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The Collaborative International 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 choral ode, sung during this movement. Also sometimes used of a stanza of modern verse. See the Note under Antistrophe.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

c.1600, from Greek 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 *streb(h)- "to wind, turn" (cognates: Greek strophaligs "whirl, whirlwind," streblos "twisted," stremma "that which is twisted").


n. 1 (context prosody English) A turn in verse, as from one metrical foot to another, or from one side of a chorus to the other. 2 (context prosody English) The section of an ode that the chorus chants as it moves from right to left across the stage. 3 (context prosody English) A pair of stanzas of alternating form on which the structure of a given poem is based.


n. one section of a lyric poem or choral ode in classical Greek drama


A strophe is a poetic term originally referring to the first part of the ode in Ancient Greek tragedy, followed by the antistrophe and epode. The term has been extended to also mean a structural division of a poem containing stanzas of varying line length. Strophic poetry is to be contrasted with poems composed line-by-line non-stanzaically, such as Greek epic poems or English blank verse, to which the term stichic applies.

In its original Greek setting, "strophe, antistrophe and epode were a kind of stanza framed only for the music," as John Milton wrote in the preface to Samson Agonistes, with the strophe chanted by a Greek chorus as it moved from right to left across the scene.

Usage examples of "strophe".

Full Choral Ode, the evolutions carrying them to the extreme Left of the Orchestra in the Strophe, and in the AntiStrophe back to the Altar.

Then the Chorus address themselves to a Choral Ode in memory of the Spirit now passed beneath the earth: the evolutions as usual, carrying them with each Strophe to one end of the Orchestra, and with the AntiStrophe back to the Altar.

Strophe 2, AntiStrophe 1, AntiStrophe 2, AntiStrophe 1 alpha, AntiStrophe 2 alpha.

The rhythm of alternating dawn and sunset, the strophe and antistrophe still perceptible through all the sudden shifts of our dithyrambic seasons and echoed in corresponding floral harmonies, made melody in the soul of Abel, the plain serving-man.

Voice answered voice in dark supplication, strophe and antistrophe, summoning .

It was a weird and melancholy music that seemed to swing backwards and forwards between two bands of singers, each strophe and antistrophe, if those are the right words, ending in a kind of wail or cry of despair which turned my blood cold.

Choirs must follow strophe and antistrophe and end the play in catastrophe.

Strophes and AntiStrophes as in the Prelude, but the Evolutions now leading them from the central Altar to the extreme Right and Left of the Orchestra.

Admetus, whose speeches fall into the rhythm of a Funeral March, and the Chorus, who speak in Strophes and AntiStrophes of more elaborate lyric rhythm, often interrupted by the wails of Admetus.

As you know, much of the poetry in the Bible, especially of such as was meant for music, is composed in stanzaic form, or in strophe and anti-strophe, with prelude and conclusion, sometimes with a choral refrain.

In the second strophe the soprano voice takes the melody, which is supported by rare harmonies and a lovely figuration in the alto.

Among the Greeks, the march of the Choruses in their theatres represented the movements of the Heavens and the planets, and the Strophe and Anti-Strophe imitated, Aristoxenes says, the movements of the Stars.

Written in monostichs, each divided into strophe and antistrophe, the sentiment of the 1st.

A little apart from the others a young boy was listening to those difficult strophes, half attentive, half in dream.

Pride and gratitude alternated in his joy like the strophes of an ode.