Shih

Shih

 

a Chinese verse form. The word shih originally denoted poetry in general and later referred only to written poetry. It was associated with a specific poetic genre in the Middle Ages. The classical shih consists of five or seven monosyllabic words with a strictly prescribed pattern of musical tones of different pitch, as well as a complex melodic pattern. The rhyme is parallel and consistent throughout the poem. Lines are usually rhymed on the “even” tone, which is more melodious.

A variant of the classical shih, the chüeh-chü (“stop-short”), is a quatrain with one verse, the penultimate, unrhymed. The appearance of dynamic stress and polysyllabic words in Chinese made the classical shih archaic. Chinese free verse, which appeared in the 20th century, is also called shih. Song has had a great influence on the modern shih.

REFERENCES

Golygina, K. I. Teoriia iziashchnoi slovesnosti v Kitae. Moscow, 1971.
Wang Li. Shih tz’u kolü. Peking, 1962.
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