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


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Italian (aria) cantata, sung (aria), feminine past participle of cantare, to sing, from Latin cantāre.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Italian.


  • This March, a missa cantata is planned for the same parish, on the first Sunday of Lent, sung by the Schola Cantorum of the Palm Beaches at 2: 00 pm.

    Floridian Liturgical News

  • Karl-Amadeus Hartmann's cantata is far less familiar, though.

    Berg: Seven Early Songs, Two Songs after Theodor Storm etc; Hartmann: Lamento – review

  • Those of us who don't know a cantata from a cantaloupe are impressed when the young Mozart effortlessly whips up a stunning variation on a short Salieri piano piece.

    DVD Talk

  • Troubled by his own nascent Catholicism as well as the state of war-torn Europe, Francis Poulenc wrote his choral masterpiece, Figure humaine, in 1943, calling the cantata both a "sacred duty" and a patriotic gesture to France.

    Francis Poulenc: Figure Humaine/Choral Works

  • This work is generally classed as an oratorio, but it ought more properly to be called a cantata, being essentially secular as regards its text, though the form and style are practically the same as those of "The Creation."

    Joseph Haydn

  • That one sentence from a song in his cantata was the first thing that came to my mind when I read "Christmas Outlawed."


  • Widder thinks music is important to the church and life itself, and the cantata is a great way to demonstrate that. - Local News

  • A cantata is a musical tradition that attempts to tell a story through several movements. - Local News

  • Loosely defined today, a cantata is a vocal work with multiple movements and instrumental accompaniment; it can be based on either a secular or sacred subject. Music Education

  • The splendid acoustic of Walt Disney Hall fits Andriessen's "cantata" as well as anywhere. posted by Patrick J. Smith @ 7:20:00 PM

    De Staat


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