• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

The Development of Ballads.

Extracts from this document...


The Development of Ballads Ballads have been in evidence since the seventh century and have been popular ever since. They travelled around the globe as people emigrated, picking up stories of historical significance on the way. Their main purpose is to entertain, being sung or recited, often accompanied by music. Their distinctive poetic form told appealing tales of heroism, hardship and adventure often in dramatic terms. They were also a means of spreading news, to a largely illiterate population in an easily understood narrative way. Ballads follow a distinctive recipe, elements of which can be seen in all ballads. They use quatrains, which are four line stanzas. An example of this can be seen in the ballad, 'The Rime of the Ancient Mariner': "The fair breeze blew, the white foam flew, The furrow follow'd free We were the first that ever burst Into that silent sea" In this verse you can see a regular 'A B C B' rhyming scheme, which means that lines two and four rhyme with a bouncy rhythm. Ballads told simple stories to entertain audiences such as in 'The Twa Corbies' where two ravens having a conversation. The ballads would build up to a climax where the main event of the story would happen. ...read more.


In either the audience may have been invited to supply lines making the ballads more of a lively improvised story. This would have been great fun moving the action from performer to the audience and back again. The characters depicted were bold but shallow leaving the audience with a two dimensional representation which told of what the characters did but not of how they felt. There was little attempt to flesh out any subtleties of characterisation. Action and events moved the story line not any depth in the characters. In the beginning of the border ballad 'Johnie Armstrong' he is described as being a "bold outlaw". We are told that he came from Westmerland, on the Scottish border. He came from poverty, "had neither land or rent coming in" and alot about what he possessed in terms of men, horses and weapon, but not much about him as a man. The ballad of 'Johnie Armstrong' is a good example of a border ballad. A border ballad focused on the conflict between the Scottish and the English. The ballad is clearly written from an English viewpoint, describing Johnie as proud, brave and heroic. The words "faire Westmerland" are the first indication that this is written from an English perspective. The band own white horses (white symbolising good) ...read more.


Ballads can be found all over the word: 'Sir Patrick Spens' is a traditional Scottish ballad; 'Young Hunting' is an eighteenth centaury ballad, perhaps with earlier Danish parallels and 'Ballad of Sixty-Five' is a traditional Jamaican ballad. This proves that ballads have travelled all over the globe, appealing to worldwide audiences for many centauries. The Ballad of Sixty-Five tells a story of historical significance to many Jamaicans; a group of slaves in Jamaica march to their governor's house demanding there right and are eventually hanged to make a public spectacle. It had the opposite reaction making other slaves believe that they could stand up for themselves: "Paul Boyle died but his spirit talked, Anywhere in Jamaica that freedom walks." The poem has examples of patois, which is native Jamaican dialect. "You can wuk like a mule but de crop still bad" It also has an 'A A B B' rhyming scheme to it and a Calypso rhythum, which shows how the basic ballad recipe can be varied as it travelled. Ballads are an ancient form of communication; they have been around for centauries keeping almost the same recipe throughout. They told tales of historical importance as well as stories just to entertain. They have been popular ever since they begun and although they are not still in there original form we can see element derived from ballads in modern day song. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Plays section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Plays essays

  1. Looking at the trial and execution of Sir Thomas More, how do Robert Bolt's ...

    This generates more sympathy for him from the audience. The stage directions in the trial all add up to the overall effect: "(1) Music, portentous and heraldic" indicates that this is very near the end which means the audience will feel that it's all over already, even though this is the trial, we know the outcome already.

  2. Free essay

    Literary development of the legend of Robin Hood

    Life for the serf was hard. He was bound to the land and bordered on being a slave; the society that controlled them was understandably unpopular. The serfs and yeomen no doubt would have gladly stole from or killed any Norman if given the chance and so it is 'not

  1. Spring and Port Wine.

    He tends to show no emotions. He is a religious man and he tries to get the rest of the family to get into religion. He likes to try and get the family to sing together on a night while he plays the piano. He has a couple of weekly traditions.

  2. Champagne or sparkling wine, is it worth the extra £10?

    seminar o Research definitions of Champagne o Source Quotes on Subject o Collate information and transfer to computer screen in form of attractive and interesting presentation Week 2 o Research Market for Champagne o Find source of information for reliable statistics on customers.

  1. Free essay

    hunt of the royal sun

    I feel that peter Shaffer dose this because this is were the lacking faith surfaces for if he was a man of god making yourself a god is a sin for its one of the 10 commandments not to make false idols and call them god.

  2. Drama coursework: Slavetrade - Development ...

    My role as the narrator was to describe the way the 'white man' came and took my people out of the village, marched us across Africa to the slave ships and portray the mental hurt of what I suffered has/is causing (caused) me as I recall it. The scene (Act)

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work