This is gentle and eccentric piece taking in account the use of a deliberate, dissonance against the existing harmony but at the same time trying to be mild. It produces a piquant and more of a melancholy effect which go in hand with a peacefully, gravely and sadly instruction in the performance.
This paper aims to take an in-depth look at the musical piece. The main details under consideration are its characteristics, structure and other major and minute musical details. With this understanding, one can be able to familiarize with the key elements expressed.
The performance normally starts with an alternation of the major seventh chord. This refers to four note series whereby any notes found in a perfect third and major third are brought together to play along with a root note. Gymnopedie has built the piece base on the first and third chords making up root G whereas root D is built on by the second and fourth chords.
These chords are further converted into corresponding pitches that is the note of D chord is line up to correspond with pitch D2, pitch G2 was a score correspond of the G root note. G3 and 3 plays a significance role in formation of the major chord which when played facilitate in exciting majority of their harmonics.
Pairs of harmonics are structure in a manner that creates a clear space between the frequencies so to avoid creation disharmony. These is mainly possible by keeping in mind the fact that a frequency fn should be followed by 2fn and the G chord should be the first harmonic of D4 (27702Hz) as well as a third harmonic of G2 (295.9Hz) in a particular beat. The other pairing in consideration is that dissonance takes the first harmonic of F#4 (371Hz) together with fourth harmonic of G2 (392.6).
This beat differs in intensities of 29 dB and 11.2 Db respectively because they are close together. The major key element of Gymnopedie No.1 is the piano which is of fundamental help easing dissonance being experience between partials and stretches the harmonies that is Fn becomes greater than nF1. Although research has it that it causes beating within some pitches it rare noticed due to a quick decay of those impulsive strong vocal or sounds.
Also the clashing partial normally takes a rapid decay period of time thus no one notices. This therefore suggests that presence of inharmonicity does not influence neither changes the sound. Piano’s design is familiar in the music theory since it has made a tremendous impact in curbing dissonance within all the Satie’s chords.
Gymnopedie No.1 also uses the listener aspect in the music for the purpose of resolving dissonant partial. Listeners ears uses a minimal beat criterion in such a manner that would demand introduction of essential components of tones with their whole frequency ratio in order to be like those between harmonic musical tones therefore assisting in making dissonant partial sounds more effective and nicer.
Despite all the efforts put in place in regard to elimination of the inhormonicity it did not work a 100 percent, but instead it has been considered to be essential in the sense that it took the responsibility of generating ‘warmth’ of the sound in place. Sati’s masterpiece is very interesting and enjoyable as a result on the combination of the piano sound cloud and listener perspective.
Gymnopedie no.1 was published in Paris as from 1888. This is one of the three piano compositions written by Erik Satie. The three share a common message and structure. The composition use mild and deliberate dissonances producing a melancholy effect with accordance to the performance instructions.
This composition can be described as Satie’s fumiture music because of John Cage’s understanding and interpretations of it. By composing the Gymnopedies, Erik Satie was trying to differentiate himself from the 19th century conventional “Salon music” of his family of father and stepmother. This prompted him to work closely and take keen attention to his compositions. This was intended to cause the differentiation that he intently sought.
The famous gymnopedies was initially referred to as gymnopediste. To emerge as a gymnopedist, Satie was first introduced to the director of Chat Noir cabaret on his first visit here. At this time, Satie lacked an occupation and he immediately introduced himself as a “gymnopedist” in an attempt to win the director’s confidence. Erik Satie toiled very hard to cultivate his musical expertise as well as impress his director.
The first Gymnopedie was published in august 1888 together with a quoted verse of Contamine. It is advisable to note that it remain a total uncertainty as to whether the poem was composed first or the gymnopedie first or else it was a tribute of Contamine to Erik Satie .It is possible that by then, Satie had successfully completed gymnopedies and a set of sarabands which also employed the same musical idea. (Gillmor 1983, Page 115).
In 1898, an orchestration of gymnopedie one by Claude Debussy was published. This was due to the rising popularity of Debussy accompanied by the declining of Satie popularity and his worsening financial situation. Claude Debussy executed the performance of the musical piece to widespread amusement of people all over the world.The only thing Debussy did on the gymnopedis was changing of numbering of gymnopedie one and gymnopedie three. However, he stuck to the original intentions prescribed by Erik Satie during composition.
Several cover versions have come out over time of the gymnopedie 1. For instance, Gary Numan covered it on his work; "Glass” together with guitar, synthesizers and bass. In the “my Dinnar with Adre”; a play by Lous Malle,
Over the closing scene and end credits the Gymnopedie No. 1 is heard. Towards the end of video of the song “Carmen” by American songwriter and singer Lana Del Rey gymnopedie No. 1 is played. As Captain Jean-Luc Picard contemplates the imminent demise of his ship as played by Patrick Steward, Episode 2 of star trek, the U.S.S Enterprise in season 2, the Gymnopedie No. 1 as played in the background. This confirms how much the gymnopedie 1 was adored and its musical credibility to warrant such attention.
Erik Satie also wrote melodramas and “liner notes” for his great compositions. He is remembered as demanding the writings be read out aloud as music was ongoing. He was seeking for perfection to the performance of his pieces throughout.
