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Thread: What Defines a Musical Skater?

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    Banned janetfan's Avatar
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    What Defines a Musical Skater?

    We hear the phrase," he or she is such a musical skater." And we hear this phrase about Pairs teams too. What about Ice Dancers? Are they automatically consisdered musical because they are "dancing over the ice?
    Also, the term, "artistic skater" comes up all the time. Are they the same?

    For an example I might think of Evan and Johnny.
    One is considered artistic and musical and the other not so much.

    I believe you can be artistic without necessarily being so musical and vice versa.
    Posing, and making dramatic faces is apparently considered very artistic here.
    I won't agree or disagree with that thought but will say "posing and being dramatic" is not the same thing as being "musical."

    Evan does not skate like Johnny at all, but he can skate a pretty good transition and do some pretty impressive footwork known to bring a crowd to it's feet. Is that musical or just showmanship? And is it artistic?

    Johnny can do some dramatic posing and show us some nice positions - and then leave out any attempt to follow the music until he is ready to pick up speed for another element. That may be "dramatic" and is considered artisitc - but is it also musical?

    This is a difficult question because I am starting without any basic guideline. This topic is not the same as judging a lutz from a flutz which can be much less subjective.

    For me, truly musical skating began with Janet Lynn. Was she also artistic? I think so, but I would think there were other artisitic skaters before Janet. Button was an artist on the ice. Peggy was very artistic but imo not as musical as Janet.

    The culmination of what Janet started I see in Michelle Kwan. I see some great artistic skating from other ladies but Michelle seemed to feel music and move to it more expressively than most others. To me, Irina was a great artist on the ice. But I don't think she was as musical as Michelle.

    Sorry for rambling on - just wanted to see if I could start a discussion about this topic. You may agree or disagree with my comments because most were subjective.
    But I am very sure that artistic skating is not necessarily the same thing as musical skating.
    Last edited by janetfan; 07-13-2009 at 05:31 PM.

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    Artistic and musical is not the same thing, not at all. Just to make my perception clear I'll use Rachael and Caroline. To me, Rachael is very musical, yet she's not really artistic. OTOH, Caroline is artistic but I don't see much musicality with her. Rachael seems to understand the music but hasn't quite found a way to present herself. While Caroline presents but not necessarily the music she's skating to. I don't know if this makes sense. I hope so.

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    Rink Rat i love to skate's Avatar
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    To me, Kurt Browning is the most musical skater. He could/can skate to absolutely anything - including no music at all (Nyah)!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alicja View Post
    Artistic and musical is not the same thing, not at all. Just to make my perception clear I'll use Rachael and Caroline. To me, Rachael is very musical, yet she's not really artistic. OTOH, Caroline is artistic but I don't see much musicality with her. Rachael seems to understand the music but hasn't quite found a way to present herself. While Caroline presents but not necessarily the music she's skating to. I don't know if this makes sense. I hope so.
    That is a very interesting reply and I almost used them for an example.
    What I wonder about is the fact that Caroline is supposedly a very good violin player. Caroline is a musician and AFAIK Rachael is not.

    We get into a question of technique here I think. Watching some of Caroline's Gala skates I would say she is the most musical skater of all the USA ladies. Watching Rachael skate competitively I see a young lady more assured of her technique. Her artistry and ability to express it looks more self assured to me than either Caroline or Mirai at this point.

    To me Rachael is a more artistic (to me that means she can express what she is trying to do very well) and Caroline is more musical but not always in competitive events. It shows up in her show skating.
    As a musician myself, I belive Caroline has a tremendous advantage over most skaters interpreting music but I see a need for stronger technique to realize her potential.

