The ballad tradition
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The Ballad Tradition. 14 th and 15 th Centuries. Folk ballads- definition. Rhymed verse that was recited or sung Themes Murderous acts / desire for revenge Tragic accidents and sudden disaster Heroic deeds motivated by quest for honor Jealous sweethearts / unrequited love.

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The Ballad Tradition

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The ballad tradition

The Ballad Tradition

14th and 15th Centuries


Folk ballads definition

Folk ballads- definition

  • Rhymed verse that was recited or sung

  • Themes

    • Murderous acts / desire for revenge

    • Tragic accidents and sudden disaster

    • Heroic deeds motivated by quest for honor

    • Jealous sweethearts / unrequited love


Folk ballads general info

Folk Ballads – general info

  • English and Scottish

  • Authors unknown

  • Many versions

    • Told from Memory

    • Passed down from generation to generation

  • Collected and published during 18th Century


Folk ballads characteristics

Folk Ballads - characteristics

  • Dramatization of a single incident

    • Begins in the middle of action

    • No background info

  • Little reflection or expression of sentiment

    • What happened

    • No feelings

  • Dialogue or questions and answers that further the story

    • Told through speech rather than first-person


Folk ballads characteristics cont

Folk Ballads – characteristics cont.

  • A strong, simple beat / easy rhyme scheme

    • Repetition of key word, line, or phrase

    • Adds to musical quality

  • Use of the refrain

    • Regularly repeated line at end of stanza

    • Allows listeners to join and singers to remember verses

  • Suggest rather than directly state

    • Folk wisdom


Folk ballads characteristics cont1

Folk Ballads – characteristics cont.

  • Actual events

    • Shipwrecks, murders, accidental deaths

    • Could make headlines today.


Sir patrick spens

“Sir Patrick Spens”

  • One of the best-known ballads

    • Story of sailors on an ill-fated voyage

    • May be based on actual events

  • Partner chat!! – Do you think Sir Patrick did the right thing? Give reasons for your answer, using details from the ballad.


Bonny barbara allan

“Bonny Barbara Allan”

  • “Bonny Barbara Allan” tells a familiar and tragic story of disappointment in love.

  • Partner chat!! Do you think the ballad would be more effective if the writer had included the character’s thoughts and emotions? Explain why or why not.


Get up and bar the door

“Get Up and Bar the Door”

  • A comic ballad about married life – a favorite target of medieval humor.

  • Partner Chat!!! To what aspect of human nature does this ballad point?


Journal assignment

Journal Assignment

  • Title: Ballad in My Own Words

  • Each ballad tells a story. Choose one of the ballads we read and rewrite it as a short story.

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