Show Summary Details

Page of

Printed from Grove Music Online. Grove is a registered trademark. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a single article for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy).

date: 20 November 2019

Ballad (from Lat. ballare: ‘to dance’)locked

  • James Porter,
  • Jeremy Barlow,
  • Graham Johnson,
  • Eric Sams
  •  and Nicholas Temperley

Extract

(from Lat. ballare: ‘to dance’)

Term used for a short popular or traditional song that normally frames a narrative element. Scholars of the term’s history and origin take it to signify a relatively concise composition known throughout Europe since the late Middle Ages, spreading later to the New World, notably the Americas: it combines narrative, dramatic dialogue and lyrical passages in strophic form sung to a rounded tune, and often includes a recurrent refrain. Performance is predominantly by solo singers, though choral and dance elements are known in some cultures. Originally the word referred to dance-songs such as the French carole, but by the 14th century it had lost that connotation in English and had become a distinctive song type with a narrative core. The word has sometimes been used, mistakenly, as a translation for the medieval French forme fixe ballade (see Ballade), and for the 18th- and 19th-century German ballade (see §II below); the latter was partly influenced by the narrative folksong tradition of Britain and Scandinavia (...

You do not currently have access to this article

Login

Please login to access the full content.

Subscribe

Please subscribe to access the full content.

Musical Quarterly
Ethnomusicology
Journal of the English Folk Dance and Song Society
The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians
Yearbook of the International Folk Music Council
Journal of the American Musicological Society
Studia musicologica Academiae scientiarum hungaricae
Journal of the Folk-Song Society
Musica disciplina