Definition and background:
Large scale dramatic composition originating in the 17th century with text ususally based on religious subjects. Oratorios are perfomed by choruses and solo voices with an instrumental accompaniment, and are similar to operas but without costumes, scenery and actions. an operatic work without staging, sets, or elaborate costumes. usually performed in amore relaxed setting than a formal opera, and usually having a religious theme
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Wikipedia - Glossary of Musical Terminology
Virginia Tech Multimedia Music Dictionary
ORB -- Medieval Music Glossary