What, in your opinion, have been the primary challenges of the 20th century?


  1. Principia Mathematica

  2. Einstein, who was said when he traveled to look more like an itinerant violinist than a physicist.

  3. Gertrude Stein

  4. Shakespeare

  5. Both were born in log cabins.

  6. Mary holding the dead Jesus in her lap; in museums.

  7. A word or phrase may be found throughout a document.

  8. Spivokovsky

  9. They didn't like each other; Goethe was too fawning of the aristocracy; Beethoven told them where to get off.

  10. They were all important thinkers who happened to be Jewish.

  11. Mozart's sister who was, according to Burney, "just as able as Mozart," but who was confined by the expectations of the society of her time to family responsibilities.

  12. D.H. Lawrence's Lady Chatterly's Lover.

  13. Guernica (Picasso), which was housed in the Museum of Modern Art in New York City during the 1970's and currently in Spain.

  14. Central character in a novel by Romand Rolland, based on the life of Beethoven (very loosely), for which Rolland won a Nobel Prize.

  15. Walt Whitmen

  16. Edna St. Vincent Millay

  17. Carl Sandburg

  18. Disc Operating System

  19. da Vinci. He may have done this to protect himself from the religious intolerance of his time. Many of his inquiries may have violated established norms, such as his examination of corpses.

  20. Haydn and Mozart were friends (Haydn praised the young Mozart to his father, Leopold); Haydn referred disparagingly to Beethoven.

  21. The Spoletto Festival

  22. Mozart and Wagner festivals

  23. Telecommunications, accessing the internet.

  24. Hopi Indians

  25. Van Gogh

  26. Hemingway, making fun of Gertrude Stein.

  27. Vivaldi (because he had red hair)

  28. Central female character in La Boheme

  29. T.S. Eliot's "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock."

  30. Charles Ives

  31. Borodin's "Polovtsian Dances."

  32. Tolstoi novel depicting sexual mores in Russia, and Beethoven Violin and Piano Sonata, "Kreutzer," Op. 96 G major. Sonata was dedicated to Beethoven's contemporary, the violinist Kreutzer, who didn't care for it. Kreutzer is today known for a book of violin études that all violin students must learn, one of which became Jack Benny's theme song, played badly as a joke. The Russian short story depicts a man who sees his wife, a pianist, and her friend, a violinist, playing the work, and he assumes they're having an affair (the music is so passionate) and shoots them both.

  33. Navaho Indians

  34. Painters: Mondrian-bright swatches of color in blocks; Moore-huge sculptures of nudes; Kandinsky-wild colors in splashes; Klee-German intellectual.

  35. NYU. Bertrand Russell.

  36. Spinoza

  37. Rimbaud

  38. He was a feminist.

  39. Chemist, two Nobel prizes. Worked for disarmament.

  40. Aleatoric music, Chinese Book of Changes: music composed according to the random throwing of yarrow sticks or coins.

  41. Beethoven piano sonata, Op. 106, B flat.

  42. Beethoven violin and piano sonata, Op. 24, F Major, No. 5.

  43. Character in a novel by Herman Hesse.

  44. France

  45. A moving object can never reach its destination because it is always in the process of getting there, by half.

  46. Plato

  47. Clara Schuman, Brahms.

  48. Chopin, Poland; pianist and composer.

  49. Marijuana brownies, for Gertrude Stein.

  50. Groucho Marx

  51. Ezra Pound, Italy.

  52. The were both geniuses, and both gay.

  53. Yoko Ono

  54. Beethoven, Mahler

  55. Mendel

  56. Margaret Meade

  57. African American writer

  58. Mary Wollstonecraft, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, Carry Chapman Capp, Simon de Beauvoir (The Second Sex), Betty Friedan (The Feminine Mystique, The Second Stage), Germaine Greer (The Female Eunuch).

  59. Toscanini

  60. A configuration used in research, particularly in evaluating IQ scores.

  61. Chinese poet

  62. Accented stresses per line

  63. Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Jr., and John Kennedy. Bobby Kennedy is mentioned also.

  64. Will Cather: My Antonia, Death Comes to the Archbishop, Shadows on the Rock. She converted to Catholicism.

  65. A too harsh handling of Germany in defeat after WWI. Pearl Harbor.

  66. King George III

  67. Thucydides, Machiavelli. Political histories of Mediterranean events.

  68. Beethoven, Napoleon. Napoleon had himself crowned Emperor. Third Symphony, "The Eroica," Op. 55, E flat.

  69. Pool

  70. Funeral March, Beethoven Third Symphony, "The Eroica," Op. 55, E flat.

  71. "Rite of Spring"

  72. e.e.cummings

  73. Emily Dickinson

  74. Invented dynamite.

  75. Experimental school.

  76. Valarie Solanis. Society for Cutting Up Men.

  77. Haydn was in the role of servant; Beethoven was a free agent and a sharp businessman who had no respect for the aristocracy; the worse he treated them, the better they liked him. (Thousands of people attended his funeral). Mozart was in the middle; he tried to make it as a freelancer, but the times were not quite right yet. He died impoverished (there is some controversy about this) and was buried in an unmarked grave, which location has been lost.

  78. Brother-in-laws; poetry and photography.

  79. Both very plain speaking. Rogers is buried in Claremore, Oklahoma, and was of Native American ancestry.

  80. Long collection of many shorter poems on the theme of "ordinary" people in America.

  81. The "Culture Test" is over ten years old, and in all that time, one person only challenged the answer, Verdi. But I misremembered. Verdi is the wrong answer. The correct answer is Rossini, who, according to Plantiga's Romantic Music, page 136: "Rossini at the age of 37 produced his last opera, "William Tell" (1829), and proceeded to live in semiretirement for another 40-odd years." As I recall, he spent this time gormandizing and generally enjoying himself, possibly a reaction to the terrible poverty of his youth.

  82. Angelou. Clinton.

  83. Richard Gere.

  84. Kipling's The Jungle Books.

  85. Viols (viola d'amore), lutes, recorders. Technically, an original instrument can be any instrument that is consistent with usual practice during any style period. For example, in the 20th century, we have contemporary violins, but who knows if in many hundreds of years hence, all the instruments will be electronic. (I hope not).

  86. Maria Montessori, Suzuki (Nurtured with Love), Fredrich Froebel (The Education of Man), John Dewey, Plato.

  87. To the tonic.

  88. Pagemaker

  89. Survival of the Fittest (Darwin).

  90. There is a lot of traveling involved in both groups, the old and the modern, only we travel better, live longer, and there is more prestige associated with being a "classical" musician now.

  91. Student drinking/love songs.

  92. Shelly

  93. "In Memory of Yeats"

  94. Emerson is talking to Thoreau, who was jailed for refusing to pay a tax which he felt was unjust.

  95. George Bernard Shaw (GBS).

  96. Robert Burns

  97. Christopher Marlow

  98. Symbolist poets

  99. Steve Allen and his wife, Jane Meadows (not Audrey, who played in the "Honeymooners" with Jackie Gleason); Russell, Plato, Napoleon, Cleopatra, etc.
100. Racism, ecological responsibility.

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