Question about vocal music and illegal elements

Discussion in 'The Trash Can' started by Poggi, Aug 8, 2010.

  1. Poggi

    Poggi wannabe flower-girl

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    I've been wondering about this for a while, and as it is still off-season, I thought, I might ask.

    I know, that vocal music is prohibited in competitive programs, and can be penalized with 1.00 point deduction. I also know there are illegal elements, like back flips and some pairs and dance lifts (and probably there is more.)

    Now, one point is just not that much. How come no-one ever risks doing it?

    Wouldn't, say, a vocal Queen song or whatever (and not one of those horrible orchestral/instrumental ones) liven the performance so much, that is makes up in PCS for the mandatory deduction?

    How cool would be a side by side back flip in the crescendo of a pairs free skate?

    There must be some awesome long-long lifts, which according to the rulebook too long?

    Of course, I guess there are not many skaters who want to risk their reputation by such a boneheaded daredevil move, but still - these are possibilities.

    Couldn't somebody at least try it on their last season, maybe?

    What do you think? :watch:
  2. Jenna

    Jenna Well-Known Member

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    Quite interesting. You make a good case. 1.00 is not a lot in the grand scheme of things....of course, it does matter when things are close (Johnny and Evan in 2008). Not sure people would want to take that risk.
  3. Aussie Willy

    Aussie Willy Well-Known Member

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    Well the most interesting thing about Bonaly's FS at the 98 Olympics was the backflip. Because the rest of the program was as boring as ****.

    I think they banned backflips because they considered they are too dangerous.

    However I don't think a skater would want to risk those kinds of deductions. And I personally don't have a problem with them.
  4. michiruwater

    michiruwater Well-Known Member

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    1 point has made the difference often enough.
  5. bardtoob

    bardtoob Well-Known Member

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    They banned backflips because it was an element from a sport other than figure skating, acrobatic gymnastics. There is no defined edge of entry or exit, but, rather, the element can begin and end on a flat with no curve. This is as opposed to jumps, which have entry and exit edges, SHOULD BE entered and exited on a curve, and are supposed to be as if the skater took a long step or hop and reentered the ice on the same curve.
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2010
  6. bardtoob

    bardtoob Well-Known Member

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    Isn't acting out dying on the ice banned? Something to the effect of throwing oneself on the ice dramatically does not demonstrated greater skating or artistic skills?
  7. geod2

    geod2 New Member

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    It's a great question. Poggi.
    They probably won't, but I hope this rule changes some day.
    There is soooo much great music out there with vocals.

    Also, why exactly, was the "no vocals" rule enacted???....Maybe I'm clueless, but I just never got the rationale for it.....

    :confused:
  8. michiruwater

    michiruwater Well-Known Member

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    I think the idea was that the lyrics in the songs would distract the judges.
  9. Kwantumleap

    Kwantumleap New Member

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    Why are they allowed in dance then?
  10. Aussie Willy

    Aussie Willy Well-Known Member

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    They brought them in in dance when they had the Rock'n'Roll/Jive OD back in 98 because of the suitability of the music for that theme. And then decided it was such a good idea that they would allow them in the FD after that. It has just sort of stayed.
  11. shan

    shan Well-Known Member

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    I'm glad that vocals are allowed in dance. I wonder if vocals were ever be permitted in singles/pairs.
  12. Poggi

    Poggi wannabe flower-girl

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    I was thinking about it some more :) you know maybe it is not for those competitors whoa re in the medal hunt, but if for someone doesn't really matter if they end up at 33 or 35, they could try it just for the heck of it.

    Also, if just a few of them risked vocal music, the ISU might get the clue, and allow it finally.

    I get the reasoning of distraction of the lyrics too: it happens whenever the lyrics are on a language I understand, and sometimes I am annoyed when it's in an unfamiliar language :) But as it also happens in dance, and the judges don't seem that bothered...

    Well, it was just a thought :)
  13. Tony Wheeler

    Tony Wheeler Well-Known Member

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    I remember that one of the Federations suggested in the Congress agenda that the deduction for vocal music be removed from the rules, because it's not allowed in the first place.

    Remember the controversy over Joubert not receiving deductions all season in 2008 and then suddenly he got one at Worlds for his "All for You" short program? Abzal Rakimgaliev had been using Child in Paradise by Maksim Mrvica for (I believe) three seasons straight as of 2010, and you can clearly hear the voices chanting "Child in paradise" within the music. I wouldn't consider that a voice being used as an instrument, a la Scene d'Amour, etc. If there was a rule that stated something like "In the event that a competitors music is determined to have vocals prior to the start of an event, the music will be deemed illegal to use within the competition and the skater must provide different music to be able to compete", then we wouldn't have such discrepancies, even if they are rare.
  14. Kwantumleap

    Kwantumleap New Member

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    I think the vocals rule makes little sense and it's such a waste of time to nitpick at who is using vocals in their music and who isn't.
  15. Jenna

    Jenna Well-Known Member

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    The United States just implemented a rule that vocal music IS allowed up to and including the intermediate level. I attend many competitions, and it is rare to hear someone actually use vocal music. However, it does happen once in a blue moon.
  16. hanca

    hanca Well-Known Member

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    I think it is really an interesting idea, but I don't think it would work like that. I think there would be not only the mandatory deduction but it would also be reflected negatively in the PCS, because the judges would see it as the skater purposely ignoring the rules and they may be quite harsh in giving the PCS. If each of them deducts just a little tiny bit on the PCS, the total deduction could get quite huge.

