noun \kən-ˈtä-tə\

: a piece of music for singers and instruments that usually has several parts (called movements) and often has a religious subject

Full Definition of CANTATA

:  a composition for one or more voices usually comprising solos, duets, recitatives, and choruses and sung to an instrumental accompaniment

Origin of CANTATA

Italian, from cantare to sing, from Latin
First Known Use: 1724


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Work for voice or voices and instruments of the Baroque era. From its beginnings in early 17th-century Italy, both secular and religious cantatas were written. The earliest cantatas were generally for solo voice and minimal instrumental accompaniment. Cantatas soon developed a dramatic character and alternating sections of recitative and aria, paralleling the simultaneous development of opera, and they came to resemble unstaged operatic scenes or acts. In Germany the Lutheran cantata developed more directly out of the expanding choral motet, and almost always involved a chorus. A single chorale (hymn) often served as the basis for an entire cantata, which might have up to 10 diverse numbers, including duets, recitatives, and choral fugues. The most celebrated are the approximately 200 written by Johann Sebastian Bach. After c. 1750 the cantata gradually declined.


Next Word in the Dictionary: cantatory
Previous Word in the Dictionary: cantarist
All Words Near: cantata

Seen & Heard

What made you want to look up cantata? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).