# How to figure out the rhythm of new materials (poems, rhymes, etc)?

I'm always confused how to split up/figure out the rhythm & rhyme of new Chinese materials like poems, limericks and rhymes.

If it's more pedestrian, it's easier to figure out like: (where x is a character)

xxx

xxx

xxx

xxx

but usally they go something more like:

xxxx

xxxxx

xxx, xxx

xxx

xxxxxxxx

xxx, xxx

xxxx, xxxx

just for instance.

How to figure out the rhythm of new materials (poems, rhymes, etc)?

• This is kind of abstract. Can you give a real example? – Ran Aug 27 '17 at 14:58
• you should understand its structure first, e.g. splitting tokens to groups like subjects, preverb, verbs, objectives. etc, when a statement is long, it should be split to some segments too. 1 大江東去，2浪淘盡，3千古4風流人物. in ancient Chinese books, there are no comma & period, ^_^. – Daniel Yeung Sep 13 '17 at 10:30

You do not have to and cannot figure out the rhyme of the majority of modern Chinese poetry. Because the rhyme is not necessary for it.

3.1 分行诗 (lined format)
3.1.1 自由诗 (free verse) the most popular style
3.1.2 格律诗 (verse) out-of-date
3.2 分段诗 (散文诗 prose poetry or prose verse) out-of-date
3.3 图象诗 (calligram) out-of-date

The Wikipedia also mentions that 自由诗的特点是没有固定的结构、节奏，也不一定要押韵。
Free verse is characterized by the absence of a fixed structure and rhythm, and does not have to rhyme.

So, don't bother yourself about it.

As pointed out, this question will be relevant only if you are be referring to the Ci 詞 form, prevalent in the Song 宋 dynasty, which is traditionally sung by courtesans. Strictly speaking, this will not be 'new material'; nonetheless, modern songs do use the form occasionally. An example will be the Nian4 Nu2 Jiao1 by Su1 Shi4:

《念奴嬌》 蘇軾

The format for such literary form are usually given by the Ci2pu3 詞譜 or lyric score, which defines the number of letters in each phrase, the intonation of each letter, and where the rhyme should land. Nian4 Nu2 Jiao1 is the name of the song, or Ci2 Pai2 詞牌. Different songs will usually demand different phrasing, rhyming and intonation strategies, just as we do in song writing today. So, the Nian4 Nu2 Jiao1 format above, as given by the Bai2xiang1 ci2pu3《白香詞譜》will go like this:

Each symbol corresponds to a letter. ▲ indicates where the rhyme lands while ●○⊙ indicates the intonation. Note the similarity in phrasing to the song quoted above.

The Ci2 is also known as the 長短句, or long-short verse, due to the varying number of letters in each phrase, as contrasted with the Shi1 詩, which is usually of uniform meter (such as the pentametric poem or 五言詩).