I'm a beginner or early intermediate piano player, and picked up the score to Erik Satie's Gnossienne no. 1 from IMSLP. It contains some textual comments in French, which I presume are from the composer himself. My French is extremely rusty so I used Google Translate to check, and it doesn't make much sense to me:
- très luisant: "very shining". I would interpret this as "lightly" or "gently" but it's written over the refrain of the piece, which is the heaviest-sounding of all.
- questionnez: "questioning". That's actually halfway sensible.
- du bout de la pensée: "the tip of thought". Something like "very thoughtfully"?
- postulez en vous-même: "apply on yourself". I thought this was a piece of piano music, not an ointment.
- pas à pas: "step by step". Maybe give the individual notes a bit more emphasis as if they had a dot written over them?
- sur la langue: "on the tongue". Ointments, foodstuffs, sure, why not? I know langue also means "language" but that doesn't make it clearer.
Was the use of halluciogenic substances already common among musicians in the 19th century? Is Satie just messing with us? Or do these instructions have an actual commonly understood meaning that should be expressed in the performance of the piece?