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Illustration by Arthur Rackham of the ballad "The Twa Corbies"

A ballad {{#invoke:IPAc-en|main}} is a form of verse, often a narrative set to music. Ballads derive from the medieval French chanson balladée or ballade, which were originally "dancing songs". Ballads were particularly characteristic of the popular poetry and song of the British Isles from the later medieval period until the 19th century and used extensively across Europe and later the Americas, Australia and North Africa.

Many ballads were written and sold as single sheet broadsides. The form was often used by poets and composers from the 18th century onwards to produce lyrical ballads. In the later 19th century the term took on the meaning of a slow form of popular love song and is now often used for any love song, particularly the pop or rock sentimental ballad.

Ballad sections
Intro  Origins  Ballad form  Composition  Transmission  Classification  Ballad operas  Beyond Europe  Sentimental ballads  See also  Notes  References and further reading  External links  

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