A Century Of Ballads 1810-1910, Their Composers & Singers

With Some Introductory Chapters On Old Ballads And Ballad Makers - online book.

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A CENTURY OF BALLADS
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CHAPTER I THE EVOLUTION OF THE BALLAD
W HAT is a ballad? Nowadays the name is used to describe any type of " popular " song, irrespective of its length, its subject, or its musical treatment. In olden times the word has had various meanings, but the distinction between a ballad and a song has never been very strongly marked. "A song and a ballad," says a writer of an introduction to the Book of English Songs, published in 1851, "have points of resemblance and difference. A ballad, which at present seems to signify a song wherein a story is told, originally meant a short or even a long poem, modulated in the recital to serve as a musical accompaniment to a dance, from ballare, to dance. A song strictly should ex­press sentiment only, but the distinction has often been disregarded. A ballad is allowed more licence than a song, and can be any length;
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E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III