An album is a collection of audio recordings issued as a collection on compact disc, audio tape, or another medium. Albums of recorded music were developed in the early 20th century as individual 78-rpm records collected in a bound book resembling a photograph album. Vinyl LPs are still issued, though album sales in the 21st-century have focused on CD and MP3 formats; the audio cassette was a format used alongside vinyl from the 1970s into the first decade of the 2000s. An album may be recorded in a recording studio, in a concert venue, at home, in the field, or a mix of places; the time frame for recording an album varies between a few hours to several years. This process requires several takes with different parts recorded separately, brought or "mixed" together. Recordings that are done in one take without overdubbing are termed "live" when done in a studio. Studios are built to absorb sound, eliminating reverberation, so as to assist in mixing different takes. Recordings, including live, may contain sound effects, voice adjustments, etc..
With modern recording technology, musicians can be recorded in separate rooms or at separate times while listening to the other parts using headphones. Album covers and liner notes are used, sometimes additional information is provided, such as analysis of the recording, lyrics or librettos; the term "album" was applied to a collection of various items housed in a book format. In musical usage the word was used for collections of short pieces of printed music from the early nineteenth century. Collections of related 78rpm records were bundled in book-like albums; when long-playing records were introduced, a collection of pieces on a single record was called an album. An album, in ancient Rome, was a board chalked or painted white, on which decrees and other public notices were inscribed in black, it was from this that in medieval and modern times album came to denote a book of blank pages in which verses, sketches and the like are collected. Which in turn led to the modern meaning of an album as a collection of audio recordings issued as a single item.
In the early nineteenth century "album" was used in the titles of some classical music sets, such as Schumann's Album for the Young Opus 68, a set of 43 short pieces. When 78rpm records came out, the popular 10-inch disc could only hold about three minutes of sound per side, so all popular recordings were limited to around three minutes in length. Classical-music and spoken-word items were released on the longer 12-inch 78s, about 4–5 minutes per side. For example, in 1924, George Gershwin recorded a drastically shortened version of the seventeen-minute Rhapsody in Blue with Paul Whiteman and His Orchestra, it ran for 8m 59s. Deutsche Grammophon had produced an album for its complete recording of the opera Carmen in 1908. German record company Odeon released the Nutcracker Suite by Tchaikovsky in 1909 on 4 double-sided discs in a specially designed package; this practice of issuing albums does not seem to have been taken up by other record companies for many years. By about 1910, bound collections of empty sleeves with a paperboard or leather cover, similar to a photograph album, were sold as record albums that customers could use to store their records.
These albums came in both 12-inch sizes. The covers of these bound books were wider and taller than the records inside, allowing the record album to be placed on a shelf upright, like a book, suspending the fragile records above the shelf and protecting them. In the 1930s, record companies began issuing collections of 78 rpm records by one performer or of one type of music in specially assembled albums with artwork on the front cover and liner notes on the back or inside cover. Most albums included three or four records, with two sides each, making six or eight compositions per album; the 12-inch LP record, or 33 1⁄3 rpm microgroove vinyl record, is a gramophone record format introduced by Columbia Records in 1948. A single LP record had the same or similar number of tunes as a typical album of 78s, it was adopted by the record industry as a standard format for the "album". Apart from minor refinements and the important addition of stereophonic sound capability, it has remained the standard format for vinyl albums.
The term "album" was extended to other recording media such as Compact audio cassette, compact disc, MiniDisc, digital albums, as they were introduced. As part of a trend of shifting sales in the music industry, some observers feel that the early 21st century experienced the death of the album. While an album may contain as many or as few tracks as required, in the United States, The Recording Academy's rules for Grammy Awards state that an album must comprise a minimum total playing time of 15 minutes with at least five distinct tracks or a minimum total playing time of 30 minutes with no minimum track requirement. In the United Kingdom, the criteria for the UK Albums Chart is that a recording counts as an "album" i
American Broadcasting Company
The American Broadcasting Company is an American commercial broadcast television network, a flagship property of Walt Disney Television, a subsidiary of the Disney Media Networks division of The Walt Disney Company. The network is headquartered in Burbank, California on Riverside Drive, directly across the street from Walt Disney Studios and adjacent to the Roy E. Disney Animation Building, But the network's second corporate headquarters and News headquarters remains in New York City, New York at their broadcast center on 77 West 66th Street in Lincoln Square in Upper West Side Manhattan. Since 2007, when ABC Radio was sold to Citadel Broadcasting, ABC has reduced its broadcasting operations exclusively to television; the fifth-oldest major broadcasting network in the world and the youngest of the Big Three television networks, ABC is nicknamed as "The Alphabet Network", as its initialism represents the first three letters of the English alphabet, in order. ABC launched as a radio network on October 12, 1943, serving as the successor to the NBC Blue Network, purchased by Edward J. Noble.
