Satie, Erik – Gymnopedie No. 1

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Satie Gymnopedie Guitar PDF

Erik Satie

Pianist Erik Satie was born in France on May 17th, 1866. He's known worldwide as one of the most influential composers of the early 20th century.

Satie began studying piano as a child. Later in life, he attended the Conservatory of Music in Paris. The school was home to composers such as Gabriel Faure and George Bizet. 

He didn't complete his studies. He once wrote he had little interest in improving his ability as a pianist, and his teachers said his talent was in composing.  But when he was 40, he returned, and graduated top of his class the following year. 

His work influenced his contemporaries such as Claude Debussy, Maurice Ravel, and “Les Six”. “Les Six” were young french composers who Erik Satie mentored and all went on to find success. 

Erik Satie wrote compositions in a few different styles. His Gymnopedies and Gnossiennes are well-known piano pieces. He wrote for ballets, salon music, and religious events. Satie collaborated with Jean Cocteau and Pablo Picasso, both notable artists at the time. Their ballet Parade marked a special moment in Satie’s career.

One of Satie’s musical ideas included what he called “Furniture Music”. This is music written to be in the background, and not the center of attention. American composer John Cage found inspiration in this style for his Avante-Garde work.

Erik Satie was a fascinating character.  He only ate white food, boiled his wine, and never spoke while eating for fear of strangling himself.  He slept with one eye open and woke every Tuesday at precisely 3.19 am.  He carried a hammer on walks to protect himself.  And he founded his own religion.  

But he had a magical way of evoking feelings and emotions from listeners. A unique quality for any composer. Even today, exploring his music is sure to transport us to a land where anything is possible.
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Allen Mathews

Hi, I’m Allen Mathews. 

I started as a folk guitarist, then fell in love with classical guitar in my 20’s. Despite a lot of practice and schooling, I still couldn’t get my music to flow well. I struggled with excess tension. My music sounded forced. And my hands and body were often sore. I got frustrated, and couldn’t see the way forward. Then, over the next decade, I studied with two other stellar teachers – one focused on the technical movements, and one on the musical (he was a concert pianist). In time, I came to discover a new set of formulas and movements. These brought new life and vitality to my practice. Now I help guitarists find more comfort and flow in their music, so they play more beautifully.
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