What is Gymnopedie No 1 used in?


The Gymnopedies are the piano compositions which were written by Erik Satie who was a French composer and pianist. The entire Gymnopeides set was completed by 2 April 188 and was published separately in 1888 and 1895. These are the short atmospheric pieces that share a common theme and structure. Each music piece has a deliberate melody but they are mild against the harmony which is produced by a piquant.

The Gymnopeide No 1 is an alternating progression of the two seventh chords and the subdominant G and the second in on the tonic D. Numerous TV shows and movies consist of the Gymnopedies. For instance, the documentary film, Man of Wire and the Royal Tenenbaums and some other movies consist of the Gymnopeidie No 1 soundtrack.

What does Gymnopedie mean?

From the title, Gymnopedie sounds strange, no person is completely sure about why this name is given to the soundtrack. It is an ancient Greek term and is used in an annual festival. The festival has young men who dance and show off their athletic skills and probably without clothing.

Gymnopedie 1 became wildly famous when it was used in the end credits and the closing scene of Louis Malle’s film. The film was released in 1981, My Dinner with Andre, and was also heard in the soundtrack of The Fire Within.

A game has also been named Gymnopedie as in the Ocarina of Time’s Title Screen the gatekeeper is named ‘Gymnopedie No 1’ and it retains the spirit given to the tune by Satie. The tune is not very hard to play technically but interpretively it becomes difficult and many people can learn the hack of the tune. To learn it is one thing but to play it smoothly is a whole different topic. The piece is easy and hard to play as the melody of the tune is very powerful.

What makes Gymnopedie No 1 famous?

The eccentric French composer of the time, Erik Satie published three different yet same piano solos which were named Gymnopedies. They were related to different emotions like grief and slow pain and are amongst the most popular solo piano pieces created during the romantic era.

The derivation of the name is not properly known to anybody but since the music does not feel connected to the feelings of the Olympics it may be considered to be an inspiration from the novel Salammbo. In terms of the musical analysis of the tune, it is a very simple yet effective piece.

The beauty of the tune comes from the fact that it has a single melody and floe like the quarter notes that feel like the raising and lowering of the ocean waves. The rhythms of the tune are very long and sustained and provide a floating sensation.

In terms of the harmony of the tune, it begins with a D major and alternates between two different chords. A pedal point is thus created which ties the two harmonies into one and paints a melancholic atmosphere. The rotation between two different melodies continues and it raises and lowers in terms of expanding dynamics.

What makes this musical piece unique?

Gymnopedie No 1 at the time of its making broke every predefined musical rule that existed. The piece does not have a specific harmonic structure and has no story but the simplicity of the melody makes it different. The tune can also be called ambient and it has long and sustained rhythms attached to it.

The lush melodies work along with the slow rhythms and the tempo to create a vast space to think and reflect upon. In the late romantic era, the people started opposing this piece because it did not agree with the basic rules of music. It was not considered a successful piece until 20 years later and it was accepted in art and music.

The set for this ambient musical piece was in the 1990s and the composers of the 20th century like John Cage got inspired by this musical creation and used endless and repetitive floating structures for his future pieces. Thus, this musical piece created by Satie paved the way for the bold compositional style of music and it affected future musical tunes.

Why is Gymnopedie considered the most relaxing piece of music?

The actual notes of the music are very straightforward but are not that simple to understand. The opening chords of the tune resolve almost every doubt concerning the playing of the tune. The two major chords used in the tune are oscillated between and a more finishing piece is thus made.

The more one listens to this tune the more sound evoking it becomes and when the opening chords are played, the attention comes to the second half of the piece. The second half of the piece is very muddy and complex but it is still cited as the most tranquil or relaxing piece.

Frequently asked questions

1. Is Gymnopedie No 1 easy to play?

The song is very simple but a lot can be done with this simple tune. When the person is learning the song, it breaks into simpler sections and becomes less overwhelming. Once the person learns the entire song, the dynamics and phrasing become easier to comprehend.

2. Which movies have used Gymnopedie 1 before?

The moves like Mississippi Grind, My Dinner with Grind, The Royal Tenenbaums, and many other movies have used this song in them.

3. Does the original Gymnopedie 1 has copyright?

The original song is in the public domain in the country and in many other countries and areas, the copyright term is the author’s life in 70 years or so.


Even though no one is sure why this musical piece has been given the name Gymnopedies but it is known that it has been named from an annual festival where the young men of the area dance to show off their skills. The droll reference is sometimes associated with the Olympics ceremony and is far from the strenuous exercises.

What is Gymnopedie No 1 used in?

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