- Maurice J.E. Brown
A term applied to an instrumental (normally piano) piece in a narrative style. It was first used by Chopin (Ballade in G minor op.23, published in 1836 but begun in 1831). He composed four ballades, whose common features are compound metre (6/4 or 6/8) and a structure that is based on thematic metamorphosis governed not so much by formal musical procedures as by a programmatic or literary intention. Full of melodic beauty, harmonic richness and powerful climaxes, they are among his finest achievements. They were said to have been inspired by the ballad poetry of his compatriot Adam Mickiewicz, particularly by his ...