Why is music recycled so often in figure skating? | Page 2 | Golden Skate

Why is music recycled so often in figure skating?

Rina RUS

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Maybe some coaches also want to show that their skater is mature enough to cope with some great music.

And it also can be more risky to take new music, if their skater is going to fight for medals. They know that it is possible to win with a warhorse, as for new music… they risk to lose the medal, if the music happens to be not as winning as they hoped. For them medals can be more important than entertaining the audience with some new music choices.
 

Mathematician

Pilgrim on a long journey
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Aug 8, 2023
And please, for all that's holy, could we please please stop using Tango music. It's soooooo overused.
Yea figure skating is oversaturated with tango but honestly I think the genre just fits perfectly for this sport. I really don't mind a handful of tango programs per season. But I'm someone who loves tango independant of figure skating anyways.
 

Alex Fedorov

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The Sleeping Beauty ballet was created in this way:

1) Vsevolzhsky, director of the Imperial Theaters, and Marius Petipa, choreographer, jointly wrote a libretto based on a fairy tale by Charles Perrault.
2) Petipa made a carefully worked out "ballet plan", which separately described literally every movement of the actors and thought out the choreography.
3) The result was given to Tchaikovsky, who had to write the music for the ballet in such a way that certain measures correspond exactly to certain movements.

Ideally, programs for figure skating should be created in approximately the same way. But this is not to be expected in the foreseeable future. However, Kirill Richter in 2021 said that he was ready to significantly rework his composition "Songs of a Distant Land" in order for Anna Shcherbakova's performance to become more expressive, but this is a rare example. Choreographers in figure skating are forced to work with ready-made music, trying to put some new meaning into it. The easiest way to do this is with classical compositions, or with those that are more or less close to classical. I think that's why we have to listen to The Phantom of the Opera countless times.
 

mrrice

Record Breaker
Joined
Jul 9, 2014
Maybe some coaches also want to show that their skater is mature enough to cope with some great music.

And it also can be more risky to take new music, if their skater is going to fight for medals. They know that it is possible to win with a warhorse, as for new music… they risk to lose the medal, if the music happens to be not as winning as they hoped. For them medals can be more important than entertaining the audience with some new music choices.
I agree 100%. I'd also add that the higher a skater rises, the panels tend to get older. It's less risky than trying to be original because the older judges like what they like. I will add, a lot depends on the skaters ability to pull off something original. There are certain skaters who can bring any music to life.
 

Diana Delafield

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Canada
Another reason that has nothing to do with the judges is what can happen if the skater is from the same club as a number of other competitors at the same level. With each having their frequent chances to practise with their music, others on the same ice hear the piece over and over every day. If they really like it, they start maybe noodling around with bits of improvisation to it, and eventually that crystallizes into "I want to skate to that myself". Maybe a year or two down the line, or if they move to another training centre, they express that wish to their coach, and there they go. The more a piece is heard on a daily basis at practice sessions, not just at competitions, the more others get used to it and get ideas of things they'd like to do with it. It's almost contagious. Familiarity breeds ambition.
 

Mathematician

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Another reason that has nothing to do with the judges is what can happen if the skater is from the same club as a number of other competitors at the same level. With each having their frequent chances to practise with their music, others on the same ice hear the piece over and over every day. If they really like it, they start maybe noodling around with bits of improvisation to it, and eventually that crystallizes into "I want to skate to that myself". Maybe a year or two down the line, or if they move to another training centre, they express that wish to their coach, and there they go. The more a piece is heard on a daily basis at practice sessions, not just at competitions, the more others get used to it and get ideas of things they'd like to do with it. It's almost contagious. Familiarity breeds ambition.
This is a great point. I've seen this happen a few times actually.
 

icewhite

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Dec 7, 2022
I agree 100%. I'd also add that the higher a skater rises, the panels tend to get older. It's less risky than trying to be original because the older judges like what they like. I will add, a lot depends on the skaters ability to pull off something original. There are certain skaters who can bring any music to life.

About the age, I don't get that. When I was younger I always heard "the judges are so old". It sounds like they are all in their 80s and 90s. Now I am in my late 30s and I see the judges at big competitions getting up and many are hardly older than me. Lady Gaga should be 100% mainstream for them. I mean, I really don't get it. It doesn't look like the judges are so old, but they must be extremely conservative people, and in addition not listen to much music if they only have a musical repertoire of 30 songs they know. 😐
Urgh, I just don't know... I often wonder if the judges are such a weird folk or if it's more the skaters and coaches being so afraid and not knowing or liking much music themselves when they actually wouldn't be punished by the judges for different music...
 

