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DEFINITION

A Ballad is a poetic narrative written in short verses, that spoke about a popular subject in a simple way. Usually the story concentrates on a single important episode. They were sung by wandering artists known as "ministralis" (the heir's anglosaxon sloops) which means "servant". So minstrels were professional story-tellers: they went from town to town, stopping where they could, in the squares (piazza) or in the houses of some gentlemen.

THEME OR TOPIC

Ballads usually deal with five main subjects: love (in all its aspects including betrayal, jealousy and revenge), death, supernatural events, religious subjects, outlaws .

LAYOUT OR FORM OR STRUCTURE

Ballads are usually written in stanzas made of four lines (some are made of two lines).

RHYME SCHEME OR SOUND PATTERN

The rhymes are usually abab or abcb or aabb

LANGUAGE

The story is told directly in a simple language that makes use of stock sentences, words of anglosaxon origin, alliteration, repetition and refrains.

SPEAKERS OR NARRATOR

The story can be told by one person or two through the use of a dialogue or through a combination of the two. The story is usually dramatic (excluding the "Robin Hood" series) and involve only one shocking episode presented at the Ballad's most critical moment, usually near its conclusion. There is generally no comment of this episode.

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