A ballad is a type of poem that narrates a story in the form of short stanzas. It is primarily meant to be sung out rather than recited as is the case with most other poems. It is derived from the Latin word “Ballare” which means, “dancing song.”
There are two main types of Ballad. These are the folk or the traditional ballad and the literal ballad. The traditional ballads are those that were developed anonymously in years past and passed down to the subsequent generations orally. As such, they have no written forms and undergo some modifications in each subsequent generation.
The literal ballad, on the other hand, refers to the actual imitations of the traditional ballad. This simply means that they are the written forms, rather than the oral forms, of the traditional ballads. Their authorships are hence known or identifiable in sharp contrast to the case of traditional ballads.
Characteristics of Ballads
Regardless of their nature and types, all ballads display some common characteristics. They contain a refrain that is repeated, employ dialogue, use colloquial language, are short and concise, have abrupt and unexpected openings, and are simple in nature, to mention but a few!
Uses of Ballad
Owing to its sensational nature, the ballad is employed in a number of events and social settings. These mainly include general entertainment, educational settings, and wedding ceremonies. They are mainly employed to convey some information that is relevant to the occasion or event in question.