Department of Music

the university of hong kong

Common Core Courses

Music have significantly contributed to HKU’s Common Core curriculum by offering a number of innovative courses. The two currently on offer are CCHU9049 Reinventing Classical Music and CCHU9065 A Life Worth Living.

  • CCHU9049      Reinventing Classical Music

This course explores classical music and the ways in which it has been reinvented over time. Students will learn how different generations have deliberately or unconsciously chosen what to cherish or reject from the past. Whether it be composers altering their musical language to adhere to the political climate of their time, performers reinterpreting the “great works,” or the music industry repackaging ancient melodies for use in contemporary media, classical music figures in a vast social and cultural landscape that is in a constant state of change. This course examines the history and culture of classical music from the early modern era to the present, focusing on the themes of innovation and tradition, in order to understand the social and cultural processes through which Western art music is made anew again.

  • CCHU9065      A Life Worth Living

What does it mean to live a worthy life? This is one of the most fundamental questions of human existence and this course addresses the relevant issues through an engagement with various philosophical and religious traditions, such as Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Hinduism, Christianity and Secular Humanism. We shall discuss how the teachings of important historical figures from these traditions have influenced the choices of people over the centuries, and how they have been contextualized and adopted in contemporary society. We shall examine how these figures regard the place of bodily pleasures, intellectual pursuits, power, status, possessions, accomplishments, virtues, relationship with other human beings and the relationship (or not) with the transcendent in their vision of a good life. We will explore the resources they offer for dealing with stress, temptations, disappointments and failures, social oppression, the loss of possessions and of loved ones, and with one’s own death. The course will help students connect across different disciplines and cultures, and develop the ability to examine controversial issues from multiple perspectives. Students will achieve these aims through interactive learning and high impact practices such as group debates and interviewing contemporary advocates of different worldviews concerning the question of “what makes a worthy life?”