About This Song
Éric Alfred Leslie Satie (1866 –1925) was a French composer and pianist. Satie was a colorful figure in the early 20th-century Parisian avant-garde. His work was a precursor to later artistic movements such as minimalism, repetitive music, and the Theatre of the Absurd. An eccentric Satie was introduced as a “gymnopedist” in 1887, shortly before writing his most famous compositions, the Gymnopédies. The Gymnopédies, published in Paris starting in 1888, are three piano compositions written as atmospheric pieces in 3/4 time with each sharing a common theme and structure. Collectively, the Gymnopédies are regarded as an important precursor to modern ambient music— gentle yet somewhat eccentric pieces which, when composed, defied the classical tradition. For instance, the first few bars of the original Gymnopédie No. 1 consist of an alternating progression of two major seventh chords, the first on the subdominant, G, and the second on the tonic, D. This arrangement by Stevan Pasero is transposed to the key of E major and incorporates subtle harmonic dissonances which produce a wraithlike, melancholy effect.