What makes music cuts good or bad?

colormyworld240

Medalist
Joined
Dec 9, 2017
In a way, I think musicality of a skater shows the best if they make a mistake - a skater with sense of music is immediately able to catch on and improvise until they are able to carry on with the designed choreo. A hard working skater with lack of ability to feel the music may have moment of skating on top of music, or rushing to do all the movements....

Like Sasha's programs are well designed, that she jumps on the beat, because the choreo tells her to do so and it is drilled in through lots of hard work. But I remember seeing video of 3As dancing off the ice and Sasha was just... bit awkward. I think she is able to overcome it because she has well designed programs... well... at least programs that work for her. I actually found her first junior year programs kinda awful... she had the elements, but it was just not it. This soundtrack gimmick seems to be working for her so far.

This is why I absolutely love Anna. I think her most impressive performance was the one where she made the most mistakes, falling on the 2A and then missing the whole combo in the JGPF. The next movement she does, it's right on the music and is that way for the rest of the program. She has always been able to adjust her steps and it's never catching up, she just responds the music and it's incredible. Regardless of music style, program theme, etc., and she's been doing that before her first international competition :luv17:
 

Baron Vladimir

Record Breaker
Joined
Dec 18, 2014
Well, you have just expressed your opinion about what makes sense and what doesn't make sense.

My opinion is that what I wrote does make sense.

But I did not express an opinion on whether people should value the opinion of the Eurosport guys or not, much less on whether I value their opinion or not. I have no opinion abut that.

-- um, never mind. ;)

Again, that is not my own opinion, because it is not based on my own subjective evaluation of what makes sense and what doesn't. It's an opinion which is formed by logic as a science. My point was not that people should (E: maybe i didn't use the right words because English is not my native) value the opinion of the Eurosport commentators (that's their choice after all), just how opinion of Eurosport commentators has more weight than opinion of someone random, because it is based on more knowledge and expertise about the subject and less on subjective preferences (which include things like rooting for your own nation and/or against some other nation/skater). A conclusion formed by logic as a science, not by myself. :eek:topic:
 

Shedi0806

On the Ice
Joined
Mar 22, 2018
For me the worst cuts were last year's Alina's short. Several POTO songs crammed into 2:40 with breaking glass as transition between them? Ewww.

The breaking glass is a typical example when I had to almost laugh every time she did that. I could not take that program seriously, I am sorry. Do not get me wrong, she is fantastic, it has nothing to do with her or her skating. :cool:

For me, the program was constructed as if they had the elements placed first and then they created the music around them. I cannot blame her team, she got all of the points so I guess it worked....
 

RoyThree

Rinkside
Joined
Feb 16, 2010
Country
United-States
I thought the original purpose of this thread had to do with music "cuts", not musical interpretation. Somewhere along the way, we have veered off from the original point. While a judge or commentator may be very qualified to critique musical interpretation as it relates to the skating, I don't think they are more qualified to critique music cuts, unless they have a background in music. As someone in the music profession for nearly 40 years, I am often disappointed with many of the musical cuts I've heard simply because they do not make musical sense. Musical interpretation is another ball game, but even there I am often disappointed with how many of the musical nuances are totally ignored by the skater.
 

Ducky

On the Ice
Joined
Feb 14, 2018
Well, at least she can skate it with one facial expression because, if I remember correctly, through the whole series Kristen Stewart looked like she was smelling a rotten cheese.

That was just Kristen Stewart reacting to the script. (God, I loved how both she and Robert Pattinson visibly HATED everything to do with Twilight and seemed to have just been trying to convince someone to fire them. Remember how Pattinson just decided to not wash his hair throughout the entire press junket for one of the movies?) Sorry, off topic...
 

surimi

Happy 21st, Sota!
Record Breaker
Joined
Nov 12, 2013
I can only speak for myself, but I don't like when too many pieces (usually more than 3) are crammed into one program, especially if the cuts are abrupt, accompanied by sound effects, and if the songs vastly different from one another. The program looks rushed and jumbled to me then, and it makes me feel like the choreographer couldn't decide which songs to choose so they went for all of them.

[...], just how opinion of Eurosport commentators has more weight than opinion of someone random, because it is based on more knowledge and expertise about the subject and less on subjective preferences (which include things like rooting for your own nation and/or against some other nation/skater).

Sorry but I have to disagree here. When it comes to subjective topics such as what's quality art or quality music cuts, experience tells me that people usually don't care about what 'authorities' praise but follow their own taste. All opinions on subjective topics carry the same weight in my eyes, no matter who voices them, there are no 'more valuable' and 'less valuable' opinions.
 

labgoat

Keeper of the Pull Arabians
Record Breaker
Joined
Jan 3, 2007
Country
United-States
On the mark. The points you make are just what they were aiming for. I think that is a good summary of why the programs worked so well. :yes:

A few more comments if I may indulge...

