Denotation vs. Connotation


[kuh n-tah-tuh] /kənˈtɑ tə/
a choral composition, either sacred and resembling a short oratorio or secular, as a lyric drama set to music but not to be acted.
a metrical narrative set to recitative or alternate recitative and air, usually for a single voice accompanied by one or more instruments.
Origin of cantata
1715-25; < Italian, equivalent to cant(are) to sing (see cant1) + -ata -ate1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for cantata
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • I hear the cantata was admirably sung and won the Emperors approval.

  • You must set at the cantata while we are away, and have it finished for us to hear when we come back.

    Nell, of Shorne Mills Charles Garvice
  • Assisting at the ten o'clock Missa, cantata Parochialis was always a source of devotion and unusual interest.

    The Greater Love George T. McCarthy
  • Her cantata, "Die Heilige Nacht," for soloists and chorus, is often heard.

    Woman's Work in Music Arthur Elson
  • The boy composed a cantata, which was given in the parlors of his parents' home, with an orchestra secured for the occasion.

  • The performance is on Monday and I chance to know the cantata.

    Ladies-In-Waiting Kate Douglas Wiggin
  • On this occasion he was well beforehand with the work, and sent in the cantata to the committee by the 1st of April.

  • The distribution of presents was not to come off until after the cantata.

    Chicken Little Jane Lily Munsell Ritchie
  • The panorama before me is of a grandiose splendor; it is a symphony of mountains, a cantata of sunny Alps.

    Amiel's Journal Henri-Frdric Amiel
British Dictionary definitions for cantata


a musical setting of a text, esp a religious text, consisting of arias, duets, and choruses interspersed with recitatives
Word Origin
C18: from Italian, from cantare to sing, from Latin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for cantata

1724, from Italian cantata, literally "that which is sung," past participle of cantare "to sing" (see chant (v.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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cantata in Culture
cantata [(kuhn-tah-tuh)]

A musical composition for voice and instruments and including choruses, solos, and recitatives.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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