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Ballads & Balladry
Transcript of Ballads & Balladry
This ballad is located on p. 32 in the Norton (Volume D).
Bonny Barbara Allan
Norton, Volume D, p. 33
The Wife of Usher's Well
Interest in the past
What comes to mind when you hear the word "ballad"?
Ballads & Balladry
Connecting to an Oral Culture
How to Read and Appreciate a Ballad
1. First read a ballad through once to yourself.
2. Read the ballad a second time aloud, paying attention to the meter and other musical qualities. (Oh, come on! Don't hesitate, it's fun!)
3. Don't let the old spelling of words throw you off. Just say the words as best you can and you'll get their meaning. Also, look at marginal notes in your book for help.
4. Listen to the ballads with the music. How different is the experience?
Norton, Volume D: pp. 34-35
An 80's rock star singing an emotionally powerful song?
A narrative (story) in song or poem form
refrain / repetition
The British rock band Iron Maiden are the kings of rock ballads. This song "Alexander the Great" narrates the rise of the Greek king Alexander the Great. They also have a ballad called "Rime of the Ancient Mariner" (yes, inspired by Coleridge's epic poem!) These guys know how to rock!
In the 18th century authors and scholars sought the songs of common people and wrote them down. These stories were a source of inspiration for Romantics looking to get away from the neoclassical. The ballad offered a connection between the printed poem and the human voice.
The revival in balladry was a renewed interest in the past and sparked an interest in primitivism (nostalgia for times past and/or a view that earlier cultures are superior to civilized ones) and was an attempt to recapture the energy created by the musical quality of this form. With some Romantics connecting ballads back to medieval times, it's no surprise ballads became part of the revival of (the appreciation, enthusiasm, and study of) the Middle Ages.
There are some differences in versions.
If you want to hear a country version, and get a chuckle, check out this guy's performance of "Lord Randall." I'd say this is an authentic contemporary interpretation. He gets a little wild at the end.
This version is significantly different from the version in your text but it's a good performance.
It's hard not to clap along with this one
This song has many different versions and verses and is perhaps the most popular of the ones in your book. It's also known as "The House Carpenter". Here's Bob Dylan's version of "The House Carpenter".
This is a version by Joan Baez. Nobody can sing folk like Joan. She's amazing.
What are some modern ballads that you have encountered? They don't have to be old-school rock. Ballads can be found in different genres of music.