1a Be so overwhelming to make everyone forget who skated before.
2a Extreme music changes show off how fast you can switch gears - for example Sabre Dance into Romeo & Juliet into The Lone Ranger - actually done by Bestemianova & Bukin.
3a Go loud and reawaken anyone you may have lulled to sleep with your slow section.
 

Baron Vladimir

Record Breaker
Joined
Dec 18, 2014
Sorry but I have to disagree here. When it comes to subjective topics such as what's quality art or quality music cuts, experience tells me that people usually don't care about what 'authorities' praise but follow their own taste. All opinions on subjective topics carry the same weight in my eyes, no matter who voices them, there are no 'more valuable' and 'less valuable' opinions.

That was not a question of personal taste. It's one type of question what (skating program) you prefer or don't prefer, and complitely different if something is done good or bad (for a competitive skating program). Eurosport commentators were giving an answer on the second question, which is also a question of this thread. Not what our preferences are.
 

gkelly

Record Breaker
Joined
Jul 26, 2003
Dean found a detail that "saved" them. The timing of the program begins with the instant the skater's skate moves on the ice.

The rules have changed since then. Now the timing begins when the skater begins moving in any way, after the music has started (and ends when the skater stops moving which may or may not coincide exactly with when the music stops). So that particular solution wouldn't work with today's rules, but it worked with the rules at the time.


What makes good music cuts? "Good" for what purpose?

We could ask

Does the music as cut for the program work independently as a coherent aural experience in its own right?

Does the music as edited work well with the choreography and concept (and costume, etc.) to create a coherent aesthetic experience for viewers?

Does the music provide a good showcase for the skater to demonstrate command of skating skills and ability to show some varied ability to interpret music while skating?

Sometimes the answer to one of those questions might be No while the others are Yes, or vice versa. And I'm sure you could come up with some other ways to evaluate the choice of music.

E.g., does knowing the name of where the music came from, or knowing the plot/theme/characters/movement styles from the ballet/opera/movie/TV show etc. that the music was composed for make a significant difference in understanding how the skater is interpreting it on the ice?

And if there are lyrics, does understanding the words affect understanding of what the skater is interpreting on the ice?

Does the skater need to interpret the storyline of the original source of the music, assuming there is one, or to interpret the words if there are lyrics? Or can they do a good job of interpreting music as music or repurpose music composed with a particular story in mind to tell a different story or support an unrelated conceptual theme?
 

surimi

Happy 21st, Sota!
Record Breaker
Joined
Nov 12, 2013
That was not a question of personal taste. It's one type of question what (skating program) you prefer or don't prefer, and complitely different if something is done good or bad (for a competitive skating program). Eurosport commentators were giving an answer on the second question, which is also a question of this thread. Not what our preferences are.

See, and I say it IS. There is no objective good and there is no objective bad, there are just personal perceptions by individuals. 'Good music cuts' cannot be measured objectively. It's all about people's opinions, and if you believe that someone's is more valid than another person's because they're a former skater, that is fine, but it's your view and no point presenting it as a universal truth.

Well sorry, but I was answering the headline question of this thread, i.e. what makes music cuts good or bad. If it doesn't resonate with your view, too bad but I can live with that. :) I have nothing to say to the original poster's request for critics of Gleikhengauz' work to specify their objections, because for me he's like any other choreographer, sometimes I like his programs and sometimes not. I was responding to the topic question in general.
 

Baron Vladimir

Record Breaker
Joined
Dec 18, 2014
See, and I say it IS. There is no objective good and there is no objective bad, there are just personal perceptions by individuals. 'Good music cuts' cannot be measured objectively. It's all about people's opinions, and if you believe that someone's is more valid than another person's because they're a former skater, that is fine, but it's your view and no point presenting it as a universal truth.

Well sorry, but I was answering the headline question of this thread, i.e. what makes music cuts good or bad. If it doesn't resonate with your view, too bad but I can live with that. :) I have nothing to say to the original poster's request for critics of Gleikhengauz' work to specify their objections, because for me he's like any other choreographer, sometimes I like his programs and sometimes not. I was responding to the topic question in general.

