minstrel: You say "ballad", I say "ballade"; let's call the whole thing off

mn13189 at WCUVAX1.WCU.EDU mn13189 at WCUVAX1.WCU.EDU
Sun Feb 9 15:36:10 PST 1997

The term "ballad" is quite naturlally derived from the term "ballade",
which could also be spelled "ballad" or what-have-you.  We'll leave the
"e" on now so as not to become confused.  A ballade was a very precise
form, and (I beleive) people eventually came to apply the term to poetry
that did not quite fit the meter, and then to verse that did not fit the
meter at all.  This is how the more modern usage of the word came about.
While it is possibly to define characteristics of 16th century ballads,
because there is no strict rules regarding ballads (as there were in
ballades), it would be impossible to include or exclude a peice as a
ballad based on a metrical examination.  There are other criteria, of
course, one could use.  
	I recently read an article in _Medium AEvum_ that discussed the
evolution of the ballad (more the evolution of the term "ballad" really,
reather than an evolution of the genre of song).  I could find it again
tomorrow and see if it provides any interesting insights.

"Ye knowe ek that in forme of speche is chaunge
Withinne a thousand yeer, and wordes tho
That hadden pris, now wonder nyce and straunge
Us thinketh he, and yet thei spake hem so,
And spedde as wel in love as men now do."
	--Geoffrey Chaucer (late 14th cent.)

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