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The influence of classical music on figure skating

Discussion in 'The Trash Can' started by Maofan7, Jan 4, 2013.

  1. bardtoob

    bardtoob Former Choreographer for Anna Maria Tragikova

    Well, in theory, "Classical Music" should be defined as the music between the Baroque and Romanic period that began after JS Bach died to about the time Beethoven died, but I did not think that narrow definition fits the question since many skaters choose music from the Romantic period, like from Operas and Ballets.
  2. Vash01

    Vash01 Fan of Yuzuru, Medvedeva, T&M, Shibs, P&C

    There are different periods to define Baroque, classical, romantic and modern music. I don't remember all the dividing lines, but I had learned it in my music listening class. Typically though we refer to most of this music as 'classical'. Actually Rachmaninoff is a modern composer (in the 20th century), but we call his music 'classical', although we go strictly by definition, it's not.
  3. Vash01

    Vash01 Fan of Yuzuru, Medvedeva, T&M, Shibs, P&C

    Last edited: Jan 5, 2013
  4. Zemgirl

    Zemgirl Well-Known Member

    Re the definition of classical, I think in this case Wikipedia has a useful one:

    Classical music is the art music produced in, or rooted in, the traditions of Western liturgical and secular music, encompassing a broad period from roughly the 11th century to present times.[1] The central norms of this tradition became codified between 1550 and 1900, which is known as the common practice period.

    I assume this is correct?

    Don't worry, soon music with lyrics will be allowed even outside ice dance, and then you will have as many Adele and hip-hop programs as you could possibly want. Or, as is the case in ice dance, many tributes to medleys.

    I agree with gkelly that classical music is well-suited to the quality of skating movement. The sheer number of classical compositions and their suitability to skating ensures their popularity, rather than skating being stuck in the days of Jackson Haines (when Vivaldi and Bach were not pop music - and really, Speedy et al. aren't that old :p).

    Also, many skaters do not skate to classical music all that often,if at all - Takahashi mixes classical in occasionally but mostly does other things, Yuna Kim has done a few non-classical programs, and Akiko Suzuki and Kiira Korpi also have a mix of different types. Savchenko/Szolkowy don't seem to do classical at all and neither do Pechalat/Bourzat, Joubert's 9th symphony LP that was mentioned upthread is the only classical program I can recall him doing, and so on.
  5. lily

    lily Active Member

  6. bardtoob

    bardtoob Former Choreographer for Anna Maria Tragikova

    Wikipedia is a great quick reference, but this definition is something that could just as well be on Urban Dictionary. It is about as nuanced as defining pairs skating in such a way that it includes both pairs and ice dance.

    I'm actually quite surprised that it includes Medieval music. Generally, common practice, which I assume is with respects to tonality, began with the restriction of parallel perfects. Then again, this is why the definition is particularly bad, it speaks almost exclusively about time rather than the characteristics of the music. Furthermore, what defines the eras within the common practice period are the aesthetic goals of the artists.

    With respects to this thread, this definition does not work because it leaves out Puccini, Bizet, Tchaikovsky, and Rachmaninoff. How many threads have there been that plead for the banning of Tosca, Carmen, and Swan Lake and gush about the emotional depth of programs to Rachmaninoff No. 2 and 3.
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2013
  7. Zemgirl

    Zemgirl Well-Known Member

    It's not a full definition, it's the introductory portion of the article, and as such it's not meant to be an exhaustive discussion of the history of classical music and the various views on how to define it. The [1] reference is to the OED, by the way, not Urban Dictionary.

    I don't see how it leaves out any of the composers you mentioned, since it does say "up to present times", and none of them lived before the 11th century.

    This is the Merriam-Webster definition, which makes no reference to any time period:
    And here's a link to the actual definitions that are on Urban Dictionary.

    I'm too lazy to start combing music websites for definitions, but I assume that it's an easy term to define vaguely and a difficult one to define precisely. Kind of "I'll know it when I hear it" situation.
  8. bardtoob

    bardtoob Former Choreographer for Anna Maria Tragikova

    Yes, but in this case, however, you should have gone with the Urban Dictionary definition 1, which is more accurate than the definition from Wikipedia. :cold:

    . . . much to my surprise.

    Defining the term precisely is actually quite easy if you can describe music with respects to structure, form, etc. I've heard that even an American high school student from the 1950s that never played a musical instrument or participated in musical performance was expected to be able to do this as part of standard curriculum.

