Exploring Medieval Ballads

Contributor: Melissa Kowalski. Lesson ID: 10893

"There was not a groom about that castle, But got a gown of green, And all was blythe, and all was glad, But Lady Maisery she was neen." That was big stuff back then. Learn all about Medieval ballads!


Literary Studies, Musical Arts

learning style
Auditory, Visual
personality style
Grade Level
High School (9-12)
Lesson Type
Quick Query

Lesson Plan - Get It!

  • Have you ever listened to a modern song or read a poem and wondered about its predecessors?

Modern music and poetry grew out of the medieval ballad, and both still share many traits with this nearly thousand-year-old literary form!

A ballad is a narrative poem set to music.

Ballads originated in the Middle Ages in England and spread across Europe. They were the popular songs of their era. Print the handout on the History of Medieval Ballads and their Characteristics, found in Downloadable Resources in the right-hand sidebar.

You can also find more information on ballads and a selection of different types of ballads at Ballads on Mostly Medieval.

After you have read the handout on ballads, read through two medieval ballads:

medieval music player

Continue on to the Got It? section to listen to and analyze a medieval ballad.

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