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The ballade is a verse form consisting of three (sometimes five) stanzas, each with the same metre, rhyme scheme and last line, with a shorter concluding stanza (an envoi) usually addressed to a prince. (The ballade should not be confused with the ballad.)

The ballade is particularly associated with French poetry of the 14th and 15th centuries. One of the most notable writers of ballades was François Villon; Geoffrey Chaucer also wrote in the form. It was revived in the 19th century by English-language poets including Dante Gabriel Rossetti and Algernon Charles Swinburne.

Also in the 19th century, the title was given by Frédéric Chopin to four important, large-scale piano pieces (opus numbers 23, 38, 47 and 52), the first significant application of the term to instrumental music. A number of other composers subsequently used the title for piano pieces, including Johannes Brahms (the third of his Klavierstücke opus 118, and the set of four opus 10), Edvard Grieg (opus 24, a set of variations), Franz Liszt (who wrote two) and Gabriel Fauré (opus 19, later arranged for piano and orchestra). Ballades for instruments other than the piano have also been written.

A 1912 ballade by G.K. Chesterton

Though all the critics' canons grow—
Far seedier than the actors' own—
Although the cottage-door's too low—
Although the fairy's twenty stone—
Although, just like the telephone,
She comes by wire and not by wings,
Though all the mechanism's known—
Believe me, there are real things.
Yes, real people— even so—
Even in a theatre, truth is known,
Though the agnostic will not know,
And though the gnostic will not own,
There is a thing called skin and bone,
And many a man that struts and sings
Has been as stony-broke as stone…
Believe me, there are real things
There is an hour when all men go;
An hour when man is all alone.
When idle minstrels in a row
Went down with all the bugles blown—
When brass and hymn and drum went down,
Down in death's throat with thunderings—
Ah, though the unreal things have grown,
Believe me, there are real things.
Prince, though your hair is not your own
And half your face held on by strings,
And if you sat, you'd smash your throne—
Believe me, there are real things.

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Music Sound, v. 2.0, by MultiMedia

This guide is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia.

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