Over the years, Erik Satie was described as a precursor of movements and styles as varied as Impressionism, Neo-Classicism, Dada, Surrealism, Conceptual art, minimalism, and ambient music. As well as taking the first steps towards techniques such as prepared piano and music-to-film synchronisation, Satie became one of the first musicians to perform a cameo appearance in a film, in 1924's Entr'acte by the French filmmaker René Clair.
Satie appears to have been the avant-garde to half of the avant-garde movements of the twentieth century. He was in contact with Tristan Tzara, the initiator of the Dada movement. He got to know the other Dadaists, such as Francis Picabia (later to become a Surrealist), André Derain, Marcel Duchamp and Man Ray. Satie contributed to the Dadaist publication 391. In the first months of 1922, he was surprised to find himself entangled in the argument between Tzara and André Breton. Satie originally sided with Tzara, but managed to maintain friendly relations with most players in both camps.
Satie is today regarded as a key modernist composer. As well as influencing contemporaries such as Claude Debussy, who orchestrated two of Satie's Gymnopédies, Maurice Ravel, and a group of composers known as the Les Six, his tendency towards simplicity and repetition continue to inform modern avant-garde genres.