A ballad is a form of verse, often a narrative
A narrative is a constructive format that describes a sequence of non-fictional or fictional events. The word derives from the Latin verb narrare, "to recount", and is related to the adjective gnarus, "knowing" or "skilled"...

 set to music
Music is an art form whose medium is sound and silence. Its common elements are pitch , rhythm , dynamics, and the sonic qualities of timbre and texture...

. Ballads were particularly characteristic of British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 and Irish
Ireland is an island to the northwest of continental Europe. It is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island on Earth...

 popular poetry and song from the later medieval period until the 19th century and used extensively across Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

 and later the Americas
The Americas, or America , are lands in the Western hemisphere, also known as the New World. In English, the plural form the Americas is often used to refer to the landmasses of North America and South America with their associated islands and regions, while the singular form America is primarily...

, Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

 and North Africa
North Africa
North Africa or Northern Africa is the northernmost region of the African continent, linked by the Sahara to Sub-Saharan Africa. Geopolitically, the United Nations definition of Northern Africa includes eight countries or territories; Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, South Sudan, Sudan, Tunisia, and...

. Many ballads were written and sold as single sheet broadsides
Broadside (music)
A broadside is a single sheet of cheap paper printed on one side, often with a ballad, rhyme, news and sometimes with woodcut illustrations...

. The form was often used by poet
A poet is a person who writes poetry. A poet's work can be literal, meaning that his work is derived from a specific event, or metaphorical, meaning that his work can take on many meanings and forms. Poets have existed since antiquity, in nearly all languages, and have produced works that vary...

s and composer
A composer is a person who creates music, either by musical notation or oral tradition, for interpretation and performance, or through direct manipulation of sonic material through electronic media...

s from the 18th century onwards to produce lyrical ballads. In the later 19th century it took on the meaning of a slow form of popular love song and the term is now often used as synonymous with any love song, particularly the pop or rock power ballad.


The ballad probably derives its name from medieval French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

 dance songs or "ballares" (from which we also get ballet), as did the alternative rival form that became the French Ballade
The ballade is a form of French poetry. It was one of the three formes fixes and one of the verse forms in France most commonly set to music between the late 13th and the 15th centuries....

. In theme and function they may originate from Scandinavia
Scandinavia is a cultural, historical and ethno-linguistic region in northern Europe that includes the three kingdoms of Denmark, Norway and Sweden, characterized by their common ethno-cultural heritage and language. Modern Norway and Sweden proper are situated on the Scandinavian Peninsula,...

n and Germanic
Germanic peoples
The Germanic peoples are an Indo-European ethno-linguistic group of Northern European origin, identified by their use of the Indo-European Germanic languages which diversified out of Proto-Germanic during the Pre-Roman Iron Age.Originating about 1800 BCE from the Corded Ware Culture on the North...

 traditions of storytelling that can be seen in poems such as Beowulf
Beowulf , but modern scholars agree in naming it after the hero whose life is its subject." of an Old English heroic epic poem consisting of 3182 alliterative long lines, set in Scandinavia, commonly cited as one of the most important works of Anglo-Saxon literature.It survives in a single...

. The earliest example we have of a recognisable ballad in form in England is ‘Judas
Judas (ballad)
"Judas", Child ballad 23, dates to at least the 13th century and is one of the oldest surviving English ballads. It is numbered as 23 in Francis Child's collection.-Synopsis:...

’ in a 13th-century manuscript
A manuscript or handwrite is written information that has been manually created by someone or some people, such as a hand-written letter, as opposed to being printed or reproduced some other way...


Ballad form

Most northern and west European ballads are written in ballad stanza
Ballad Stanza
In poetry, a Ballad stanza is the four-line stanza, known as a quatrain, most often found in the folk ballad. This form consists of alternating four- and three-stress lines. Usually only the second and fourth lines rhyme . Assonance in place of rhyme is common...

s or quatrains (four-line stanzas) of alternating lines of iambic (an unstressed followed by a stressed syllable) tetrameter
Tetrameter: [ti'tramitə]; te·tram·e·ter; a verse of four measuresOrigin: early 17th century : from late Latin tetrametrus, originally neuter from Greek tetrametros 'having four measures,' from tetra- 'four' + metron 'measure'....

 (eight syllables) and iambic trimeter
In poetry, a trimeter is a metre of three metrical feet per line—example:...

 (six syllables), known as ballad meter. Usually, only the second and fourth line of a quatrain are rhymed (in the scheme a, b, c, b), which has been taken to suggest that, originally, ballads consisted of couplets (two lines) of rhymed verse, each of 14 syllables. As can be seen in this stanza from ‘Lord Thomas and Fair Annet
Lord Thomas and Fair Annet
Lord Thomas and Fair Annet is an English folk ballad.-Synopsis:Lord Thomas is in love with Fair Annet, or Annie, or Elinor, but she has little property. He asks for advice. His father, mother, and brother advise that he should marry the nut-brown maid with a rich dowry...


The horse| fair Ann|et rode| upon|

He amb|led like| the wind|,

With sil|ver he| was shod| before,

With burn|ing gold| behind|.

However, there is considerable variation on this pattern in almost every respect, including length, number of lines and rhyming scheme, making the strict definition of a ballad extremely difficult. In southern and eastern Europe, and in countries that derive their tradition from them, ballad structure differs significantly, like Spanish romanceros, which are octosyllabic and use consonance rather than rhyme.

In all traditions most ballads are narrative in nature, with a self-contained story, often concise and relying on imagery, rather than description, which can be tragic, historical, romantic or comic. Another common feature of ballads is repetition, sometimes of fourth lines in succeeding stanzas, as a refrain
A refrain is the line or lines that are repeated in music or in verse; the "chorus" of a song...

, sometimes of third and fourth lines of a stanza and sometimes of entire stanzas.


Scholars of ballads are often divided into two camps, the ‘communalists’ who, following the line established by the German scholar Johann Gottfried Herder
Johann Gottfried Herder
Johann Gottfried von Herder was a German philosopher, theologian, poet, and literary critic. He is associated with the periods of Enlightenment, Sturm und Drang, and Weimar Classicism.-Biography:...

 (1744–1803) and the Brothers Grimm
Brothers Grimm
The Brothers Grimm , Jacob Grimm and Wilhelm Grimm , were German academics, linguists, cultural researchers, and authors who collected folklore and published several collections of it as Grimm's Fairy Tales, which became very popular...

