Ballade (musical form)
This article is about the instrumental ballade that was popular in the 19th century. For the medieval French ballade see Ballade.
The first composer who used the title “ballade” for his piano pieces was Frédéric Chopin. He wrote four ballades. They are quite free in form. Chopin does not tell us about any particular story he had in mind. Perhaps they are just musical stories. They are four of his finest works.
Later on other composers also wrote ballades: César Franck and Franz Liszt in particular. Johannes Brahms wrote ballades for piano which are quite like songs in their form. Edvard Grieg wrote a ballade which was based on a Norwegian song.