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Difference Between Aria and Cavatina

Aria vs Cavatina

“Aria” and “cavatina” are terms used for many different contexts, but here we will discuss an aria and cavatina as terms related to the music world, especially opera. An aria is, in simple words, an expressive melody, and a cavatina, in simple words, is a short song.

Aria
“Aria” in Italian means “air.” It first made its appearance in the 14th century. The aria or arias are expressive melodies accompanied by an orchestra. They were earlier considered to be a style of singing or playing music. It was associated with a certain method or pattern of singing something like a sonnet or any other poetic pattern. It is usually performed by a singer but not necessarily always by the singer. It could be just a melody composition. In modern times an aria is considered as a solo voice performing a self-contained piece accompanied by an orchestra usually live. The best example and most common context for arias is the opera. In opera the different forms of aria used are: Aria cantabile, Aria di bravura, Aria agitata, etc. Many composers composed concert arias. For example, Mozart composed “Conservati fedele” and Beethoven composed, “Ah! Perfido.” The arias may or may not be a part of a larger piece of composition.

Arias were simple melodies, but later by the 17th century they took a more structured form. They started being composed in A-B-A form and were specifically called “da capo arias.” It is believed that by the 19th century the operas took the form of a sequence of various arias or short arias called the arietta. Some composers like Wagner composed a self-contained aria, which means there were no sections in the composition. It was one piece of music composition.

Cavatina
“Cavatina” is also an Italian term meaning “a tone which is produced from an instrument.” It means, in simple words, “short song.” The main characteristic of a cavatina is that it has simple characters and no repetition or second strain of air. They are far simpler than an aria or recitative, etc. They are not self-contained and are usually a part of a scena in the opera or or oratorio. Simply put, they are a larger movement of music composition. For example, Mozart’s 5th movement of string “Quartet No.13,” and “The Marriage of Figaro,” etc.

Summary:

1.The aria or arias are expressive melodies accompanied by an orchestra performed by a solo singer usually. A cavatina is a tone which is produced from an instrument. It means, in simple words, a short song.
2.Arias have repetition or a second strain of air; cavatinas do not have repetition or a second strain of air.
3.Arias can be self-contained compositions or a sequence of many arias; cavatinas are always a part of a larger musical movement.


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