This dissertation is a study on the regulated poetry of Tang Dynasty. It explores the formation and change in the tonal and structural patterns of the poetry of Tang Dynasty as well as the factors that have impact on these external formal characteristics. The dissertation consists of eight chapters and explores the methods Tang poets applied to realize their poetic aesthetics. Regarding tonal and structural patterns, what process did the Tang poets go through? What is the history of its combinations and how did it occur? How did they discover the essential rhythmic factors that dominate Chinese and the dominant aesthetic principles that achieved this formation?
The regulations of the poetry of Tang Dynasty give specific instructions and regulations with respect to tonality, rhyme and line structure. The first chapter, Introduction, states the motivation, purpose, range and limit of the study, literature review and research methods and process. Chapter two, An Overview of the Form of the Poetry of Tang Dynasty, includes the names, content, meaning, circulation of the forms of Tang poetry. Chapter three consists of the theory of tonal patterns and the four tones. It analyzes the historical background and context of the theory of tonal patterns as well as the nature and differentiation of the four tones. Chapter four, the Theory of Eight Faults, lists and analyzes the Eight Faults and the change of tonal patterns in the formation of eight-line poems. Chapter five, On Tonal Adjustments, explores the methods of tonal adjustment in the poetry of Tang Dynasty and the resulted formula. Chapter six, Rhyming Patterns, analyzes the rhyming patterns in the poetry of Tang Dynasty. Chapter seven, On Line Structures, studies the punctuation and the tonal patterns within lines based on the theory of tonal patterns and chapter eight is the conclusion.
The unique monosyllabism in Chinese conceals the hidden, essential tonal structure, which can be detected within the widespread form of eight-line poems. The ample resources and detailed treatise on tonal patterns in the theory of tonal patterns of the poetry of Tang Dynasty could be applied to compliment linguistic studies. This aspect has not been covered by aforementioned discourses. When the research trend comes back to the poetics of Tang poetry, we find that the theory of tonal patterns in poetry is not only a practical method resulted from practice and research but also a deductive process to make abstract sounds into specific theories.