Rina RUS

Final Flight
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Russia
One could suppose that a skater who stopped competing and started to skate in shows, has only one goal: entertaining his fans with something new. It seems even this supposal would be wrong. Maybe Hanyu is on the top of his popularity now and most of the tickets to his shows are bought by his fans. In many other cases many people in the audience can be not even skating fans. They can be “random” people who went not to a theatre this time, but to a skating show. For many of them “warhorses” are not “warhorses”: they are not tired of this music. Yet the producer of the show has another issue in this case: it is more difficult to turn “random” people into a wholeheartedly supporting audience, to give them pleasure which they expect.

I think Averbukh uses some vibrant music for group numbers not by accident. He also takes those songs which almost everyone knows: for many people those are songs from their childhood.
It seems even in shows they often choose those variants which are less “risky”. Yagudin keeps skating “Winter” from time to time, because it works. He also keeps skating “Sway” for more than 10 years (maybe because it’s “sexy”, maybe also because the choreography happens to “work” too). When a new song which they take for Yagudin is “We Were So Young”, it also makes the audience be more supportive (I mean the psychological effect of the chosen theme).
They do create new numbers, but anyway it seems that they don’t need some random “new” music”: they need something what will “work” (if sometimes one number is “risky”, another one can be a working “warhorse”, so that the show will be successful).

Drive is also important both in competitions and in shows: I guess some “warhorse” music which sounds triumphantly, works much better than random new melodies.
It is no wonder that top skaters often try to choose music which sounds triumphantly.
Yes, an element of originality can be good, but I think this is not the most important goal for them. Sometimes an element of originality is inserted not by music, but by costume or by something else.

I think even musicians include in their concerts not only their new music, but also those “hits” which are proven to be “working”.
 

TallyT

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Apr 23, 2018
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Australia
One could suppose that a skater who stopped competing and started to skate in shows, has only one goal: entertaining his fans with something new. It seems even this supposal would be wrong. Maybe Hanyu is on the top of his popularity now and most of the tickets to his shows are bought by his fans.
Umm, I am assuming you have not watched either of Yuzuru's solo shows or his part of the Notte Stellata show since he went pro? Yes, there have been his much loved programs but in every show he [1] brought in new programs, cumulatively more than any competitive skater does in one year, plus older ones we haven't seen for years and [2] surrounds them all with unique productions and narratives. He does completely new programs - to live music - in FAoI. Yuzu's shows were totally different from the fantasy-and-fairy-tale sort of show, or Disney on Ice (and they do all the hits as well
:biggrin:
) because Yuzuru is trying for a completely different milieu and doing umpteen different programs in one show. (Though yes, he could probably do all the old ones... in Sharepractice he repeated the same ones as he would in practice and people watched and wanted more.) And all shows are a completely different milieu to competition, where each performer has two or at the most three pieces of music and each just once (it's the judges and audience who get to see the same ones over and over and over.)

Come on, let's be reasonable. Would you expect Taylor Swift or any other performer to sing all or mostly new songs at their concerts? - of course not, and the audience would be decidedly pissed off if they didn't sing the hits.

I think even musicians include in their concerts not only their new music, but also those “hits” which are proven to be “working”.

Yup. Premieres of new music are advertised and celebrated as that for a reason, they are not the standard concert.
 

Rina RUS

Final Flight
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Russia
Umm, I am assuming you have not watched either of Yuzuru's solo shows or his part of the Notte Stellata show since he went pro? Yes, there have been his much loved programs but in every show he [1] brought in new programs, cumulatively more than any competitive skater does in one year, plus older ones we haven't seen for years and [2] surrounds them all with unique productions and narratives. He does completely new programs - to live music - in FAoI. Yuzu's shows were totally different from the fantasy-and-fairy-tale sort of show, or Disney on Ice (and they do all the hits as well
:biggrin:
) because Yuzuru is trying for a completely different milieu and doing umpteen different programs in one show.

I didn’t say anything bad about Yuzuru. :)

The only thing which I said about Yuzuru is that I suppose his audience now includes many fans who know his programs. It differs his shows from those shows where the audience can be more random (including many people who maybe haven’t been watching skating of the participating skaters before). So that part of my text where I was speaking about trying to satisfy those people who are not devoted fans of the participating skaters, is not about Hanyu’s shows.

