Cantata, originally a musical recitation of a story in verse by one person. Later, an air was introduced at certain points; this form was much cultivated in the seventeenth century. A more elaborate form was the Church Cantata, brought to perfection by Sebastian Bach. In modern times sacred cantatas are a kind of minor and less elaborate oratorio. Secular cantatas are described as lyric dramas, intended only for musical, not for theatrical representation.