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  1. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jun Y View Post
    From a purely sound/music point of view, one could imagine a program that is choreographed and intended for the ear only. I've always enjoyed listening to the sound of blades scraping on ice during warmup or practice sessions. Someone must have designed such a program or parts of a program I imagine --- instead of music or drum beats, you get rhythmic or syncopated sound of scraping, tapping, blades hitting the ice, etc., etc.
    Well, in addition to the Torvill & Dean program posted above, there's also this

    Both in a professional context.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheIronLady View Post
    I would love it if experimental and avant-garde music were tolerated better in competitive skating. There seems to be a real reaction to it anytime anyone tries anything left-of-center. I am thinking there are Asian and Japanese composers I would like to see interpreted, but we don't get enough skaters pushing or leading in new directions.
    Most music that's used in competitive skating is pretty easy to interpret, because most competitive skaters are quite young and have spent many more hours learning and drilling skating technique than they have studying music. I think only an older, musically experienced skater would be able to handle more challenging pieces -- and thus be more likely to be skating as professionals than in competition. With the lack of pro competitions these days and the looser rules about eligibility, skaters can go back and forth between shows and competition, so we could get the occasional musically sophisticated competitors.

    For skating shows aimed at mainstream or sports-oriented audiences where musically knowledgeable spectators are in a minority, safer choices are music that's easy to appreciate at first hearing (perhaps because its already familiar from other contexts). OR gimmicks can be fun, and skating to just the sound of the blades can be an effective gimmick for mass audiences if executed well in an accessible way.

    In a competition context, there are too many times when the sound system fails and the program has to stop and restart because of technical problems for it ever to be a safe choice deliberately not to use music. Sometimes skaters just have to continue without their music if stopping and fixing the problem is not an option for some reason, and there are very few who convey the style and rhythm of the music through movement alone. That's not what freestylers train for. Ice dancers would be more able to succeed. But because skating in time with the music is more explicitly judged in ice dance, I can't imagine a dance referee who would allow a dance team to compete if they had a music problem couldn't be solved. I think they'd be disqualified, but I haven't checked the rules, which may have changed over the years anyway.

    For freestyle, if all else fails, getting marks for the elements and whatever aspects of the PCS/second mark are still there to mark is more of an option.

    But for recorded sound that fits the rules but doesn't fit the norms, can we find examples from competition from skaters who were able to make it work?

    Should we start a thread about musically challenging pieces that some skaters have been successful with? No Carmen or Rach II, no matter how well interpreted -- pieces that take real thought and understanding to do anything with. The exceptions.

  2. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mafke View Post
    I'm sure some clever person can edit the composition so that it fits the ladies time limits. I know it's a shame to lose even a second of the composition but I personally think there's part from around 2.37 to almost 2.56 that isn't quite up to the rest....
    Clearly the performance you heard weren't up to the scratch as the performance I attended, which was mind mindbogglingly brilliant. I learnt so much about music theory during these few seconds.


    Quote Originally Posted by dinakt View Post
    os168, I never thought I would sound so unpoetic...
    If you suggest we have a portion of competition without music, learning to listen to skaters' blade work, that is a very valid suggestion.
    If you suggest athletes and judges have to evaluate and respond to concepts of avant garde, I think it is asking way too much of everybody. Before tackling silence as a concept, I'd like somebody to tackle something even slightly musically challenging. The example are few and far between.
    Maybe someone can choreograph a Homage to John Cage then?
    Apologies if I made you sound unpoetic, i wasn't even aware of it.

    Actually I don't think to choose this piece of music is particularly avant garde or was it my intention to produce avant garde art, since
    1) It is already a piece of music that has been around for 60 years. Not editing is necessary.
    2) It does not mean you skate to silences and you can do what ever you want, but it has with very specific outlined framework which the choreography must follow. Its approach is more about what fitting the skater most naturally, as oppose to do something original or experimental.
    3) The very specific choreographed movements need to be performed exactly as outlined since its first performance, and they would need to repeated according to original choreography. Any improvisation is a risk and to be discouraged, since time keeping essential.

    The team should therefore approach it just like any other music except maybe this one offers more freedom to express. Otherwise what is the point of having come up with a defined conceptual framework that is faithful to the music structure as outlined by the composer. It is there to enable the skater to develop their unique opinion on this piece, place their unique signature, and see what the audiences will get out of it. It also test to the judges as well to see if they can see merits of musicality purely from choreography movements.

    A true avant garde piece of work would be find a piece of music and goes deliberately against the music intention in both form and structure in search of originality and experiment. Or goes against the tempo of music, accurately and concisely by say exactly 5 beats to express say motion of Time warp. Such programs will equally requires exceptional skills and musicality to be able to tune yourself out concisely at the right moments, with accuracy and precision. After such performances, when replay the audio track forward by 5 beat, would everything still go concisely? Avant Garde performance would be something like Mao totally give up her ballet and classic form, and skate to something like Koyaanisqatsi or Naqoyqatsi by Philip glass consists of purely primal movements based on iterative music poetry. Or how about Daisuke skate to Amazon Rain Forest natural sounds in its most natural state unedited recorded at a particular moment in time and somehow still find performance out of that.

