Tone pattern

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Tone patterns (Chinese :平仄; pinyin :píngzè; Jyutping :ping4 zak1; Pe̍h-ōe-jī :piâⁿ-cheh) are common constraints in classical Chinese poetry.

Chinese language family of languages

Chinese is a group of related, but in many cases not mutually intelligible, language varieties, forming the Sinitic branch of the Sino-Tibetan language family. Chinese is spoken by the Han majority and many minority ethnic groups in China. About 1.2 billion people speak some form of Chinese as their first language.

Hanyu Pinyin, often abbreviated to pinyin, is the official romanization system for Standard Chinese in mainland China and to some extent in Taiwan. It is often used to teach Standard Mandarin Chinese, which is normally written using Chinese characters. The system includes four diacritics denoting tones. Pinyin without tone marks is used to spell Chinese names and words in languages written with the Latin alphabet, and also in certain computer input methods to enter Chinese characters.

Jyutping romanization scheme for Cantonese

Jyutping is a romanisation system for Cantonese developed by the Linguistic Society of Hong Kong (LSHK), an academic group, in 1993. Its formal name is The Linguistic Society of Hong Kong Cantonese Romanisation Scheme. The LSHK promotes the use of this romanisation system.


The four tones of Middle Chineselevel (平), rising (上), departing (去), and entering (入) tones—are categorized into level (平) tones and oblique (仄) tones. Tones that are not level are oblique. If tone patterns are used in poetry, the pattern in which level and oblique tones occur in one line is often the inverse of that of the line next to it. For example, in the poem 春望 (pinyin: chūn wàng, Spring View) by Du Fu, the tone pattern of the first line is 仄仄平平仄, while that of the second line is 平平仄仄平:

Four tones (Middle Chinese) Tones of Chinese

The four tones of Chinese poetry and dialectology are four traditional tone classes of Chinese words. They play an important role in Chinese poetry and in comparative studies of tonal development in the modern varieties of Chinese, both in traditional Chinese and in Western linguistics. They correspond to the phonology of Middle Chinese, and are named even or level, rising, departing, and entering or checked. Due to historic splits and mergers, none of the modern varieties of Chinese have the exact four tones of Middle Chinese, but they are noted in rhyming dictionaries.

Middle Chinese or the Qieyun system (QYS) is the historical variety of Chinese recorded in the Qieyun, a rime dictionary first published in 601 and followed by several revised and expanded editions. The Swedish linguist Bernard Karlgren believed that the dictionary recorded a speech standard of the capital Chang'an of the Sui and Tang dynasties. However, based on the more recently recovered preface of the Qieyun, most scholars now believe that it records a compromise between northern and southern reading and poetic traditions from the late Northern and Southern dynasties period. This composite system contains important information for the reconstruction of the preceding system of Old Chinese phonology.

Du Fu Chinese poet

Du Fu was a prominent Chinese poet of the Tang dynasty. Along with Li Bai, he is frequently called the greatest of the Chinese poets. His greatest ambition was to serve his country as a successful civil servant, but he proved unable to make the necessary accommodations. His life, like the whole country, was devastated by the An Lushan Rebellion of 755, and his last 15 years were a time of almost constant unrest.


In poetry

in Classical Chinese poetry, the presence or absence of formal tonal constraints regarding tone pattern varies according to the poetic form of a specific poem. Sometimes the rules governing the permissible tone patterns for a poem were quite strict, yet still allowed for a certain amount of liberty and variation, as in the case of regulated verse. In the fixed-tone pattern type of verse, poems were written according to preexisting models known as "tunes". This was the case with the ci and the qu: an individual poem was written so that its tone pattern (and line lengths) were the same as one of the model types, the poetic variation was in the change in the particular wording of the lyrics.

Classical Chinese poetry

Classical Chinese poetry is traditional Chinese poetry written in Classical Chinese and typified by certain traditional forms, or modes; traditional genres; and connections with particular historical periods, such as the poetry of the Tang Dynasty. Its existence was documented at least as early as the publication of the Classic of Poetry. Various combinations of forms and genres exist. Many or most of these were developed by the end of the Tang Dynasty, in 907 CE.

Regulated verse – also known as Jintishi – is a development within Classical Chinese poetry of the shi main formal type. Regulated verse is one of the most important of all Classical Chinese poetry types. Although often regarded as a Tang Dynasty innovation, the origin of regulated verse within the Classical Chinese poetic tradition is associated with Shen Yue (441–513), based on his "four tones and eight defects" (四聲八病) theory regarding tonality. There are three types of regulated verse: the eight-lined lüshi, the four-lined jueju, and the linked couplets of indeterminate length pailu. All regulated verse forms are rhymed on the even lines, with one rhyme being used throughout the poem. Also, and definitionally, the tonal profile of the poem is controlled. Furthermore, semantic and tonal parallelism is generally required of certain interior couplets. During the Tang Dynasty, the "Shen-Song" team of Shen Quanqi and Song Zhiwen greatly contributed to the development of this Classical Chinese verse form.

is a type of lyric poetry in the tradition of Classical Chinese poetry. use a set of poetic meters derived from a base set of certain patterns, in fixed-rhythm, fixed-tone, and variable line-length formal types, or model examples. The rhythmic and tonal pattern of the ci are based upon certain, definitive musical song tunes. They are also known as Changduanju and Shiyu.

