A type of song, originally used for a narrative telling a story in verse, but now often used to refer to slow and romantic songs, as in the phrase "power ballad."

A song or songlike poem that tells a story. Most ballads have a regular pattern of rhythm and rhyme and use simple language and refrains as well as other kinds of repetition. Ballads usually tell sensational stories of tragedy, adventure, betrayal, revenge, and jealousy. Arising in the Middle Ages, folk ballads were composed by anonymous singers and were passed down orally from generation to generation before they were written down. Literary ballads, on the other hand, are composed and written down by known poets, usually in the style of the older folk ballads.

The typical ballad stanza is a quatrain with the rhyme scheme abcb (although this is by no means universal). The meter is often loosely iambic with four stresses in the first and third lines and three stresses in the second and fourth lines. The number of unstressed syllables in each line may vary.

Bal"lad (?), n. [OE. balade, OF. balade, F. ballade, fr. Pr. ballada a dancing song, fr. ballare to dance; cf. It. ballata. See 2d Ball, n., and Ballet.]

A popular kind of narrative poem, adapted for recitation or singing; as, the ballad of Chevy Chase; esp., a sentimental or romantic poem in short stanzas.

 

© Webster 1913.


Bal"lad, v. i.

To make or sing ballads.

[Obs.]

 

© Webster 1913.


Bal"lad, v. t.

To make mention of in ballads.

[Obs.]

 

© Webster 1913.

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