Cantata is a term (Italian for 'sung'; the feminine form of 'cantato') that has a couple of different meanings, according to the period in time to which it refers. (1) In the seventeenth century and often in the eighteenth century it meant an extended vocal solo (with recitatives and arias) of the kind then popular in cultured Italian society. A secular composition of this type was called a cantata da camera (room cantata); a sacred one, cantata da chiesa (church cantata). (2) In the eighteenth century, however, the term came to be also applied to a work for several solo voices, chorus, etc. much like a short oratorio or an opera without scenery or acting.