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Poetic Origins And the Ballad

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But these improvisations did not live or produce new hymns. The material of the revival hymns and the mannerisms of the singing, especially of improvisation and pro- traction, had strong influence on negro folk-song, indeed afforded the background for the negro " spirituals. " See pp. 129-132.
160 THE BALLAD STYLE with the interests of factory life or agricultural life, or with the adventures of those of the social class singing or composing the songs. The improvisations of folk singers are usu
...ally personal, satirical, humorous, or vituperations, are lampoons and the like, and they grow out of the imme- diate interests or level of life or the latest occurrence among the singers. They are not often sentimental and are not heroic, narrative, or historical. What then must we think of the English and Scottish ballads, if the people composed them ? Their themes are not at all of the char- acter to be expected. They are not invariably on the work, or on episodes in the life of the ignorant and lowly.

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