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Thread: Can a skater's music selection help them to win?

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    Meanwhile in a parallel universe .... theresa's Avatar
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    Can a skater's music selection help them to win?

    Here is an interesting article from CCTV titled "Music can help win Olympic figure skating medal"

    http://www.ctvolympics.ca/figure-ska...sid=25710.html

    Sure enough, classical music pieces such as "Carmen," "Tosca," "Swan Lake," and "Romeo and Juliet" are nice and seem to flow effortlessly with figure skating. Plus in the past years, Olympic medalists have skated to classical pieces as well. However, skaters such as Kerr/Kerr are known for their diversity in the choices of music that they choose to skate to, and this is seen through their FD to Linkin Park. Also, Yu-na has chosen to do something different with her sp to James Bond which imo is very unique and different from the skating norm.

    But in terms of figure skating, which is more effective: classical music or modern music? And what do you prefer?
    Last edited by theresa; 01-14-2010 at 08:24 PM.

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    Not sure if music per se can help win an Olympic (or any other event) medal, but it could cause a skater to lose one. Three points:

    1) Classical music was until relatively recently the primary genre that most judges at major world events knew, as they grew up with it, may have themselves skated to it. "Modern" music--defined as the current music of the era--just wasn't often considered for competitive programs, except maybe for some movie scores. In some respects, a choice of classical music was as "safe" as an old friend would be, and in the minds of some judges, shows proper respect for the gravity of the event. If a skater screws up using one of the classical warhorses, a judge wouldn't be likely to say "crappy music" but "crappy skater". I have a theory that younger judges (under age 50) are more tolerant of non-classical music selections, though I may be the only person with this theory.

    2) Many or the "modern" music genres for competitive programs are for most eligible skaters, simply harder to come up with a credible on-ice interpretation. And the younger the skater, the harder some modern music is to pull off. For instance, jazz is notoriously tough to do well for most skaters (positive example: Torvill & Dean's "Take Five"--negative example Chen Lu's "Take Five"). Blues is another toughie. Rock and pop--mainly relegated for exhibition use. New Age--if not too bizarre, can work for some skaters. Avant-garde weird Eurotech--tends to cause viewer headaches and head scratching, but some of the Euro pairs and dance have done decently with. I think one of the best recent examples of using modern music effectively was Stephanie Rosenthal's Rockit by Herbie Hancock (2006 US Nationals SP)--simply clever and outstanding and well-executed, within a competitive program context. BUT---as it was never presented to international judges, we will never know how a wider-than-US panel would have received it.

    3) Few skaters shine under every type of music, so it's important to find music that plays to one's strengths, especially for a Big Event like the Olympics. It's not necessarily a classical vs. modern thing. Can you imagine Caroline Zhang trying to skate to Sabre Dance? Or Evan Lysacek doing Poker Face? (OK I know PF is a Weir's exhibition program, but same idea goes.) Some skaters are just "wrong" for certain pieces of music and no amount of "stretching one's boundaries" will get them there.

    I'm personally open to almost any type of music, as long as it's well choreographed, executed, and interpreted.
    Last edited by bigsisjiejie; 01-14-2010 at 12:50 AM.

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    Beliver in Sasha's Perfect Program Tinymavy15's Avatar
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    "I don't mind music that's been used a lot,'' Nichol says. "These are incredible pieces of music and the reason why we're still hearing them today is that they are incredible, they are enduring, and they have so much colour in them.''
    Funny she should say that. I remember an interview she gave during the Kwan years she mentioned that she always wants to choose a new piece of music for each skater and doesn't like repeating music choices. I guess she realized that skaters are going to always pick somthing popular...you might as well like it.

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    End subjectivity,reduce PCS, fix the COP! schiele's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tinymavy15 View Post
    Funny she should say that. I remember an interview she gave during the Kwan years she mentioned that she always wants to choose a new piece of music for each skater and doesn't like repeating music choices. I guess she realized that skaters are going to always pick somthing popular...you might as well like it.
    Or maybe cos she found the secret formula of working the COP and tries to justify it? Frankly apart from Verner, I don't like much of what she's been doing lately but I feel the same way for most COP friendly programmes.
    Back to the original topic, I pretty much agree with everything bigsisjiejie said. But I think it is getting very important for judges&officials to realize that they can attract a lot of new watchers with more modern music choices and programmes. Kerrs are an exceptional success in that and I applaud them for it.
    Last edited by schiele; 01-14-2010 at 05:26 AM.

