It is a literal composition based on musicality produced by the common people. The word ballad came from Latin: in fact these poems were sung to a simple instrumental accompaniment ( accompaniment).
Ballad is composed of a part of narration and a part of dialogue.
Popular ballads are impersonal, in fact ballad narrators don’t speak in the first person (unless speaking as a character in the story) and they don’t express their emotion.
Ballads are characterized by repetitive textual structure linked to melody and metre.
The ballad stanzas are made up four lines, usually rhyming ABCB, or they are in couplets with an alternating refrain.
A refrain is the repetition of complete lines that divides segments of the story; with the refrain is easier to remember the ballad.
Ballad present the narrative not as a sequence of events, but as a series of rapid flashes.
Type of ballad
- Ballads of magic, about fairies, ghosts, witchcraft and transformation
- Border ballads, about the rivalry between the English and the Scottish people
- Ballads of love and domestic tragedy
- Ballads of outlaws, with the cycle of Robin Hood
It is an anonymous, famous English ballad dated to the late Middle Ages. It is a dramatic story of love and death told by the narrator. The main character is a young woman who is riding on her pony with her children to London's Court of Justice where her lover, Geordie, is being tried for poaching. But it is too late: Geordie has already been sentenced. He has been hanged because he stole sixteen of the king's deer and sold them. The girl proclaims her devotion to her lover and she is ready to kill with her sword and pistol and to die for him. The atmosphere of this ballad is one of death and violence but the element of mystery is less marked than in other ballads.
Fabrizio De Andrè's version of Geordie
The folk singer and poet Fabrizio De Andrè made a faithful version of the original ballad "Geordie" even if he changed the order of the images. The only difference is in the number of deer stolen by Geordie that in the original version are sixteen, while for De Andrè are six, but this difference is only due to a metrycal problem.