The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #113833   Message #2424238
Posted By: peregrina
28-Aug-08 - 09:12 AM
Thread Name: definition of a ballad
Subject: RE: definition of a ballad
The definitions being discussed here are a kind of scholarly construct; that does not make them invalid, but it means they are an attempt to catch the horse after it bolted, to impose one kind of order on a fantastically various, long lasting and evolving group of songs and song-types with diverse origins and transmissions.

The ballad singers themselves also had their own terms.
I think Jean Ritchie has written in her song book about 'ballets' being the printed sheet. And some of the ballad singers of North Carolina called the songs we call ballads 'the old songs' and 'the love songs'. Dillard Chandler says (notes to Dark Holler SFW CD 40159) 'I've always heard it called a love song... Ain't nothing to it, no rhythm, nothing to dance through. It's just an old-timey love song.'

If a language is a dialect with an army attached, is a ballad a certain song type with folklorists attached, in debate?