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Medieval Ballads V.2

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Richard Wilson

on 29 November 2011

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Transcript of Medieval Ballads V.2


of the
Folk Ballad
Ballad Tradition
Robin Hood-Ballad Hero
One of the most enduringly popular and widespread ballad themes is that of the
noble outlaw.
Six centuries ago, most people in the British Isles were unable to read or write.
For entertainment, they relied upon traveling minstrels and local storytellers.
These musicians and poets created folk ballads, or rhymed verse that is recited or sung, out of local stories and tall tales.
Typical ballads deal with topics such as these:
•Murderous acts and the desire for revenge
•Tragic accidents and sudden disasters
•Heroic deeds and quests for honor
•Jealous sweethearts and unrequited love
Robin Hood, the legendary bandit of Sherwood Forest who robbed from the rich to give to the poor, became the hero of a cycle of ballads.

Dramatization of a single event.
The story begins abruptly, often in the middle of the action. Little attention is paid to characterization, background exposition, or description.
Little reflection or expression of sentiment.
Ballads focus on telling a story rather than what people thought or felt about an event.
Dialogue that furthers the story.
The tales are often mainly told through the speech of characters rather than by a narrator.
A strong, simple beat and uncomplicated rhyme scheme or pattern.
Use of a refrain repeated regularly throughout the ballad, often at the end of stanzas, to emphasize ideas and add the musical quality of verse.
Ballads often employ incremental repetition, in which a line is repeated with small but significant changes as the poem approaches its climax.
Use of a burden, or a complete lyrical stanza that is repeated after a narrative stanza.
Some ballads use a burden rather than a refrain. A burden is like a modern chorus. It allowed listeners to join in and gave singers time to remember verses.
The tendency to suggest rather than directly state.
Although sparsely told, ballads often contain sharp psychological portraits and much folk wisdom.
Stories that are often based on actual events.
These incidents-shipwrecks, murders, accidental deaths-might make headlines today.
These are the two ballads we're going to study.
The Ballad Stanza
The ballad stanza is a quatrain, or four-line stanza.
God prosper long our noble king,
Our liffes and saftyes all!
A woefull hunting once there did
In Chevy Chase befall.
The first and third lines have four stressed syllables. The second and fourth lines have three. Only the second and forth lines rhyme.
/ per
/ our
/ ble
, 1
/ and
/ tyes
! 2
/ full
/ ing
/ there
/ y
/ be
. 4
The End
Open your books to
Bonny Barbara Allan
on page 203.
and now we have an excuse to listen to the next song!
Bonny Barbara Allan
Get Up and Bar The Door
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