See also


Tone pattern in poetry

The Qu form of poetry is a type of Classical Chinese poetry form, consisting of words written in one of a number of certain, set tone patterns, based upon the tunes of various songs. Thus Qu poems are lyrics with lines of varying longer and shorter lengths, set according to the certain and specific, fixed patterns of rhyme and tone of conventional musical pieces upon which they are based and after which these matched variations in lyrics generally take their name. The fixed-tone type of verse such as the Qu and the ci together with the shi and fu forms of poetry comprise the three main forms of Classical Chinese poetry.

Related Research Articles

In poetry, metre (British) or meter is the basic rhythmic structure of a verse or lines in verse. Many traditional verse forms prescribe a specific verse metre, or a certain set of metres alternating in a particular order. The study and the actual use of metres and forms of versification are both known as prosody.

Poetry form of literature

Poetry is a form of literature that uses aesthetic and rhythmic qualities of language—such as phonaesthetics, sound symbolism, and metre—to evoke meanings in addition to, or in place of, the prosaic ostensible meaning.

Chinese poetry literary tradition of China

Chinese poetry is poetry written, spoken, or chanted in the Chinese language. While this last term comprises Classical Chinese, Standard Chinese, Mandarin Chinese, Yue Chinese, and other historical and vernacular forms of the language, its poetry generally falls into one of two primary types, Classical Chinese poetry and Modern Chinese poetry.

Shi (poetry)

Shi and shih are romanizations of the character 詩 or 诗, the Chinese word for all poetry generally and across all languages.

<i>Chu Ci</i> literary work

The Chu Ci, variously translated as Verses of Chu or Songs of Chu, is an anthology of Chinese poetry traditionally attributed mainly to Qu Yuan and Song Yu from the Warring States period, though about half of the poems seem to have been composed several centuries later, during the Han dynasty. The traditional version of the Chu Ci contains 17 major sections, anthologized with its current contents by Wang Yi, a 2nd-century AD librarian who served under Emperor Shun of Han. The early Classical Chinese poetry is mainly known through the two anthologies, the Chu Ci and the Shi Jing.

Antithetical couplet

In Chinese poetry, a couplet is a pair of lines of poetry which adhere to certain rules. Outside of poems, they are usually seen on the sides of doors leading to people's homes or as hanging scrolls in an interior. Although often called antithetical couplet, they can better be described as a written form of counterpoint. The two lines have a one-to-one correspondence in their metrical length, and each pair of characters must have certain corresponding properties. A couplet is ideally profound yet concise, using one character per word in the style of Classical Chinese. A special, widely seen type of couplet is the spring couplet, used as a New Year's decoration that expresses happiness and hopeful thoughts for the coming year.

Jueju, or Chinese quatrain, is a type of jintishi that grew popular among Chinese poets in the Tang Dynasty (618–907), although traceable to earlier origins. Jueju poems are always quatrains; or, more specifically, a matched pair of couplets, with each line consisting of five or seven syllables.

Classical Chinese poetry forms

Classical Chinese poetry forms are those poetry forms, or modes which typify the traditional Chinese poems written in Literary Chinese or Classical Chinese. Classical Chinese poetry has various characteristic forms, some attested to as early as the publication of the Classic of Poetry, dating from a traditionally, and roughly, estimated time of around 10th–7th century BC. The term "forms" refers to various formal and technical aspects applied to poems: this includes such poetic characteristics as meter, rhythm, and other considerations such as vocabulary and style. These forms and modes are generally, but not invariably, independent of the Classical Chinese poetry genres. Many or most of these were developed by the time of the Tang Dynasty, and the use and development of Classical Chinese poetry and genres actively continued up to until the May Fourth Movement, and still continues even today in the 21st century.