    Figure skating is quite a conservative sport and I don't think that any skater would dare to blatantly ignore the rules, unless they plann to finish with that competition, because I do believe that it could have an impact on their future markings.
  17. mmscfdcsu

    mmscfdcsu Skating Pairs with Drew

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    Nooooooooooooooooooo! No vocals. We get enough really bad music during the exhibitions. Lets leave the vocals there. Skaters have enough trouble picking decent music as it is. The numbers are truly bad when they pick the music because of the message of the words. Then we have to suffer through every 12 year old out there who thinks that "Imagine" is so profound. :wideeyes: That music is boring as crap. Or who could forget the cringeworthy "MY Way" from Johnny? Please, just stick to attempting to interpret the music. Forget the vocals.
  18. Kwantumleap

    Kwantumleap New Member

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    I've commonly heard that the choreographers are the ones responsible for the music skaters skate to, even if they're only offering ideas. I don't know why it would be any better or worse than dance. If anything, the skaters could use more choices b/c the warhorses that have been beaten over and over again are still tiresome.
  19. VIETgrlTerifa

    VIETgrlTerifa Well-Known Member

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    Every time I hear the argument that singles skaters should be allowed to use vocal music, all I see is a bad montage of horrific exhibition routines and hear Celine Dion, Andrea Boccelli, Il Divo, Top 40 crap, Easy Listening, and Adult Contemporary.

    I just go cold thinking about it.
  20. Quintuple

    Quintuple papillon d'amour

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    Ryan Bradley during a US Nationals exhibition did backflips from all sorts of edge entries. He did a flip-flip! Now, combine him with Surya and the one-foot landing -- do we have a valid jump?

    OK, well, two flip-flips, a toe-loop with a vertical split, and a toe-loop that was almost an aerial cartwheel!! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ngAoIw-Je4I
  21. Squibble

    Squibble New Member

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    An illegal element is an element, so unless it is performed after the maximum number of legal elements, doing a backflip means sacrificing the points for the last element in the program. Assuming that the last element is a spin, thapt could be three or four points in addition to the mandatory deduction and (as hanca suggested upthread) lower PCS. (And it's difficult to add in an extra, illegal element given all the technical demands these days). So it's really more like sacrificing five or six points instead of just one. It's not worth the risk unless, like Surya Bonaly at Nagano, you're planning to retire with a bang.
  22. gkelly

    gkelly Well-Known Member

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    Well, a backflip is not a listed jump, nor is it a spin or a step sequence or a choreo spiral sequence :).

    It wouldn't get a base mark and it wouldn't fill an element slot.

    Now that there's risk of backflips getting credit for difficulty in the technical mark (although some judges might still reward the difficulty in the transitions mark), does that take away the incentive for skaters to try it in competition if they're not sure of executing it safely? Enough that there would no reason to worry about skaters who can't do the element consistently enough to be safe, same way skaters often attempt legitimate elements they're likely to fall on such as difficult jumps or even some flying spins or tricky steps?

    Or would allowing skaters who can do it reliably to include it in their programs as a cool transition only encourage other skaters to take the risk before they've mastered it consistently?

    What about other illegal or discouraged non-skating moves that can be performed on ice, such as cartwheels or splits or sliding/spinning on both knees or on one's back, etc. Or excessive posing in place. The danger factor is lower or nonexistent for those moves than for backflips.

    Can the scoring system now adequately allow judges to ignore or penalize non-skating moves taking up space in the program while allowing audiences to enjoy watching them?

    Or would the expectation of skaters and audiences be that those moves should be rewarded in relation to their difficulty and/or contribution to the choreography, not penalized, because they're fun to watch?
  23. danceronice

    danceronice Corgi Wrangler

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    On the other hand, someone at dance forums just asked the ballroom forum about music (unless we're doing a showcase category we have no choice-we dance to whatever plays which is up to whoever's DJing a comp) and whether we thought we danced/interpreted better to music we LIKED that might not be 'culturally' (ie Latin, Strauss Vienneses, etc) or originally tempo-appropriate (auto-adjust software does wonders) or strict-tradition, and almost everyone has said "I dance better to music that moves me." (Which is a nicer way of saying "If I hear that 'traditional' cheezy Blackpool orchestra stuff ONE MORE TIME I'm going to stab out my own eardrums with an awl.") I hate watching little girls saddled with trite tinkly pretty piano pieces or drowning in heavy classical. Like Mao last season getting browbeaten by "Bells of Moscow." More options is a good thing.

