To understand Stradella's cantatas, one must first know his unusual, for a musician- background. The Stradellas, besides being nobles, were a cultured family, and several of their members held noteworthy official posts. The style of Stradella's cantata poetry was generally akin to that of Giambattista Marino, who is still today considered one of Italy's greatest poets. In his works with instrumental accompaniment, Stradella very often has a short instrumental piece, called a 'ritornello', played before and/or after a closed vocal form scored with only basso continuo accompaniment. Such instrumental sections were independent pieces based on motives from the closed form, which might be an aria, a duet, a terzet or a chorus. After Stradella, singers and their audiences began to demand greater and more extended scope for exhibiting the wonders of a now highly developed vocal art.