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    Tripping on the Podium
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    Can Music Selections help you win?

    Skaters need to consider that the audience and judges are waiting for the skater to take them with him, her or them for the skate. If the music, movement and elements combine to move the public to emotion, it is a great skate.

    To go out and skate to a piece of music and show no connection or flow for the public, well, its just another skate.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bigsisjiejie View Post
    Not sure if music per se can help win an Olympic (or any other event) medal, but it could cause a skater to lose one. Three points:

    1) Classical music was until relatively recently the primary genre that most judges at major world events knew, as they grew up with it, may have themselves skated to it. "Modern" music--defined as the current music of the era--just wasn't often considered for competitive programs, except maybe for some movie scores. In some respects, a choice of classical music was as "safe" as an old friend would be, and in the minds of some judges, shows proper respect for the gravity of the event. If a skater screws up using one of the classical warhorses, a judge wouldn't be likely to say "crappy music" but "crappy skater". I have a theory that younger judges (under age 50) are more tolerant of non-classical music selections, though I may be the only person with this theory.
    Hmm, I partially agree with you, because Denise Biellmann in 1981 won a gold medal at Worlds skating to Samba Pa Ti and some pieces of disco music, Robin Cousins in 1980 won an Olympic and World title with Rolling Stones's Paint It Black and some disco music, Scott Hamilton, Brian Orser, Brian Boitano all sometimes choosed upbeat pop/disco/dance music and were succesfull with judges. Jill Trenary won a gold medal at 1990 World with the same kind of music, Debi Thomas SPs in 1987 and 1988 were to Frankie Goes To Hollywood and Dead Or Alive, Kat Witt wasn't always classical too. And don't forget Tonya Harding, Elizabeth Manley, Caryn Cadavy and Elaine Zayak. I think you are right when you say the judges didn't like the music but I don't think they penalized the skaters for the music. Although I think that Debi was penalized in 1988 SP in Calgary, but I'm not sure if it was because of the music.
    Last edited by gio; 01-14-2010 at 04:43 AM.

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    Dreaming and dancing Bennett's Avatar
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    To the original question of the thread title, yes, it would. But I do not necessarily think that it would be a divide bet. classical vs. modern music. I feel that the key is to have music that is well-known. When I go to Karaoke with a group of international friends, people get most excited when the singer picks the music that is famous and they can sing with. I think it important that the audience can sing and dance together with the skater in their heart.

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    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tinymavy15 View Post
    Funny she should say that. I remember an interview she gave during the Kwan years she mentioned that she always wants to choose a new piece of music for each skater and doesn't like repeating music choices. I guess she realized that skaters are going to always pick somthing popular...you might as well like it.
    I think the difference is, when you have a Michelle Kwan to work with you can be more creative.

    About winning the Olympics, I absolutely agree with bisisjiejie about the gravity of the event. You are not going to win a gold medal with "Pants on the Ground."

    For men, I would go further. You are not going to win with a namby-pamby trifle, either. Go with the 1812 Overature, and time your jumps to the cannons.
    Last edited by Mathman; 01-15-2010 at 11:33 AM.

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    Dreaming and dancing Bennett's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    I think the difference is, when you have a Michelle Kwan to work with you can be more creative.

    About winning the Olympics, I absolutely agree with bisisjiejie about the gravity of the event. You are not going to win a gold medal with "Pants on the Ground."

    For men, I would go further. You are not going to win with a namby-pamby trifle, either. Go with the 1812 Overature, and time your jumps to the cannons.
    Interesting. Would that partly explain why TAT goes for serious music for Mao's comp programs and something lighter for her Ex? Many ppl do find her LP program a masterpiece suitable for OGM despite all the criticisms.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    I think the difference is, when you have a Michelle Kwan to work with you can be more creative.

