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The Gymnopedies (published starting in 1888) are short, atmospheric pieces written in 3/4 time, with each sharing a common theme and structure. Collectively, the Gymnopédies are regarded as an important precursor to modern ambient music — gentle yet somewhat eccentric pieces which, when composed, defied the classical tradition. The melodies of the pieces use deliberate, but mild, dissonances against the harmony, producing a piquant, melancholy effect that matches the performance instructions, which are to play each piece "painfully", "sadly" or "gravely". From the second half of the 20th century on, the Gymnopédies were often erroneously described as part of Satie's body of furniture music, perhaps because of John Cage's interpretation of them.
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