The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #113833 Message #2423622
Posted By: Don Firth
27-Aug-08 - 04:03 PM
Thread Name: definition of a ballad
Subject: RE: definition of a ballad
This sort of thing enrages the purists, of course, but that's why I edit. In the way I sing Lord Randal, for example (which I believe is what kendall is referring to), the dying Lord Randal bequeaths his gold and his silver to his mother (the rest of his many relatives, his horses, his hounds, and his retainers all get short shrift) and then leaves his sweetheart "a rope from hell to hang her!" Keep the essentials of the story, but cut endless repetition that doesn't add much to what is already there. Audiences of former times probably enjoyed this sort of thing, but modern audiences, used to songs that seldom last more than three minutes, seem to have a low boredom threshold.
Early on, I compared versions of ballads sung by Richard Dyer-Bennet (who also tends to enrage purists for a number of reasons) with the texts I found in ballad collections, and noted that he had a real knack for presenting the complete story, but in a singable length.
Nevertheless, I was (am) often accused of being a purist myself. . . .