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date: 20 April 2021

Stabreim (opera) (Ger.: ‘stave-rhyme’, ‘alliterative verse’)locked

  • Stewart Spencer


(Ger.: ‘stave-rhyme’, ‘alliterative verse’)

Alliteration is found in all the oldest surviving forms of Germanic verse, from the Old English Beowulf to the Old High German Hildebrandslied and the Old Norse Poetic Edda. Each line of verse is made up of two half-lines, each of which consists of two – sometimes three – semantically important, stressed syllables (Hebungen or ‘lifts’), with a variable number of weakly stressed syllables (Senkungen or ‘dips’) dividing them. The lines are linked together alliteratively: the main stress or ‘stave’ is located on the first lift of each second half-line, while the two lifts in the preceding half-line are treated as supporting staves, one or both of which must alliterate with the main stave.

Initial rhyme was replaced by end-rhyme in the 9th century in German, somewhat later in Old English and Old Norse. It was revived in the 19th century by Friedrich de la Motte Fouqué in Der Held des Nordens...

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