    I suppose I am just interested to find ways to present skating in its purest form, and I think John Cage's 4'33 may offer good possibly to do that - for the skater to find the greatest intimacy between just their blade and the ice with the most freedom, and importantly something unique about themselves they can get to express even beyond choreography instructions, which is something you don't see nearly enough under COP. To express musicality through purely choreography movements. To provide a thoughtful, provocative and narratively powerful work without any well established, familiar music to aid/justify/hinder the performance credibility/legitimacy. Their blade should be the most powerful instrument on the rink, and it would be nice if we can hear it for once
    Last edited by os168; 01-13-2013 at 11:21 PM.

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by gkelly View Post
    Well, in addition to the Torvill & Dean program posted above, there's also this
    Oh yes, I was thinking of this when I wrote it, not consciously but now I remember. Yes, I think the "skating to nonmusical sound compositions" idea should not be allowed in eligible competition, because it is too easy to be abused and impossible to be FAIRLY judged. It is hard enough to get judges' consensus now on relatively conservative selection of music with melody, harmony and rhythm and rate even slightly unconventional representation of such music on ice. Figure skating judging is by definition all about consensus, which necessarily punishes ambiguous, unconventional, and nonconformist styles and rewards "middle of the road" approaches that appeal to the largest common denominator without falling into vulgarity --- proclamations about "intellectual involvement" in the rulebook notwithstanding.

    I am not against the current consensus-based system of judging, however, because, after all, this is a sport that has to be judged with a degree of fairness, and unconventional representations cannot be fairly judged and too prone to abuse by both judges and skaters/coaches/federations. A "high-power" skater can skate to a soundtrack of no music and be rewarded for the artistic innovation, while it is actually easier to interpret than conventional programs, because he or she does not need to time the jumps and choreography to more strict sound/music cues.

    [All very good points deleted.]

    But for recorded sound that fits the rules but doesn't fit the norms, can we find examples from competition from skaters who were able to make it work?

    Should we start a thread about musically challenging pieces that some skaters have been successful with? No Carmen or Rach II, no matter how well interpreted -- pieces that take real thought and understanding to do anything with. The exceptions.
    What immediately came to mind was the ice dance program using part of a Martin Luther King, Jr's speech and Krylova/Ovsiannikov's African drum free dance.
    Last edited by Jun Y; 01-14-2013 at 03:55 PM.

  4. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jun Y View Post
    Figure skating judging is by definition all about consensus, which necessarily punishes ambiguous, unconventional, and nonconformist styles
    Not necessarily according to any rules. But nowhere in the requirements for competing in or judging figure skating is there any emphasis on intellectual understanding of experimental or avant-garde theories of music. Just getting skaters and judges to appreciate the easily accessible aspects of music interpretation is challenge enough. So you might get occasional rare skaters who try something experimental, and you might get an occasional judge who has a very sophisticated understanding of other theories of music because of experiences unrelated to their training in the skating world, or who just "gets" what the skater is trying to do on a less intellectualized level. And if they intersect, the judge who understands what the skater is doing is perfectly free to reward it. They might be "out of the corridor" for those one or two components for that one skater, but they'll have a good explanation of why, if asked to defend those marks.

    and rewards "middle of the road" approaches that appeal to the largest common denominator without falling into vulgarity --- proclamations about "intellectual involvement" in the rulebook notwithstanding.
    But in practice, yes, most experts in skating will have only a general basic education in music, perhaps only through their judging training, or they might be musicians themselves within mainstream classical, popular, or folk styles without much experience with the avant-garde, so most of them won't "get" something that's too far out there.

    So by default, if a skater tries something too risky, at best they're likely to be rewarded only rarely by the exceptional judges who happen to understand what they're trying to do and penalized by the rest for failing to do what those judges expect skaters to do musically.

  5. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by gkelly View Post
    Well, in addition to the Torvill & Dean program posted above, there's also this
    Wow this is sooo cool, it is exactly what I am talking about, sort of. It reminded me of that UK improvisation tv series 'Who's line is it anyway', except this could be 'who's skate is it anyway'. I admit the sound effect is more grating to the ear that I'd thought, i'd imagine something far much more romantic and sexy. Seems Pro circuit used to produce some really interesting work.

    Actually I have always wondered why there are no music expert of choreography expert there to highlight the difficulty of the music or the choreography before a competition, since certain music are far more easier to perform, interpret than others that follows conventional structure, tempo that affect choreography movements, and the ability to interpret. How is it more intricate choreographed work that require greater effort on the skater able to compete fairly with something with little or no choreographed work that focuses entirely on delivering the COP with little effort as possible? It is like a piano competition, the one that brave Rachmaninov Concerto 3 with level 8 expertise (70% success rate) trying to compete with someone playing Bach - Air on a G with level 5 skills (98% success rate), if you only judge them purely by interpretation, it seems a bit unfair given everything else they have to do and the effort that need to go into risk of the more difficult piece. I know having better transitions are suppose to count towards better GOEs, and they are suppose to show up in PCS by estimation, but these days, especially with the depreciation in GOE scale values, and everything else with it I am not sure if this is sufficiently rewarded without factor other variables into account.
    Last edited by os168; 01-14-2013 at 05:21 PM.

  6. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by os168 View Post
    Actually I have always wondered why there are no music expert of choreography expert there to highlight the difficulty of the music or the choreography before a competition, since certain music are far more easier to perform, interpret than others that follows conventional structure, tempo that affect choreography movements, and the ability to interpret.
    Are you asking why the sport of figure skating doesn't have officials who have expertise in music well beyond what is required for the sport?

  7. #27

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    gkelly, I totally love you for this link
    http://youtu.be/QCapfwISfAU
    It made my evening.
    improving my ballad- like lines

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