Gnossienne No. 3 (string quartet)


Title: Gnossienne No. 3

Composer: Erik Satie, arr. David Gable

Instrumentation: Violin 1; Violin 2; Viola; Cello

Printout: 6 pages

Note: No one but Satie has ever used the word “gnossienne” to identify a musical piece. It is a word he created, and its meaning, if any, is obscure. The gnossiennes share certain characteristics: all are slow, short, meandering, and consist of an eccentric melody with a broadly syncopated  ostinato accompaniment. The prevalence of augmented seconds and diminished fifths in the melody give this Gnossienne a singularly exotic quality. The performance indications of Gossienne No. 3 are particularly enigmatic, even for Satie:

Conseillez-vous soigneusement: consider carefully

Munissez-vous de clairvoyance: arm yourself with clairvoyance

Seul, pendant un instant: alone for an instant

De manière à obtenir un creux: so as to form a hollow

Très perdu: very lost

Portez cela plus loin: carry it further

Ouvrez la tête: open your head

Enfouissez le son: bury the sound

Also available for string quartet: Gymnopédie No. 1; Gymnoopédie No. 2Gymnopédie No. 3 ; Gnossienne No. 1; Gnossienne No. 2


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