Postgraduate Diploma in Popular and World Musics - HKU SPACE: Arts Management, Performing Arts courses
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Arts, Design & CultureArts Management

Postgraduate Diploma in Popular and World Musics

Course Code

Study mode
Start Date
To be advised
1 year
Course Fee
This programme aims to introduce various kinds of musical culture other than western classical music to students.

In addition to the musical forms and structure, the cultural and socio-political elements will also be discussed. Students are expected to form critical views and conduct comparative studies on the different musical culture. Students will also develop practical skills related to song-writing.


This 1-year part-time programme consists of 5 modules.

Scholarships are available if students achieve the designated level of excellence.

Days / Time
  • Monday, 7:00pm - 10:00pm
Venue Tutor
  • Dr. Lau Sai Chun Stella, Ph.D.,M.A. (Music), Liverpool; B.A.(Comparative Literature),HKU
  • Dr. Lam Wing Cheong, Ph.D., (Ethnomusicology), CUHK
  • Dr. Tse Chun Yan Ph.D., (Ethnomusicology), CUHK
  • Mr. Wong Chung Kit, Founder of La Violet Education
1. Music of China

The course will discuss specific topics covering a wide spectrum of Chinese musical culture from the ancient times to the modern days.  These topics include Ancient Chinese Culture: guqin and the literati, Regional Opera, Musical Exchange of China and the West, etc.

2. Contemporary and Traditional World Musics

Musical genres from 2 to 3 of the following areas will be introduced:  Sub-Saharan Africa (South Africa, Congo, Sudan, kenya, etc); Latin America (Brazil, Argentina, Cuba, etc); Asia (Japan, Korea, Indonesia, India, Etc) and Middle East (Israel, Iran, Iraq, etc.). The cultural and socio-political issues will also be discussed.  Topics will include: African dance music, percussion music from Aftica and Latin America, etc.  Instruments such as different kinds of African drums, Latin American ocarinas and panpipes will be introduced.  Other topics may include ritual music of the Islamic world, Arabic rebab and oud, etc.  

3. Popular Music

This course examines the development of Western and Asian popular music by surveying key historical periods and genres which gave rise to the popular idiom. There will be an emphasis on the links between popular music and the prevailing social conditions of each period.  Topics will  include the history of blues, jazz, rock, soul, electronica, Cantopop, J-pop, K-pop as well as the relationships between cultural identities and popular music.

In addition, this provides an opportunity to explore critically the historical and social issues embedded in popular music, such as gender, race, class, social stratification and the economics of the culture and media industries.  Students will be able to develop their abilities to discuss music using appropriate vocabulary and terminology. 

4. Popular Music Analysis

Popular musical genres and the rudiments of music will be introduced. Musical features of popular music and various predominant genres will be highlighted. A selection of songs which are deemed ‘canonical’ in the field of popular music studies will be chosen for further musical analysis. Elements that are regarded as important for music arrangement in popular music, e.g. harmony and melody, will also be discussed in this module.

5. The Art of Song-writing

Skills in composition & lyric-writing, e.g. chord progression, riff, intervals, thematic development, rhyming will be introduced. Students will also have the opportunity to analyze the musical features of well-known pop songs in the West & East. Apart from introducing the principles in song-writing to students, the module also challenges students to break the ‘rules’ of song-writing and compose their own original songs.

Applicants shall:

1.  hold a bachelor's degree or equivalent, awarded by a recognized university, and

2.  i) have passed the examination of Grade 5 performance (any instrument) under ABRSM; or 

    ii) have an equivalent level of performance skill, and pass the admission interview and

3.  provide evidence of English proficiency (if the degree or equivalent qualification is from an institution where  the language of teaching and assessment is not English) such as:

a. an overall band of 6.0 with no subtests lower than 5.5 in the IELTS; or

b. a score of 550 in the paper-based TOEFL, or a score of 213 in the computer-based TOEFL, or a score of 80 in the internet-based TOEFL; or

c. HKALE Use of English at Grade E; or

d. HKDSE Examination English Language at LEvel3; or

e. equivalent qualification.

Application Fee

HK$150 non-refundable

Course Fee
  • Course Fee : HK$30,000 (by one instalment)

Application Form Download Application Form

Enrolment Method

For application, please send the following documents to HKU SPACE, Units A&B, 12/F, United Centre, 95 Queensway, Hong Kong (Attn: Ms Emily Chin) on or before 16 January 2017:-

  1. completed application form (SF26);
  2. copies of academic certificates; and
  3. crossed cheque(s), payable to "HKU SPACE" for application Fee HK$150 (non-refundable).
Payment Method

Payment to be made by crossed cheque, payable to "HKU SPACE", send to:
HKU SPACE, Units A&B, 12/F, United Centre, 95 Queensway, HK (Attn: Ms Emily Chin)

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