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Toller Cranston on the music chosen by today's skaters for their programs and COP

Discussion in 'Great Skate Debate' started by Maofan7, Jan 16, 2012.

  1. Maofan7

    Maofan7 Member

    Interesting article about Toller Cranston. He also has some interesting views about the music chosen by modern day skaters for their programs and COP/IJS. The article reads:-

    Skating has changed dramatically since this skater’s [(i.e. Cranston's)] heyday, and not necessarily for the better. At one time, certain music was associated with certain skaters. No more. “It began with the likes of Elvis Stojko,” [Cranston] says. “This isn’t a criticism: they were more interested in another rotation in the air than choosing music that was a creative launching pad.” Patrick Chan, the 2011 World Champion, is “a million times better than I ever was,” says Cranston, but the music he skates to is completely forgettable. “It seems to me the music now is second to technical abilities on the ice. That’s how you get marked. There’s no reason to be as bent upon being as creative as I was, because there’s no benefit to that. I was lucky enough to be in an age where the actual music you skated to, say for a world championship, was kept secret. It was a big surprise.”

    At the heart of the debate yet again is COP/IJS. Its removed a lot of the artistry, musicality, and choreography from skating programs. Accordingly, I agree with Cranston that, as he puts it: "the music now is second to technical abilities on the ice." Skating should not be just about technical ability. The music is integral to a fully rounded and properly packaged program. A skaters artistry and musicality, and their ability to interpret a program, can only be fully realised with good choreography and music. The advent of COP has mean't that programs have been asphyxiated and stifled by an over-abundance of technical content, which has mean't that there far less room for artistry. Result: more monotonous and tedious programs than there used to be (with less choreography, and more and more competitors just skating through programs without paying any attention to the music, or trying to interpret what is behind the program). That in my opinion is why audiences and public interest have fallen, and the reason why TV coverage has dropped off. No doubt the COP supporters will disagree. But, if the spectators are going to return and if TV company's are going to start broadcasting events again, then COP/IJS needs to go. The ISU would have been better off fixing the old 6.0 system, rather than throwing the baby out with the bathwater as it were.

    Its an old debate that Toller has reopened. However, with public interest and TV coverage at an all time low, it remains a debate of the utmost importance if the decline in figure skating is to be reversed. Here are a few of the old articles:-

    Article 1
    Article 2
    Article 3
    Article 4
    Article 5
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2012
  2. nylynnr

    nylynnr Well-Known Member

    I agree as well. After all, if it's first and foremost wonderful music you are after, go to Avery Fisher Hall.
  3. skatesindreams

    skatesindreams Well-Known Member

    Hope that someone can attend the concert:

    Skating legend Toller Cranston pairs up with Edmonton Symphony
    Gold Medal Skates: Figure Skating’s Greatest Hits

    With: Toller Cranston (host), Lucas Waldin (conductor) and the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra
    When: Thursday at 8 p.m.
    Where: Winspear Centre

    Tickets: $20 to $75 plus service charges at ticketmaster.com or edmontonsymphony.com
  4. MacMadame

    MacMadame Cat Lady-in-Training

    I agree that music selection is a lot different than when Toller skated. Back in his day, skaters routinely skated to music with 5 different cuts often different composers and pieces all slammed together and chosen only to show off different aspects of the skater's skills and not to tie together as a performance at all.

    And yet a lot of it still managed to be forgettable!
    Ozzisk8tr and (deleted member) like this.
  5. overedge

    overedge Janny uber

    That doesn't mean skating music now doesn't suck. It just sucks in a different way than it sucked in Toller's day.

    I think Toller has some very valid points.
  6. Aussie Willy

    Aussie Willy Hates both vegemite and peanut butter

    Toller = Disco Firebird

    I totally agree. The problem still is that regardless of how much music there is out there to choose from, skaters tend to pick the same pieces over and over again. It has gone on for years. There are still many pieces that the moment I hear them I groan because I am just over them.
  7. manhn

    manhn Well-Known Member

    Who doesn't associate Dragon with Elvis? What the hell music do people associate with Schuba?
  8. flowerpower

    flowerpower Well-Known Member


    The memorable music of the past was by far the exception and not the rule.
  9. Subway

    Subway Well-Known Member

    I don't know - the artistry as actually scored under 6.0 (presentation which is when I was first familiar) is a technical mark too. It's this theatre-type verdict on how expressive you are or how moving or whose music was better or deeper or whose theme more significant artistically. That's impossible. We're not a sport then.

    Just on this forum, one person's idea of memorable artistry is another person's Vegas kitsch. Another person's idea of classic is someone else's sterile. There's no consensus and it can't be legislated through judging either. You just can't.
  10. gkelly

    gkelly Well-Known Member

    Sabre Dance? Really? Sorry, but after seeing these performances I can't see skating to that music as anything other than a joke.
  11. snoopysnake

    snoopysnake Well-Known Member

    Schubie-doobie-do, where are you?
    You got some work to do now....


    Couldn't resist!

