A friend has shown me 2 piano books she has where a classical piece is used as the background theme and another non-classical piece is overlaid at intervals. For example, a piece begins with Liebestraum, and after a few bars it becomes Great Is Thy Faithfulness with a slight adjustment but keeping the Liebestraum harmonic and rhythmic style. GITF drops out and returns, but Liebestraum finishes the piece. The only term I can find is "Mashup", which isn't quite right for this. Is there a name for when one piece is "dropped into" another piece in this manner?

  • And the right answer is... "Music". Seriously tho, it's literally "Chord substitution" but that name's already taken, so what is it?
    – pevinkinel
    Aug 5, 2020 at 19:07

1 Answer 1


A technique I liked to practice in my compositions without ever asking for an expression for it.

Now I’ve found the term “blend”:

In the following video a comment says: the tunes have been blended into the music.

Searching for blend two songs I came to the term you mention: mash-up

and this here:


Well, I think merging, mixing, mash-up are all terms derived from the music technic scene:

A mash-up is similar to a DJ mix in that the DJ provides few, if any, significant new sounds to the music, other than those required to blend already-existing music. A mash-up differs from a DJ mix in that two or more songs are playing simultaneously, rather than one after the other. In general, in a mash-up, each original source will contribute more-or-less equally to the final work. There is no requirement, however, that the entire mix of each source be used; a common mash-up technique is to use the vocals from one song mixed with the music of another. Songs involved in a mash-up can be indicated with Mash-up Relationship Type.


But the idea to mix two or more themes together in a composition is much older: already in Baroque era there was a practice to sing several songs together like canons or a quodlibet.

In my view this technic could be simply called a counterpoint (using another existing song as c.p.

One of my favorite examples: Let the sunshine in and Manchester England from the musical HAIR.


Another idea: How about assembling? (related with Ensemble for a group of musicians playing together ...


When listening today the Asian sketches by Borodin I reminded your question:

He did exactly what you’re asking and “merged” two tunes together . He calls it(double) counterpoint.

The composer told a very surprised and impressed friend about the excellent processing of the themes: “Before I composed this piece, I had already thought up the two themes - the Russian and the Oriental, which were then both brought together in double counterpoint; and only later did I develop the entire accessory for this orchestra picture."


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