Share Your Insights Please

November 5, 2006 at 08:55 PM · In reading the liner notes of a Deutsche Grammophon CD of Schnittke's Concerti Grossi Nos. 1 and 5, I came across some interesting material. The writer says essentially that Schnittke inhabited various musical worlds, using baroque symbols, "freely tonal chromaticisms," and vulgar everyday music.

Then he says: "The feeling of tension stems from the way in which these different styles interact and impregnate one another."

My question is: what does it mean for different musical styles to impregnate one another; and as a follow-up, just how is this done?

Any insights appreciated.

Replies (47)

November 6, 2006 at 01:21 AM · im‧preg‧nate  /v. ɪmˈprɛgneɪt, ˈɪmprɛgˌneɪt; adj. ɪmˈprɛgnɪt, -neɪt/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[v. im-preg-neyt, im-preg-neyt; adj. im-preg-nit, -neyt] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation verb, -nat‧ed, -nat‧ing, adjective

–verb (used with object)

1. to make pregnant; get with child or young.

2. to fertilize.

3. to cause to be infused or permeated throughout, as with a substance; saturate: to impregnate a handkerchief with cheap perfume.

4. to fill interstices with a substance.

5. to furnish with some actuating or modifying element infused or introduced; imbue, infect; tincture.


6. impregnated.

[Origin: 1535–45; < LL impraegnātus ptp. of impraegnāre to fertilize, impregnate, equiv. to im- im-1 + praegn- (see pregnant) + -ātus -ate1]

—Related forms

im‧preg‧na‧tion, noun

im‧preg‧na‧tor, noun

im‧preg‧na‧to‧ry /ɪmˈprɛgnəˌtɔri, -ˌtoʊri/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[im-preg-nuh-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation, adjective

—Synonyms 3. permeate, infuse, penetrate.


I'm assuming you weren't asking about the birds and bees. Permeate, infiltrate, intermix... I suppose this is what the writer's intent was concerning the useage of the word "impregnate." It seems to just be a fancy way of saying a composer combined more than one style when writing.

November 6, 2006 at 01:32 AM · >The feeling of tension stems from the way in which these different styles interact and impregnate one another.

He must hang out at the same nightclubs I used to.

November 6, 2006 at 02:02 AM · I never knew that Schnittke wrote for *that* kind of mature audience...

November 6, 2006 at 04:39 AM · Oh yes.....and he was known to impregnate more than one tune at the same time in the same place in an orgy of sound..............:)LOL

November 6, 2006 at 08:10 AM · Okay, that was funny, Gennady.

November 6, 2006 at 10:42 AM · We may have found the answer to the question which has long puzzled many people: what kind of music should be played at a shotgun wedding? ("Ill-Conceived Music in the Impregnated Styles")

November 6, 2006 at 11:59 AM · Hmmm.... I guess it was lonely those long, cold nights in Russia...

November 6, 2006 at 01:44 PM · LOL all.

Can we assume that the impregnation of the musical styles occurs right after the musical climax?

Which reminds me. When they asked me last week at the sex clinic if I smoke after sex, I said, "Gee, I don't know; I never looked."

:) Sandy

November 6, 2006 at 05:42 PM · Sandy,

We could assume that the impregnation of the musical styles occurs after the musical climax, UNLESS premature ARTICULATION takes place :)

November 6, 2006 at 06:23 PM · Oh, I forgot about that!!!

November 7, 2006 at 12:11 AM · 10 foot pole: hey, they said impregnation! easy punchlines! go ahead, touch that one!

me: s'arright man, i'll pass.

November 6, 2006 at 11:53 PM · I'm so glad we're not cellists...otherwise we'd have made a lot of "endpin" jokes by now....

November 7, 2006 at 12:47 AM · D. Wright,

Maybe if you had a 10-foot pole, you would be a prop comic? LOL :D

BTW, Mitchell's question was:

"what does it mean for different musical styles to impregnate one another; and as a follow-up, just how is this done?"

How about U come up with an original?!

