What is a Gnossienne
The word "gnossienne" describes several pieces of piano music composed by Satie that didn't fit into any of the existing styles of classical music like a piano prelude or a sonata. Satie easily solved this dilemma by simply titling the pieces with a completely new and made up word, in this case - "gnossienne." Though the etymology and the pronunciation of Satie's made up word "gnossienne" remain a mystery to many, what is clear is that his six gnossiennes are wonderfully unique and beyond intriguing.
The Creation of the Gnossiennes
Satie composed his first three gnossiennes around 1890, without time signatures and bar lines (often referred to as "absolute time") and traditional tempo markings. Satie's peculiar scores could be read like musical poetry - one can interpret the piece with very few restrictions, as his tempo markings were made of phrases like "don't leave", "lightly, with intimacy" and "don't be proud." The first gnossiennes (Nos. 1 and 3) were published in September of 1893, in Le Figaro musical Nr. 24, while No. 2 was published in Le Coeur the next month. The remaining three gnossiennes, Nos. 4-6, were composed in 1891, 1899, and 1897, respectively. However, these were not published until 1968.