Polystylism is the use of multiple styles or techniques in literature, art, film, or, especially, music, and is a postmodern characteristic.

The term “polystylistics” is often referred to as A. G. Schnittke’s music (who introduced this term in 1971), although as a principle of compositional aesthetics, polystylistics is noted much earlier, for example, in music by C. Ives and C. Weil. The first work, where Schnittke applied polystylistics, is music to the A. Harzhanovsky ‘s animated film “Glass Harmonica” (1968), covering style elements ranging from Bach to Novo- Dodecaphony. In the works of the 1970s and 1980s, Schnittke applied polystylistics systematically.

The main forms of polystylistics are: quotation (choir from the 60th cantata by JS Bach in A. Berg’s violin concerto), pseudocyte (quasi-quotation; for example, “The March of Enthusiasts” by I. O. Dunaevsky in Schnittke’s First Symphony), allusion (Fifteenth Final D.Shostakovich’s symphonies after quotations from R. Wagner’s music in the introductory melody resemble the beginning of his opera Tristan and Isolt, but really coincides with the beginning of the romance Do Not Tempt by M. I. Glinka).

Some researchers interpret the concept polystylistics broadly, referring to her various manifestations of eclectic style, including within the framework of neo-classical and neo-romanticism, but often to the area polystylistics include multi-style, characteristic of postmodernism (“Hymns” K. Stockhausen, ” Symphony ” L. Berio, “The Great Dead Thyarh” by D. Ligeti, compositions by V. Rome and S. Sharrino) and do not attribute variations to the borrowed theme, the use of folk melody, or the imitation of her style (the choir in the Prince Igor opera A. P. Borodina), the instrumentation of another composer’s works, some types of quotations (melody by A… M. Gretry in the opera “The Queen of Spades” by P. I. Tchaikovsky), inability to endure a single style as a sign of the artist’s immaturity.

The term “polystylistics” is characteristic of Russian musicology (especially of the Soviet period), in Western sources it is not systematically applied.

It is important to distinguish between the eclectic attitude, which is that of the person who collects material from different sources in a passive way and the polystyilist attitude, which is that of the person who fuses the sources in a coherent, deliberate and proper way. The polystyrene composer does not necessarily use his canon of style and technique in a single work, but in the whole his work warns different “styles”. This current, despite having been anticipated in an early trend that unified elements of folk or jazzin classic works, it really develops since the late twentieth century, and as more and more styles come into play in the new century, the movement becomes increasingly important and diverse. Polystyrene composers have usually started their career in one stream to move to another while keeping important elements of the previous one.

Though perhaps not the original source of the term, the first important discussion of the subject is Alfred Schnittke’s essay “Polystylistic Tendencies in Modern Music (1971)”. The composers cited by Schnittke as those who make use of polystylism are Alban Berg, Luciano Berio, Pierre Boulez, Edison Denisov, Hans Werner Henze, Mauricio Kagel, Jan Klusák, György Ligeti, Carl Orff, Arvo Pärt, Krzysztof Penderecki, Henri Pousseur, Rodion Shchedrin, Dmitri Shostakovich, Sergei Slonimsky, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Igor Stravinsky, Boris Tishchenko, Anton Webern, and Bernd Alois Zimmermann.

Although it is no longer popular now, it is no longer taboo or anything to make the past music work self-made. It has survived in a different form, such as “playing Beethoven with a piano that has been dropped from a height of 8M and destroyed,” like the piano concerto by Simon Sten-Annersen.

Source from Wikipedia