, argue that ballads arose by a combined communal effort and did not have a single author, and ‘individualists’, following the thinking of English collector Cecil Sharp
Cecil Sharp
Cecil James Sharp was the founding father of the folklore revival in England in the early 20th century, and many of England's traditional dances and music owe their continuing existence to his work in recording and publishing them.-Early life:Sharp was born in Camberwell, London, the eldest son of...

, who assert that there was a single original author. The communalist position tends to lead to the view that more recent, particularly printed broadside ballads, where we may even know the author, are a debased form of the genre. The individualists position has tended to lead to the view that later changes in the words of ballads are corruptions of an original text. More recently scholars have pointed to the interchange of oral and written forms of the ballad.


European Ballads have been generally classified into three major groups: traditional, broadside and literary. In America a distinction is drawn between ballads that are versions of European, particularly British and Irish songs, and 'native American ballads', developed without reference to earlier songs. A further development was the evolution of the blues ballad, which mixed the genre with Afro-American music. For the late 19th century the music publishing industry found a market for what are often termed sentimental ballads, and these are the origin of the modern use of the term ballad to mean a slow love song.

Traditional ballads

The traditional, classical or popular (meaning of the people) ballad has been seen as originating with the wandering minstrels of late medieval Europe. From the end of the 15th century we have printed ballads that suggest a rich tradition of popular music. We know from a reference in William Langland
William Langland
William Langland is the conjectured author of the 14th-century English dream-vision Piers Plowman.- Life :The attribution of Piers to Langland rests principally on the evidence of a manuscript held at Trinity College, Dublin...

's Piers Plowman
Piers Plowman
Piers Plowman or Visio Willelmi de Petro Plowman is the title of a Middle English allegorical narrative poem by William Langland. It is written in unrhymed alliterative verse divided into sections called "passus"...

, that ballads about Robin Hood
Robin Hood
Robin Hood was a heroic outlaw in English folklore. A highly skilled archer and swordsman, he is known for "robbing from the rich and giving to the poor", assisted by a group of fellow outlaws known as his "Merry Men". Traditionally, Robin Hood and his men are depicted wearing Lincoln green clothes....

 were being sung from at least the late 14th century and the oldest detailed material we have is Wynkyn de Worde
Wynkyn de Worde
Wynkyn de Worde was a printer and publisher in London known for his work with William Caxton, and is recognized as the first to popularize the products of the printing press in England....

's collection of Robin Hood ballads printed about 1495.

Early collections of ballads were made by Samuel Pepys
Samuel Pepys
Samuel Pepys FRS, MP, JP, was an English naval administrator and Member of Parliament who is now most famous for the diary he kept for a decade while still a relatively young man...

 (1633–1703) and in the Roxburghe Ballads
Roxburghe Ballads
In 1847 John Payne Collier printed "A Book of Roxburghe Ballads". It consisted of 1,341 broadside ballads from the seventeenth century, mostly English, originally collected by Robert Harley, 1st Earl of Oxford and Mortimer , later collected by John Ker, 3rd Duke of Roxburghe.Unfortunately Collier...

 collected by Robert Harley, 1st Earl of Oxford and Mortimer (1661–1724). In the 18th century there were increasing numbers of such collections, including Thomas D'Urfey
Thomas d'Urfey
Thomas D'Urfey was an English writer and wit. He composed plays, songs, and poetry, in addition to writing jokes. He was an important innovator and contributor in the evolution of the Ballad opera....

's Wit and Mirth: or, Pills to Purge Melancholy (1719–20) and Bishop Thomas Percy's Reliques of Ancient English Poetry (1765). The last of these also contained some oral material and by the end of the 18th century this was becoming increasingly common, with collections including John Ritson's, The Bishopric Garland (1784), which paralleled the work of figures like Robert Burns
Robert Burns
Robert Burns was a Scottish poet and a lyricist. He is widely regarded as the national poet of Scotland, and is celebrated worldwide...

 and Walter Scott
Walter Scott
Sir Walter Scott, 1st Baronet was a Scottish historical novelist, playwright, and poet, popular throughout much of the world during his time....

 in Scotland.

Key work on the traditional ballad was undertaken in the late 19th century in Denmark by Svend Grundtvig
Svend Grundtvig
Svend Hersleb Grundtvig was a Danish literary historian and ethnographer. He was one of the first systematic collectors of Danish traditional music, and he was especially interested in Danish folk songs. He began the large project of editing Danish ballads. He also co-edited Icelandic ballads. He...

 and for England and Scotland by the Harvard professor Francis James Child
Francis James Child
Francis James Child was an American scholar, educator, and folklorist, best known today for his collection of folk songs known as the Child Ballads. Child was Boylston professor of rhetoric and oratory at Harvard University, where he produced influential editions of English poetry...

. They attempted to record and classify all the known ballads and variants in their chosen regions. Since Child died before writing a commentary on his work it is uncertain exactly how and why he differentiated the 305 ballads printed that would be published as The English and Scottish Popular Ballads. There have been many different and contradictory attempts to classify traditional ballads by theme, but commonly identified types are the religious, supernatural, tragic, love ballads, historic, legendary and humorous.


Broadside ballads (also known as 'roadsheet’, ‘stall’, ‘vulgar’ or ‘come all ye’ ballads) were a product of the development of cheap print in the 16th century. They were generally printed on one side of a medium to large sheet of poor quality paper. In their heyday of the first half of the 17th century, they were printed in black-letter or gothic type and included multiple, eye-catching illustrations, a popular tune tile, as well as an alluring poem. By the 18th century, they were printed in white letter or roman type and often without much decoration (as well as tune title). These later sheets could include many individual songs, which would be cut apart and sold individually as "slipsongs." Alternatively, they might be folded to make small cheap books or "chapbooks" which often drew on ballad stories. They were produced in huge numbers, with over 400,000 being sold in England annually by the 1660s. Tessa Watt estimates the number of copies sold may have been in the millions. Many were sold by travelling chapmen
A chapman was an itinerant dealer or hawker in early modern Britain.-Etymology:Old English céapmann was the regular term for "dealer, seller", cognate to the synonymous Dutch koopman....

 in city streets or at fairs. The subject matter varied from what has been defined as the traditional ballad, although many traditional ballads were printed as broadsides. Among the topics were love, religion, drinking-songs, legends, and early journalism, which included disasters, political events and signs, wonders and prodigies.