Han poetry

Han poetry as a style of poetry resulted in significant poems which are still preserved today, and which have their origin associated with the Han dynasty era of China, 206 BC – 220 AD, including the Wang Mang interregnum. The final years at the end of the Han era often receive special handling for purposes of literary analysis because, among other things, the poetry and culture of this period is less than typical of the Han period, and has important characteristics of its own, or it shares literary aspects with the subsequent Three Kingdoms period. This poetry reflects one of the poetry world's more important flowerings, as well as being a special period in Classical Chinese poetry, particularly in regard to the development of the quasipoetic fu; the activities of the Music Bureau in connection with the collection of popular ballads and the resultant development of what would eventually become known as the yuefu, or as the rhapsodic formal style; and, finally, towards the end of the Han Dynasty, the development of a new style of shi poetry, as the later development of the yuehfu into regular, fixed-line length forms makes it difficult to distinguish in form from the shi form of poetic verse, and at what point specific poems are classified as one or the other is somewhat arbitrary. Another important poetic contribution from the Han era is the compilation of the Chuci anthology, which contains some of the oldest and most important poetic verses to be preserved from ancient China, as well as the transmission of the Shijing anthology.

<i>Heavenly Questions</i> poem written by Qu Yuan

The Heavenly Questions or Questions to Heaven is a piece contained in the Classical Chinese poetry collection of Chu Ci, which is noted both in terms of poetry and as a source for information on the ancient culture of China, especially the area of the ancient state of Chu. Of all the poems attributed to Qu Yuan, "Tianwen" contains more myths than any of the other pieces which may be attributed to him; however, due to the formal structure of "Tianwen" as a series of questions, information regarding the myths alluded to appear more as a series of allusive fragments than as cohesively narrated stories. According to legend, Qu Yuan wrote this series of questions in verse after viewing various scenes depicted on temple murals; specifically, it is said that following his exile from the royal court of Chu, Qu Yuan looked upon the depictions of the ancestors and the gods painted upon the walls of the ancestral temple of Chu; and, then, in response, wrote his questions to Heaven, upon these same walls.

Yuan poetry refers to those types or styles of poetry particularly associated with the era of the Yuan dynasty (1271–1368), in China. Although the poetic forms of past literature were continued, the Yuan period is particularly known for the development of the poetic aspects included in the complex mix of different art forms which characterize Chinese opera, namely the qu or fixed-tone pattern type of verses that were delivered by the actors of these shows. Although the language of Yuan poetry is still generally considered to be Classical Chinese, a certain vernacular aspect reflecting linguistic changes can be seen in some of the fixed-rhythm verse forms, such as Yuan ci and qu. Certain aspects of Yuan poetry can be understood in the context of the social and political changes which took place as part of the process of the Mongol conquest of the Jin and Song Dynasties and their subsequent establishment of the Yuan dynasty.

"Sorrow for Troth Betrayed" is one of the poems anthologized in the ancient Chinese poetry collection, the Chu ci, which together with the Shijing comprise the two major textual sources for Classical Chinese poetry. The "Sorrow for Troth Betrayed" describes a shamanistic or Daoist type of flight over an area including the axis mundi, Bactria, and the Middle Kingdom, during which the wise and virtuous narrator observes the evils rampant in the world with grief, concluding that in such a case that withdrawal from the world is the only valid option. The poem appears to have been preserved in a somewhat fragmentary form, with several lacunae. The authorship of the "Sorrow for Troth Betrayed" poem has been attributed to both Qu Yuan and Jia Yi ; but, based on internal evidence, Sorrow for Troth Betrayed appears to have been written by an anonymous author after the lifetimes of both Qu Yuan and Jia Yi.

"Nine Regrets" is the 11th of the 17 major sections of the ancient Chinese poetry collection Chu ci, also known as The Songs of the South or The Songs of Chu. The "Nine Regrets" consists of nine verses plus an envoi (luan), each individually titled, written according to the Han Dynasty literary revival style based upon the earlier (pre-Han) pieces in the Chu ci anthology. The "Nine Regrets" is one of the several collections of poems grouped under the title of "Nine" something-or-others, which do not necessarily consist of 9 pieces of poetry. One of the older of them, Jiu ge consists of 11 individual pieces: "nine" in antiquity was often used as a synonym for "many", and in the context of the Chu ci generally refers to a musical arrangement with "nine" modal changes. The "Nine Regrets" poems are attributed to the Shu poet Wang Bao who flourished during the reign of Emperor Xuan.

"Seven Admonishments" is one of the 17 major sections of the ancient Chinese poetry collection Chu ci, also known as The Songs of the South or The Songs of Chu. The "Seven Admonishments" consists of seven poetic verses, plus a luan. The Seven Admonishments are written in the persona of Qu Yuan, but the actual poet or poets who authored these pieces is unknown; but, Wang Yi supposes them to have been written by Dongfang Shuo, a supposition which David Hawkes rejects, on various grounds. In terms of poetic quality, Hawkes finds the Qi jian poems to be "extremely derivative" of the other Chu ci pieces, and he further describes them as "a long, almost unrelieved litany of complaint which progresses by mere accumulation and ends only when the poet, reader and metaphor are all three exhausted.".