    About winning the Olympics, I absolutely agree with bisisjiejie about the gravity of the event. You are not going to win a gold medal with "Pants on the Ground."

    For men, I would go further. You are not going to win with a namby-pamby trifle, either. Go with the 1812 Overature, and time your jumps to the cannons.
    Mathman you forgot the music used by Robin Cousins at the 1980 Olympics. That didn't prevent him to win a gold medal. And remember that Biellmann won the free program with Santa Esmeralda at that event IIRC.

    IMO if one is a great skater and actually sells the program skating at his/her best on that night then he/she could win the gold medal regardless of the music used.
    Unfortunately Kwan and Slutskaya (two great skaters) didn't skate at their best at Olympics.

  11. #11
    Meanwhile in a parallel universe .... theresa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    I think the difference is, when you have a Michelle Kwan to work with you can be more creative.

    About winning the Olympics, I absolutely agree with bisisjiejie about the gravity of the event. You are not going to win a gold medal with "Pants on the Ground."

    For men, I would go further. You are not going to win with a namby-pamby trifle, either. Go with the 1812 Overature, and time your jumps to the cannons.
    HAHA!! I just got the reference from the "Pants on the Ground." That was sooo funny and really catchy....and yes timing the jumps to the 1812 Overture would be sooo cool, just as long as the skater doesnt pop or fall on the jump.

    After listening to Lizst's Liebrestaum, which was supposed as an alternate to Bells of Moscow, I do agree that "Bells of Moscow" is OGM-worthy. While essentially, Liebrestraum is perfect for Mao, "Bells of Music" really pushes her and raises her chances for the OGM.

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    Mashimaro on Ice
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    Well dark and powerful music is OGM material for men, but I think for ladies, a more uplifting piece of music is better. Tara's "Ode to Joy" was energetic and really drew the audience's attention. I think more importantly, the music has to fit the skater. That's why I am skeptical about "Bells of Moscow" for Mao, but I'll be happy if she can pull it off.

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    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
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    Young fans of figure skating (I was once one, a hundred years ago) are generally not familiar with complete operas, complete symphonies, or complete ballet scores, will fall in love with the excerpts which figure skating has to offer. But once they hear a complete opera, symphony, or ballet score, they will either hate the complete music or just like the excerpt.

    IMO, the challenge for skaters is NOT to follow a story line but to show mood at what the music alone conveys to you. Not easy, unless you love music.

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    I agree emphatically with you, Joesitz, that a skater doesn't need to follow the plot that a piece of music was originally designed around, but that he/she should convey the mood of the music. This is why men can skate to Carmen, for example.

    Funny that someone mentioned Liszt's Liebestraum. If memory serves, that was the OGM program of Mishkutenok and Dmitriev. In fact, it was a two-year-old program, retained by popular demand.

    Yeah, Mathman, if you have Kwan to choreograph for, your work tends to look a lot better....The Kwan/Nichol collaboration was one of those perfect moments in the arts (yes, I remember that skating is a sport) that creates something immortal. Tamara Moskvina and Dmitriev, along with whatever partner Artur was skating with, was such a collaboration. And, of course, Torvill and Dean.

    It's interesting someone mentioned Tara's winning music. It did suit her perfectly. But because she was so young, it was less emotionally profound than music that other skaters could reasonably use. When she won, the popular assumption was that ladies' skating would thenceforth belong to very young teenagers without hips who could jump triple-triples. One of my biggest fears was that we'd never hear any intense music again. I was worried that every ladies' gold medal after that would be skated to something from a Disney movie. Thank goodness that didn't turn out to be true!
    Last edited by Olympia; 01-16-2010 at 09:21 AM.

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    Dreaming and dancing Bennett's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by miki88 View Post
    Well dark and powerful music is OGM material for men, but I think for ladies, a more uplifting piece of music is better. Tara's "Ode to Joy" was energetic and really drew the audience's attention. I think more importantly, the music has to fit the skater. That's why I am skeptical about "Bells of Moscow" for Mao, but I'll be happy if she can pull it off.
    Miki does well with heavy, powerful music.

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