Literary ballads

Literary or lyrical ballads grew out of an increasing interest in the ballad form among social elites and intellectuals, particularly in the Romantic movement from the later 18th century. Respected literary figures like Robert Burns
Robert Burns
Robert Burns was a Scottish poet and a lyricist. He is widely regarded as the national poet of Scotland, and is celebrated worldwide...

 and Sir Walter Scott in Scotland both collected and wrote their own ballads, using the form to create an artistic product. Similarly in England William Wordsworth
William Wordsworth
William Wordsworth was a major English Romantic poet who, with Samuel Taylor Coleridge, helped to launch the Romantic Age in English literature with the 1798 joint publication Lyrical Ballads....

 and Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Samuel Taylor Coleridge was an English poet, Romantic, literary critic and philosopher who, with his friend William Wordsworth, was a founder of the Romantic Movement in England and a member of the Lake Poets. He is probably best known for his poems The Rime of the Ancient Mariner and Kubla...

 produced a collection of Lyrical Ballads
Lyrical Ballads
Lyrical Ballads, with a Few Other Poems is a collection of poems by William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge, first published in 1798 and generally considered to have marked the beginning of the English Romantic movement in literature...

 in 1798, including Coleridge’s ‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner
The Rime of the Ancient Mariner
The Rime of the Ancient Mariner is the longest major poem by the English poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge, written in 1797–98 and was published in 1798 in the first edition of Lyrical Ballads. Modern editions use a later revised version printed in 1817 that featured a gloss...

’. At the same time in Germany Goethe
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was a German writer, pictorial artist, biologist, theoretical physicist, and polymath. He is considered the supreme genius of modern German literature. His works span the fields of poetry, drama, prose, philosophy, and science. His Faust has been called the greatest long...

 cooperated with Schiller
Friedrich Schiller
Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller was a German poet, philosopher, historian, and playwright. During the last seventeen years of his life , Schiller struck up a productive, if complicated, friendship with already famous and influential Johann Wolfgang von Goethe...

 on a series of ballads, some of which were later set to music by Schubert
Franz Schubert
Franz Peter Schubert was an Austrian composer.Although he died at an early age, Schubert was tremendously prolific. He wrote some 600 Lieder, nine symphonies , liturgical music, operas, some incidental music, and a large body of chamber and solo piano music...

. Later important examples of the poetic form included Rudyard Kipling’s ‘Barrack Room Ballads’ (1892-6) and Oscar Wilde
Oscar Wilde
Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde was an Irish writer and poet. After writing in different forms throughout the 1880s, he became one of London's most popular playwrights in the early 1890s...

’s ‘Ballad of Reading Gaol’ (1897).

Ballad operas

In the 18th century ballad operas developed as a form of English
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

 stage entertainment, partly in opposition to the Italian domination of the London operatic scene. It consisted of racy and often satirical
Satire is primarily a literary genre or form, although in practice it can also be found in the graphic and performing arts. In satire, vices, follies, abuses, and shortcomings are held up to ridicule, ideally with the intent of shaming individuals, and society itself, into improvement...

 spoken (English) dialogue, interspersed with songs that are deliberately kept very short to minimize disruptions to the flow of the story. Subject matter involved the lower, often criminal, orders, and typically showed a suspension (or inversion) of the high moral values of the Italian opera of the period. The first, most important and successful was The Beggar's Opera
The Beggar's Opera
The Beggar's Opera is a ballad opera in three acts written in 1728 by John Gay with music arranged by Johann Christoph Pepusch. It is one of the watershed plays in Augustan drama and is the only example of the once thriving genre of satirical ballad opera to remain popular today...

of 1728, with a libretto by John Gay
John Gay
John Gay was an English poet and dramatist and member of the Scriblerus Club. He is best remembered for The Beggar's Opera , set to music by Johann Christoph Pepusch...

 and music arranged by John Christopher Pepusch, both of whom probably influenced by Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

ian vaudeville and the burlesques and musical plays of Thomas D'Urfey
Thomas d'Urfey
Thomas D'Urfey was an English writer and wit. He composed plays, songs, and poetry, in addition to writing jokes. He was an important innovator and contributor in the evolution of the Ballad opera....

 (1653–1723), a number of whose collected ballads they used in their work. Gay produced further works in this style, including a sequel under the title Polly. Henry Fielding
Henry Fielding
Henry Fielding was an English novelist and dramatist known for his rich earthy humour and satirical prowess, and as the author of the novel Tom Jones....

, Colley Cibber
Colley Cibber
Colley Cibber was an English actor-manager, playwright and Poet Laureate. His colourful memoir Apology for the Life of Colley Cibber describes his life in a personal, anecdotal and even rambling style...

, Arne, Dibdin, Arnold, Shield, Jackson of Exeter, Hook and many others produced ballad operas that enjoyed great popularity. Ballad opera was attempted in America and Prussia. Later it moved into a more pastoral form, like Isaac Bickerstaffe
Isaac Bickerstaffe
Isaac Bickerstaffe or Bickerstaff was an Irish playwright and Librettist.-Early life:Isaac John Bickerstaff was born in Dublin, on 26 September 1733, where his father John Bickerstaff held a government position overseeing the construction and management of sports fields including bowls and tennis...

's Love in a Village (1763) and Shield’s
William Shield
William Shield was an English composer, violinist and violist who was born in Swalwell near Gateshead, the son of William Shield and his wife, Mary, née Cash.-Life and musical career:...

 Rosina (1781), using more original music that imitated, rather than reproduced, existing ballads. Although the form declined in popularity towards the end of the 18th century its influence can be seen in light operas like that of Gilbert and Sullivan
Gilbert and Sullivan
Gilbert and Sullivan refers to the Victorian-era theatrical partnership of the librettist W. S. Gilbert and the composer Arthur Sullivan . The two men collaborated on fourteen comic operas between 1871 and 1896, of which H.M.S...

's early works like The Sorcerer
The Sorcerer
The Sorcerer is a two-act comic opera, with a libretto by W. S. Gilbert and music by Arthur Sullivan. It was the British duo's third operatic collaboration. The plot of The Sorcerer is based on a Christmas story, An Elixir of Love, that Gilbert wrote for The Graphic magazine in 1876...

