Ballad Writing: Ballad Poems

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Ballad Poems: Ballad Writing

  • Ballad Writing
  • Ballad Form Details
  • Example Ballads
  • How do I start writing a ballad?

    Start with a key phrase...
    ...that pops into your head,
    ...or strikes you when somebody says it,
    ...and is connected with something you feel strongly about.
    It may be a line of melody or words, or both.
    Grab a tape recorder (or your computer mike)
    and save this rough fragment immediately.
    Build on this phrase.
    Images related to the phrase
    Similar phrases
    Rhyming words
    A tune that fits the phrase
    Keep going over the song: with repeated singing, natural phrases will come..
    Ask yourself questions.
    Who is saying this phrase?
    ...Why? ...Where? ...To whom?
    What is the reply?
    How did they get into this situation?
    Consequences
    What rhymes with the key phrase?
    Do these rhyming phrases trigger more images?
    Construct verses.
    Most usual is 4 lines, with the 2nd line rhyming with the last.
    Arrange the verses into sequence.
    Cobble together more verses to make a story.
    The initial fill-in verses may be Yuk! but they give your imagination a framework.
    Sing them over and over until, days (months?) later, better words come to you.
    Keep going over the song.
    Evolve the tune by chanting the verses.
    Are any of those chord sequences in Lesson 1 suitable?
    Rewrite the cobbled phrases; with repeated singing, natural phrases will come.
    Do some editing.
    Throw out unnecessary verses.
    Add a chorus.
    ...or a refrain, or instrumental break.
    Or turn the verse with that initial key phrase into a chorus.
    The chorus gives the audience time to absorb the storyline...
    ...and lets them release all the emotions you have aroused in their souls.

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