    The bigger problem I could see is the same reason that DWTS in particular avoids/rejects some song requests, and uses the orchestra of doom instead of recordings--broadcast rights. For televised compeitions that could get expensive.
  24. Aussie Willy

    Aussie Willy Well-Known Member

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    As gkelly said illegal elements are not in the computer system so they wouldn't even be recognised and wouldn't take up element spots in a protocol.

    I daresay that judges would be advised by the referee to ignore them when it comes to the PCS.
  25. hanca

    hanca Well-Known Member

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    I think they may deduct a bit more than five or six points. Judges are only humans after all and if they feel that a skater sticks his/her middle finger at them, they will 'reward' it in markings. If each judge takes 'only' half point on PCS (and they can do that easy), that's already several points down. If they also employ more strict look at all elements GOEs of that skater, that's very easily another 5-10 points difference. And the changes of GOE could be very subtle- let's say, instead of plus one give 0 or instead of 0 give minus one. But several judges, some 7 or 10 elements or how many and suddenly you have a ten point difference. Plus the compulsory deduction of one point...

    It could get seriously 'expensive' to try to ignore the rules.
  26. Poggi

    Poggi wannabe flower-girl

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    okay, I give in - it was not that much of a good idea to begin with :) but I still believe sbs back flips would be awesome :)
  27. Polymer Bob

    Polymer Bob New Member

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    Katarina Witt did that at the 1988 Olympic freeskate.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aRpFJNcxnE0

    As for vocals, when Caroline Zhang did her Ave Maria program, there is a part in there that sounds like vocalization.
  28. VIETgrlTerifa

    VIETgrlTerifa Well-Known Member

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    I personally think DWTS's bad safe versions of pop songs to dances like the Paso Doble and Tango or Waltz or Fox Trot look absolutely ridiculous, but then I'm not DWTS's target audience am I? ;)

    I think having more options sound good in theory, but I rather have people out out of their comfort zone to do the dance the way they're supposed to. That's why there's a Free Dance in Ice Dance...to allow the dancers the freedom to...say...having a brother and sister team bump and grind to Justin Timberlake.

    I think if little girls are being saddled with tinkly piano music or if you thought Mao was brow-beated by that heavy Bells of Moscow, then it's the fault of the choreographer and even skater for bad packaging. There in an incredible amount of music choices to be had and one doesn't have to dip into music with lyrics to find it.

    Like others have said, the reason why I don't like the idea of skaters being allowed to use music with lyrics is that the music is supposed to set the mood and play a major part of the program, but if you invite lyrics in, I feel that lyrics would they detract from the actual choreography or even skater.
  29. gkelly

    gkelly Well-Known Member

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    Vocalization is explicitly allowed -- the human voice used as a musical instrument. What's forbidden (except in ice dance) is vocal music with lyrics.
  30. danceronice

    danceronice Corgi Wrangler

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    Oh, at real competitions, they mostly use the real songs, sometimes with the computer adjusting the tempo. The point re DWTS is they use the orchestra because, as they're broadcast television, they would have to pay beaucoup bucks to use the original music (so they end up with wacky orchestrations and singers who can't sing.) Which might be the problem with allowing popular music with vocals as a skating option--the ISU or the networks would now run into the licensing fees for the music. Whereas with most classical, everyone with rights to it's been dead long enough it's not an issue. And soundtracks seem to have different rules, for some odd reason.

    Not saying every pop song is a good idea (ESPECIALLY when adapted for instrumental only--I could play you a very misbegotten rendition of "My Heart Will Go On" as a Paso Doble, or there's the video my one pro wishes would vanish of him on Come Dancing where they used "Always Something There To Remind Me" as a samba and yes, it was as bad as it sounds), but more variety and letting skaters use music they LIKE, as opposed to music they may not like, understand, or relate to, is not necessarily a bad thing.

    (And forcing someone to listen to music to "broaden their horizons" will not necessarily make them like it. I don't like opera and have no patience for symphonies. I understand they're hard to write and know from experience they're hard to perform, but that doesn't make me enjoy them. Likewise, if I got to Blackpool for the UK open, i'd be thrilled to be there, but I would STILL hate the music. Almost everyone does, except those who need "Tempo For Dummies" type songs with things like the woodblock of blindingly obvious beats to follow.)
  31. madm

    madm Active Member

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    I couldn't disagree more. Just because some skaters make bad music choices doesn't mean that vocals should be banned. There are pieces of music that are MUCH better with the words. For example, the performance of Singing in the Rain by ice dancers Dubreuil and Lauzon at 2004 Skate Canada was fabulous. They used the Gene Kelly song from the movie, complete with thunderclaps and falling rain. My daughter is skating this year to an instrumental version of Singing in the Rain by the Boston Pops, and it just doesn't pack the same punch as the vocal version. The routine has to rely on people to remember the words in their heads in order to get the connection with the acting that's going on (e.g. opening umbrellas, kicking puddles of water, feeling the first raindrops, etc.). The best routine ever to this number was done by Kurt Browning. Another good one was by Braden Overett. You can argue that those numbers were exhibition pieces, but Dubreuil and Lauzon did it in competition.

