Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Cubism in Music: Erik Satie

This week we are exploring Cubism in both art and music. On Monday we looked at Pablo Picasso as an example of a Cubist painter. How do characteristics of Cubism find their way into music?

Erik Satie is an example of a composer who uses Cubism characteristics in his music. His 1917 ballet Parade provides the perfect example of how a composer can portray Cubist ideas within a musical score. The ballet is written by Jean Cocteau with choreography by LĂ©onide Massine. In order to depict the Cubist idea of overlapping fragments, Satie uses jazz elements, a whistle, siren, and typewriter in his score. These features were unheard of at this point in history and audiences did not respond well.

Here are a few excerpts from Satie’s score to Parade. Notice the costumes, set design, choreography, as well as music. Do you enjoy this Cubist work?

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