What Is A Ballad?


9 Answers

Will Martin Profile
Will Martin answered
The word "ballad" is originally French and means "dancing song." Traditional ballads are stories, often long ones, set to music. Some ballads, like "John Barleycorn" are very old and were probably handed down orally through the generations before they began to be written down. Because of this, there is no definitive text for any of the oldest ballads, as most of the surviving ones have been greatly modified as they were passed around. However, traditional ballads do share some typical features. The content tends do be tragic; the best known medieval "Border ballads" usually commemorate a violent death or a battle. The language is simple and unsentimental, and there is usually a refrain (repeated line or verse) linking everything together. The verse form, sometimes called "ballad metre," is a quatrain (4-line verse) with an abab rhyming scheme, as in this example:
Lord Thomas and fair Annet
Sat a' day upon a hill;
Whan night was cum and sum was sett,
They had not talk'd their fill.
james caison Profile
james caison answered
Simply stated a ballad is a poem that is set to music.
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
Its usually like a song
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
Ballads can and used to be used to cheer up people and keep their spirits up eg sailors! You know the drunken sailor song, thats a ballad and was used to cheer the sailors up, make them work longer and help them pull the ropes at the same time. Now a ballad means a slow, soft, melodic song somewhat like poetry!

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