November 7, 2006 at 12:41 AM · How is this done? Make sure the f holes are facing up, gently remove the g string and then pluck like mad. It's best if you don't use the Carl Flecsh rhythm method.

November 7, 2006 at 02:41 AM · Here are some fun things off topic:

Top "most ridiculous" company domains:

Need a therapist? Try Therapist Finder at

Then of course, there’s the Italian Power Generator company…

And now, we have the Mole Station Native Nursery, based in New South Wales:

Welcome to the First Cumming Methodist Church. Their website is

Want to holiday in Lake Tahoe? Try their brochure website at

Now back to topic.........

November 7, 2006 at 03:20 AM · I can't resist... No, I can.. ;) al

November 7, 2006 at 03:23 AM · Why resist?

November 7, 2006 at 04:38 AM · I have 23 aunts and uncles--and I am not going there!. ;)

November 7, 2006 at 05:05 AM · well it is nice to know that Shnittke was polygamous with his thematic material.

You do know that Charles Ives was BiTonal?! :D

November 7, 2006 at 05:28 AM · Greetings,

I can`t help feeling you people don`t pay enough attention to hormonic change as you play with others,



November 7, 2006 at 05:50 AM · "Hormonic" changes work in any direction even BiTonally, but to impragnate more than one tune at the same time in the same place is best with a bunch of Feminine Cadences.............

November 7, 2006 at 11:44 AM · Well, one thing is for sure - there was absolutely no impregnation in Mendelssohn's A Midsummer's Wet Dream.

November 7, 2006 at 09:36 PM · Hey Sandy,

Perhaps the reason there was absolutely no impregnation in Mendelssohn's A Midsummer's Wet Dream, is because the tunes were too "Phrygian"........:)

Now Stravinsky on the other hand..........there is a man who could really impregnate a tune or two or three or four in the same place at the same time in an orgy of sound. "Petroushka" is a fine example.

November 8, 2006 at 04:29 AM · Greetings,

Beethoven 9 says it all:

Freudian, Freudian, freudian Freudian...



November 8, 2006 at 04:34 AM · Oh, Gennady, you're in PRIME form here.

November 8, 2006 at 05:42 AM · Thanx Terez!



I think "Freudian" version would be more like "Beethoven 6/9 does it all ......... Freudian, freudian Freudian..." :) LOL

what do you think? (sorry, you set it up so nicely).

November 8, 2006 at 03:48 PM · Freudian, shame our gutter function.

Doctor House, at least see'em.

November 8, 2006 at 05:05 PM · Sandy,

Why & How so?

It is pretty close to your :

"Well, one thing is for sure - there was absolutely no impregnation in Mendelssohn's A Midsummer's WetDream."

BTW, there is no shame in liking either Beethoven 6 or Beethoven 9 or both for that matter: to each his own :)

November 8, 2006 at 06:30 PM · Here, here! Cordially, Sandy

November 8, 2006 at 08:33 PM · Greetings,

its jutsI refer the Erotica.

Pathetique isn"t is?



November 8, 2006 at 10:11 PM · Are you guys Moonlighting as comics?:)

November 9, 2006 at 03:50 AM · It's hard to resist such a juicy subject as an impregnated tune.

But there are some who would rather stick to the 10-foot pole, rather than be a prop comic?! LOL :D

November 9, 2006 at 05:36 AM · What scares me, is that I think I could discuss this seriously. al

November 9, 2006 at 06:25 AM · Albert,

Perhaps you missed it, but everything I have said aside from the humor aspect of it, is well applicable for it is true.

So a bit of humor along with fact, never hurt anyone?! N'est-ce pas?

November 9, 2006 at 06:34 AM · I've been rolling on the floor watching this thread..

But, with an interest in what I will call the anthropology of music, ....

Anyway, play on! al

November 9, 2006 at 06:56 AM · Greeetings,

what Gennady discussed was accurate in most respects except regarding Stravinsky.

He had to Fire(a) bird. She went back to her Man,Fred.



November 9, 2006 at 09:13 AM · Thanx Buri,

Good one.

