Show Summary Details

Page of
<p>Printed from Grove Music Online. Grove is a registered trademark. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a single article for personal use&#160;(for details see Privacy Policy).</p><p>date: 23 July 2019</p>

Cantata (It.; Fr. cantate; Ger. Kantate)locked

  • Colin Timms,
  • Nigel Fortune,
  • Malcolm Boyd,
  • Friedhelm Krummacher,
  • David Tunley,
  • James R. Goodall
  •  and Juan José Carreras


A work for one or more voices with instrumental accompaniment. The cantata was the most important form of vocal music of the Baroque period outside opera and oratorio, and by far the most ubiquitous. At first, from the 1620s in Italy, it was a modest form, but at its most typical it consists (notably in Italy in the later 17th century) of a succession of contrasting sections which by the early 18th century became independent movements, normally two arias, each preceded by a recitative. Most Italian cantatas of this period are for a solo voice, but some were written for two or more voices. Up to the late 17th century the cantata was predominantly a secular form, but the church cantata, which included choral movements ranging from simple chorale harmonizations to complex, extended structures, was a major feature of Lutheran music in early 18th-century Germany. The standard form of accompaniment gradually expanded from continuo alone in the mid-17th century to an orchestra, including obbligato instruments, in the 18th. Cantatas, mainly secular, were also fairly widely cultivated elsewhere, especially in France and Spain and to a lesser extent in England. Both the secular and the sacred cantata sharply declined in importance after the middle of the 18th century. In contrast to the previous 100 years and more, the cantata has enjoyed no consistent independent existence since then, and the term has been applied, somewhat haphazardly, to a wide variety of works which generally have in common only that they are for chorus and orchestra....

You do not currently have access to this article


Please login to access the full content.


Please subscribe to access the full content.

Monatshefte für Musikgeschichte
Zeitschrift für Musikwissenschaft
The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians
Die Musikforschung
J.R. Anthony: French Baroque Music from Beaujoyeulx to Rameau (London, 1973, 3/1997)
J. Hawkins: A General History of the Science and Practice of Music (London, 1776)
F. Blume: Die evangelische Kirchenmusik (Potsdam, 1931-4/R, enlarged 2/1965 as Geschichte der evangelischen Kirchenmusik; Eng. trans., enlarged, 1974, as Protestant Church Music: a History)
Wellesley Edition Cantata Index Series (Wellesley, MA, 1964-72)
Madrid, Biblioteca Nacional
A.W. Ambros: Geschichte der Musik (Leipzig, 1862-82/R)
Sammelbände der Internationalen Musik-Gesellschaft
Proceedings of the Royal Musical Association
Valladolid, Catedral Metropolitana, Archivo de Música
Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale de France
Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart
Bibliotheca musica bononiensis (Bologna, 1967-)
Nuova rivista musicale italiana
Musical Quarterly
Acta musicologica
Dizionario enciclopedico universale della musica e dei musicisti
Musical Times
Archiv für Musikwissenschaft
International Musicological Society: Congress Report [1930-]
Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart
Revue belge de musicologie
Journal of the Royal Musical Association
N. Fortune: Italian Secular Song from 1600 to 1635: the Origins and Development of Accompanied Monody (diss., U. of Cambridge, 1954)
Archiv für Musikforschung
E. Schmitz: Geschichte der weltlichen Solokantate (Leipzig, 1914, 2/1955)
Cardiff, Public Libraries, Central Library
Rivista italiana di musicologia
C. von Winterfeld: Der evangelische Kirchengesang und sein Verhältniss zur Kunst des Tonsatzes (Leipzig, 1843-7/R)
Zeitschrift der Internationalen Musik-Gesellschaft
Tesoro sacro musical
Lisbon, Biblioteca Nacional, Centro de Estudos Musicológicos
Guatemala City, Cathedral, Archivo Capitular
The New Oxford History of Music (Oxford, 1954-90)
La musica: enciclopedia storica
Revista de musicología
A. Lavignac and L. de La Laurencie, eds.: Encyclopédie de la musique et dictionnaire du Conservatoire
Early Music
C. Burney: A General History of Music from the Earliest Ages to the Present Period (London, 1776-89); ed. F. Mercer (London, 1935/R) [p. nos. refer to this edn]
K.G. Fellerer: Geschichte der katholischen Kirchenmusik (Düsseldorf, 1939, enlarged 2/1949; Eng. trans., 1961/R)
Music & Letters
C. Sartori and R. Allorto: Enciclopedia della musica
H. Kretzschmar: Geschichte des neuen deutschen Liedes (Leipzig, 1911/R)
E. Vogel: Bibliothek der gedruckten weltlichen Vocalmusik Italiens, aus den Jahren 1500 bis 1700 (Berlin, 1892/R)
Dansk aarbog for musikforskning
R. Stevenson: Renaissance and Baroque Musical Sources in the Americas (Washington DC, 1970)
Jaén, Catedral, Archivo Capitular
Santiago de Compostela, Biblioteca de la Universidad
Analecta musicologica
Rivista musicale italiana
Recherches sur la musique française classique
Bulletin of the American Musicological Society
Musical Antiquary
Music Review
Journal of the American Musicological Society
San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Monasterio, Real Biblioteca