    Defining the term vaguely is actually quite difficult since that assumes you are communicating with somebody that does not understand structure, form, etc. Most people today would have to learn this as an elective in college, if they chose such an elective among many other options.
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2013
  9. Zemgirl

    Zemgirl Well-Known Member

    As I understand it, that would be considered a narrow definition that only looks at composers from the classical period - and a lot of people disagree with that as a definition of classical music. I'm not enough of an expert to have my own opinion, maybe because by the time I was in high school it was not part of the curriculum. :D
    Maofan7 and (deleted member) like this.
  10. bardtoob

    bardtoob Former Choreographer for Anna Maria Tragikova

    Same here, too young. Such a shame since we obviously have some kind of affinity to that subject :D

    If I had learned this in high school, I probably would not have been forced to take that 5th year of college, which is when I finally found the time to take business and econ courses :shuffle:
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2013
  11. bardtoob

    bardtoob Former Choreographer for Anna Maria Tragikova

    I was thinking about something with more depth and some of the characteristics with which gkelly was referring, like the music from the contemporary Argentine Jazz artist Raul di Blasio, which most people on this thread would know for his piece Otonal.
  12. Katarzyna

    Katarzyna Well-Known Member

    Otonal - love it! :swoon::swoon::swoon:

    Maria Butyrskaja: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n67pXhfRfd0 (WC 1999, LP)
    Johnny Weir: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ttNzEwPMLM (US Nats 2005, LP)
  13. briancoogaert

    briancoogaert Well-Known Member

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  14. TheresMaude

    TheresMaude Member

    IMO it qualifies more as faux classical.
  15. bardtoob

    bardtoob Former Choreographer for Anna Maria Tragikova

    I do not think anybody, including Katarzyna, thinks Otonal is classical since Raul di Blasio is considered a contemporary jazz artist, but it does have the qualities that gkelly previously mentioned that make it easy to use in a skating program.

    This all came up after I basically said that skating is stuck in 1885, probably because tonal music has high points, low points, and a sense of direct that makes it very accessible to the types of choreography that entertains.
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2013
  16. Katarzyna

    Katarzyna Well-Known Member

    I’d certainly won’t consider Jazz Classics! :lol: Actually that’s music I really dislike (well, tastes are different :eek:). Otonal, however, is simply beautiful, certainly not classic “classics” but for me it has classical beauty. :)

    For the whole discussion what’s classics and what not, I’ll stick with the definition of Wikipedia (though of course wiki cannot be considered high science :p), that the common period of classics was between 1550 and 1900, which means that music composed after 1900 fitting the characteristics of classic is not automatically considered as not being classics.

    I remember when I was at secondary school in Austria (probably kind of Junior High school compared to U.S.) we had musical education as a subject and we had to learn about classic composers, their lives, their works and so on. – And this included many composers who actually were born / composed after 1900, e.g. Stravinski, Rachmaninov or Karl Orff - Carmina Burana for example was composed in 1937. Here is another clip:

    Anissina / Peizerat: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fsvq-N7xAtc (WC 2000, FD)

    In addition many classical pieces change temper, which is also great for creating figure skating programmes (Samson and Delilah or Sailor dance come to my mind!).

    I also think that skaters using classics have another big advantage: as the majority of programmes was and is done to classics, it is kind of well accepted practice among the judges. Though I love classics in skating, I actually don’t like that as reasoning for choosing classics, but just look how often even skaters who didn’t always skate to classics stick with it e.g. during a Olympic season. ;)
  17. Cherub721

    Cherub721 YEAH!

    Beethoven's Seventh Symphony

    Ravel's Bolero
    Vanessa Giunchi
    Alexander Abt
    Leonova & Khvalko - can't find vid

    Gliere Harp Concerto
    Lucinda Ruh

    Sasha Cohen - Mendelssohn Cello Concerto

    Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto (#2 and 3)
    Naomi Nari Nam

    Mikkeline Kierkegaard - Rondo Capriccioso

    Meditation de Thais
    Oksana Baiul

    Mahler's 5th Symphony
    Katia Gordeeva
    Virtue & Moir

    Sibelius - Valse Triste
    Virtue & Moir
    Drobiazko & Vanagas, 1999
    Drobiazko & Vanagas, 2012
    Rahkamo & Kokko

    Albinoni's Adagio
    Emanuel Sandhu
    Grishuk & Platov
    Maria Butyrskaya

    Rossini - La Pie Voleuse
    Surya Bonaly

    Verdi's Requiem
    Gordeeva & Grinkov

    Mozart's Requiem
    Denkova & Staviyski

    Mussogorsky - Night on Bald Mountain
    Alexander Fadeev
    Kohklova & Novitsky

    Grieg - Peer Gynt
    Totmianina & Marinin

    Peter Barna - Paganini Violin Concerto
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  18. Katarzyna

    Katarzyna Well-Known Member

    Cherub721 – thank you for adding the clips! And I’m particularly thankful for the two above. This programme of Alexander Fadeev - he was the guy who made me fell in love with Russian male skating in 1989 for the first time. :)

    More Valse Triste by Johnny Weir:

    More Meditation de Thais by Berezhnaya Sikharulidze:

    I like to add Sailor dance by Gliere (I love this music piece, possibly because I also love Russian Music):

    Artem Borodulin: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NguravwO0iA (EC 2009, SP) :swoon:
    Viacheslav Zagorodiuk: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kr-gqGxwQXI (1996 Centennial on Ice, SP) :swoon:

    and my favourite one:
    Sasha Abt: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8v4qLdIJp0s (CoR 2003, SP) :swoon::swoon::swoon:
    bardtoob and (deleted member) like this.
  19. bardtoob

    bardtoob Former Choreographer for Anna Maria Tragikova

    Well, that's good to know. It would certainly be a shame if somebody from Austria did not have a decent grasp of Classical music, even as it is formally defined. The last time I was there I vowed I would go to listen more so than sightsee the next time.