But really Stravinsky's "Petrushka" IS a perfect example of a composer impregnating several tunes at the same time in the same place. Just have a listen again to refresh your memory :

BTW Buri, one of my favorite trios these days is the "Erotica" Trio...........oops, I mean the "Eroica" Trio :)

Last time they played with us in Seattle (w/ Seattle Symphony that is), two of the members were quite IMPREGNATED (pregnant that is).

Here is a quick VIOLA joke:

What do violists use for birth control? ......................................

Their personalities!

November 9, 2006 at 09:38 AM · Commonly Misunderstood Musical Terms:

A 440: The highway that runs around Tennessee.

12 Tone Scale: Stuff the State Police weighs your tractor trailor with.

Bossa Nova: The car your Boss drives.

Clef: What you try never to fall off.

Conductor: The man who punches your ticket on Amtrack.

Cut Time: Parole.

Passing Tone: Often heard near the baked beans at family barbecues.

Portamento: A foreign country you've always wanted to visit.

Relative Major: A cousin in the Marine Corps.

Relative Minor: A girlfriend.

Ritard: There's one in every Family.

Tempo: Good choice for a used car.

Transpositions: Men who wear dresses.

Treble: Women ain't nothin' but.

November 9, 2006 at 12:47 PM · Pianissimo: what you play when your violinissimo is in the shop.

November 9, 2006 at 01:04 PM · Just to recapitulate, I just thought I'd drop another note. As I scroll down I see that some of these puns have fallen flat. How did you guys get on the staff? You're causing the rest of us an awful lot of treble. Well, I suppose I'll just have to string along for a while longer, and just give tacit approval to the whole thing (although it really is getting my finger bored). After all, my motto is, "A passion, not a moonlight."

Cheers, Sandy

PS. Who the devil is Mephistopheles?

November 9, 2006 at 02:01 PM · It's just a passion fancy.

November 9, 2006 at 02:15 PM · I know, I know - you're alarm didn't go off this morning and it modulate.

And, Gennady, I can see that you have been trying to be serious in a sea of attempts at humor, but is another example of what you mean by an "impregnated" theme something like what Bartok does in the 4th Quartet?

Regards, Sandy

November 9, 2006 at 11:19 PM · Oh absolutely.

Here are some more Commonly Misunderstood Musical Terms:

Order of Sharps: What a wimp gets at the bar.

Perfect Pitch: something at a Baseball game

Bass: no Baseball game would be complete without them, since you have to run to them and around them.

Mixolydian: a Greek Gay Bar where they play "Bohemian Rhapsody" by Queen (which happens to be in the Mixolydian Mode).

Ionian Mode: is the gain or loss of electrons.

Dorian Mode: an English made waste coat worn by Eleanor Rigby (incidentally made famous by the Beatles who composed this famous tune in the Dorian Mode).

Aeolian Mode: getting to second base on a first date :)

Development Section: something after the first date.

Coda: breaking up is hard to do but all's well that ends!

Modes: Just like there are many flavors of ice cream, so there are many different "flavors" of Fashion.

Perhaps we should start "A Prairie Home Companion to Music Anthropology" thread????!!!

November 10, 2006 at 05:52 AM · Little Johnny was having a terrible time in math. Mom and dad got him a tutor, and things only got worse. They sent him to private school, and the principle suggested Ritalin. Finally, they sent Johnny to Catholic School.

Well, the weeks went past and the good news was that he hadn't been kicked out. Every day, he came home and went directly to his room, which was truly strange. When report cards arrived, lo and behold, little Johnny had an 'A' in math.

Totally dumbfounded they decided to talk to their honary child. And here's what he said.











keep scrolling.










He said, when I walked into that classroom, and saw that plus sign with a man hanging on it, I took them folks seriously!. ;)

November 13, 2006 at 12:55 AM · 10 foot pole: *goes limp*

November 13, 2006 at 01:58 AM · Did you have to "revive" this thread?:-)

November 13, 2006 at 03:22 AM · I guess he did.

But to say what??!

That the prop comic has gone limp? :)

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