Untitled THE BALLAD The ballad is an oral poem which was originally intended for musical accompaniment and dancing.Ballads were a phenomenon of the later Middle Ages throughout Europe and spread over to America through immigration in the 18th and 19th centuries. Ballads are anonymous; they were handed down over generations by singers or minstrels. The singers composed the balla d using stock phrases or descriptions from the repertoire they all knew. Traditional ballads tell a story which often revolves round love, death, revenge, fighting and supernatural events. The story-line is simple: it usually deals with a single episode, starts in mid-action and concentrates on a few essential details of plot. Many ballads were composed in a four.line stanza characterised by an rhyme scheme and by pronounced rhythm. They often include a line or group of lines which are repeated at intervals forming a refrain. Their language is rich in short concrete words and makes extensive use of repetition to highlight a detail and to increase the memorability of the text.