Erik Satie's "Sports et Divertissements" Analytical Essay by scribbler

Erik Satie's "Sports et Divertissements"
A look at the life and works of Erik Satie.
# 152036 | 1,758 words | 3 sources | APA | 2012 | US
Published on Nov 13, 2012 in Art (Painting) , Music Studies (Composers)

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This paper gives a brief overview of the life and philosophy of the French composer and pianist, Erik Satie, who placed himself firmly in the avant-garde movements of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The writer then analyzes some of the pieces in his "Sports et Divertissements" which exemplify Satie's approach to music, and attempts to show how his work intentionally defies interpretation based on any context.

Erik Satie
Choral Inappetissant
La Pieuvre
Le Flirt

From the Paper:

''In a piece of writing that is part poem, part criticism, and part philosophical treatise (as many of Satie's voluminous writings might be classified), Satie states that, "A true musician... must place himself above human suffering; ...he must draw courage from within...and only from within." His musical interpretation of the Martin painting La Pieuvre can be seen as stemming from this perspective; rather than depicting the danger, turmoil, and apprehension that seem so clear in the illustration, Satie reflects the scene from the octopus' point of view instead of focusing on the human suffering. The piece is energetic and somewhat moody, but it is not aggressive. It is curious, moving quickly towards and then away from the listener through rapid scalar changes in pitch and the crescendos and decrescendos written into the piece and that appear as a natural result of the rapid playing of the composition.
''Of course, attaching such a literal interpretation to any of Satie's works could well be an exercise in futility, and would certainly have been something Satie himself would have roundly denied in his own lifetime. Satie had long been playing with the idea of music as literature, or vice versa, and in the written score of this piece especially the semblance of a clear sentence structure or even dialogue is visible. It is very possible that what Satie put down in music was his rendition of the conversation had between the the octopus and the man upon their meeting, or he might have had a far more abstract vision in mind. There is quite obviously an attention to structure in the piece, however, and one that certainly does not admit to any sense of fear, apprehension, or even clarity of scene that are qualities of the illustration.''

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Fogwall, Niclas. "Erik Satie." Satie Homepage, University of Lund. Updated June 2001. Accessed 12 March 2010.
  • Orledge, Robert. Satie the Composer. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1990.
  • Orledge, Robert. Satie Remembered. Portland, OR: Timber Press, 1995.

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