nocturne

nocturne (nŏkˈtûrn) [key] [Fr., = night piece], in music, romantic instrumental piece, free in form and usually reflective or languid in character. John Field wrote the first nocturnes, influencing Chopin in the writing of his 19 nocturnes for piano. Others who have written nocturnes include Gabriel Fauré and Francis Poulenc for piano, Debussy for orchestra, and by extension Béla Bartók in his night music pieces.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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