"Strophe" (Greek , "turn, bend, twist", see also phrase) is a concept in versification which properly means a turn, as from one foot to another, or from one side of a chorus to the other.

A strophe is also the part of the ode that the chorus chants as it moves from left to right across the stage.

In its precise choral significance a strophe was a definite section in the structure of an ode, when, as in Milton's famous phrase in the preface to Samson Agonistes, "strophe, antistrophe and epode were a kind of stanzas framed only for the music."

In a more general sense, the strophe is a pair of stanzas of alternating form on which the structure of a given poem is based. In modern poetry the strophe usually becomes identical with the stanza, and it is the arrangement and the recurrence of the rhymes which give it its character. But the ancients called a combination of verse-periods a system, and gave the name strophe to such a system only when it was repeated once or more in unmodified form.

It is said that Archilochus first created the strophe by binding together systems of two or three lines. But it was the Greek ode-writers who introduced the practice of strophe-writing on a large scale, and the art was attributed to Stesichorus, although it is probable that earlier poets were acquainted with it. The arrangement of an ode in a splendid and consistent artifice of strophe, antistrophe and epode was carried to its height by Pindar.

With the development of Greek prosody, various peculiar strophe-forms came into general acceptance, and were made celebrated by the frequency with which leading poets employed them. Among these were the Sapphic, the Elegiac, the Alcaic and the Asclepiadean strophe, all of them prominent in Greek and Latin verse. The briefest and the most ancient strophe is the dactylic distich, which consists of two verses of the same class of rhythm, the second producing a melodic counterpart to the first.

The forms in modern English verse which reproduce most exactly the impression aimed at by the ancient odestrophe are the elaborate rhymed stanzas of such poems as Keats' ' or Matthew Arnold's '.

ee also

* Antistrophe
* Epode
* Strophic form

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  • STROPHE — Originellement liée à la tragédie grecque dont elle désigne un moment, la strophe est un ensemble de vers reliés entre eux selon un schéma rythmique préétabli et/ou selon un système de rimes. Elle est encadrée par des lignes de blancs ou des… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Strophe — Sf std. (17. Jh.) Entlehnung. Entlehnt aus l. stropha, strophē, dieses aus gr. strophḗ, eigentlich Drehung, Wendung , zu gr. stréphein drehen, wenden . So bezeichnet nach der Wendung, die der Chor beim Vortragen von Liedern vollführte, um den… …   Etymologisches Wörterbuch der deutschen sprache

  • Strophe — »mehrere zu einer rhythmischen Einheit zusammengeschlossene Verse; Gedicht , Liedabschnitt«: Das Fremdwort ist eine Entlehnung des 17. Jh.s aus gleichbed. lat. stropha, das seinerseits aus griech. strophē̓ übernommen ist. Das griech. Substantiv… …   Das Herkunftswörterbuch

  • strophe — (n.) c.1600, from Gk. strophe stanza, originally a turning, in reference to the section of an ode sung by the chorus while turning in one direction, from strephein to turn, from PIE *strebh to wind, turn (Cf. Gk. strophaligs whirl, whirlwind,… …   Etymology dictionary

  • strophe — STROPHE. s. f. Couplet d une Ode. Couplet de cette sorte de poësie, qu on appelle Stances, Il y a de fort belles strophes dans ces Stances. la seconde strophe de cette Ode est la plus belle de toutes …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie française

  • strophe — [strō′fē] n. [Gr strophē, lit., a turning, twist < strephein, to turn < IE * strebh < base * (s)ter , rigid, taut > STARE] 1. in the ancient Greek theater, a) the movement of the chorus in turning from right to left of the stage: cf.… …   English World dictionary

  • Strophe — Stro phe, n.; pl. {Strophes}. [NL., from Gr. ?, fr. ? to twist, to turn; perh. akin to E. strap.] In Greek choruses and dances, the movement of the chorus while turning from the right to the left of the orchestra; hence, the strain, or part of… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Strophe — (v. gr.), 1) die Wendung; 2) der Tanz des Chors in der Orchestra; 3) in der lyrischen Poesie die Verbindung mehrer Verse zu einem metrischen Ganzen. Ursprünglich waren die Chorgesänge auf dem Theater S n; sie theilten sich, wie der ganze Chor in… …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Strophe — (griech.) ist ursprünglich in der griechischen Chorlyrik der Tanz des einen Teiles des Chores mit dem dabei gesungenen Lied; ihr entsprach genau die Antistrophe (Gegenstrophe), der Tanz und Gesang des andern Teiles, während die sich daran… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Strophe — (grch.), ein aus mehrern Verszeilen bestehender, rhythmisch gegliederter und regelmäßig wiederkehrender Abschnitt eines Gedichts. In den altgriech. Gesängen folgte auf eine S. eine dieser genau entsprechende Anti oder Gegen S …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

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