. In the 20th century, one of the most influential plays, Kurt Weill
Kurt Weill
Kurt Julian Weill was a German-Jewish composer, active from the 1920s, and in his later years in the United States. He was a leading composer for the stage who was best known for his fruitful collaborations with Bertolt Brecht...

 and Bertolt Brecht
Bertolt Brecht
Bertolt Brecht was a German poet, playwright, and theatre director.An influential theatre practitioner of the 20th century, Brecht made equally significant contributions to dramaturgy and theatrical production, the latter particularly through the seismic impact of the tours undertaken by the...

's (1928) The Threepenny Opera
The Threepenny Opera
The Threepenny Opera is a musical by German dramatist Bertolt Brecht and composer Kurt Weill, in collaboration with translator Elisabeth Hauptmann and set designer Caspar Neher. It was adapted from an 18th-century English ballad opera, John Gay's The Beggar's Opera, and offers a Marxist critique...

was a reworking of The Beggar's Opera, setting a similar story with the same characters, and containing much of the same satirical bite, but only using one tune from the original. The term ballad opera has also been used to describe musicals using folk music, such as The Martins and the Coys in 1944, and Peter Bellamy
Peter Bellamy
Peter Franklyn Bellamy was an English folk singer. He was a founding member of The Young Tradition but also had a long solo career, recording numerous albums and touring folk clubs and concert halls...

's The Transports in 1977. The satiric elements of ballad opera can be seen in some modern musicals such as Chicago
Chicago (musical)
Chicago is a musical set in Prohibition-era Chicago. The music is by John Kander with lyrics by Fred Ebb and a book by Ebb and Bob Fosse. The story is a satire on corruption in the administration of criminal justice and the concept of the "celebrity criminal"...

and Cabaret
Cabaret (musical)
Cabaret is a musical based on a book written by Christopher Isherwood, music by John Kander and lyrics by Fred Ebb. The 1966 Broadway production became a hit and spawned a 1972 film as well as numerous subsequent productions....


In Romantic Music

Although virtually unknown today, during the first half of the 19th century especially in German speaking countries, the Ballad as a song form developed alongside the German Lied
is a German word literally meaning "song", usually used to describe romantic songs setting German poems of reasonably high literary aspirations, especially during the nineteenth century, beginning with Carl Loewe, Heinrich Marschner, and Franz Schubert and culminating with Hugo Wolf...

. The vogue of narrative ballad often from English, Scandanavian, Scottish/Celtic, Ancient Christian, or Polish antiquity was part of Herder's aesthetic rejecting the classical forms upheld in France. Ossian
Ossian is the narrator and supposed author of a cycle of poems which the Scottish poet James Macpherson claimed to have translated from ancient sources in the Scots Gaelic. He is based on Oisín, son of Finn or Fionn mac Cumhaill, anglicised to Finn McCool, a character from Irish mythology...

's tales of family murder, avenging spirits, fatal enchantments, and the like enjoyed a vogue in the late 18th century, becoming something of the thrillers of their day. Inevitably, composers took to setting these extended poems, and the first generation of composers to find success were Carl Friedrich Zelter, Johann Reichardt, and Johann Zumsteeg . Unlike early lied, these were extended very long songs unlike the shorter, often strophic forms of the domestic lied, which was considered a separate musical form. The piano and vocal parts are incredibly varied and picturesque. Printed music of single ballads can run up to fifty or more pages .

The pre-eminent composer of the ballad was Carl Loewe (1796-1869), the music director of Stettin, who toured widely singing his own compositions . In 1847 he toured London where Prince Albert turned his pages. His settings of ballad poetry by Ossian, Lord Byron, or the now-forgotten Otto Roquette
Otto Roquette
Otto Roquette was a German author.- Life and Work :The son of a district court councillor, he first went to Bromberg in 1834, and from 1846-1850 studied Philology and History in Heidelberg, Berlin, and Halle. After tours in Switzerland and Italy, he moved to in Berlin in 1852...

 could take the form of mini one-man operas, with the singer representing multiple characters, often performed with scenery and lighting effects and even occasional concluding (especially male) choruses. Loewe composed around 200 such works, and his setting of Goethe's ballad Erlkönig was preferred to Schubert's now-famous setting by both Goethe and composer Richard Wagner
Richard Wagner
Wilhelm Richard Wagner was a German composer, conductor, theatre director, philosopher, music theorist, poet, essayist and writer primarily known for his operas...


Schubert also composed many ballads, but found greater success as composer of songs. The form fell out of vogue in the 1860's. Songs by later German composers including Schumann, Wolf, Pfitzner, Mahler, and Richard Strauss show indebtedness to the ballad tradition, underpinning the brief vogue of melodrama at the turn of the century in works such as Strauss's Enoch Arden and Max von Schillings
Max von Schillings
Max von Schillings was a German conductor, composer and theatre director. He was chief conductor at the Berlin State Opera from 1919 to 1925....

's Das Hexenlied. One place where the ballad lived on was England, where works like Louis Emanuel's (1819-1889) The Desert found almost absurd popularity. Gilbert and Sullivan often mock such works in their operettas, but the joke is lost on modern audiences unfamiliar with such ballads. A very late example to draw directly on Victorian forms is Cole Porter's 1929 "Tale of the Oyster."

Pianist Frédéric Chopin
Frédéric Chopin
Frédéric François Chopin was a Polish composer and virtuoso pianist. He is considered one of the great masters of Romantic music and has been called "the poet of the piano"....

 gave the title "Ballade" to several large scale piano works (Op. 23, 38, 47, and 52), starting a tradition of Instrumental ballade, especially popular in France. The term refers to extended instrumental works having a narrative effect due to their free form, lack of repetition, and emotional music. Other composers of such instrumental "ballades" include Johannes Brahms, Edvard Grieg, Claude Debussy, and Gabriel Faure.

Very closely related to the ballad in this context was the Legend
A legend is a narrative of human actions that are perceived both by teller and listeners to take place within human history and to possess certain qualities that give the tale verisimilitude...

