The even tones are noteworthy because, according to T’ang pronunciation, if all eight tones were represented in musical notations, the upper even would represent the highest pitch, and the lower even the lowest pitch of the scale. Roughly speaking, the upper even and the lower even would approximate in intonation the two syllables in the English word “even” in normal pronunciation. Thus, the two even tones were valued as the cornerstone of euphony, and used to balanced off the intermediate pitches of the deflected tones.

With parallelism and intonation thus capitalized upon, lü shih, or regulation poetry, was “regulated” by the following requirements: (1) Each poem of stanza was to consist of eight lines of uniform length, either five or seven syllables each; (2) The middle four lines sere to comprise two couplets of parallel construction, with the fourth line answering to the third, and the sixth answering to the fifth; (3) Lines 2, 4, 6, and 8 were to have the same end-rhyme, usually in words of the even tones. Extension of the end-rhyme to the first line was optional; (4) Each poem or stanza was to follow a set pattern of tonal sequence. Deviations were permissible as a rule to only the first and third words of a line; and (5) There were two basic patterns each for lü shih of the five-syllable lines and the seven-syllable lines. In each pattern, there was a slight variation to accommodate a fifth end-rhyme, so that all told, there were only eight patterns.

The characteristic features of the new verse form may be summarized in a diagram, as follows (—= even tone; ∣= deflected tone; R= end-rhyme; P= parallel structure):
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