    Another piece of music many skaters have used is Carmina Burana, and that definitely has words in it in Latin. No one seems to get deductions for using that music. It is very powerful, and there is no all-instrumental version of it available. I would hate to see this music disqualified in a competition.
  32. maatTheViking

    maatTheViking Well-Known Member

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    Crap music is crap, lyrics or no. As a casual viewer (as much casual as you can get when you're actually paying for events and using FSU :p), I would *much* prefer lyrics for a lot music, I think it is much, much more engaging.

    Allowing lyrics would hopefully eliminate terrible muzak versions of pop songs too. I still shudder thinking about that instrumental Hotel California a Chinese man used some seasons ago.

    I also think that it would encourage using non-classical music a lot more, which I think would help pull in viewers.

    My husband, who is no fan of classical music, usually enjoys modern pieces a lot more when he casually views, simply because he can relate to it. Interesting though, if the skating is good enough, he stays watching, regardless of music :p.
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  33. Kwantumleap

    Kwantumleap New Member

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    This.
  34. caseyedwards

    caseyedwards Well-Known Member

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    What about interpretation mark? Like if you are intepretating words it may become less interpretation because you could be following lyrics rather than trying to interpret music. If you used lyrics judges could be like "well they are bing told by the lyrics how to act on the ice so I will like give them a 3 in interpration!" So not only would you get a minus one deduction on the music but totally hammered in the intepretation mark.
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2010
  35. gkelly

    gkelly Well-Known Member

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    My concern is that the lyrics can be distracting.

    A fan might be engaged with the lyrics and enjoy the program on that level completely apart from the quality of the skating including the skater's interpretation of the music and lyrics. That's great from an entertainment point of view, irrelevant to the sport as sport.

    But it could be a problem if judges are devoting too much of their brain power to following the lyrics, even without trying to, and missing details of the technical performance or of the skater's interpretation of the melody and rhythm as a result.

    With songs you already know, you can follow the lyrics in your head without expending much brain power on the process. And for songs with lyrics in languages you're completely unfamiliar with, it might as well be nonsense syllables. But for a song you've never heard before in a language you're fluent in, there will be a temptation to listen to what the singer is saying. And for a song in a language you sort-of know, there's a tendency to try to pick out recognizable words.

    Skating is an international sport. Not all judges are fluent in the same languages (yes, they have to have a working knowledge of English, but that doesn't necessarily mean easy fluency even in listening). Differences in cultural experience can also mean that songs that are very familiar to one person will be brand new to another and therefore claim more listening attention.

    The same is true of audiences and of skaters themselves. If a skater chooses a popular song in his/her own country and gets extra enthusiasm from home audiences that are familiar with the song, they may find the same program falling flat in front of audiences who never heard it before and don't know its cultural context.

    I don't like terrible muzak versions either. I do like it when skaters choose instrumental rock pieces, or jazz that's more challenging than big band swing.

    When using instrumental versions of music that was originally written with lyrics, the trick is to choose versions that retain the musical flavor of the original or add new colorings that add interest, not flatten them out into muzak.

    Take the Jeff Beck version of A Day in the Life (personally I prefer Jeremy Abbott's interpretation to Michelle Kwan's). I think that makes a good translation of a song with lyrics into a musical piece suitable for skating.

    I'd actually love to see an exhibition program to the Beatles song with the lyrics. But I would not like to be listening to the lyrics and scrutinizing lutz edges or counting spin revolutions at the same time.

    And then there's pop music. Most pop songs are just not very interesting musically. They may be fun and catchy and make for good exhibitions, but they don't give much more room for the skaters to show much nuance or finesse in their interpretation than muzaked songs.

    However, I fear that that's the kind of music most skaters would choose if allowed to skate to music with lyrics.
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2010
  36. geod2

    geod2 New Member

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    Setting a boundary of "voice(s), OK....lyrics Not OK" finally makes some sense to me from your rationale. Thank you, gkelly.

    Also, given the taste (or lack of) that we see often in costumes, if the door were thrown open to allow music with lyrics.... I would be afraid.....very afraid.

    :rolleyes:
  37. skatefan

    skatefan Well-Known Member

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    :lol: Me too ;)
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