That may be true. But this was not the evaluation of is it something (musically) good or bad in general eather. It was a defined question - is it particular music arragment good or bad for one particular program of one particular skater. Regarding Alina's program and Alina's skating they thought it was made very very good. If it was made for Caro maybe they would evaluate it as not that good. If it was a made only as a music track, it will be evaluated as bad more probably. But again, that was not one of those kind of questions. And i'm not here to defend their opinion, nor i've presented mine. I just find their opinion more valuable and objective (because of many many reasons i already wrote, not to say that their opinion corresponded with judges opinion too) than many other opinions of people on a skating forum. If you can prove for yourself why random person's opinion on the same topic is more valuable and diminished theirs, than good for you. But that conclusion doesn't appear as logical to me, if comparing it to the other one. (We can make a survey tho to see which opinion on the exact skating topic has more weight/which is more helpfull for that exact topic, opinion of British Eurosport commentators, opinion of surimi or opinion of Baron Vladimir :biggrin:)
 

Orlov

Medalist
Joined
Jun 19, 2018
Guys i'm confused. I really want to find out the vision of those people who scold Gleichenhaus for "his cutting". I remember how shocked it was when a year ago I saw a review (and more than once) about Alena Kostornaya’s short program, that it’s supposedly a “typical cutting of Gleikh,” “Gleikh the woodcutter,” etc.

Although for me personally everything was clear - there is an unearthly being (Angel) who has undergone some passions (in the old sense of the word, as "Passion of Christ"). Perhaps in our earthly world. The cold, detached first musical theme describes (represents) this creature to us, an alarming second musical theme describes these passions. The final gesture indicates the ascent, return to the heavenly spheres. That's it. It's noble simple, delicious and understandable to everyone.

But some scolded it! Why? just... why? It got to the point that some Russian-speaking h@ters called this "program about a boiling kettle", cuz an disturbing whistling sound that connects two themes, although it is this sound that is so appropriate and smooths the transition. (However, I don’t take such extremes into account, because, by a strange coincidence, such formulations were used only by some fans of one famous skater, so I think they was biased.)

It just doesn't fit in my head that someone can not understand and do not appreciate the beauty of design and execution of this program. That’s why I’m trying to understand why this is happening (It turned out that I was brought up and trained in a natural-scientific paradigm - I involuntarily try to understand the causes of the phenomenon, to see the big picture :))

Okey, it was all a preface :) This is what it is about. As a result of reading this thread, I had a working hypothesis that in this issue people are divided according to two paradigms. The first paradigm is music is primary, and the athlete is secondary (that is, ideally, athletes and choreographers should learn to fulfill their obligation - both athletic and artistic - in the framework of one music), the second paradigm is the opposite, the athlete is primary, and the music is secondary. Gleigenhaus and I are in the second paradigm, and those who scold his programs are in the first. This is where disagreement and misunderstanding arise. People of the first paradigm see blasphemy - instead of choosing music and obeying it, becoming the Moonlight Sonata for 4 minutes, the athlete and choreographer do whatever they want with the music, twist it and twist it at their own discretion.

That is, in a sense, this clash is modern and post-modern :)
 

surimi

Happy 21st, Sota!
Record Breaker
Joined
Nov 12, 2013
As I said, I was speaking from a general perspective. Some cuts just sound bad to me regardless of how well they match a skater's movements.

I just find their opinion more valuable and objective (because of many many reasons i already wrote, not to say that their opinion corresponded with judges opinion too) than many other opinions of people on a skating forum. If you can prove for yourself why random person's opinion on the same topic is more valuable and diminished theirs, than good for you. But that conclusion doesn't appear as logical to me, if comparing it to the other one.

Ah ha, here we are at the core of the thing where our views radically differ. I don't find BESP uncles' opinion on music more valuable than a random fan's, for reasons I have already stated. And my reasoning sure seems logical to me :biggrin: That reminds me of one of my favorite online quotes: "Of course I think my opinion is better than your opinion, that's why it's my opinion". With that, I am out of this as I feel I don't have much more to add. ;)
 

Mathman

Record Breaker
Joined
Jun 21, 2003
A few more comments if I may indulge...

1a Be so overwhelming to make everyone forget who skated before.
2a Extreme music changes show off how fast you can switch gears - for example Sabre Dance into Romeo & Juliet into The Lone Ranger - actually done by Bestemianova & Bukin.
3a Go loud and reawaken anyone you may have lulled to sleep with your slow section.

I can't tell if you are joining me in praise of this type of program, or if you are making fun of it. :) Of course you want to start off so grand and glorious that the judges and audience forget all the previous skaters and only have eyes for you. Of course every figure skating program ought to end with the Lone Ranger.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pwnqYkMRSyg&t=2m54s

As for the slow part, the goal is to keep them awake by doing some heart-warming spirals and such (held for at least 8 seconds for full effect). In fact, if you want a unified theme, you could use the third movement of the William Tell for the slow part. :yes:
 
Last edited:

Mathman

Record Breaker
Joined
Jun 21, 2003
The rules have changed since then. Now the timing begins when the skater begins moving in any way, after the music has started (and ends when the skater stops moving which may or may not coincide exactly with when the music stops).

