top of page

English, Scottish and American

Traditional Ballads

Ballads are poems that tell a story set to music. The narrative of the traditional ballad is often tragic, ending in some personal or corporate disaster. These ballads often deal with cruel mothers, feuding over an unapproved match, unrequited love, the death of a loved one, or the parting or revenge of lovers. Some ballads, however, tell a tale of adventure or of some heroic exploit, like the Robin Hood ballads. Like the Grimm brothers, who are famous for having collected fairytales, Francis James Child is famous for having collected many traditional English and Scottish ballads, and they are usually numbered as they are presented in his published collection.

Screen Shot 2022-12-29 at 3.18.23 PM.png


Christian Ballad

Dives and Lazarus (Child 56)

Traditional Ballads

Barbara Allen (Child 84)

Lord Randall (Child 12)

The False Lover Won Back (Child 218)

Modern Ballads

Absent Friends by The Willows
West Virginia Mine Disaster by Jean Ritchie

American Ballads

bottom of page