    That said, I think Rachael is musical skater but I think her technique and artistry are better at this point.
    This is very subjective and just my opinion and you may very well be right and I might be wrong.
    I am known to be a big Caroline fan.
    Last edited by janetfan; 07-13-2009 at 06:11 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by i love to skate View Post
    To me, Kurt Browning is the most musical skater. He could/can skate to absolutely anything - including no music at all (Nyah)!
    No doubt about how great Kurt was. And I particularly appreciate how versatile he was - many of the so called "musical skaters" would fall flat on their face trying to interpret Jazz and blues the way Kurt could.
    IMO he would be at the top of any list of guys who are/were musical skaters.
    I think a key was that Kurt had very good skating skills - he had the ability and confidence to tackle anything - and he did!!

    For once we agree, eh?

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    Quote Originally Posted by janetfan View Post
    That is a very interesting reply and I almost used them for an example.
    What I wonder about is the fact that Caroline is supposedly a very good violin player. Caroline is a musician and AFAIK Rachael is not.

    We get into a question of technique here I think. Watching some of Caroline's Gala skates I would say she is the most musical skater of all the USA ladies. Watching Rachael skate competitively I see a young lady more assured of her technique. Her artistry and ability to express it looks more self assured to me than either Caroline or Mirai at this point.

    To me Rachael is a more artistic (to me that means she can express what she is trying to do very well) and Caroline is more musical but not always in competitive events. It shows up in her show skating.
    As a musician myself, I belive Caroline has a tremendous advantage over most skaters interpreting music but I see a need for stronger technique to realize her potential.

    That said, I think Rachael is musical but not more than most skaters.
    Well, first of all you can play an instrument without being musical. You can have excellent technique on piano, violin but still not be very musical. It might make it harder but it's certainly not impossible to get to a certain skill level.

    Maybe we should have skaters take Wing's Standardized Test of Musical Intelligence Though I don't really believe in those tests.

    Someone once told me that anyone who is emotionally impressed or impresses others with music, is musical. That would classify many people as musical, I guess. In the end it's all about how we create and how we perceive.
    I can express my musicality very well playing the piano, yet I'm not sure I can do the same thing with dancing or singing.

    I would say musicality is the interpretation of a piece according to the intentions of the composer and therefore requires emotional and intellectual understanding.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alicja View Post
    Well, first of all you can play an instrument without being musical. You can have excellent technique on piano, violin but still not be very musical. It might make it harder but it's certainly not impossible to get to a certain skill level.

    Maybe we should have skaters take Wing's Standardized Test of Musical Intelligence Though I don't really believe in those tests.

    Someone once told me that anyone who is emotionally impressed or impresses others with music, is musical. That would classify many people as musical, I guess. In the end it's all about how we create and how we perceive.
    I can express my musicality very well playing the piano, yet I'm not sure I can do the same thing with dancing or singing.

    I would say musicality is the interpretation of a piece according to the intentions of the composer and therefore requires emotional and intellectual understanding.
    Thanks for an excellent post. I agree totally and BTW, i was trying to re-write my first reply to you because this is not an easy topic. Part of how we feel about Rachael and Caroline is subjective.

    But I do agree with this post. I play several instruments and never felt I was a very musical piano player. On the other hand, I sometimes felt like the "Kurt Browning" of flute players.

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    Rink Rat i love to skate's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by janetfan View Post
    No doubt about how great Kurt was. And I particularly appreciate how versatile he was - many of the so called "musical skaters" would fall flat on their face trying to interpret Jazz and blues the way Kurt could.
    IMO he would be at the top of any list of guys who are/were musical skaters.
    I think a key was that Kurt had very good skating skills - he had the ability and confidence to tackle anything - and he did!!
    Exactly! To determine how musical a skater is depends on their versaltility. Kurt tackled so many genres of music!

    Quote Originally Posted by janetfan View Post
    For once we agree, eh?
    Had to happen sometime!

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    leave no stone unturned seniorita's Avatar
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    Very nice topic jntfan. Gives a lot to think about
    The example of Johnny and Evan confuses me a little.I m trying to think how I can express my different idea of musicality and artistry outside fs, like in dance. It is clear in my mind but I cant think of an example, moreover one to say it in english :o. All the replies are very interesting.
    I would say musicality is the interpretation of a piece according to the intentions of the composer and therefore requires emotional and intellectual understanding.
    this is something that projects what I have in my foggy mind , of course I could never express it so well as you did. But this is musicallity.
    Last edited by seniorita; 07-13-2009 at 06:27 PM.

