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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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