What is a ballad?

what-is-a-ballad

A ballad refers to a form of verse that tells a story typically set to music. Ballads such as this will usually have few characters, may include dialog, dramatic plots and have action. Ballads are derived from dancing songs of the medieval chanson balladée or ballade. Until the 19th century, ballads were very similar to the popular poetry and song or the British Isles from the later medieval period and substantially used across Europe and later in North Africa, Australia and the Americas. From the 18th and on, composers and poets used the musical form to produce lyrical ballads. There are numerous ballad folk songs, some notable ones include “John Henry,” “Robin Hood,” “The Fox,” “Clementine,” and “The Ballad of the Tea Party.” In the opera, a ballad is used to recount the plot’s backstory. Later in the 19th century a ballad took on the meaning of a popular slow love song, especially in the pop or rock genre.

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