What is Ballad? Explain.

What is Ballad? Explain.

Ballad is an old English pattern of story meant for singing which is full of anecdotes conserve by memory and handed down orally. A ballad is a form of verse, often a narrative set to music. The term derives its name from medieval French dance songs or “Ballares”. In theme and functions they may originate from Scandinavian and Germanic tradition of story-telling that can be seen in poems such as Beowulf.

The Characteristics of Ballad:
                                                       I.            A song that tells a story.
                                                    II.            It is verbally transmitted.
                                                 III.            It concentrates on single episodes.
                                                IV.            It deals with material or universal appeal.
                                             V.            It contains four lines stanzas with ballad metre. First and third lines are iambic tetra metre. Second and fourth lines are iambic tri metre. The rhyme pattern is ‘abcb’
                                                VI.            It lacks superfluous details.
                                             VII.            It has abrupt ending.

Examples of Ballad:
a)     John Keats’ poem “La Belle Dame sans Mercy”
b)    “The Rime of the Ancient Mariners” by S. T. Coleridge:

“I looked upon the rotting sea
     And drew my eyes away
I looked upon the rotting deck
     And the dead man lay.”

Classification of Ballad:
1.     Broadside Ballad
2.     Literary Ballad
3.     Folk Ballad
4.     Ballad of the Knightly Romances


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