It extended its operations to television in 1948, following in the footsteps of established broadcast networks CBS and NBC. In the mid-1950s, ABC merged with United Paramount Theatres, a chain of movie theaters that operated as a subsidiary of Paramount Pictures. Leonard Goldenson, the head of UPT, made the new television network profitable by helping develop and greenlight many successful series. In the 1980s, after purchasing an 80 percent interest in cable sports channel ESPN, the network's corporate parent, American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. merged with Capital Cities Communications, owner of several print publications, television and radio stations. In 1996, most of Capital Cities/ABC's assets were purchased by The Walt Disney Company; the television network has eight owned-and-operated and over 232 affiliated television stations throughout the United States and its territories. Some of the ABC-affiliated stations can be seen in Canada via pay-television providers, certain other affiliates can be received over-the-air in areas within the Canada–United States border.
ABC News provides news and features content for select radio stations owned by Citadel Broadcasting, which purchased the ABC Radio properties in 2007. In the 1930s, radio in the United States was dominated by three companies: the Columbia Broadcasting System, the Mutual Broadcasting System, the National Broadcasting Company; the last was owned by electronics manufacturer Radio Corporation of America, which owned two radio networks that each ran different varieties of programming, NBC Blue and NBC Red. The NBC Blue Network was created in 1927 for the primary purpose of testing new programs on markets of lesser importance than those served by NBC Red, which served the major cities, to test drama series. In 1934, Mutual filed a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission regarding its difficulties in establishing new stations, in a radio market, being saturated by NBC and CBS. In 1938, the FCC began a series of investigations into the practices of radio networks and published its report on the broadcasting of network radio programs in 1940.
The report recommended that RCA give up control of either NBC NBC Blue. At that time, the NBC Red Network was the principal radio network in the United States and, according to the FCC, RCA was using NBC Blue to eliminate any hint of competition. Having no power over the networks themselves, the FCC established a regulation forbidding licenses to be issued for radio stations if they were affiliated with a network which owned multiple networks that provided content of public interest. Once Mutual's appeals against the FCC were rejected, RCA decided to sell NBC Blue in 1941, gave the mandate to do so to Mark Woods. RCA converted the NBC Blue Network into an independent subsidiary, formally divorcing the operations of NBC Red and NBC Blue on January 8, 1942, with the Blue Network being referred to on-air as either "Blue" or "Blue Network"; the newly separated NBC Red and NBC Blue divided their respective corporate assets. Between 1942 and 1943, Woods offered to sell the entire NBC Blue Network, a package that included leases on landlines, three pending television licenses, 60 affiliates, four operations facilities, contracts with actors, the brand associated with the Blue Network.
