Program music "mash ups" - when did they stop becoming regularly used??
I'm reading Scott Hamilton's biography, and realized for the first time just how many different pieces of music were sometimes used in one program. I think that one of his long programs had four or five?
Was this a trend during a certain period of skating?
I know some skaters now sometimes mix two very similar pieces of music, but I've seen other programs (80s and 90s) with very eclectic mixes.
Is it all "frowned upon" nowadays to mix so many different styles of music into one program, or is it just a style/trend to try to have one unified sounding program piece?
Last edited by Jozet; 09-22-2011 at 03:00 PM.
Reason: speeling misstake
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Yes it was a definite shift. Back in the day the skaters would often only change portions of their music each year, keeping segments of the previous year(s) and only gradually switching out everything. I was actually quite amused to realize this when viewing older performances. I would say though that it was a gradual shift in the late 80's & early 90's.
There is imo, definitely more subtlety in all mixes now so that it isn't even that noticeable when it does happen. The obvious reason for the mixes is to provide different tempos and different moods to show off the skaters' capabilities. The more pertinent shift is perhaps actually that the skaters mostly have a theme program even if there are music changes. If you look back at the old mixes there was really no attempt to "tell a story". Compare Underhill and Martini's Gold Medal long program at 1984 Worlds to Brian Boitano's Olympic Gold Medal Napoleon long program in 1988. Personally I think it was some of the choreographers who initiated the change and the success of their skaters and the way the crowd related to those programs really caught on quickly.
Added to that, this is when Pro skating on TV exploded and those programs were at least 90% to a single piece of music. Everyone became used to seeing their skating this way and expected to see it.
It seems to me that many of the skaters get extra motivation when they go for the story and it helps them on the artistic side so I don't really see that this is going to change significantly now.
Last edited by Skate Talker; 09-22-2011 at 05:07 PM.
Thank you! Great explanation and history lesson!
Torvill & Dean weren't the very first skaters ever to skate programs with single unified themes, but they were the most prominent in their time and did it consistently for their 1982-84 free dances. I would say that that had the biggest influence on ice dancers who followed, with singles and pairs joining the trend more in the later 1980s and 90s.
One of the reasons for the "music mash-ups" were that changes in tempi during programs were required.
Therefore, you often had some very strange music cuts used to convey that,
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gkelly, I certainly can at least partially agree with you about the ice dancers. I was quickly putting down the first thoughts I had about theme programs and I did consider the ice dancers a bit, but I guess since music interpretation was always such a super important part of dance I failed to give them as much credit for changes to the other disciplines as they perhaps deserve.
I remember reading a T&D bio that talked about their early world-level free dances being mixes of three, maybe four selections.
Though they were definitely on the rise in 1980, their 1982-1984 dances, all one composer and/or theme, really inspired them through their training and choreography periods -- and they went over huge with audiences.
That had to make a big impact with judges and other skaters and teams.
It was easy for audience and media alike to get psyched for the 1988 Olympics, with the Battles of Brians (Skostakovich vs. the Napoleon music) and on the ladies' side, two Carmens plus Caryn Kadavy's beautiful Spanish-theme program.
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Mash-ups have to be done very well in order to be effective. The Pink Panther songs Ingo Steuer thought sounded good together were horrendous. If Savchenko and Szolkowy didn't skate so well, I would have had to take a potty break.
T&D's early free dances:
1980 and 1981 are the traditional mash-ups whereas their Slaughter on Tenth Avenue FD from 1979 is almost thematic but then there's a random paso doble stuck on the end. It's as though they milked as many tempo changes out of the Slaughter score then ran out of options. But their development in these years is fascinating to watch.
Plushenko skated to 4 different Michael Jackson songs in his 2002 SP (that is in just 2 min. 40 sec).
G&G's 1988 LP had music by Mendelsohn, Chopin, Mozart in different phases.