if you think you can leave the past behind

Music, film, literature, and other impractical things. Pop culture reference whore. Professionally loafing.



One often wonders how to impress members of the opposite sex. How about writing them a poem? Not bad. What about writing it in Chinese? Even better. And what about writing it in a classical Song Dynasty form? You have scored! Well, now all that is possible with the help of a certain app.

There are a lot of apps about 诗词 on the app store, but few are worth downloading, let alone keeping. A new one released earlier this month, “词ci“, is an exception. If you have heard of Li Qingzhao 李清照, Su Shi 苏轼, and Xin Qiji 辛弃疾, then you are at least somewhat knowledgeable about ancient Chinese literature. 词 , the lyric poetry that flourished during the Song Dynasty is a form of classical Chinese poetry that combines rhythm, tone, and other literary devices; it’s a masterful form.  Writing ci is different from composing, say, a Tang Dynasty poem. Instead of writing five or seven character stanzas, writing  ci requires the poet to be knowledgeable about a different set pattern known as  词牌 cípái.

The app, written by Chinese programmer Sevear (Liu Yang), makes the composition process a lot less painful, providing a comprehensive database to help your characters flow. The description of 词ci on the app explains:

“词ci is the first app that can auto-check level and oblique tones (平仄) and help fill out Song Dynasty ci… During the composing process, characters with incorrect level or oblique tones will be highlighted, you can conveniently search for rhyming characters, and can check the rules of the current cipai at anytime…”

Currently, the app has 85 common cipai (titles), and includes around 300 ci works by famous poets. It also has three Chinese rhyming dictionaries: 中华新韵, 平水韵, and 词林正韵. The instructions are simple enough. All the titles listed are numbered and have a specific color, that gradually change from purple to red as you scroll left. Once you choose a cipai you wish to compose, for example, the classic, Butterfly in Love, you see a short description of the cipai, and by scrolling you can view some most classic works written in this cipai.

From left to right:

From left to right: introduction and rhyming rules of “Butterfly in Love”; the page for filling out cipai; a page showing the piece being composed (the character with the wrong tone is crossed out).

After the piece is finished, it is automatically stored in the app for you to edit, delete, save, or to share with friends…

Continue Reading and Download the App for Free Here.