Satie’s work on the Gymnopedies 1 enjoyed considerable attention from most listeners. As of today, almost 100 years since the passing of Erik Satie, the gymnopedie 1has surpassed the threshold of Chat Noir as well as the Montmartre Cultural establishment. The input of Claude Debussy is recognized as an immense contribution in rising up the billing.
Gymnopedie 1 has a scale structure that consists of two major seventh chords that are portray alternating progression. The first has a subdominant G while the other is a tonic, D. It also shows (INDENT) (/INDENT). However, this is based on the perception created on the first parts of the musical piece. The piece is in an E minor version that demands usage of a lot of open strings during performance.
This frees the performer’s left hand. The tonal range of gymnopedie is between the lowest E (which is the 6th string) and the highest B (this is the first string). The performer requires a cutaway so as to tackle the high notes. In absence of a “cutaway” handy, a lower octave section that has is incorporated in high notes can be used to substitute for the cutaway. The sections are identical with the only difference being that they are an octave apart.
The performer ought to let the note ring modestly and vary the positions of his hands while ensuring there is a minimum amount of string noise. The performance of gymnopedie with light to these provisions requires that the melody stand out since the similar chords that are played on the same beat are likely to overwhelm it.
Notes in gymnopedie have a time signature of ¾ with a Lento tempo (slow)
Satie’s Gymnopedie is currently considered by many scholars of the today’s musical literatures to be the basis of the current generation’s ambient music. Many scholars of the musical world argue that his unique musical style combined with his marvelous sense of creativity can be equally be ignored as it is interesting. However, it is almost impossible for any musical lover to ignore such marvelous musical styles by Satie.
His gymnopedie no 1, is forever considered by musical funs who loves his style of music to be the most beautiful peace for a solo piano performance. The unique style utilized in this performance has earned unending list of adjectives just in the process of trying to describe the performance (Adams 1996, page 64). The performance is said by many to be soothing, relaxing, elegant, reflective, calming and ethereal. The gymnopedie no 1 musical is seen to be unique in almost every sense. That is the reason it enjoys emulation in some of the leading classical music releases.
The musical performance utilizes a gently hollow but eerily calm and warm melody (Jensen 1994, page 239). This is precisely followed by a gently floating accompaniment of atop type characterized with steady short and long rhythms. The musical style for gymnopedia no 1 is termed by scholars to be as transparent as it is expressive. The openness and simplicity creatively utilized in the musical performance artistically disguises its noticeable dissonances.
The most significant feature of gymnopedia no 1 is its ability to maintain a steady key along its entire course (Wilheim et al. 1983, page 232). This is unique from his other performances which are considered to be lacking commitment to a particular or steady key. This leads to the formation of a musical style wandering aimlessly on a nebula path through a series of cords.
His innovative harmony, simplicity, freedom of mastery of and form of musical understanding led to his strong impression, expression and similarities to other great musicians of the times such as Claude Debussy, and Maurice ravel. His exemplary performance in the field musical art contributed to many other young musicians to later on emulate him. This includes the likes of Darius Milhaud, john cage and Francis Poulenc.
His sparse scores are considered to be strange by many from the fact that they are frequently written without bar lines (Mellers 1942, page 222). In addition to this, his sparse scores were in most instances demarcated in red ink peppered with whimsical commands such as “with astonishment”, “open your head”, “muffle the sound” and “light as an egg”.
As a humorist and eccentric he did not receive much appreciation from the general public of his time despite the numerous efforts by Ravel and Debussy to promote his works. However, the current generation has been in the fore front in appreciating the entire pieces of his musical works. This is evidence from the massive recognition and acceptance of his musical works by entire public for the past twenty years.
In gymnopedie no 1 by Erick Satie, one is required to maintain the identical note or bend, slide up as well as slide down. Generally, strict adherence is to every detail is required if at all perfection is to be realized during performance.
Play it sadly and slowly in 3/4, remember to cling to some of the notes, just pay attention to the song for more precision regarding the maintenance of notes, i.e. when to twist the notes, descending, and so forth.
Adams, Courtney S., (Author). 1996. "Erik Satie and Golden Section analysis." Music & Letters 77, no. 2: 242. RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, EBSCOhost.
Chennevière, Rudhyar , and Frederick Martens. "Erik Satie and the Music of Irony." The Musical Quarterly Vol. 5, no. 4 (1919): 469-478.
Gillmor, Alan. "Erik Satie and the Concept of the Avant-Garde." The Musical Quarterly Vol. 69 (1983): 104-119.
Jensen, Eric . "Satie and the 'Gymnopédie'." Music & Letters Vol. 75, no. 2 (1994): 236-240.
Mellers, W. "Erik Satie and the "Problem" of Contemporary Music." Music & Letters 23, no. 3 (1942): 210-227.
Orledge, Robert . "Satie and the Art of Dedication." Music & Letters 73 (1992): 551-564.
Satie, Erik. 3 Gymnopedies. New York: G. Schirmer, 1993.
Wilheim, András . "Erik Satie's Gregorian Paraphrases." Studia Musicologica Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae 23 (1983): 229-237.