This course was first offered at Peking University in 2008 as a Public Elective Course, and subsequently as a Course for General Education. It is now being offered globally as one of Peking University’s MOOCs.
Addressing students' interests in 20th century Western Music Culture and incorporating music theory, the course examines 20th century Western music. By combining theory and practice, the course not only aims to provide a clear view of the historical development of the music, but also emphasizes the training of aural skills and the accumulation of musical knowledge. The course covers not only classical music, such as neo-classical, expressionism, nationalism and other genres, but also explores in depth jazz, rock, and pop music of the 20th century. While studying Chinese music and other forms of national folk music in the 20th century world music context, students will also analyze large and complex works such as opera, musicals, and film music. By enhancing students’ understanding of 20th century Western music (classical music, pop music, folk music, comprehensive art) as a foundation, three core questions will be addressed: what is music, what is the 20th century Western music, and what is effective listening? The course aims to guide students to examine the three listening modes of 20th century Western music with the hope of forming a diverse and multi-faceted, knowledge and understanding of the 20th-century Western music culture phenomena, expanding students’ horizons, enhancing their ability to reason by analogy, and promoting cross-disciplinary, creative development.