    I sure wish I could attend that concert!
  12. professordeb

    professordeb Well-Known Member

    When I first started to watch skating it was back in the 60's whenever ABC decided to throw us a bone with the occassional treat by CBC. I remember hearing wierd cuts of music and for the life of me I couldn't understand why someone would use multiple pieces of music with with to skate. Puzzled, until some kind commentator (I don't remember who but just as likely to be Uncle Dick) explained it - sort of. I still wasn't buying it but since this was what was seemingly required, I put up with the music to see the skating.
    Then came the early 90's when I got to see more on TV and I found the internet. More and more skaters were using one piece of music - or at least one "movie" track. At least with the movie tracks, I found I could at least resonate with some of what people were trying to express on ice.
    Do I miss the days of those bad music cuts? NOPE!
    Do I like all the music or cuts currently used today? NOPE
    and I doubt I ever will.
    For me it has always been the music supporting what was taking place on the ice instead of it being the other way around. Some music is just SOOOOOOO big, that it carries the skater rather than the music and skater working together to weave a spell under which I would love to fall under.
  13. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I <3 Kozuka

    I find neither Vivaldi's "Four Seasons" nor "Aranjuez" forgettable music.
  14. Penniless Rostrum

    Penniless Rostrum Looking for my siggy!!!

    OH dearest Toller, I wish they could bring back the mould you broke and make a younger one of you to watch cause all my VHS tapes have gotten old and rotten too!!! My deepest deepest love and adoration to you.:rollin:
  15. nubka

    nubka Well-Known Member

    I wonder how he managed that? Wouldn't he have skated to that music at Canadian Nationals before Worlds? :confused:
  16. skateboy

    skateboy Well-Known Member


    Exactly. All the thought that has gone into IJS/COP could have gone into revamping 6.0.
  17. Japanfan

    Japanfan Well-Known Member

    I was about to say exactly the same thing.

    When Toller was skating there was a whole lot less TV coverage than there is now. And the coverage provided by Bold and Universal Sports in the past few years has been excellent. Speaking specifically of Bold, the coverage has been better than it was during the heyday of the 90s. Every single skate pretty much at Worlds. Obviously someone is watching. And, I would think that there are many more people watching skating today than in Toller's time, among them some who aren't familiar with the old system and don't make negative comparisons that diminish their enjoyment.
  18. choreographer:)

    choreographer:) New Member

    Well, I don't know about all of you, but I will be skating to "Romeo and the Phantom of Shaheracarmenbird Lake Side Story in Blue Danube of the Caribbean" this year!

    PS: Did I miss any?
    PSS: FYI: I claim intellectual property rights to the above mentioned show program, and as soon as Ryan Bradley is ready:) I will be happy to choreograph it for him:) haha
  19. MacMadame

    MacMadame Cat Lady-in-Training

    Except it also sucked in the same way: skaters often picked tired old pieces that had been used 100x before them.

  20. berthesghost

    berthesghost Well-Known Member

    Mala miss blues for four once upon an untouchable sleeping Giselle mission in paris inthe rain chez?
  21. choreographer:)

    choreographer:) New Member

    Ok . . .ahem . . ."Ravel's Once upon a Waltz from Romeo and the Phantom of Sleeping SchaharaCarmenbird Lake Side Love Story in Blue Danube-cracker of the Caribbean in Paris." . . Do we stop here? . . I think so:)
  22. aliceanne

    aliceanne Well-Known Member

    I wouldn't throw the tried and true pieces completely under the bus. Sometimes people come up with interesting variations of the standard. Disco Firebird served Toller well. I've heard Summertime done with everything from a harmonica solo to a full orchestra, and every singer from Peter Gabriel to Billie Holiday.

    I think it is hard to experiment with competition music. The judges come from different countries and you don't know who you will get. It's hard for them to appreciate your interpretation if they don't know anything about the music (unless you are truly great).
  23. Ozzisk8tr

    Ozzisk8tr Well-Known Member

    Instead of Carmen, can't someone skate to Carmen Miranda? I want to see Plush nail a triple axel in a tutti fruity hat without losing his cherry.
  24. satchelpooch318

    satchelpooch318 Active Member

    I will become a Plushy fan in a heartbeat if he incorporates choreography from the following video in his program: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vlndNoogYnI
  25. aliceanne

    aliceanne Well-Known Member

    One BIG problem with skating music is the acoustics in skating rinks and sports arenas are lousy. You can choose something that sounds fabulous on you personal player, and it's not so great when played over the loudspeaker at an arena.
  26. sfahrut

    sfahrut Member

    ^Exactly! So many times run into this. Thinking 'this is great, perfect music' , then going to the rink and feel totally disappointed. Or sometime even worse- sounds great at training rink and then on a competition total let down.
  27. snoopysnake

    snoopysnake Well-Known Member

    How could Carmen Miranda possibly be used by anyone except Florent Amodio?
  28. RobinA

    RobinA Active Member


    Pretty much!

    A lot of music sucked then, a lot sucks today. Too many skaters then and now skated around while music played. Some skaters aren't compelling to ANY music, some skaters can make any music sound good. Tak's LP this year is to music that I should hate, hate, hate. Most other skaters skating to that music would send me straight to the refrig. But he makes it work in spades. One of the best LPs ever, in my opinion.
  29. berthesghost

    berthesghost Well-Known Member

    Except that's not what he's saying. Curry for example skated to DonQ in he lp and shez in the exhibition, both tired old chestnuts dragged out of mothballs, yet John made them his, so much so I'm always shocked that anyone after even went there. And they all failb y comparison IMHO: irina and Sarah's donQ LPs :rolleyes: :( :scream: and then shez :( miki aside, even usually great skaters like yuna, mk and Mao made :blah: programs with it. With all of his wonderful qualities, is anyone really gonna argue than chan "owns" poto? And sorry, this is not the fault of the music.
  30. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I <3 Kozuka

    While most programs fail in comparison to Curry's "Don Q", Curry's cuts were all from the Act III pas de deux, the most familiar music from the ballet, and for the second half of her program, Slutskaya used cuts that most people had never heard before. Even in the familiar-ish opening cut, she used the extended ensemble version, not the pas de deux version. Hughes did all the recognizable cuts.