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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were transmitted orally from father to son for centuries. With the advent of Christianity the authority of the Bards, who were formerly treated as sacred persons, soon dwindled, and gradually they came to be known as Gleemen or Harpers.
With the Norman Conquest came the French Troubadours, or Minstrels, who also sang to the harp, and the old name of Gleemen was presently forgotten. Minstrelsy flourished greatly in the reign of Richard I (i 189), and the old story of that monarch's release from captivity by his favourite minstrel Blondel is too well known to repeat here.
Music, in fact, seems to have played a large part in the lives of the people from the earliest times. "Songs and Ballads," says Sir John Hawkins in his History of Music, "with easy tunes adapted to them, must at all times have been the entertainment, not only of the common people, but of the better sort; and these must have been of various kinds, satirical, humorous, moral, and amorous." Every trade and every form of amusement or sport had its song ; love, war, the dangers of the sea, the delights of country life, all and each were represented in song. At first they were handed down by tradi­tion ; but later, when the art of printing became known, the popular ballads of the day were hawked up and down the country by itinerant
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