Ballad vs Sonnet: Difference and Comparison

Poems are a form of literary art, and English literature has greatly been influenced by them.

These are the words that are employed to convey or reflect an aesthetical meaning or, in layman’s terms, a story derived from human experience.

Ballads and sonnets are the most popular and utilized poems. The primary purpose of both is to convey stories using specific rhyme patterns.

Key Takeaways

  1. Ballads are narrative poems with a simple structure, set to music, while sonnets are 14-line lyrical poems with a more complex structure and rhyme scheme.
  2. Ballads tell stories or describe events, while sonnets express emotions, ideas, or philosophical reflections.
  3. Ballads are more straightforward and casual, while sonnets use more formal and intricate language.

Ballad vs Sonnet

The difference between a ballad and a sonnet is that a ballad is narrative in nature, containing brief self-stories rich in imagery rather than description, whereas a sonnet is lyrical in nature, and it was used in the past in order to express affection with the concept of “courtly love.”

Ballad vs Sonnet

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A ballad is a poem that describes the story narration with a set of music.

It is the characteristic of popular poetry and ballads in countries such as the United Kingdom and Ireland from the ‘late Middle Ages,’ also known as the ‘Late Medieval Period,’ (which mainly lasted from AD 1250 to 1500) to the nineteenth century.

A ballad is a song of thirteen lines.

A sonnet is a poetic form that has its roots in Italian poetry. It was written at Palermo, Sicily, in the court of Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II.

Giacomo da Lentini, a 13th-century poet and notary (a person with authorization to do acts in legal matters), was invited to write sonnets to convey courtly love ( Medieval European literary conception of love that shows nobility).

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonBalladSonnet
Meaning It is in narrative form of a story.It is in lyrical form.
TypesBallads are of three types that are traditional ballads, the broadside ballad and literary ballad.Sonnet are of four types that are Petrarchan, Shakespearean, Spenserian, and Miltonic.
LinesAll ballad consist of thirteen lines. All sonnets consist of fourteen lines, and four sections which are called quatrains.
Rhyme SchemeThe rhyme scheme of ballad is abcb or abab.The rhyme scheme of sonnet is abab, cdcd, efefgg.
InventorThe ballad was invented by Geoffrey Chaucer in 15th century. The sonnet was invented by the notary named Giacomo da Lentini in the 13th century.

What is a Ballad?

Ballads are based on mediaeval French chanson balladee or ballade, which were originally “dancing tunes.”

It was popular in several parts of the world, including Europe, Australia, North Africa, North America, and South America.

They are thirteen lines long and written in the ABABBCBC format. Ballads were made up of two couplets (two lines) of rhymed verse with 14 syllables each.

The ABAB or ABCB repeating form, which has alternating eight and six-syllable lines, is another prevalent sort of ballad form. Ballads are historically significant since they were marketed as single sheet broadsides.

The broadsides are the single sheet of inexpensive paper printed on one side of the paper (ballads, rhymes, and news).

Ballads were created in the 18th century in the style of lyrical ballads, which were employed by poets and composers.

In the nineteenth century, the phrase sentimental ballads (a psychological form of romantic music) of rock and blues music was used.

That is used to describe the slow form of popular love songs that were employed of the sentimental ballads (an emotional form of music that is romantic) of pop or rock music.

It is related to the concept of a stylized storytelling song or poem used in media such as movies.

They were originally written for dances and were composed in couplets with refrains in alternate lines. The dancers primarily sang the refrain during the performance.

Ballads were written in ballad stanzas quatrains, which seem to be four line-stanzas of interspersing iambic, tetrameter (eight syllables), and iambic trimeter (six syllables), which are called ballad meter.

What is a Sonnet?

The word sonnet is an Italian word “Sonetto”, which means “to write. “The term “little song” comes from the Latin term “Sonus,” which indicates “sound.”

Somewhere around the thirteenth century, a sonnet was defined as a fourteen-line poem with a tight rhyme system and rhyme structure.

The sonnet was termed as the “preferred technique of expressing romantic love” by the famous poet Christopher Blum during the Renaissance. Other than Italian, several other languages have their own versions of the sonnet form.

The creators of sonnets are referred to as “sonneteers.” The sonnets were composed in Italian, Occitan, Catalan, Spanish, Portuguese, French, German, and English, among other languages.

The sonnets were written in Italian by Giacomo da Lentini, who was the leader of the Sicilian School under Emperor Frederick II.

A sonnet is composed of two quatrains (four-line stanzas) followed by two tercets (consisting of three-line poetry). It rhymes with ABABABAB CDCDCD in a symmetrical pattern.

The traditional structure of an Italian sonnet is two parts that combine to produce an “argument” concise. The octave form “proposition” describes the “trouble” or “question” in the opening section of the sonnet.

italian sonnet

Main Differences Between a Ballad and a Sonnet

  1. A ballad is a narrative form of the poem, whereas the sonnet is in the lyrical form of the poem.
  2. A ballad is straightforward and easy to grasp, whereas a sonnet is written in sophisticated language.
  3. Ballads were frequently associated with musical acts and operas. On the other side, sonnets are associated with courts and the poets’ portrayal of legal problems.
  4. Ballads are the type of poems with thirteen lines, whereas sonnets are the types of poems with fourteen lines.
  5. Ballads are considered the foundation of love songs, and sonnets appear in major roles in classic plays such as William Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet.”
Difference Between a Ballad and a Sonnet

Last Updated : 13 July, 2023

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