Investment firm Dillon, Read & Co. offered $7.5 million to purchase the network, but the offer was rejected by Woods and RCA president David Sarnoff. Edward J. Noble, the owner of Life Savers candy, drugstore chain Rexall and New York City radio station WMCA, purchased the network for $8 million. Due to FCC ownership rules, the transaction, to include the purchase of three RCA stations by Noble, would require him to resell his station with the FCC's approval; the Commission authorized the transaction on October 12, 1943. Soon afterward, the Blue Network was purchased by the new company Noble founded, the American Broadcasting System. Noble subsequently acquired the rights to the American Broadcasting Company name from George B. Storer in 1944. Meanwhile, in August 1944, the West Coast division of the Blue Network, which owned San Francisco radio station KGO, bought Los Angeles station KECA f
Hip hop music
Hip hop music called hip-hop or rap music, is a music genre developed in the United States by inner-city African Americans in the late 1970s which consists of a stylized rhythmic music that accompanies rapping, a rhythmic and rhyming speech, chanted. It developed as part of hip hop culture, a subculture defined by four key stylistic elements: MCing/rapping, DJing/scratching with turntables, break dancing, graffiti writing. Other elements include sampling beats or bass lines from records, rhythmic beatboxing. While used to refer to rapping, "hip hop" more properly denotes the practice of the entire subculture; the term hip hop music is sometimes used synonymously with the term rap music, though rapping is not a required component of hip hop music. Hip hop as both a musical genre and a culture was formed during the 1970s when block parties became popular in New York City among African-American youth residing in the Bronx; however hip-hop music did not get recorded for the radio or television to play until 1979 due to poverty during hip-hop's birth and lack of acceptance outside ghetto neighborhoods.
At block parties DJs played percussive breaks of popular songs using two turntables and a DJ mixer to be able to play breaks from two copies of the same record, alternating from one to the other and extending the "break". Hip hop's early evolution occurred as sampling technology and drum machines became available and affordable. Turntablist techniques such as scratching and beatmatching developed along with the breaks and Jamaican toasting, a chanting vocal style, was used over the beats. Rapping developed as a vocal style in which the artist speaks or chants along rhythmically with an instrumental or synthesized beat. Notable artists at this time include DJ Kool Herc, Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five, Fab Five Freddy, Marley Marl, Afrika Bambaataa, Kool Moe Dee, Kurtis Blow, Doug E. Fresh, Warp 9, The Fat Boys, Spoonie Gee; the Sugarhill Gang's 1979 song "Rapper's Delight" is regarded to be the first hip hop record to gain widespread popularity in the mainstream. The 1980s marked the diversification of hip hop.
Prior to the 1980s, hip hop music was confined within the United States. However, during the 1980s, it began to spread to music scenes in dozens of countries, many of which mixed hip hop with local styles to create new subgenres. New school hip hop was the second wave of hip hop music, originating in 1983–84 with the early records of Run-D. M. C. and LL Cool J. The Golden age hip hop period was an innovative period between the early 1990s. Notable artists from this era include the Juice Crew, Public Enemy, Eric B. & Rakim, Boogie Down Productions and KRS-One, EPMD, Slick Rick, Beastie Boys, Kool G Rap, Big Daddy Kane, Ultramagnetic MCs, De La Soul, A Tribe Called Quest. Gangsta rap is a subgenre of hip hop that focuses on the violent lifestyles and impoverished conditions of inner-city African-American youth. Schoolly D, N. W. A, Ice-T, Ice Cube, the Geto Boys are key founding artists, known for mixing the political and social commentary of political rap with the criminal elements and crime stories found in gangsta rap.
In the West Coast hip hop style, G-funk dominated mainstream hip hop for several years during the 1990s with artists such as Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg. East Coast hip hop in the early to mid 1990s was dominated by the Afrocentric jazz rap and alternative hip hop of the Native Tongues posse as well as the hardcore rap of artists such as Mobb Deep, Wu-Tang Clan, Onyx. East Coast hip hop had gangsta rap musicians such as Kool G Rap and the Notorious B. I. G.. In the 1990s, hip hop began to diversify with other regional styles emerging, such as Southern rap and Atlanta hip hop. At the same time, hip hop continued to be assimilated into other genres of popular music, examples being neo soul and nu metal. Hip hop became a best-selling genre in the mid-1990s and the top selling music genre by 1999; the popularity of hip hop music continued through the 2000s, with hip hop influences increasingly finding their way into mainstream pop. The United States saw the success of regional styles such as crunk, a Southern genre that emphasized the beats and music more than the lyrics.