I remember at the 2004 World Championship Michelle Kwan's SP was to The Feeling Begins. The music at the end drops to a whisper, so, what with the roar of the greasepaint, etc., it seemed like the music had stopped and Michelle was still moving. In those days, "finishing behind your music" was bad (though not a specific deduction).

Anyway, she did get a deduction for going over the allotted time, never mind the music. The next year the ISU changed the length of the SP from 2 minutes 40 seconds to 2 minutes 50 seconds. :laugh:

(Then in the long program some idiot dressed in a tutu and advertising an on-line gambling site came out and chased her around the ice.)
 
Last edited:

Baron Vladimir

Record Breaker
Joined
Dec 18, 2014
As I said, I was speaking from a general perspective. Some cuts just sound bad to me regardless of how well they match a skater's movements.



Ah ha, here we are at the core of the thing where our views radically differ. I don't find BESP uncles' opinion on music more valuable than a random fan's, for reasons I have already stated. And my reasoning sure seems logical to me :biggrin: That reminds me of one of my favorite online quotes: "Of course I think my opinion is better than your opinion, that's why it's my opinion". With that, I am out of this as I feel I don't have much more to add. ;)

Which one? I can state why i think their opinion is more valuable for the exact topic, named 'why Danil's music arrangement is good/bad for Alina's skating program':
1) because they have more knowledge on figure skating, not just because they've seen and commenting on all of POTO programs in last 20 years, but because one of them was competitive ice dancer himself
2) because they are more objective - nor they had national/continental bias - it was a comment made at Europeans without British skaters being in the mix for top placement, nor bias for any particular style of skating - during their commentating years they were praising different type of skating styles and skating programs, which made them open-minded and more sincere
3) they restrain themselfes of making personal preferences toward something, except that was clearly stated (with the statement 'it is (not) my cup of tea') and which was not stated in the case of Alina's program
Now, what are the expertises od random figure skating fan on that exact topic?
 

Mathman

Record Breaker
Joined
Jun 21, 2003
The first paradigm is music is primary, and the athlete is secondary[/B] (that is, ideally, athletes and choreographers should learn to fulfill their obligation - both athletic and artistic - in the framework of one music), the second paradigm is the opposite, the athlete is primary, and the music is secondary.

Gleigenhaus and I are in the second paradigm ...

Me, too. The skating's the thing!

I think a good example is Alina's iconic Don Quixote program. Alina's team realized that what she could do better than anyone else is preserve her stamina to the end of the program and do 7 jumps in two minutes. Everyone else was able to backload only 6 jumps, or even a paltry 5.

So the coaching/choreography team edited the music to provide a perfect vehicle for that kind of stunning crescendo. :rock:
 
Last edited:

labgoat

Keeper of the Pull Arabians
Record Breaker
Joined
Jan 3, 2007
Country
United-States
I can't tell if you are joining me in praise of this type of program, or if you are making fun of it. :) Of course you want to start off so grand and glorious that the judges and audience forget all the previous skaters and only have eyes for you. Of course every figure skating program ought to end with the Lone Ranger.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pwnqYkMRSyg&t=2m54s

As for the slow part, the goal is to keep them awake by doing some heart-warming spirals and such (held for at least 8 seconds for full effect). In fact, if you want a unified theme, you could use the third movement of the William Tell for the slow part. :yes:

A little of both. Done tastefully, music and program structure can build the sense of theatre and performance art that provides an artistic framework for a skater to showcase their skills much like a well written story. As Mr Button used to say with a clear beginning, middle and end.

Sometimes the structure is taken to an extreme as if to mock the idea of artistry. Some feel it is an athletic endeavor only and artistry does not matter. I think we see a hint of that with the way changing the music but not the choreo in Tukt's program is being handled. I like Liza and think she has a sense of style, but feel this decision sells her short. I prefer the Peggy Fleming and Protopopov, Torvill/Dean approach that skating is both art and sport.

I just finished rewatching a bunch of 80s & 90s programs via TSL and the murkiness of purpose has clouded my remarks somewhat.

I miss the lovely skating of Petr Barna, Paul Wylie while at the same time looking forward to Marina Zuevas new ventures, Chock & Bates, Gabby & Guillaume.
 

MalAssada

Medalist
Joined
Jun 28, 2014
I think a previous poster has the same opinion as me: sometimes there are just too many songs together. Two programs that did it well were, coincidentally enough, Kostornaya's Angel, and Osmond's Piaf. It really helped that the musics used were similar in some aspects; Osmond included the beggining of Milord while the previous song was still playing, which made the transitions smoother.

While I do agree with some that Kostornaya's Twilight program has bad cuts, I cannot think of any way to fix it. It would just have been better to use two songs, one for human Bella and one for vampire Bella (which could be just a general vampire program, as someone mentioned previously).
 
Top