Today, let’s try another musical form — the ballad. Traditionally, ballads were rhymed poems that told a story of some kind, and were often set to music. They were sometimes set in four-line verses, with an ABAB rhyme pattern, employing alternating 8 and 6 syllable, iambic lines. This 8/6 iambic pattern is sometimes referred to as ballad meter. The use of this type of pattern was not universal, however, and old ballads often involve different syllable counts, as well as refrains that break up the verses.
The form has generated many sub-genres over the years, including the sentimental ballad (think “Danny Boy“), the gruesome murder ballad, and of course, the power ballad. The form’s come a long way from the folk songs with which it began, but the narrative aspect of the ballad remains intact.
Your ballad could be sad, or funny. It could tell a tale of love, or murder, or just something silly. If you have any musical talent, it might be fun to try and actually make a tune for your ballad! Happy writing.
The Mysterious Road in the Greens
It was not the road not taken’
nor did it seem much untrodden
though was silently deserted,
cranky voices of travellers
mumbling walking slowly talking
some with sticks some with bags hanging
clothes tattered, soiled like old rags
what wanderers, gypsies knights are these
perhaps disguised, going nowhere?
who knows the mystery who may share
to unknown inns and known places,
who will then find the real traces
of cart and carriage wheels dug deep
ruts in mud and mire who will know
Ye Olde Captain smelling rum
and whiskey in strange attire
patriotic spirit afire
what sweet whistles and jingles
of keys calls shouts and songs are these?
what rustling of maps and tinkles
of coins, of silver and golden
dusty and crumpled but precious,
held, as sonorously they stumble-
forward serious, some on horses,
like amblers, no racers, no hurry,
they move and giggle and g rumple,
no heroic braves may know this way
was the way to go now all quiet,
steeped in solitude, fresh and green
scene changed from seen to unseen,
was this the road that saw the men?
ten thousand who brought grand glory
to the king of Olde England!