from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. A musical composition, often using a sacred text, comprising recitatives, arias, and choruses.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. A vocal composition accompanied by instruments and generally containing more than one movement, typical of 17th and 18th century Italian music.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. A poem set to music; a musical composition comprising choruses, solos, interludes, etc., arranged in a somewhat dramatic manner; originally, a composition for a single noise, consisting of both recitative and melody.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. Originally, a musical recitation of a short drama or story in verse by one person, without action, accompanied by a single instrument, and later with airs or melodies interspersed; now, a choral composition, either sacred in the manner of an oratorio, but shorter, or secular, as a lyric drama or story adapted to music, but not intended to be acted.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. a musical composition for voices and orchestra based on a religious text
Italian (aria) cantata, sung (aria), feminine past participle of cantare, to sing, from Latin cantāre.(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Italian. (Wiktionary)