GymnoPédie No. 1

by Erik Satie; arranged by Jim Casella

FOR solo vibraphone • 3.5 MINUTES • Medium

Score published by Tapspace.

Gymnopedie No. 1 is one of three short piano pieces written by French composer and pianist Erik Satie (1866-1925). This is perhaps Satie’s most treasured and popular work, which may have introduced a unique flavor of ambience and harmonic function for its time. While seemingly repetitive and simple, there is a complexity in how the music alternates between two primary major seventh chords while still leaving a sense of mystery and uncertainty as to which direction it will take the listener. 

This arrangement for vibraphone closely follows the original piano piece, although several challenges were presented in making this happen. First, the key of the piece has been changed from its original in D to F to better fit the range of a standard vibraphone. On paper it looks rather simple; however, the technicalities of differentiating the melody from its accompaniment, and frequent mallet dampening create a subtlely challenging piece requiring sensitivity and precision.