Starting in 2005, sales of hip hop music in the United States began to wane. During the mid-2000s, alternative hip hop secured a place in the mainstream, due in part to the crossover success of artists such as OutKast and Kanye West. During the late 2000s and early 2010s, rappers such as Lil Wayne, Soulja Boy, B.o. B were the most popular rappers. During the 2010s, rappers such as Drake, Nicki Minaj, J. Cole, Kendrick Lamar all have been popular. Trap, a subgenre of hip hop has been popular during the 2010s with hip hop artists and hip hop music groups such as Migos, Travis Scott, Kodak Black; the creation of the term hip hop is credited to Keith Cowboy, rapper with Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five. However, Lovebug Starski, Keith Cowboy, DJ Hollywood used the term when the music was still known as disco rap, it is believed that Cowboy created the term while teasing a friend who had just joined the U. S. Army, by scat singing the words "hip/hop/hip/hop" in a way that mimicked the rhythmic cadence of soldiers marching.
Cowboy worked the "hip hop" cadence into a part of his stage performance, used by other artists such as The Sugarhi
A record producer or music producer oversees and manages the sound recording and production of a band or performer's music, which may range from recording one song to recording a lengthy concept album. A producer has varying roles during the recording process, they may gather musical ideas for the project, collaborate with the artists to select cover tunes or original songs by the artist/group, work with artists and help them to improve their songs, lyrics or arrangements. A producer may also: Select session musicians to play rhythm section accompaniment parts or solos Co-write Propose changes to the song arrangements Coach the singers and musicians in the studioThe producer supervises the entire process from preproduction, through to the sound recording and mixing stages, and, in some cases, all the way to the audio mastering stage; the producer may perform these roles themselves, or help select the engineer, provide suggestions to the engineer. The producer may pay session musicians and engineers and ensure that the entire project is completed within the record label's budget.
A record producer or music producer has a broad role in overseeing and managing the recording and production of a band or performer's music. A producer has many roles that may include, but are not limited to, gathering ideas for the project, composing the music for the project, selecting songs or session musicians, proposing changes to the song arrangements, coaching the artist and musicians in the studio, controlling the recording sessions, supervising the entire process through audio mixing and, in some cases, to the audio mastering stage. Producers often take on a wider entrepreneurial role, with responsibility for the budget, schedules and negotiations. Writer Chris Deville explains it, "Sometimes a producer functions like a creative consultant — someone who helps a band achieve a certain aesthetic, or who comes up with the perfect violin part to complement the vocal melody, or who insists that a chorus should be a bridge. Other times a producer will build a complete piece of music from the ground up and present the finished product to a vocalist, like Metro Boomin supplying Future with readymade beats or Jack Antonoff letting Taylor Swift add lyrics and melody to an otherwise-finished “Out Of The Woods.”The artist of an album may not be a record producer or music producer for his/her album.
While both contribute creatively, the official credit of "record producer" may depend on the record contract. Christina Aguilera, for example, did not receive record producer credits until many albums into her career. In the 2010s, the producer role is sometimes divided among up to three different individuals: executive producer, vocal producer and music producer. An executive producer oversees project finances, a vocal producers oversees the vocal production, a music producer oversees the creative process of recording and mixings; the music producer is often a competent arranger, musician or songwriter who can bring fresh ideas to a project. As well as making any songwriting and arrangement adjustments, the producer selects and/or collaborates with the mixing engineer, who takes the raw recorded tracks and edits and modifies them with hardware and software tools to create a stereo or surround sound "mix" of all the individual voices sounds and instruments, in turn given further adjustment by a mastering engineer for the various distribution media.
The producer oversees the recording engineer who concentrates on the technical aspects of recording. Noted producer Phil Ek described his role as "the person who creatively guides or directs the process of making a record", like a director would a movie. Indeed, in Bollywood music, the designation is music director; the music producer's job is to create and mold a piece of music. The scope of responsibility may be one or two songs or an artist's entire album – in which case the producer will develop an overall vision for the album and how the various songs may interrelate. At the beginning of record industry, the producer role was technically limited to record, in one shot, artists performing live; the immediate predecessors to record producers were the artists and repertoire executives of the late 1920s and 1930s who oversaw the "pop" product and led session orchestras. That was the case of Ben Selvin at Columbia Records, Nathaniel Shilkret at Victor Records and Bob Haring at Brunswick Records.