You say that Hanyu includes some old programs too (together with new ones) and you do like it, right? When I was saying that musicians include their old hits into their concerts, I didn’t mean to say that it is bad. This thread asks: “why music is recycled so often in figure skating?”. For me it is a part of the answer: old hits are used because they are hits. :LOL: Some hits are performed by many different artists, some hits “belong” to one artist. As for me, I use the word “warhorse” only because other people use it. I don’t think that using “old” music is bad.

(even if sometimes I’d like to see something new more often) These words are not about Hanyu. :)
 

TallyT

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Joined
Apr 23, 2018
Country
Australia
I didn’t say anything bad about Yuzuru. :)

The only thing which I said about Yuzuru is that I suppose his audience now includes many fans who know his programs. It differs his shows from those shows where the audience can be more random (including many people who maybe haven’t been watching skating of the participating skaters before). So that part of my text where I was speaking about trying to satisfy those people who are not devoted fans of the participating skaters, is not about Hanyu’s shows.

You say that Hanyu includes some old programs too (together with new ones) and you do like it, right? When I was saying that musicians include their old hits into their concerts, I didn’t mean to say that it is bad. This thread asks: “why music is recycled so often in figure skating?”. For me it is just a part of the answer: old hits are used because they are hits. :LOL: Some hits are performed by many different artists, some hits “belong” to one artist. As for me, I use the word “warhorse” only because other posters use it. I don’t think that using “old” music is bad.

(even if sometimes I’d like to see something new more often) These words are not about Hanyu. :)
Fair enough, I apologise.

It will be interesting if Disney+ ever release the viewing numbers.
 

eppen

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Joined
Mar 28, 2006
Country
Spain
One reason that has not been mentioned here might be, that the familiarity of the warhorse offers an immediate recignition of what the skater is supposed to be doing. IMO about 90% of almost any skating program theme and interpretation is based on music and costuming as the movement itself is most commonly just plain fs movement and has virtually nothing to do with what could be derived from the music and theme. Most skaters are really not able to vary their movement to fit different styles, so the variation comes from music and costuming.

You wear a red and/or black frilly costume and a rose in your hair to Carmen and you have a character and an interpretation there even if your movement had absolutely nothing referring to Spain/Carmen/whatever, not even an attempt at flamenco arms or stabbing.

Sometimes the new themes can also be quite difficult (or even impossible) to recognize. From the Europeans this year, I remember this girl who had chosen music from the Spanish TV series Casa de papel (Money Heist) and had a costume that referred to it (I think). I recognized the theme only because of the main song that I happen to like. For someone who had not watched the series or knew that the three pop songs used were part of its soundtrack, had probably no idea. Even in this case, I could not think of anything specific from the series that the movement on the ice could have referred to.

The TV series The Queen's Gambit inspired at least two different women's programs and neither of them was really in any way comprehensible as a choreo if you did not know already what it was all about (it was the knowledge of the theme, somewhat the music, but mostly the costuming...). Benoit Richaud did a Peaky Blinders based choreo a few years ago and had the name of the series not been announced at the beginning with a voiceover, I would have been at a complete loss why those three rock/pop songs were selected for a program and why the skater was wearing the early 20th century style costuming with them.

In a way I am happy that there is not much originality in music choices, because if some of my actual fave pieces of music were mishandled in the cuts to make a 4'00 program and in the sometimes so-called choreos, I would maybe stop watching skating very quickly.

E
 

TallyT

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Australia
...if some of my actual fave pieces of music were mishandled in the cuts to make a 4'00 program and in the sometimes so-called choreos, I would maybe stop watching skating very quickly.

Such a good point, just this week with the ice dancers in Canada doing chopped and rechopped versions of 90s music which I grew up with, with costumes that were endearingly hopeful stabs... I mean, even though some songs were an aural cheesefest anyway, and many were not at all my favourites from that time (thank god), it felt like a stubbed toe every time the cut was bad. With truly lovely and loved music it is sometimes like stubbing against wet barbed wire.

ps - it just occurred to me (so sue me, I'm slow) that I should make it clear this is not a dig at the actual skaters and their skating, much of which I enjoyed, some of which I loved. Just the music.
 
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eppen

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Country
Spain
Oh @TallyT I feel for you! I did also grow up in the 1980s, but doubt that any of my actual favourites would end up being mutilated this year. They are going to use the big hits and I liked very few of them...

