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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CHAPTER I
SOME EARLY NINETEENTH-CENTURY
BALLADS
IN the early part of the nineteenth century," says a writer, "the simplicity of the old form of ballad was fast disappearing. Singers wanted something that would show off their voice more, and composers no longer wanted to be kept to the limits of the ballad proper."
This statement seems to be borne out in great measure by Edward Fitzball in his Thirty-five Years of a Dramatic Author's Life, where, writing in 1839, he says: "Ballad singing is likely very soon to be exploded, unless, indeed, some new bewitching Bland or Waylett spring up with a voice capable of fascinating English ears by simple and pure melody, instead of what very few understand, however much they affect it, that is to say, the grand scena, the bravura, the brilliante. Everybody has heard the old anecdote of the lady who explained to Dr. John­son the difficulties of the scena she had been executing, and the doctor's celebrated blunder,
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