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nawbah

in Middle Eastern music, particularly the traditions of North Africa, an elaborate suite of movements that constitutes the main form of classical Arabic music in that region. It consists of 8 to 10 sections of varying length, rhythmic character, and degree of improvisation, depending on national origin. The nawbah contains both instrumental and vocal pieces that are performed solo or by a group. Instrumental movements include the introductory improvisation (taqsim) and various rhythmic introductions to vocal movements. Vocal movements are based on various poetic forms, primarily the ghazel, a solo love song. The same melodic mode (maqam) and a succession of rhythmic modes (iqa'at) may be used in all movements

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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