E
 

FaustinaF

Rinkside
Joined
Aug 24, 2022
Hello everyone!! At last I'm here again😃
Yep that's the same thing i've noticed (talking about using so much frequently the same music) especially during the just passed year, but also some year before. I'm so shocked when I find even two consecutive programs during a competition that have the very same music!!! Sometimes it became heavy to bear again some kind of identical music (above all some boring music...), and there were times you said "oh no, again that!!"... There's such a great variety of musical choice today, but also re-discovering so much of the forgotten masterworks musical pieces that belong to the past century!! (Rapid example: beautiful forgotten-movies' soundtracks, less known composers, traditional folk music needed to be revived, ecc ecc)
However, I think there are two main reasons why we usually listen to the same music in skating:
1- Many coaches have an amount of work to do with all the students, so they have no time to think about every one. So they look around themselves to get the fastest and less-mental-expensive idea. And which one is the better one if not taken by some other coach? In conclusion: a weakness of fantasy.
2- It could be also as an experiment. I explain: it could be a competitive way to show off the best of students who belongs to different schools but with the same music, as to see who best interprets that very same music !

In any case, it's becoming too boring for me to always listen to the same😊
 

reut

Rinkside
Joined
Feb 16, 2009
I did ask Koshiro Shimada last season about "popular, close to overused, music in both of his programs" (of course, I formulated my question a bit differently, I didn't want to ask: are you too lazy to look for something else? :D ):
I know for sure that Stephane has albums and albums of music for each of his skaters, so it's definitely not laziness or musical knowledge not broad enough. But it's a skater who has a final say to the music choice (which is fair because it's a skater who will need to hear this music over and over again during the season), and sometimes music they love and want to skate to was already used. :)

Me personally I don't like war horses (especially when you have a few in one discipline in the same event), but I don't actively hate them. And definitely don't agree to the proposed "rule" of "music should be used once". First, because I agree with Koshiro that personality of the skater, his/her skills, unique approach do make the difference. Second, because some amazing programs I've seen over the years were not "the first usage" of that music (including, by the way, my all time favourite Stephane's "Poeta").
 

TallyT

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Apr 23, 2018
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Australia
Oh @TallyT I feel for you! I did also grow up in the 1980s, but doubt that any of my actual favourites would end up being mutilated this year. They are going to use the big hits and I liked very few of them...

E
As an Aussie of that time, I watched Countdown (rock pop show) LOT. So even the songs I don't love are imprinted hard on my the dark corners of my memory.
 
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Weathergal

Medalist
Joined
May 25, 2014
Hello everyone!! At last I'm here again😃
Yep that's the same thing i've noticed (talking about using so much frequently the same music) especially during the just passed year, but also some year before. I'm so shocked when I find even two consecutive programs during a competition that have the very same music!!! Sometimes it became heavy to bear again some kind of identical music (above all some boring music...), and there were times you said "oh no, again that!!"... There's such a great variety of musical choice today, but also re-discovering so much of the forgotten masterworks musical pieces that belong to the past century!! (Rapid example: beautiful forgotten-movies' soundtracks, less known composers, traditional folk music needed to be revived, ecc ecc)
However, I think there are two main reasons why we usually listen to the same music in skating:
1- Many coaches have an amount of work to do with all the students, so they have no time to think about every one. So they look around themselves to get the fastest and less-mental-expensive idea. And which one is the better one if not taken by some other coach? In conclusion: a weakness of fantasy.
2- It could be also as an experiment. I explain: it could be a competitive way to show off the best of students who belongs to different schools but with the same music, as to see who best interprets that very same music !

In any case, it's becoming too boring for me to always listen to the same😊

Welcome back FaustinaF! It's so nice to see you posting again!
 

skylark

Gazing at a Glorious Great Lakes sunset
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I don't think judges love warhorse music because it's a warhorse. More like a piece of music becomes a warhorse because judges love it.

I.e., music that allows skaters to showcase good skating skills and good interpretation skills.

:love2:

Music that allows skaters to showcase good skating skills and Good. Interpretation. Skills. (imo, this bears repeating :)) As well as allowing skaters to showcase their musicality, movement, emotional resonance and vibrancy.

Someone made the point that classical music helps skaters develop and showcase good lines. Yes!

As for not being able to tolerate the same piece of music in the same season? That's incomprehensible to me. Every skater can bring his, her and their (partnership) uniqueness to a piece of music and a program. One example I recall is seeing Tatsuki Machida skate to East of Eden at SA 2013, which was and continues to be my favorite Michelle Kwan program (1998 Pro comp) and one of my favorite skating programs ever (choreographed by Lori Nichol). Tatsuki skated in a way that was reminiscent of Michelle's program and still completely his own, to great choreo by Philip Mills.

And: Because it works ... the music itself. Some music, especially classical music, has many different moods that allow skaters to show their versatility, and build to an emotionally engaging and satisfying conclusion.
 
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