    ... I would still call music of the middle 19th century to the early 20th century that followed common practice "Romantic", possibly qualifying it with "that is, late Classical music", depending on my audience, since the Romantic era is generally well understood as immediately preceding the Modern era in so many disciplines.
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2013
  20. BreakfastClub

    BreakfastClub Active Member

    Man, y'all are way overthinking and overanalyzing this. Whoever said classical music is like porn is right. You know it when you hear it. :lol: I've never ever heard anyone debate the term "classical music." There is a classical period within the overarching genre of classical music that is epitomized by the music of Haydn, Mozart and early Beethoven , but to parse the definition of classical music over this and argue that Bach nor Brahms can be called classical composers is beyond ridiculous.

    This is much more accurate from wikipedia:

    The dates of the Classical period in Western music are generally accepted as being between about 1750 and 1820. However, the term classical music is used colloquially to describe a variety of Western musical styles from the ninth century to the present, and especially from the sixteenth or seventeenth to the nineteenth.

    Generally, I do consider most 20th century composers to still be in the colloquial "classical music" genre, Schoenberg, Berg, Stavinsky, Hindemith, Ravel, Poulenc, Vaughn Williams... in fact, the 20th century was the great age for American composers: Bernstein, Hanson, Piston, Copeland, Ives, Persichetti. There is absolutely not doubt that I would describe all of these composers as "classical."

    (Note that I say the above as someone who was an accomplished classical musician, playing/performing internationally in several top US youth ensembles (orchestras/quintets), studied privately under a member of a Big 5 orchestra for eight years. I decided not to go the conservatory route or make it my career but did minor in music theory and history at an Ivy with a well respected musicology program.)

    Edited to add some actual skating content to my post:

    Best program representing the Baroque period of classical music, Denkova/Stavski's 2003 OD!!! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GsAhLiGTva8
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2013
  21. lulu

    lulu New Member

    Thank you so much for the incredible list! :cheer: Here is the video of L&K's version of Bolero
  22. shine

    shine Well-Known Member

    Good clarification. And the term "classical" music with a lower case "c" is used to refer to the general genre of music, and the "Classical" period is usually denoted with a capital C.
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  23. Katarzyna

    Katarzyna Well-Known Member

    :respec: Yeah! :respec:

    More Valse Triste by Alissa Czisny:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zA158YOWQVE (TEB 2011, LP)

    Tchaikovski, Nutcracker:

    Shen/Zhao: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DHQRfNDX3kI (GPF 2004, LP)
    Bechke/Petov: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eWaSkMn25Kw (OG 1992, LP)
    Sasha Cohen: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6PddOi_Dmlc (WC 2005, LP)
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  24. Vash01

    Vash01 Fan of Yuzuru, Medvedeva, T&M, Shibs, P&C

  25. paskatefan

    paskatefan Well-Known Member

    :) A real standout - gorgeous program - we were so lucky to see it in person @ 2003 Worlds.
    Maofan7 and (deleted member) like this.
  26. Jun Y

    Jun Y Well-Known Member

    All I'm saying is, if you put Bach and Stravinsky and Verdi into the same genre/category, this genre would be too large and too diverse to be meaningful or insightful for the purpose of grouping and comparing with other genre (e.g., jazz, popular, folk, dance, music theater, modern). It becomes increasingly ambiguous and pointless if we are to put Leonard Bernstein, who did a little of everything, (as well as George Gershwin) into the class of "classical composers".

    I am often bemused and disappointed that Bolero is Ravel's most popular, most well-known work. I have by no means heard everything by Ravel, but anything else of his I've heard is more interesting and less boring than Bolero. (There is speculation that the repetitiveness in Bolero was actually an early manifestation of Ravel's dementia. See report on RadioLab.) Figure skating does little to correct this injustice, but there have been some good and interesting programs using Ravel's music that's not Bolero:

    1. Amanda Evora & Mark Ladwig 2011-12 free skate to Daphnis et Chloe, choreographed by Jim Peterson. A lovely and difficult program. Unfortunately I cannot find a video on YouTube.

    2. So Youn Park (KOR) 2012-13 short program to Pantoum. The program's requirement for interpretation is subtle but in fact quite difficult.

    3. Paul Wylie 1992 short program to La Valse. The interpretation is textbook.

    4. Yasmin Siraj 2011-2013 short program also to Daphnis et Chloe, choreographed by Jamie Isley. Full of transitions with difficult, precise interpretation.

    It seems that Ravel's music puts out a tall challenge for choreography and interpretation, and those who take it on have to be very good at it or the result would be a hot mess.
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2013
  27. aftershocks

    aftershocks Well-Known Member


    :respec: Thank you! Thank you!
  28. IceAlisa

    IceAlisa discriminating and persnickety ballet aficionado

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  29. misskarne

    misskarne #AustraliaForTheTeamEvent

    brb, this thread sent me on a Sasha Abt trip. :swoon:
  30. Zemgirl

    Zemgirl Well-Known Member

    Here you go.

    That never hurts ;)