Satie is well known for his many eccentricities, both in his personal life (he could always be seen wearing one of his 12 gray velvet suits, all exactly identical) and in the titles he gave his compositions, like Dried-up Embryos and this one, Three Pieces in the Form of a Pear. But in this latter instance at least, the title is not just the by-product of his quirkiness or seeming whimsicality. He chose it to both satirize Impressionism and its chief proponent, Claude Debussy, who supposedly had once advised Satie to pay greater heed to form.
The work, lasting about 12 minutes, is divided into two movements, the first serving as a sort of prologue and the second consisting of seven (not three) pieces. The three pieces in the title refers to the three sections of the first movement, spelled out by Satie in the full title as the beginning (and extension), development, and reprise. It begins quietly and alludes to Impressionist sonorities before suddenly turning boisterous, then quite exotic in its colorful chirping sounds and other coloristic effects.
The spirited first piece of the second movement is playful and march-like and may have influenced the early piano works of Prokofiev. The second piece is playful and mischievous in its leisurely pacing and humorously intrusive chords, while the third is jaunty, but at times rowdy in its infectious gaiety. The ensuing item is subdued and stately by contrast, while the short, lively fifth is quite attractive, if somewhat thematically repetitive. The sixth frames subdued and often exotic music with brief prankish episodes that feature sudden, loud chords. The last piece exudes several previously tasty flavors in its mixture of the exotic and carefree, of the march-like and gently playful.