Master of Education – Dissertation Abstract

Abstract of dissertation entitled
The Cultural Contents of the Secondary School Music Curricula in Hong Kong and Taiwan: A Comparative Study of Four Sets of Textbooks
submitted by
LAU Kai-chi, Anthony
for the degree of Master of Education
at the University of Hong Kong
August, 1998

This dissertation analyzes and compares the cultural contents of songs, repertoires of music appreciation and introduced musicians from four sets (thirteen volumes) of music textbooks in Hong Kong and Taiwan. It is intended to examine the nature and extent of cultural contents reflected in these music textbooks and the reason and implications behind them. The main part of this research is a survey on four sets of textbook that are commonly and currently used in Hong Kong and Taiwan. Both qualitative and quantitative methods were used. The technique of content analysis is used in collecting data. The subsequent analysis of data followed a comparative model, the Bereday Modified Model by Yu Chung Ching in 1996. Specifically, the following aspects were examined: first the nature and extent of cultures (Western, Chinese and Other) which appear in songs, repertoires of music appreciation and introduced musicians; second, the reflection of integrated cultures from the lyrics of the songs; third, the appearances of common songs and repertoires of music appreciation among the four sets of textbooks; fourth, the musical periods of the introduced musicians.

The results showed an imbalance of emphasis of cultures in both Hong Kong and Taiwan. Hong Kong music textbooks favour Western cultures, especially that of the USA and Britain. In contrast, Taiwanese textbooks focus on Chinese cultures, especially their local cultures. This can be explained by the fact that Hong Kong has been a colony for over one hundred and fifty years. Therefore, the influence by the Western world is deep. Also, the cultural contents reflected from the Hong Kong music textbooks are the same as that summarized by Leung, Y. M. (1996) for the characteristics of a colony. They are Western-dominant and despise the indigenous majority, citizens unsure of their real identity and a ‘culture of silence’ ’ with low political aspirations etc. In contrast, in Taiwan, due to the lack of relationship between Taiwan and the world under the pressure from Mainland China, Taiwan’s recent curriculum focuses on exploring Chinese cultures, especially their local cultures. Much cultural contents of songs and introduced musicians in Taiwan textbooks are local. But, many contemporary Taiwanese folk songs or Taiwanese contemporary composers are also influenced by the Western world. Therefore, can this large amount of Taiwanese contemporary songs and contemporary Taiwan musicians in textbooks truly reflect the cultures of Taiwan? It is questionable. It is hoped that this research would help educators understand more the different nature and extent of cultural contents in recently published music textbooks.

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