, also a form of narrative tale. In literature, the term legend refers more to narrative content. In Romantic music, legends invariably assumed ballad form on Christian and Medieval themes, but the choice to title a work "legend" instead of "ballad" did not substantially alter the genre . Importantly, legends often expanded into larger genres, such as Liszt's mammoth "Legend of St. Elizabeth," a hybrid oratorio, tone-poem, ballad form and Strauss's Josephslegende Op. 63. One can identify a distinct "legend style" in German and English music of this time such as Brahms's Intermezzo Op. 117 No. 3, much of Wagner's Parsifal, and made explicit in the title Arnold Bax
Arnold Bax
Sir Arnold Edward Trevor Bax, KCVO was an English composer and poet. His musical style blended elements of romanticism and impressionism, often with influences from Irish literature and landscape. His orchestral scores are noted for their complexity and colourful instrumentation...

's "In a Legendary Mood" movement from his 7th symphony.

Native American ballads

Native American ballads are ballads that are native to North America (not to be confused with ballads performed by native Americans
Indigenous peoples of the Americas
The indigenous peoples of the Americas are the pre-Columbian inhabitants of North and South America, their descendants and other ethnic groups who are identified with those peoples. Indigenous peoples are known in Canada as Aboriginal peoples, and in the United States as Native Americans...

). Some 300 ballads sung in North America have been identified as having origins in British traditional or broadside ballads. Examples include ‘The Streets of Laredo’, which was found in Britain and Ireland as ‘The Unfortunate Rake’; however, a further 400 have been identified as originating in North America, including among the best known, ‘The Ballad of Davy Crockett
The Ballad of Davy Crockett
"The Ballad of Davy Crockett" is a song with music by George Bruns and lyrics by Thomas W. Blackburn.The first recording of the song was made by Fess Parker, quickly followed by versions by Bill Hayes and Tennessee Ernie Ford...

' and 'Jesse James
Jesse James in music
Jesse James became a hero in folklore and dime novels before he was killed in 1882. A manifestation of this was the emergence of a wide body of music that celebrates or alludes to Jesse James...

'. They became an increasing area of interest for scholars in the 19th century and most were recorded or catalogued by George Malcolm Laws
George Malcolm Laws
George Malcolm Laws Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is a scholar of traditional UK and US folk song.His name is normally rendered as "G Malcolm Laws jnr". He is best known for "American Balladry from British Broadsides", published in 1957 by the American Folklore Society. He graduated from the...

, although some have since been found to have British origins and additional songs have since been collected. They are usually considered closest in form to British broadside ballads and in terms of style are largely indistinguishable, however, they demonstrate a particular concern with occupations, journalistic style and often lack the ribaldry of British broadside ballads.

Blues ballads

The blues ballad has been seen as a fusion of Anglo-American and Afro-American styles of music from the 19th century. Blues ballads tend to deal with active protagonists, often anti-heroes, resisting adversity and authority, but frequently lacking a strong narrative and emphasising character instead. They were often accompanied by banjo and guitar which followed the blues musical format. The most famous blues ballads include those about John Henry
John Henry (folklore)
John Henry is an American folk hero and tall tale. Henry worked as a "steel-driver"—a man tasked with hammering and chiseling rock in the construction of tunnels for railroad tracks. In the legend, John Henry's prowess as a steel-driver was measured in a race against a steam powered hammer,...

 and Casey Jones
Casey Jones
John Luther Jones was an American railroad engineer from Jackson, Tennessee, who worked for the Illinois Central Railroad...


Bush ballads

The ballad was taken to Australia by early settlers from Britain and Ireland and gained particular foothold in the rural outback
The Outback is the vast, remote, arid area of Australia, term colloquially can refer to any lands outside the main urban areas. The term "the outback" is generally used to refer to locations that are comparatively more remote than those areas named "the bush".-Overview:The outback is home to a...

. The rhyming songs, poems and tales written in the form of ballads often relate to the itinerant and rebellious spirit of Australia in The Bush
The Bush
"The bush" is a term used for rural, undeveloped land or country areas in certain countries.-Australia:The term is iconic in Australia. In reference to the landscape, "bush" describes a wooded area, intermediate between a shrubland and a forest, generally of dry and nitrogen-poor soil, mostly...

, and the authors and performers are often referred to as bush bards. The 19th century was the golden age of bush ballads. Several collectors have catalogued the songs including John Meredith
John Meredith (folklorist)
John Stanley Raymond Meredith was an Australian pioneer folklorist from Holbrook, New South Wales whose work influenced the Australian folk music revival of the 1950s.- The Bushwhackers and Reedy River :...

 whose recording in the 1950s became the basis of the collection in the National Library of Australia
National Library of Australia
The National Library of Australia is the largest reference library of Australia, responsible under the terms of the National Library Act for "maintaining and developing a national collection of library material, including a comprehensive collection of library material relating to Australia and the...

. The songs tell personal stories of life in the wide open country of Australia. Typical subjects include mining, raising and droving cattle, sheep shearing
Sheep shearing
Sheep shearing, shearing or clipping is the process by which the woollen fleece of a sheep is cut off. The person who removes the sheep's wool is called a shearer. Typically each adult sheep is shorn once each year...

, wanderings, war stories, the 1891 Australian shearers' strike
1891 Australian shearers' strike
350px|thumb|Shearers' strike camp, Hughenden, central Queensland, 1891.The 1891 shearers' strike is one of Australia's earliest and most important industrial disputes. Working conditions for sheep shearers in 19th century Australia weren't good. In 1891 wool was one of Australia's largest industries...

, class conflicts between the landless working class and the squatters
Squatting (pastoral)
In Australian history, a squatter was one who occupied a large tract of Crown land in order to graze livestock.  Initially often having no legal rights to the land, they gained its usage by being the first Europeans in the area....

 (landowners), and outlaws such as Ned Kelly
Ned Kelly
Edward "Ned" Kelly was an Irish Australian bushranger. He is considered by some to be merely a cold-blooded cop killer — others, however, consider him to be a folk hero and symbol of Irish Australian resistance against the Anglo-Australian ruling class.Kelly was born in Victoria to an Irish...

, as well as love interests and more modern fare such as trucking
Truck driver
A truck driver , is a person who earns a living as the driver of a truck, usually a semi truck, box truck, or dump truck.Truck drivers provide an essential service to...

. The most famous bush ballad is "Waltzing Matilda
Waltzing Matilda
"Waltzing Matilda" is Australia's most widely known bush ballad. A country folk song, the song has been referred to as "the unofficial national anthem of Australia"....

