Satie and the Saw

Erik Satie’s Gymnopedies were published in the late 1880s. I’ve always loved Satie’s compositions, and I’ve always wondered what a “gymnopedie” was. Supposedly, the term refers to young men in ancient Sparta who participated in a celebration of athletics and martial arts. These compositions don’t remind me of anything that rigorous, but they do have a mystical air about them. The compositions are simple and perfect.

In this clip you can hear Annette Scholten playing Gymnopedie No. 1. The tone she produces from the saw sounds very much like a human voice. Ms. Scholten, a professional musician,  lives in the Netherlands and plays both the cello and the saw. Her playing is beautiful. Listen to her play Satie and you can spend a few dreamy minutes listening to the saw. (Note she is playing a lame sonore, a type of musical saw with no teeth.)


Rowena Southard, your blog hostess, is a musical saw enthusiast who lives in California. She loves all kinds of music and has a special fondness for unusual instruments.