By the end of the 1930s, the first professional recording studios not owned by the major companies were established separating the roles of A&R man and producer, although it wouldn't be until the late 1940s when the term "producer" became used in the industry. The role of producers changed progressively over the 1960s due to technology; the development of multitrack recording caused a major change in the recording process. Before multitracking, all the elements of a song had to be performed simultaneously. All of these singers and musicians had to be assembled in a large studio where the performance was recorded. With multitrack recording, the "bed tracks" (rhythm section accompaniment parts such as the bassline and rhythm guitar could be recorded first, the vocals and solos could be added using as many "takes" as necessary, it was no longer necessary to get all the players in the studio at the same time. A pop band could record their backing tracks one week, a horn section could be brought in a week to add horn shots and punches, a string section could be brought in a week after that.
Multitrack recording had another pro
Angels We Have Heard on High
"Angels We Have Heard on High" is a Christmas carol with the lyrics written by James Chadwick, Bishop of Hexham and Newcastle, to the music from a French song called Les Anges Dans Nos Campagnes. The music is the same as the original song, though Chadwick's lyrics albeit unique and original are derived and inspired, in parts a loose translation; the song's subject is the birth of Jesus Christ narrated in the Gospel of Luke the scene in which shepherds outside Bethlehem encounter a multitude of angels singing and praising the newborn child. The lyrics of "Angels We Have Heard on High" are inspired by, but not a direct translation of, the French carol known as Les Anges dans nos campagnes composed by Francois-Auguste Gevaert in Languedoc, though they are inspired by that song, broadly follow the same storyline; the French song has received many adjustments or alignments including "Angels We Have Heard On High" – its most common English version – written in 1862 by James Chadwick, the Roman Catholic Bishop of Hexham and Newcastle, northeast England.
The carol became popular in the West Country, where it was described as "Cornish" by R. R. Chope, featured in Pickard-Cambridge's Collection of Dorset Carols. Chadwick's lyrics differ from the original French version, including a new song title, are deemed an original work attributable to him. Chadwick did not directly translate the lyrics but wrote a new set of lyrics that followed the story theme of the original French song; the lyrics of "Angels We Have Heard on High" were written to fit with the music of Les Anges dans nos campagnes. Chadwick's lyrics are inspired but are not a direct translation of the song, though there are similarities, it is considered a derivative work, although Chadwick's lyrics are considered original under copyright laws and his, despite the fact that they are recognized as a "derivative work". The lyrics are unique in sections, but loosely translated in other sections from the original French song. "Angels We Have Heard on High" is most sung to the hymn tune "Gloria", as arranged by Edward Shippen Barnes.
Its most memorable feature is its chorus: Gloria in Excelsis Deo! Where the sung vowel sound "o" of "Gloria" is fluidly sustained through a lengthy rising and falling melismatic melodic sequence. "Gloria in Excelsis Deo" is the first line of the song of the angels in the Gospel according to Luke in Latin. In England, the words of James Montgomery's "Angels from the Realms of Glory" are sung to this tune, except with the "Gloria in excelsis Deo" refrain, it is from this usage that the tune sometimes is known as the name of Montgomery's newspaper. Les anges dans nos campagnes Ont entonné l'hymne des cieux, Et l'écho de nos montagnes Redit ce chant mélodieuxGloria in excelsis Deo Bergers, pour qui cette fête? Quel est l'objet de tous ces chants? Quel vainqueur, quelle conquête Mérite ces cris triomphants? Gloria in excelsis Deo Ils annoncent la naissance Du libérateur d'Israël Et pleins de reconnaissance Chantent en ce jour solennelGloria in excelsis Deo Cherchons tous l'heureux village Qui l'a vu naître sous ses toits Offrons-lui le tendre hommage Et de nos cœurs et de nos voixGloria in excelsis Deo "Ding Dong Merrily on High" Free sheet music of Angels We Have Heard on High for SATB from Cantorion.org Hymnary.org song details: Angels We Have Heard on High Cyber Hymnal "Les chansons en français" "Hört, der Engel helle Lieder", "Liederkunde zum Evangelischen Gesangbuch.