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    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    I would say that Brian Boitano is an example of a skater who is very artistic, and innovative in his artistry, but is "musically challenged" (example: Wild Elephants.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by i love to skate View Post
    Exactly! To determine how musical a skater is depends on their versaltility. Kurt tackled so many genres of music!

    Had to happen sometime!
    I also liked the Patrick ad

    Kurt was impressive not just for his versatility, but for the fact he could do it all so well.
    I always liked Victor P. - but used to run screaming from the room when he showed us his R'n R routines. Not so bad, just so terribly corny and lacking any real interpretive skill or creativity. Nothing even close to what Kurt showed us.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    I would say that Brian Boitano is an example of a skater who is very artistic, and innovative in his artistry, but is "musically challenged" (example: Wild Elephants.)
    I agree and thought Brian was a fantastic "bravura" type of skater. And artistic and also very expressive.
    But I never saw or felt great musicality from his skating.
    I feel the same way about Johnny. He is different than Boitano, but is very expressive and dramatic. He just at times seems to forget about the music. Perhaps it is why he favors New Age so much. There is a lack of melodic and rhthmic motion in New Age and that seems to suit his style of skating.

    Michael Weiss was another one - sort of like a "poor man's Boitano." Very bravura and even expressive at times - but never very musical imo,

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    Beliver in Sasha's Perfect Program Tinymavy15's Avatar
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    Michelle was artistic, but no always musical.
    Sasha was very musical and also artistic.
    Plushy is artistic, but not really musical.
    Irina is neither.
    Caroline can very artistic, but not really musical.
    Kimmie can't really do either (sorry girl), but her artistry is better than her musicality.

    I think musicality can be taught to some degree with a good choreographer. Artistry is more you have it more you don't.

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    leave no stone unturned seniorita's Avatar
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    Doesnt musicality concern only your moves through the music and artistry what you can project of yourself while skating to this music piece?
    And question time:
    whats the difference of the skater who skates with the music and the skater who skates to the music?
    I ve seen this phrase a lot here when referring to skater styles, but I dont understand the difference of these two statements in english.
    And at last I can ask, what is bravura skater?

    Thanx for examples Tiny, they give me some light now!

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    Quote Originally Posted by seniorita View Post
    Very nice topic jntfan. Gives a lot to think about
    The example of Johnny and Evan confuses me a little.I m trying to think how I can express my different idea of musicality and artistry outside fs, like in dance. It is clear in my mind but I cant think of an example, moreover one to say it in english :o. All the replies are very interesting.
    this is something that projects what I have in my foggy mind , of course I could never express it so well as you did. But this is musicallity.

    Glad you like the topic. I would suggest that you consider this:

    A skater like Michelle at times did not seem so "busy" yet she seemd to be floating so perfectly to the music." It was part of her appeal. It was so musical.

    Irina might have been doing more - moving her arms up and down, but was it to the music or was she just doing the choreo she had been taught? Did Irina appear to skate and express her total body motions to the FLOW or MOTION or RHYTHM of the music?

    I wonder about Mao and Yuna. Despite Cop I think Yuna is starting to show us a beautiful flow to the music. I am not saying Mao can't do it too - but last year Mao appeared to be "skating to numbers" and looked like Tat's zombie half the year.
    But Mao has shown me moments of great musicality - just watch her Tango Gala from last year. It is great and it is musical. Mao, like Caroline seems to have a harder time expressing herself in competitive programs .
    Tat must fix that or Yuna will crush Mao in Vancouver. A 3A or two will not be enough to beat Yuna's superior presentation. Just my opinion.
    Last edited by janetfan; 07-13-2009 at 06:45 PM.

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