Concert: The HKU Chinese Chamber Ensemble, with pianist Mary Wu, June 12, 8pm. Loke Yew Hall, University of HK. $50-$100. More details, tel: 2859 7045. or go to www.hku.hk/music/melodyconf.htm You cant beat a good melody. But what is it, exactly? What are the implications of different melodies? What effect do different regions have on it, different tribes, different systems?. Why is it that melody can change according to a landscape or a cultural background? Can we make generalisations about that? And how does it all affect the music that we make now? While in Western classical music from Baroque to the end of the 19th century musical architecture has focused mainly on harmony, in China the study of melody is underdeveloped. The Cultural Revolution is, of course, greatly responsible for that. But it's not just in China that melody is neglected. In universities throughout the world, study of music focuses on counterpoint, harmony, musical form and orchestration, but not melody. Of those blanks, Ming Pao boss Louis Cha funded a national conference on melody studies two years ago in the delightfully named Hothot, Inner Mongolia. This year Hong Kong takes part for the first time and is hosting the conference through the Department of Music at the University of Hong Kong. It runs until June 14. Fifty-two scholars will take part, including 34 from the mainland, seven from overseas and 11 from Hong Kong. The backing body is the National Society of Melody Studies which promotes investigation and teaching of melody in scholarship, composition, and performance. 'The conference emphasises the fact melody is not just for scholars but performers, composers, theorists and ethnomusicologists,' said Professor Chan Hing-yan, one of the four local organisers. 'And the music we'll be talking about won't only be Chinese. This will cover melody in everything from J.S.Bach to Shostakovich.' One of the highlights of the conference will be a concert, Ancient Fabrics, New Threads, by the HKU Chinese Chamber Ensemble. The ensemble formed last year is the only one in Hong Kong to play both traditional and contemporary repertoire. Ancient Fabrics includes three world premieres: one by internationally known New Wave composer Qu Xiao-song , one by Professor Chan and one by Joshua Chan. Guest pianist will be Mary Wu. The concert will be broadcast by RTHK on July 21 and 28.