Oh, Death: Murder Ballads and Death Songs

Lance Minnis

Oh, Death: Murder Ballads and Death Songs

$ 180.00

Oh, Death - Songs about Killin’ from the American and European Tradition, with Lance Minnis

Use the discount code Long Black Veil at checkout to save $20 enrolling in this and Lance's 7:30pm gospel songs class.

Course Objective

This class aims to familiarize students with murder ballads and death songs from Appalachia, England and Scotland, and the American hinterland, as well as common old time and bluegrass death songs. Students will learn a repertoire of songs, discuss common themes and ideas, and put into a modern context. The class is for singers, and singers who play any stringed folk instruments are also welcome, though some songs will be a capella. 


  • Basic Aural Skills 
  • What is melody? What is harmony?
  • Basic music theory including chords
  • Basic singing technique including breathing, support and proper tone and projection tools
  • Basic song arrangement


  • a repertoire of ballads and songs
  • some of the stylings and tropes the ballad tradition
  • waltz time and standard time
  • a basic understanding of the music’s history
  • how to arrange a song and sing the song for effect
  • the importance of narrative in singing and emphasizing it


By recital/open house time, each student has learned a repertoire of songs they can perform together or alone, has an introduction to the background and themes and a deeper understanding of ballad culture.


  • ability to sing a melody line
  • for singer/instrumentalists: ability to play basic chords and keep time on your stringed instrument, and ability to sing and play instrument concurrently