Heft 12: Bd. 3/12, p. 39"
The Christmas Song
"The Christmas Song" is a classic Christmas song written in 1945 by Robert Wells and Mel Tormé. According to Tormé, the song was written during a blistering hot summer. In an effort to "stay cool by thinking cool", the most-performed Christmas song was born. "I saw a spiral pad on his piano with four lines written in pencil", Tormé recalled. "They started,'Chestnuts roasting... Jack Frost nipping... Yuletide carols... Folks dressed up like Eskimos.' Bob didn't think. He said. Forty minutes that song was written. I wrote all the music and some of the lyrics." The Nat King Cole Trio first recorded the song in the spring of 1946. At Cole's behest – and over the objections of his label, Capitol Records – a second recording was made the same year utilizing a small string section, this version becoming a massive hit on both the pop and R&B charts. Cole again recorded the song in 1953, using the same arrangement with a full orchestra arranged and conducted by Nelson Riddle, once more in 1961, in a stereophonic version with another full orchestra arranged and conducted by Ralph Carmichael.
Cole's 1961 version is regarded as definitive, in 2004 was the most-loved seasonal song with women aged 30–49, while the original 1946 recording was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1974. First recording: Recorded at WMCA Radio Studios, New York City, June 14, 1946. Label credit: The King Cole Trio. Not issued until 1989, when it was included on the various-artists compilation Billboard Greatest Christmas Hits Rhino R1 70637 / R2 70637. Second recording: Recorded at WMCA Radio Studios, New York City, August 19, 1946. First record issue. Label credit: The King Cole Trio with String Choir. Lacquer disc master #981. Issued November 1946 as Capitol 311; this recording is available on the 2000 Cole compilation CD Christmas for Kids: From One to Ninety-Two, as well as on a CD called The Holiday Album, which has 1940s Christmas songs recorded by Cole and Bing Crosby. Third recording: Recorded at Capitol Studios, August 24, 1953; this was the song's first magnetic tape recording. Label credit: The King Cole Trio with String Choir.
Master #11726, take 11. Issued November 1953 as the "new" Capitol 90036 / F90036. Correct label credit issued on October 18, 1954 as Capitol 2955 / F2955. Label credit: Nat "King" Cole with Orchestra Conducted by Nelson Riddle; this recording is available on the 1990 Cole compilation CD Cole, Christmas, & Kids, as well as on the various-artists CD Casey Kasem Presents All Time Christmas Favorites. It was included, along with both 1946 recordings, on the 1991 Mosaic Records box set The Complete Capitol Recordings of the Nat King Cole Trio; this version is sometimes played on the radio during the Christmas season and is nearly identical to the popular 1961 recording. Aside from being in mono, it is easy to tell apart from the 1961 version in that the final notes sounds faster and more rushed. Fourth recording: Recorded at Capitol Studios, New York City, March 30, 1961; this rendition, the first recorded in stereo, is played on radio stations during the Christmas season, has become the most popular/familiar version of this song.
Label credit: Nat King Cole. The instrumental arrangement is nearly identical to the 1953 version, but the vocals are much deeper and more focused. Done for The Nat King Cole Story, this recording was included in a reissue of Cole's 1960 holiday album The Magic of Christmas replacing "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen". Retitled The Christmas Song, the album was issued in 1963 as Capitol W-1967 / SW-1967 and today is in print on compact disc; this recording of "The Christmas Song" is available on numerous compilation albums. Some are Capitol pop standards. For example, it is available on WCBS-FM's Ultimate Christmas Album Volume 3. An alternate take of the 1961 recording, featuring a different vocal and missing the solo piano on the instrumental bridge, appears on the Deluxe Edition of the 2014 compilation The Extraordinary Nat King Cole. There were several covers of Nat Cole's original record in the 1940s; the first of these was said to be by Dick Haymes on the Decca label, but his was released first – not recorded first.
