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A e is a work of art, literature, film, music or architecture that openly imitates the work of a previous artist, sometimes with the intent of satire. The word can also describe a hodge-podge of parts derived from the original work of others. The word is also a linguistic term used to describe an early stage in the development of a pidgin language.



In this usage, the term denotes a literary technique employing a generally light-hearted tongue-in-cheek imitation of another's style; although jocular, it is usually respectful.

For example, many stories featuring Sherlock Holmes, originally created by Arthur Conan Doyle, have been written as pastiches since the author's time.[1][2] Ellery Queen and Nero Wolfe are other popular subjects of mystery parodies and pastiches.[3][4]

A similar example of pastiche is the posthumous continuations of the Robert E. Howard stories, written by other writers without Howard's authorization. This includes the Conan stories of L. Sprague de Camp and Lin Carter. David Lodge's novel The British Museum Is Falling Down (1965) is a pastiche of works by Joyce, Kafka, and Virginia Woolf.

Pastiche is also found in non-literary works, including art and music. For instance, Charles Rosen has characterized Mozart's various works in imitation of Baroque style as pastiche, and Edvard Grieg's Holberg Suite was written as a conscious homage to the music of an earlier age. Some of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's works, such as his Variations on a Rococo Theme and Serenade for Strings, employ a poised "Classical" form reminiscent of 18th century composers such as Mozart (the composer whose work was his favorite).[5] Perhaps one of the best examples of pastiche in modern music is the that of George Rochberg, who used the technique in his String Quartet No. 3 of 1972 and Music for the Magic Theater. Rochberg turned to pastiche from serialism after the death of his son in 1963.

Many of "Weird Al" Yankovic's original songs are pastiches: for example, "Dare to Be Stupid" is a Devo pastiche, and "Bob" from the album Poodle Hat is a pastiche of Bob Dylan. Another example is a 1979 recording by Ray Stevens titled "I Need Your Help, Barry Manilow" where the song's intro is reminiscent of Manilow's hit, "I Write the Songs" and the vocal performance, melody, and name-dropping of Manilow song titles is a pastiche of Barry Manilow.

"Bohemian Rhapsody" by Queen is unusual as it is a pastiche in both senses of the word, as there are many distinct styles imitated in the song, all 'hodge-podged' together to create one piece of music.[6] A similar earlier example is "Happiness is a Warm Gun" by The Beatles.

Pastiche is prominent in popular culture. Many genre writings, particularly in fantasy, are essentially pastiches. The Star Wars series of films by George Lucas is often considered to be a pastiche of traditional science fiction television serials (or radio shows). The fact that Lucas's films have been influential (spawning their own pastiches - see the 1983 3D film Metalstorm: The Destruction of Jared-Syn) can be regarded as a function of postmodernity.[7][8]

Pastiche can also be a cinematic device wherein the creator of the film pays homage to another filmmaker's style and use of cinematography, including camera angles, lighting, and mise en scène. A film's writer may also offer a pastiche based on the works of other writers (this is especially evident in historical films and documentaries but can be found in non-fiction drama, comedy and horror films as well).

Well-known academic Fredric Jameson has a somewhat more critical view of pastiche, describing it as "blank parody"[9], especially with reference to the postmodern parodic practices of self-reflexivity and intertextuality. Jameson says pastiche in the postmodern era has become a "dead language", "devoid of laughter", without any political or historical content, and so has also become unable to satirize in any effective way.[10].

In urban planning, a pastiche is used to refer to neighborhoods as imitations of building styles as conceived by major planners. Many post-war European neighborhoods can in this way be described as pastiches from planners like Le Corbusier or Ebenezer Howard. Alain de Botton describes pastiche as "an unconvincing reproduction of the styles of the past."[11]

Pastiche is a form of intertextuality, which is sometimes associated with postmodernism.


In this usage, a work is called a pastiche if it is cobbled together in imitation of several original works. As the Oxford English Dictionary puts it, a pastiche in this sense is "a medley of various ingredients; a hotchpotch, farrago, jumble." This meaning accords with etymology: pastiche is the French version of the Greco-Roman dish pastitsio or pasticcio, a kind of pie made of many different ingredients.

Some works of art are pastiches in both senses of the term; for example, the David Lodge novel[which?] and the Star Wars series appreciatively imitate work from multiple sources.[citation needed]

Mass (music)

A pastiche mass is a mass where the constituent movements are from different Mass settings.

Masses are composed of movements: Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, Agnus Dei; for example, the Missa Solemnis by Beethoven and the Messe de Nostre Dame by Guillaume de Machaut. In a pastiche mass, the performers may choose a Kyrie from one composer, and a Gloria from another, or, choose a Kyrie from one setting of an individual composer, and a Gloria from another.

Most often this convention is chosen for concert performances, particularly by early music ensembles.

See also

Further reading


  1. ^ Lopresti, Rob (2009-08-12). "Pastiche Nuts". Tune It Or Die!. Criminal Brief. Retrieved 2010-01-10. 
  2. ^ Lundin, Leigh (2007-07-15). "When Good Characters Go Bad". ADD Detective. Criminal Brief. Retrieved 2010-01-10. 
  3. ^ Andrews, Dale (2008-10-28). "The Pastiche". Mystery Masterclass. Criminal Brief. Retrieved 2010-01-10. 
  4. ^ Ritchie, James; Tog; Gleason, Bill; Lopresti, Rob; Andrews, Dale; Baker, Jeff (2009-12-29). "Pastiche vs. fan fiction. Dividing line?". The Mystery Place. New York: Ellery Queen, Alfred Hitchock, Dell Magazines. Retrieved 2010-01-10. 
  5. ^ Brown, New Grove (1980), 18:628.
  6. ^ Baker, Roy Thomas (1995-10). "AN INVITATION TO THE OPERA". Sound on Sound. Retrieved 2010-09-29. 
  7. ^ (Jameson, 1991)
  8. ^ (Sandoval, Chela. Methodology of the Oppressed. Minneapolis,MN: University of Minnesota Press, 2000)
  9. ^ (Jameson, 1991)
  10. ^ (Jameson, 1991)
  11. ^ Alain de Botton on architecture