", which has been called "the unofficial national anthem of Australia".

Sentimental ballads

Now the most commonly understood meaning of the term ballad, sentimental ballads, sometimes called "tear-jerkers" or "drawing-room ballads" owing to their popularity with the middle classes, had their origins in the early ‘Tin Pan Alley
Tin Pan Alley
Tin Pan Alley is the name given to the collection of New York City music publishers and songwriters who dominated the popular music of the United States in the late 19th century and early 20th century...

’ music industry of the later 19th century. They were generally sentimental, narrative, strophic songs published separately or as part of an opera
Opera is an art form in which singers and musicians perform a dramatic work combining text and musical score, usually in a theatrical setting. Opera incorporates many of the elements of spoken theatre, such as acting, scenery, and costumes and sometimes includes dance...

 (descendants perhaps of broadside ballads
Broadside (music)
A broadside is a single sheet of cheap paper printed on one side, often with a ballad, rhyme, news and sometimes with woodcut illustrations...

, but with printed music
Sheet music
Sheet music is a hand-written or printed form of music notation that uses modern musical symbols; like its analogs—books, pamphlets, etc.—the medium of sheet music typically is paper , although the access to musical notation in recent years includes also presentation on computer screens...

, and usually newly composed. Such songs include "Little Rosewood Casket" (1870), "After the Ball
After the Ball (song)
After the Ball is a popular song written in 1891 by Charles K. Harris. The song is a classic waltz in 3/4 time. In the song, an older man tells his niece why he has never married. He saw his sweetheart kissing another man at a ball, and he refused to listen to her explanation...

" (1892) and "Danny Boy
Danny Boy
-Background:The words to "Danny Boy" were written by English lawyer and lyricist Frederic Weatherly in 1910. Although the lyrics were originally written for a different tune, Weatherly modified them to fit the "Londonderry Air" in 1913, after his sister-in-law in the U.S. sent him a copy. Ernestine...

". By the Victorian era
Victorian era
The Victorian era of British history was the period of Queen Victoria's reign from 20 June 1837 until her death on 22 January 1901. It was a long period of peace, prosperity, refined sensibilities and national self-confidence...

, ballad had come to mean any sentimental popular song, especially so-called "royalty ballads", which publishers would pay popular singers to perform in Britain and the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 in "ballad concerts." Some of Stephen Foster
Stephen Foster
Stephen Collins Foster , known as the "father of American music", was the pre-eminent songwriter in the United States of the 19th century...

's songs exemplify this genre. By the 1920s, composers of Tin Pan Alley
Tin Pan Alley
Tin Pan Alley is the name given to the collection of New York City music publishers and songwriters who dominated the popular music of the United States in the late 19th century and early 20th century...

 and Broadway
Broadway theatre
Broadway theatre, commonly called simply Broadway, refers to theatrical performances presented in one of the 40 professional theatres with 500 or more seats located in the Theatre District centered along Broadway, and in Lincoln Center, in Manhattan in New York City...

 used ballad to signify a slow, sentimental tune or love song, often written in a fairly standardized form (see below). Jazz musicians sometimes broaden the term still further to embrace all slow-tempo pieces.

Jazz, blues and traditional pop

As new genres of music, such as ragtime
Ragtime is an original musical genre which enjoyed its peak popularity between 1897 and 1918. Its main characteristic trait is its syncopated, or "ragged," rhythm. It began as dance music in the red-light districts of American cities such as St. Louis and New Orleans years before being published...

, blues
Blues is the name given to both a musical form and a music genre that originated in African-American communities of primarily the "Deep South" of the United States at the end of the 19th century from spirituals, work songs, field hollers, shouts and chants, and rhymed simple narrative ballads...

 and jazz
Jazz is a musical style that originated at the beginning of the 20th century in African American communities in the Southern United States. It was born out of a mix of African and European music traditions. From its early development until the present, jazz has incorporated music from 19th and 20th...

, began to emerge in the early 20th century the popularity of the genre faded, but the association with sentimentality led to the term ballad being used for a slow love song from the 1950s onwards. Most pop standard
Traditional pop music
Traditional pop or classic pop or standards music denotes, in general, Western popular music that either wholly predates the advent of rock and roll in the mid-1950s, or to any popular music which exists concurrently to rock and roll but originated in a time before the appearance of rock and roll,...

 and jazz ballads are built from a single, introductory verse; usually around 16 bars
Bar (music)
In musical notation, a bar is a segment of time defined by a given number of beats of a given duration. Typically, a piece consists of several bars of the same length, and in modern musical notation the number of beats in each bar is specified at the beginning of the score by the top number of a...

 in length, and ending on the dominant
Dominant (music)
In music, the dominant is the fifth scale degree of the diatonic scale, called "dominant" because it is next in importance to the tonic,and a dominant chord is any chord built upon that pitch, using the notes of the same diatonic scale...

; the chorus or refrain
A refrain is the line or lines that are repeated in music or in verse; the "chorus" of a song...

, usually it is 16 or 32 bars long, and in AABA form (though other forms such as ABAC are not uncommon). In AABA forms, the B section is usually referred to as the bridge
Bridge (music)
In music, especially western popular music, a bridge is a contrasting section which also prepares for the return of the original material section...

; often a brief coda
Coda (music)
Coda is a term used in music in a number of different senses, primarily to designate a passage that brings a piece to an end. Technically, it is an expanded cadence...

, sometimes based on material from the bridge, was added as in "Over the Rainbow
Over the Rainbow
"Over the Rainbow" is a classic Academy Award-winning ballad song with music by Harold Arlen and lyrics by E.Y. Harburg. It was written for the movie The Wizard of Oz, and was sung by Judy Garland in the movie...

". Other key traditional pop and jazz ballads include: "Body and Soul
Body and Soul (song)
"Body and Soul" was recorded as a duet by Tony Bennett and Amy Winehouse in 2011. It was the final recording made by Winehouse before her death on July 23, 2011. The single was released worldwide on September 14, 2011 on iTunes, MTV and VH1....

" by Johnny Green
Johnny Green
Johnny Green was an American songwriter, composer, musical arranger, and conductor. He was given the nickname "Beulah" by colleague Conrad Salinger. His most famous song was one of his earliest, "Body and Soul"...

