What is cantata?

The word "cantata", like many other musical terms, is of Italian origin. The Italian "cantata" is formed from the Latin "santare", which in literal translation means "sing".

What is cantata in music? What is the meaning of this term? Let's figure it out.

The meaning and origin of the word

Cantata originally originated asvocal-instrumental genre in Italy of the 17th century, which at first did not have a clear form. This word was called any major musical work, intended for vocal performance. Later this term entrenched itself behind the vocal-instrumental composition written for the choir's soloists. And in Russian music, the first cantatas appeared only in the 18th century.

The main difference between the cantata and the opera (similarmusical work) is that there is no dramatic effect in cantatas. And in the development of this genre, special attention was paid to melody. At first, the cantatas were written for one voice (soloist) and consisted of several arias, between which a recitative was inserted.

Cantata can be both secular and spiritualcharacter. In Italy, secular cantatas were more popular, and spiritual cantatas developed in religious Germany. The most famous author of spiritual cantatas is Johann Sebastian Bach. The cantata in Russian music were mostly heroic. PI Tchaikovsky, SS Prokofiev, NA Rimsky-Korsakov addressed to this genre in their work.

So, cantata is a piece of music written for the choir, performed by its soloists in instrumental and choral accompaniment.

Information on other musical terms can be found in the articles in our rubric Definitions.

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