Ballads are poems that tell a story. These ballads are distinguished by such features as few characters, dramatic plots, and may include dialogue, as well as action because it tells a story. They are considered to be a form of narrative poetry. They are often used in songs and have a very musical quality to them. According to the dictionary, Ballad is a narrative poem, often of folk origin and intended to be sung, consisting of simple stanzas and usually having a refrain. It is the music for such a poem. It is also defined as a popular song especially of a romantic or sentimental nature. Here is an example: (Ballad of a Mother’s Heart)
There have been many theories about the originators of the ballads all of which have some validity when applied to the different types of ballad, the main ones are as follows:
· Minstrels: A minstrel is a musician or a poet. Originally, the minstrels were paid entertainers who worked for the Court and influential personages. They wrote songs about current events and historical victories of their patron and they included rewritings of old songs, legends and ballads in their theatre. The theory that the minstrels were the originators of the ballads was held for quite a long time. They are certainly a factor in the spreading of the ballads into the community; ballads were a stock item in the theatre of the minstrels even when their status had declined to that of street singers. ·
- Dance: Certainly some of the ballads were tied to dances. The word ballad probably comes from medieval French dance songs or ballet (“ballares” dance).
· Ceremonial dance and songs. Some ballad refrains contain ceremonial chants and responses
· Monks: The monks were the amongst the few who could read and write in the early times of the ballad history and that it follows that they must have had a hand in the composition and writing of the ballads. · Communal composition: It has been suggested that ballads may have developed as a...
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