; "Misty
Misty (song)
"Misty" is a jazz standard written in 1954 by the pianist Erroll Garner.Originally composed as an instrumental following the traditional 32-bar format, the tune later had lyrics by Johnny Burke and became the signature song of Johnny Mathis, reaching #12 on the U.S. Pop Singles chart in 1959...

" by Erroll Garner
Erroll Garner
Erroll Louis Garner was an American jazz pianist and composer known for his swing playing and ballads. His best-known composition, the ballad "Misty", has become a jazz standard...

; "The Man I Love
The Man I Love (song)
"The Man I Love" is a popular standard, with music by George Gershwin and lyrics by his brother Ira. Originally part of the 1924 score for the Gershwin government satire Lady, Be Good as "The Girl I Love", the song was deleted from the show as well as from both the 1927 anti-war satire Strike Up...

" by George Gershwin
George Gershwin
George Gershwin was an American composer and pianist. Gershwin's compositions spanned both popular and classical genres, and his most popular melodies are widely known...

; "My Funny Valentine
My Funny Valentine
"My Funny Valentine" is a show tune from the 1937 Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart musical Babes in Arms in which it was introduced by former child star Mitzi Green...

" by Rodgers and Hart
Rodgers and Hart
Rodgers and Hart were an American songwriting partnership of composer Richard Rodgers and the lyricist Lorenz Hart...

, "God Bless the Child
God Bless the Child (Billie Holiday song)
"God Bless the Child" is a song written by Billie Holiday and Arthur Herzog, Jr. in 1939, first recorded on May 9, 1941 under the Okeh label.Holiday's version of the song was honored with the Grammy Hall of Fame Award in...

" by Billie Holiday
Billie Holiday
Billie Holiday was an American jazz singer and songwriter. Nicknamed "Lady Day" by her friend and musical partner Lester Young, Holiday had a seminal influence on jazz and pop singing...

, "Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye
Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye
Published by Chappell & Company, "Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye" is a song with lyrics and music by Cole Porter. It was introduced in 1944 in Billy Rose's musical revue, Seven Lively Arts....

" by Cole Porter
Cole Porter
Cole Albert Porter was an American composer and songwriter. Born to a wealthy family in Indiana, he defied the wishes of his domineering grandfather and took up music as a profession. Classically trained, he was drawn towards musical theatre...

, the instrumental ballad "Naima
"Naima" is a ballad composed by John Coltrane in 1959, and named after his then-wife, Juanita Naima Grubbs. It first appeared on the album Giant Steps, and is notable for its use of a variety of rich chords over a bass pedal...

" by John Coltrane
John Coltrane
John William Coltrane was an American jazz saxophonist and composer. Working in the bebop and hard bop idioms early in his career, Coltrane helped pioneer the use of modes in jazz and later was at the forefront of free jazz...

, "In a Sentimental Mood
In a Sentimental Mood
"In a Sentimental Mood" is a jazz composition by Duke Ellington which is also performed as a song. Ellington composed the piece in 1935 and recorded it with his orchestra the same year. Lyrics were later written for the tune by Irving Mills and Manny Kurtz. According to Ellington, the song was...

" by Duke Ellington
Duke Ellington
Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington was an American composer, pianist, and big band leader. Ellington wrote over 1,000 compositions...

 and "Always" by Irving Berlin
Irving Berlin
Irving Berlin was an American composer and lyricist of Jewish heritage, widely considered one of the greatest songwriters in American history.His first hit song, "Alexander's Ragtime Band", became world famous...


Pop and rock ballads

The most common use of the term ballad in modern pop music
Pop music
Pop music is usually understood to be commercially recorded music, often oriented toward a youth market, usually consisting of relatively short, simple songs utilizing technological innovations to produce new variations on existing themes.- Definitions :David Hatch and Stephen Millward define pop...

 is for an emotional love song. When the word ballad appears in the title of a song, as for example in The Beatles
The Beatles
The Beatles were an English rock band, active throughout the 1960s and one of the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed acts in the history of popular music. Formed in Liverpool, by 1962 the group consisted of John Lennon , Paul McCartney , George Harrison and Ringo Starr...

's "The Ballad of John and Yoko" or Billy Joel
Billy Joel
William Martin "Billy" Joel is an American musician and pianist, singer-songwriter, and classical composer. Since releasing his first hit song, "Piano Man", in 1973, Joel has become the sixth best-selling recording artist and the third best-selling solo artist in the United States, according to...

's "The Ballad of Billy the Kid
The Ballad of Billy the Kid
"The Ballad of Billy the Kid" is a Billy Joel song from the album Piano Man. It is a fictionalized story of Billy The Kid. In an interview from 1975, Joel admitted,"Basically [the song] was an experiment with an impressionist type of lyric...

", the folk-music sense is generally implied. Ballad is also sometimes applied to strophic story-songs more generally, such as Don McLean
Don McLean
Donald "Don" McLean is an American singer-songwriter. He is most famous for the 1971 album American Pie, containing the renowned songs "American Pie" and "Vincent".-Musical roots:...

's "American Pie".

Power ballads

Simon Frith
Simon Frith
Simon Frith is a British sociologist, and former rock critic, who specializes in popular music culture. He is currently Tovey Chair of Music at University of Edinburgh.-Background:...

 identifies the origins of the power ballad in the emotional singing of soul artists, particularly Ray Charles
Ray Charles
Ray Charles Robinson , known by his shortened stage name Ray Charles, was an American musician. He was a pioneer in the genre of soul music during the 1950s by fusing rhythm and blues, gospel, and blues styles into his early recordings with Atlantic Records...

 and the adaptation of this style by figures such as Eric Burdon
Eric Burdon
Eric Victor Burdon is an English singer-songwriter best known as a founding member and vocalist of rock band The Animals, and the funk rock band War and for his aggressive stage performance...

