What is a Ballad?

The word Ballad takes from its distant word “Ballare” which ultimately means dancing. It is an amazing dance form which is actually named on the song form. Taken in the original sense, the ballad in it original form was the song which had the narrative attached to it. The ballad is an exclusive and traditional form of poetry which is designed to convey ancient romantic and also the lurid stories. It is basically about the presentation of all forms of life as it happened in the ancient times. Ballads typically take the form of narrative poems and it had the roots in the thirteenth century. Ballads are also being exclusively written today, and they are exclusively been materialized in the form of great and superb popular songs.


BalladThe narrative was sung to complement dancing. If you are confusing ballad with the lyric, then you need to know that there is remarkable difference between the two literary genres. A ballad as it refers is the lyric which seems to be descriptive which tells a tale or any historical event. The lyric on the other hand is a special kind of impressionistic way of expressing different types of moods which can take different forms at different points of time, without any kind of change in the lyrical tone. If we talk about the Ballad in terms of technicalities associated with it, then, you will find that Ballad is simple and more primitive dance form which does not require immense working and heavy and jerky body movements.


How Ballad Works

The dance form will work in the way wherein the minstrel or the bard will sing the main elements of ballad while the dancers sing the lines which are repeated frequently all through. Ballad, as seen originally, was always in the form of good dialogue. The themes as seen in ballad were like that of some kind of heroic exploits, or some kind of supernatural incident, or even any kind of local event. There is a ballad troupe who will take into action everything right from all perspectives. In overall way, the ballad was a great and superb display of dance demeanors by the professional ballad dancers.


Forms of Ballads

Ballads take different forms and these different forms have evolved over period of time. The popular form of the ballad will include 4-line stanza wherein the first and third lines are given a strategic appearance written in the iambic tetrameter (four iambs) and also the second and fourth are exclusively given the iambic trimeter (three iambs), that have rhyme schemingfor ABXB (third line, X, may or may not rhyme or may rhyme with A).


Classical Example of Ballad Stanzas:
The winter moon had tipped and spilled
Its shadows on the lawn
When Farmer Owen woke to find
His only daughter gone;
She’d taken all the clothes she had
Against the biting cold,
And in a note to him she wrote,
“I’ve taken all your gold.”


The Murder Ballad

A Murder Ballad is righteously considered to be the subclass in the Ballad genre. A Murder Ballad will describe the murder sequencing. This kind of ballad is associated with real life murder and you will get the idea about how and what conditions led to the murder. Such subclass of ballad will render the best and most happening of the deals.


Greatest Rock Ballads
  • Imagine – John Lennon
  • Bridge Over Troubled Water – Simon & Garfunkel
  • Let It Be – Beatles
  • Crying – Roy Orbison
  • Unchained Melody – Righteous Brothers
  • Only The Lonely – Roy Orbison
  • Hey Jude – Beatles
  • Can’t Help Falling In Love – Elvis Presley
  • Tears in Heaven – Eric Clapton
  • 10. Yesterday – The Beatles
  • All I Have To Do Is Dream – Everly Brothers
  • Piano Man – Billy Joel
  • 13. Something – Beatles
  • Knockin’ On Heavens Door – Bob Dylan
  • God Only Knows – Beach Boys
  • You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling – Righteous Brothers
  • In My Life – The Beatles
  • Candle in the Wind 1997 – Elton John
  • Angie – Rolling Stones
  • American Pie – Don McLean
  • Wish You Were Here – Pink Floyd
  • Love Me Tender – Elvis Presley
  • Love Hurts – Nazareth
  • Stairway to Heaven – Led Zeppelin
  • Wild Horses – Rolling Stones
  • Last Kiss – J. Frank Wilson & the Cavaliers
  • Running Scared – Roy Orbison
  • Drive – The Cars
  • Desperado – Eagles
  • Who Wants To Live Forever – Queen
  • You’re The Inspiration – Chicago
  • Open Arms – Journey
  • Dust In The Wind – Kansas
  • I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing – Aerosmith
  • November Rain – Guns N’ Roses
  • Dream On – Aerosmith
  • Melissa – Allman Brothers Band
  • He Ain’t Heavy He’s My Brother – Hollies
  • Free Bird – LynyrdSkynyrd
  • Hard To Say I’m Sorry – Chicago
  • The Long and Winding Road – Beatles
  • As Tears Go By – Rolling Stones
  • Can’t Fight This Feeling – REO Speedwagon
  • Are You Lonesome Tonight – Elvis Presley
  • Baby, I Love Your Way – Peter Frampton


Modern songs that fit into Ballad Category
  • Gimme Three Steps, by LynyrdSkynyrd
  • Hotel California, by the Eagles
  • Me and Bobby McGee, by Kris Kristopherson
  • Ode to Billy Joe, by Bobbie Gentry
  • Black Diamond Bay, by Bob Dylan and Jacques Levy
  • Alice’s Restaurant Massacree, by Arlo Guthrie