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How To Write A Biblical Ballad
by Lois Roets. © 2012

Directions: Follow these steps -- or create your own method.

1. Select Bible passage(s) on the topic of the ballad.

2. Read passages carefully. Read from several translations - if you have several.

3. Study the passages:

Who is telling the story or narration?

To whom is the narrator speaking?

Why is the story teller telling this particular story?

What is the importance of the story?

Are there applications to your life or current events?

4. List key words from responses to Step 3, that tell or shape the story/narration.

5. Use key words to write 1-4 short sentences that summarize the story.

These will become the repeated part, the "refrain" for the ballad. Say your sentences aloud.

Do they "flow?" - have cadence? - are easily memorized?" Do they "stick in your head?"

When you walk and recite the lines, do they suggest a certain pattern of walking?

Or, can you tap a pattern as you recite the words? If "yes," then your lines have cadence or rhythm suitable for a ballad/story to be recited or sung.

6. Now write the rest of the story, or applications to current events, in verse form.

Use short lines; each line should form a mental picture. The verses should tell the whole story or the parts you are emphasizing. Keep the sentences short and to the point. Avoid words of many syllables - unless a many-syllabled word is exactly what you need to tell the story or make the song memorable.

7. Combine the verses with the refrain.

Start the ballad with the refrain or first verse. The first line tells the listener the topic or purpose of the ballad. Keep the story/narration moving forward. Add the refrain when needed. The refrain reinforces the topic of the Bible story.

8. Add Music: If you can write music or can use a computer program - good.

If you cannot put music to notes on a page, then sing or recite the ballad into a tape recorder. Use “erase” for singing or reciting that does not sound right.

Teach the ballad by using print copy of words and tape recording for melody.

If you need it written with music notation, hire someone to do it for you.

Develop a system that works for you.

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