Brouillon For Socrate


by Erik Satie.

Material (Idea) and craftsmanship (sewing). The craftsmanship is often superior to the material.

To have a feeling for harmony is to have a feeling for tonality. The serious examination of a melody will always constitute for the student an excellent exercise in harmony.

A melody does not have its harmony, any more than a landscape has its color. The harmonic situation of a melody is infinite, for melody is only one means of expression in the whole realm of Expression.

Do not forget that the melody is the Idea, the contour just as much as it is the form and content of a work.

Harmony is lighting, an exhibition of the object, its reflection.

In composition the parts no longer follow “school” rules. “School” has a gymnastic purpose and no more; composition has an aesthetic purpose in which taste alone plays a part.

Don’t be deceived: the knowledge of grammar alone does not imply literary knowledge; it can either contribute or be set aside by the writer without his responsibility. Musical grammar is neither more nor less than a grammar.

From “The Banquest Years,” by Roger Shattuck (New York: Vinatage, 1968), pg. 167.