Definition and background:
music written in the 20th century, or contemporary music
Generally refers to recent times or the present, or the sense of something being contemporary or up-to-date, recently developed or advanced in style, technique, or technology. Sometimes this refers to something being innovative or experimental. Compare and contrast this with moderne, modernism, and postmodernism. Quote: "Perpetual modernness is the measure of merit in every work of art." Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-82), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. Representative Men, "Plato" (1850). Also see avant-garde, new, and new media.
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Wikipedia - Glossary of Musical Terminology
Virginia Tech Multimedia Music Dictionary
ORB -- Medieval Music Glossary