, Tom Jones
Tom Jones (singer)
Sir Thomas John Woodward, OBE , known by his stage name Tom Jones, is a Welsh singer.Since the mid 1960s, Jones has sung many styles of popular music – pop, rock, R&B, show tunes, country, dance, techno, soul and gospel – and sold over 100 million records...

 and Joe Cocker
Joe Cocker
John Robert "Joe" Cocker, OBE is an English rock and blues musician, composer and actor, who came to popularity in the 1960s, and is most known for his gritty voice, his idiosyncratic arm movements while performing, and his cover versions of popular songs, particularly those of The Beatles...

 to produce slow tempo songs often building to a loud and emotive chorus backed by drums, electric guitars and sometimes choirs. According to Charles Aaron, power ballads came into existence in the early 1970s, when rock stars attempted to convey profound messages to audiences. He argues that the power ballad broke into the mainstream of American consciousness in 1976 as FM radio gave a new lease of life to earlier songs like Led Zeppelin
Led Zeppelin
Led Zeppelin were an English rock band, active in the late 1960s and throughout the 1970s. Formed in 1968, they consisted of guitarist Jimmy Page, singer Robert Plant, bassist/keyboardist John Paul Jones, and drummer John Bonham...

's "Stairway to Heaven
Stairway to Heaven
"Stairway to Heaven" is a song by the English rock band Led Zeppelin, released in late 1971. It was composed by guitarist Jimmy Page and vocalist Robert Plant for the band's untitled fourth studio album . The song, running eight minutes and two seconds, is composed of several sections, which...

" (1971), Aerosmith
Aerosmith is an American rock band, sometimes referred to as "The Bad Boys from Boston" and "America's Greatest Rock and Roll Band". Their style, which is rooted in blues-based hard rock, has come to also incorporate elements of pop, heavy metal, and rhythm and blues, and has inspired many...

's "Dream On
Dream On (Aerosmith song)
"Dream On" is the first single by Aerosmith from their 1973 debut album, Aerosmith. Written by lead singer Steven Tyler, this blues-influenced power ballad became their first major hit and classic rock radio staple...

" (1973), and Lynyrd Skynyrd
Lynyrd Skynyrd
Lynyrd Skynyrd is an American rock band prominent in spreading Southern Rock during the 1970s.Originally formed as the "Noble Five" in Jacksonville, Florida, in 1964, the band rose to worldwide recognition on the basis of its driving live performances and signature tune, Freebird...

's "Free Bird
Free Bird
"Free Bird" is a song by the American southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd...

" (1974). Other notable examples include Nazareth
Nazareth (band)
Nazareth is a Scottish hard rock band, founded in 1968, that had several hits in the UK in the early 1970s, and established an international audience with their 1975 album Hair of the Dog. Perhaps their best-known hit single was a cover of the ballad "Love Hurts", in 1975...

's version of "Love Hurts
Love Hurts
"Love Hurts" is the name of a song, written and composed by Boudleaux Bryant. First recorded by The Everly Brothers in July 1960, the song is also well known from a 1975 international hit version by the rock band Nazareth and in the UK by a top 5 hit in 1975 by Jim Capaldi.The song was introduced...

" (1975), Foreigner
Foreigner (band)
Foreigner is a British-American rock band, originally formed in 1976 by veteran English musicians Mick Jones and ex-King Crimson member Ian McDonald along with American vocalist Lou Gramm...

's "I Want to Know What Love Is
I Want to Know What Love Is
"I Want to Know What Love Is" is a 1984 power ballad recorded by the British-American rock band Foreigner. The song hit #1 in both the UK and the U.S. and is the band's biggest hit...

", Scorpions
Scorpions (band)
Scorpions are a heavy metal/hard rock band from Hannover, Germany, formed in 1965 by guitarist Rudolf Schenker, who is the band's only constant member. They are known for their 1980s rock anthem "Rock You Like a Hurricane" and many singles, such as "No One Like You", "Send Me an Angel", "Still...

 "Still Loving You
Still Loving You
"Still Loving You" is a song of Scorpions from their 1984 album Love at First Sting. It was the second single of the album, reaching #64 on Billboard Hot 100. In France, the single sold 1.7 million copies...

", (both 1984), Heart
Heart (band)
Heart is an American rock band who first found success in Canada. Throughout several lineup changes, the only two members remaining constant are sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson. The group rose to fame in the 1970s with their music being influenced by hard rock as well as folk music...

's "What About Love
What About Love
"What About Love" is a song recorded by the rock band Heart, and released in June 1985. The band's "comeback" single, it was the first Heart track to reach the top 40 in three years, and their first top 10 hit in five...

" (1985), and Whitesnake
Whitesnake are an English rock band, founded in 1978 by David Coverdale after his departure from his previous band, Deep Purple. The band's early material has been compared by critics to Deep Purple, but by the mid 1980s they had moved to a more commercial hard rock style...

's "Is This Love
Is This Love (Whitesnake song)
"Is This Love" is a song by the English hard rock band Whitesnake. The song is taken from their self-titled album, which released in 1987.The song was written by vocalist David Coverdale and guitarist John Sykes during the albums early writing process , but it was long rumored that the song had...

" (1987).

See also

  • Border ballads
  • Corrido
    The corrido is a popular narrative song and poetry form, a ballad, of Mexico. The songs are often about oppression, history, daily life for peasants, and other socially important information. It is still a popular form today, and was widely popular during the Mexican Revolution and Nicaraguan...

     — a form of ballad originating in northern Mexico and the U.S. Southwest
  • Graves, Alfred Perceval
    Alfred Perceval Graves
    Alfred Perceval Graves , was an Anglo-Irish poet, songwriter, and school inspector . His first marriage to Jane Cooper, eldest daughter of James Cooper of Cooper Hill, Co. Limerick, resulted in five children: the journalist Philip Graves, Mary, Richard, Alfred, and Susan...

  • List of the Child Ballads
  • List of folk song collections
  • List of Irish ballads
  • List of rock ballads
  • Murder ballad
    Murder ballad
    Murder ballads are a sub-genre of the traditional ballad form, the lyrics of which form a narrative describing the events of a murder, often including the lead-up and/or aftermath...

  • Roud Folk Song Index
    Roud Folk Song Index
    The Roud Folk Song Index is a database of 300,000 references to over 21,600 songs that have been collected from oral tradition in the English language from all over the world...

  • Song structure (popular music)
    Song structure (popular music)
    The structures or musical forms of songs in popular music are typically sectional, repeating forms, such as strophic form. Other common forms include thirty-two-bar form, verse-chorus form, and the twelve bar blues...

  • Torch song
    Torch song
    A torch song is a sentimental love song, typically one in which the singer laments an unrequited or lost love, either where one party is oblivious to the existence of the other, where one party has moved on, or where a romantic affair has affected the relationship...

External links

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