Ballad

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A ballad is a story in a song, usually a narrative song or poem. Any form of story may be told as a ballad, ranging from accounts of historical events to fairy tales in verse form. It is usually with foreshortened alternating four- and three-stress lines ('ballad meter') and simple repeating rhymes, and often with a refrain.

If it is based on political or religious themes, a ballad may then be a version of a hymn. Ballads should not be confused with the ballade, a 14th and 15th century French verse form.

Contents

[edit] Traditional Poetic Form

1) Normally a short narrative arranged into four line stanzas with a memorable meter.
2) Typical ballad meter is a first and third line with four stresses (iambic tetrameter) and then a second and fourth line with three stresses(iambic trimeter).
3) The rhyme scheme is typically abab or abcb.
4) Often uses colloquialisms to enhance the story telling (and sometimes to fudge the rhyme scheme).

[edit] Broadsheet ballads

Broadsheet ballads (also known as broadside ballads) were cheaply printed and hawked in English streets from the sixteenth century. They were often topical, humorous, and even subversive; the legends of Robin Hood and the pranks of Puck were disseminated through broadsheet ballads.

New ballads were written about current events like fires, the birth of monstrous animals, and so forth, giving particulars of names and places. Satirical ballads and Royalist ballads contributed to 17th century political discourse. In a sense, these ballads were antecedents of the modern newspaper.

Thomas Percy, Robert Harley, Francis James Child, Sir Walter Scott and James Hogg were early collectors and publishers of ballads from the oral tradition, broadsheets and previous anthologies. Percy's publication of Reliques of Ancient Poetry and Harley's collections, such as The Bagford Ballads, were of great import in beginning the study of ballads. Some of the collectors also wrote new ballads. Many ballads are referenced in scholarly works by their number in Child's compilation (see the Child Ballads). The American poet Carl Sandburg was influenced by ballads, and published a collection he had assembled as The American Songbag (1927).

The form of a ballad was much used in nineteenth century poetry. Wordsworth and Coleridge signaled the populist intent of their first major work, Lyrical Ballads. The vogue continued through such Victorian poets as Dante Gabriel Rossetti, who used the form for early work ("The Blessed Damozel") and toward the end of his career (1881 Ballads and Sonnets). Ballads have also been imitated in modern poetry— most notably by the Canadian ballads of Robert W. Service, in Kipling's "Road to Mandalay," and in "Casey at the Bat." "The Ballad of the Bread-man" is Charles Causley's re-telling of the story of the birth of Jesus. Many modern written musical ballads are in the repertory of American folk music.

[edit] Murder ballad

A poem subgenre of the broadsheet ballad is the murder ballad. Usually told from the point of view of the killer, murder ballads typically recount the details of the crime — who the victim is, why the murderer decides to kill him or her, how he or she is lured to the murder site and the act itself — followed by the escape and/or capture of the murderer. Often the ballad ends with the murderer in jail or on their way to the gallows, occasionally with a plea for the listener to learn from the evils committed by the speaker.

[edit] Border ballads

Border ballads are a subgenre of folk ballads collected in the area along the Anglo-Scottish border, especially those concerned with border reivers and outlaws, or with historical events in the Borders.

Notable historical ballads include "The Battle of Otterburn" and "The Hunting of Cheviot" or "The Ballad of Chevy Chase".

Outlaw ballads include "Johnnie Armstrong", "Kinmont Willie", and "Jock o' the Side".

Other types of ballads (including fairy ballads like "Thomas the Rhymer") are often included in the category of border ballads.

[edit] Literary ballads

Literary ballads are those composed and written formally. The form, with its connotations of simple folkloric authenticity, became popular with the rise of Romanticism in the later 18th century. Literary ballads may then be set to music, as Schubert's Der Erlkönig, set to a literary ballad by Goethe (see also Der Zauberlehrling). In Romantic opera a ballad set into the musical texture may emphasize or play against the theatrical moment. Atmospheric ballads in operas were initiated in Weber's Der Freischütz and include Senta's ballad in Wagner's Der fliegende Holländer, or the 'old song' 'Salce' Desdemona sings in Verdi's Otello. Compare the stanza-like structure and narrative atmosphere of the musical Ballades for solo piano of Chopin or Brahms.

[edit] Ballad opera

A particularly English form, the ballad opera, has as its most famous example John Gay's The Beggar's Opera, which inspired the 20th-century cabaret operas of Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill (q.v.). Ballad strophes usually alternate between iambic tetrameter and iambic pentameter, though this is not always the case.

[edit] Popular song

In the 20th Century, "ballad" took on the meaning of a popular song "especially of a romantic or sentimental nature" (American Heritage Dictionary). Hence a power ballad is a love song performed using rock instruments.

[edit] Famous ballads

[edit] Traditional

[edit] Modern

[edit] Traditional definition

Some of these also qualify under the pop definition.

[edit] Popular definition

Thousands of songs could be listed here. The few following may represent the variety.

[edit] See also

Wikimedia Commons has media related to:

[edit] External links

cs:Balada cy:Baled da:Ballade de:Ballade es:Balada fr:Ballade gl:Balada he:בלדה nl:Ballade ja:バラッド no:Ballade ps:Ballada pl:Ballada pt:Balada ro:Baladă ru:Баллада sk:Balada sl:Balada fi:Balladi sv:Ballad

Ballad

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