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"Contemporary classical" describes music composed in the classical tradition by composers of the latter half of the 20th century and current times. Contemporary classical music incorporates technological developments of the modern era (recording, electronic instruments) while maintaining a composition style rooted in notation. Contemporary classical music also incorporates artistic developments in sculpture, film and particularly dance. Many of the best known contemporary classical composers are most widely known for their film scores, e.g. Philip Glass and Michael Nyman.

Contemporary classical music can be understood as belonging to a period that started in the mid-1970s with the retreat of modernism. However, the term may also be employed in a broader sense to refer to the post-1945 modern forms of post-tonal music from the death of Anton Webern (including serial music, Concrete music, experimental music, etc.) .

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