Ballad Vocabulary

BALLAD - a song that tells a story

CHILD BALLADS - British Ballads named after Harvard professor Francis J. Child who collected them

NATIVE AMERICAN BALLAD - refers to ballads written by citizens born in America, and should not be confused with Native Americans such as the Cherokee. These ballads were typically adapated from melodies and lyrics of older songs

GUILT - the fact of having committed a specified or implied offense or crime

PROVING - to prove in a court of law means to establish the genuineness and validity of (a will)

SYPHILIS - a chronic bacterial disease that is contracted chiefly by infection during sexual intercourse, but also congenitally by infection of a developing fetus

FOLK PROCESS - learning by passing stories, songs, or skills across communities and down generations orally from person to person

MURDER BALLAD - a category of ballads which explains the events and consequences surrounding a murder. The speaker of the ballad tells about her crime, her regret, and her fears of punishment before pleading with listeners not to follow in her footsteps