The Great American Ballad:
1. Overview (could be read out in class, for example)
Names like ‘King Arthur’ and “Hercules” are well-known. But scholars still debate whether these refer to real historical individuals. The same mystery has even attached to heroes in modern times. The first in The Great American Ballad series is of this nature. It is a song about a hero who lived in the modern era of pictures. People in modern times were tape-recorded who said that they knew him but there are only clues remaining to suggest that this was a real historical person.
The same can be said of the composer of the Ballad. The composers of many famous ballads have left no historical record. Indeed, the song may have evolved from a number of sources and there is no single person to whom we could attribute the song. It may have had many ‘co-composers’.
This is common to many things in history and science. For instance it would be hard to nominate the very first reptile or the very first bird – their parents would have still been classed as amphibians or dinosaurs. At some point their family tree became reptiles and birds.
The same logic applies to music composers. The ‘parent’ or ‘family tree’ of a famous ballad is typically a folk tune. At some stage a new set of words is added to the tune and gradually it becomes the familiar hit song that we know as an ‘oldie’ ‘campfire song’ or ‘children’s song’. In such cases the ‘oldie’ may actually be hundreds of years old! So the composers of the tune are long lost to history. There is no copyright, no royalty to be paid. We call it ‘public domain’, meaning we the public can all use it. But someone at some time wrote the tune and lyrics. Together those folks are ‘the Lost Composer’.
- (click): Clue 1a refers to this as being Game ‘1’ and the first clue as being ‘a’, hence ‘1a’
- Clue 1b follows
- then Clue 1c
- and finally 1d is the ‘answer’ (the actual full song)
A text accompaniment to the videos is below:
Text of Video Clues to Ballad #1 as read by the avatars in the MovieStorm movies:
“He worked with steel but was not called a steel worker. He spent his day driving but actually stayed in the same spot while doing it and was called a driving man rather than a driver. He dug into rock but was not called a miner. He is revered as a hero but he didn’t save anyone. He gave his life to a cause. Yet we have embraced the opposite cause to his and it has become our way of life. His story has inspired a novel and stage musical. A cartoon version of the story was nominated for an academy award-nominated. He even inspired a comic book superhero. But the real man who inspired the legends remains an enigma. There are people who were tape-recorded in interviews who said they had known him. Some researchers claim they have found his name in documents. Most agree he was a real person. Who was he? This crossword puzzle gives clues. It lists the names of most of the musicians who have recorded this famous ballad.”
The Great American Ballad #1: Crossword Clues
(printable pdf version: ballad_1_crossword)
This crossword consists of the names of the artists who have recorded this particular Great American Ballad #1
|3. bruce7. jerry lee
10. fiddlin’ john
16. The name of this Great American Ballad
|1. huddy2. paul
8. ramblin’ jack
9. big bill
11. J E
12. uncle dave
Created with freeware: www.eclipsecrossword.com
printable version: ballad_1_crossword