The first cover of "The Christmas Song" was performed by pop tenor and bandleader Eddy Howard on Majestic. Howard was a big Cole fan, covered Nat's versions of "I Want to Thank Your Folks" and " For Sentimental Reasons", among others. Mel Tormé himself made several recordings of the song, including versions released in 1954, 1961 (on his Ve
A ballad is a form of verse a narrative set to music. Ballads derive from the medieval French chanson balladée or ballade, which were "danced songs". Ballads were characteristic of the popular poetry and song of Ireland and Britain from the medieval period until the 19th century, they were used across Europe, in Australia, North Africa, North America and South America. Ballads are 13 lines with an ABABBCBC form, consisting of couplets of rhymed verse, each of 14 syllables. Another common form is ABCB repeated, in alternating 8 and 6 syllable lines. Many ballads were sold as single sheet broadsides; the form was used by poets and composers from the 18th century onwards to produce lyrical ballads. In the 19th century, the term took on the meaning of a slow form of popular love song and is used for any love song the sentimental ballad of pop or rock, although the term is associated with the concept of a stylized storytelling song or poem when used as a title for other media such as a film; the ballad derives its name from medieval French dance songs or "ballares", from which'ballet' is derived, as did the alternative rival form that became the French ballade.
As a narrative song, their theme and function may originate from Scandinavian and Germanic traditions of storytelling that can be seen in poems such as Beowulf. Musically they were influenced by the Minnelieder of the Minnesang tradition; the earliest example of a recognizable ballad in form in England is "Judas" in a 13th-century manuscript. Ballads were written to accompany dances, so were composed in couplets with refrains in alternate lines; these refrains would have been sung by the dancers in time with the dance. Most northern and west European ballads are written in ballad stanzas or quatrains of alternating lines of iambic tetrameter and iambic trimeter, known as ballad meter. Only the second and fourth line of a quatrain are rhymed, taken to suggest that ballads consisted of couplets of rhymed verse, each of 14 syllables; this can be seen in this stanza from "Lord Thomas and Fair Annet": The horse | fair Ann | et rode | upon | He amb | led like | the wind |, With sil | ver he | was shod | before, With burn | ing gold | behind |.
There is considerable variation on this pattern in every respect, including length, number of lines and rhyming scheme, making the strict definition of a ballad difficult. In southern and eastern Europe, in countries that derive their tradition from them, ballad structure differs like Spanish romanceros, which are octosyllabic and use consonance rather than rhyme. Ballads are influenced by the regions in which they originate and use the common dialect of the people. Scotland's ballads in particular, both in theme and language, are characterised by their distinctive tradition exhibiting some pre-Christian influences in the inclusion of supernatural elements such as travel to the Fairy Kingdom in the Scots ballad "Tam Lin"; the ballads do not correct version. The ballads remained an oral tradition until the increased interest in folk songs in the 18th century led collectors such as Bishop Thomas Percy to publish volumes of popular ballads. In all traditions most ballads are narrative in nature, with a self-contained story concise, rely on imagery, rather than description, which can be tragic, romantic or comic.
Themes concerning rural laborers and their sexuality are common, there are many ballads based on the Robin Hood legend. Another common feature of ballads is repetition, sometimes of fourth lines in succeeding stanzas, as a refrain, sometimes of third and fourth lines of a stanza and sometimes of entire stanzas. Scholars of ballads have been divided into "communalists", such as Johann Gottfried Herder and the Brothers Grimm, who argue that ballads are communal compositions, "individualists" such as Cecil Sharp, who assert that there was one single original author. Communalists tend to see more recent printed, broadside ballads of known authorship as a debased form of the genre, while individualists see variants as corruptions of an original text. More scholars have pointed to the interchange of oral and written forms of the ballad; the transmission of ballads comprises a key stage in their re-composition. In romantic terms this process is dramatized as a narrative of degeneration away from the pure'folk memory' or'immemorial tradition'.
In the introduction to Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border the romantic poet and historical novelist Walter Scott argued a need to'remove obvious corruptions' in order to attempt to restore a supposed original. For Scott, the process of multiple recitations'incurs the risk of impertinent interpolations from the conceit of one rehearser, unintelligible blunders from the stupidity of another, omissions to be regretted, from the want of memory of a third.' John Robert Moore noted'a natural tendency to oblivescence'. According to Scott, transcribed ballads have a'flatness and insipidity' compared to their oral counterparts. European Ballads have been classified into three major groups: traditional and literary. In America a distinction is drawn between ballads that are versions of European British and Irish songs, and'Native American ballads