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Music glossary - Letter N

Music Glossary



Nakers: Medieval percussion instruments resembling small kettledrums, played in pairs; of Middle Eastern origin.

Nationalism: A love of one's country; expressed by composers of the Romantic period and again in 20th century music.

Natural: A symbol in sheet music that returns a note to its original pitch after it has been augmented or diminished.

Neoclassical: Movement in music where the characteristics are crisp and direct.

Neumatic: Melodic style with two to four notes set to each syllable.

New age: Style of popular music of the 1980s and 1990s, characterized by soothing timbres and repetitive forms that are subjected to shifting variation techniques.

New wave: Subgenre of rock popular since the late 1970s, highly influenced by simple 1950s-style rock and roll; developed as a rejection of the complexities of art rock and heavy metal.

Nonet: A composition written for nine instruments.

Notation: First developed in the 8th century, methods of writing music.

Noh drama: A major form of Japanese theater since the late fourteenth century; based on philosophical concepts from Zen Buddhism.

Nonmetric: Music lacking a strong sense of beat or meter, common in certain non-Western cultures.