Broadside ballads > Broadside ballads

Man with organ selling broadsheetsThe basis of this website is made up of - literally - an enormous pile of broadsides, leaflets and other cheap printed matter. The fact that it deals with broadside ballads is mostly determined by the way the songs were distributed: they were sold by street vendors. These vendors were either street singers themselves, or they made their living by selling broadsides.

These songs sheets include folk songs, but also light music, new lyrics and old hits, popular songs and curiosities. Part of this repertoire is familiar to us from other sources, such as songbooks. But many songs appear only in these broadsides.

A specific genre within the repertoire was intended for private use at parties and other special occasions.

Most songs were written to existing melodies, which could be sung along by everyone. They were a part of the Dutch collective  memory.

Examples from this collection Broadside ballads

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