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Thread: How Do We Measure Musicality in FS?

  1. #121
    On the Ice Raomina's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gkelly View Post
    Hypothetically,

    Skater A strokes on the beat throuought the program, times the jumps and big movements with musical accents or highlights, skates exactly on the beat throughout step sequences, with some surprising highlights reflecting details of the music, times arm movements and changes of foot or position in spins with the musical phrasing, etc, but shows hardly any facial expression and uses limited upper body movement.

    Skater B is very emotionally expressive to the overall feel and mood of the music, uses the face and whole body to engage with the audience, but doesn't phrase or time the movement directly to the music at all, often starting an element in the middle of a musical phrase or vice versa, etc.

    Who is more musical?
    To me, both parts are necessary, but in my opinion, what Skater A does is more learnable by Skater B but not vice versa. Hitting every note, which is what Skater A does, is more related to 'choreography', and is what I feel is the thing that doesn't change between performances, while what skater B does is more intangible and emotional, which is the thing that changes between performances. In general, I think it is easier to learn to 'hear the music' and know what musical notes and phrasing to look out for (the process of becoming more refined) than it is to learn how to really 'feel the music'. So, to me, Skater B has greater potential to be more musical than Skater A.

    For example, I'm not an expert in this, but I came across this masterclass video by Maxim Vengerov a while ago and the difference between this and this is very stark to me.

  2. #122
    On the Ice Mussique's Avatar
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    Wow, I'm glad you guys liked my earlier comment! Thanks everyone and thanks for the recs too I wanted to answer this but then decided to do a video with the beats with dots and it took me more time than I expected. If any of you would like me to analyze some video just tell me btw! It's very fun!

    Quote Originally Posted by Xen View Post
    Absolutely effin' brilliant.
    And wonderful explanation with good illustrations of programs (and why post Yuna, I can't see anyone else do Send in the Clowns).
    Curious for your take on this:
    Seimei Step Sequence 1.0 (https://youtu.be/EhU_5Y7x9PM) versus the one you linked. Which one do you think has a better fit to the music actually, if rules were not an issue?
    Glad you liked it!! Thanks!
    I made this thing for comparison, adding a big white circle with the beat. It's pretty shabby, but it helps
    In my personal opinion: the first version is more dynamic. It feels more energetic and goes quite well with the drums. You can see this in movements like the big swizzle that ends on the backward crossrolls. I really like those, and also how he plays with the upper body after this, using it for momentum to come into the half-twizzle toe-toe-toe when the musical phrasing is added.
    The competition version, in contrast, feels more refined; he's definitely extending more and taking care of every detail (this is pretty remarkable in the hands). The practice gear does make a nice line of contrast in the ice, and with the white Seimei costume it's not as visible (the costume adds another dimension, but loses the "lean" view of the body lines). In the competition version, I like how he plays with turns and lounges in the "important parts" of the beat. That's the part that I feel improves musically/choreographically speaking, but I do miss the energy of the first version.

    Quote Originally Posted by Xen View Post
    As for music, I'm curious if you think there are music types that are harder to skate to? For example, Krylova and Ovsyannakov's 1999 FD (https://youtu.be/V63AV_NDee4). One thing I've personally always wanted to see more men's single skater do a program to Taiko drumming, but would that be too hard?
    Interesting point! Every kind of music has its own difficulties. Skating for "slow" music allows the skater to relax. It also somehow eases the need for marking the beat (if you erased the drums in Seimei, you wouldn't "need" to have those very marked steps). Most people won't notice you missing the beat in that kind of programs. At the same time, having a strong rhythmic background helps with timing and adds a layer of expression on itself. You don't need to train your languid/ soulful facial expression on those. It helps you to be distinctive (adding lyrics also helped with this!). I don't necessarily feel like they are more difficult to skate, just different. I do think they're more difficult to choreograph.
    Taiko drums would be so cool!

    Quote Originally Posted by yyyskate View Post
    YuliaLip has musicality?????

    just my 2 cents, use lady skater to measure musicality: from Yulia 0 to Yuna 10
    Quote Originally Posted by Sam-Skwantch View Post
    You mentioned Autumn leaves which I agree with but I’d like to use an example to try to pinpoint and hopefully make sense of a difficult concept. Yulia’s musicality is a rare bird and not easily spotted by some so it makes for a fascinating discussion. For instance..when you watch that step sequence you’ve linked several things jump out but what’s most intriguing to me is how she uses the more hidden musical structures to bring out her choreographic movements. It’s easy to miss. :o
    Your whole post is very interesting, Sam-Skwantch!!

    ...I really never ever thought Yulia's musicality as something difficult to miss, to be honest, I thought it was pretty straight-forward, but since @yyyskate answered that... I don't think there's anything left to explain though. I wanted to answer something sarcastic, but I'll refrain I will say though that Yuna misses the beat more times than Yulia does (aka. the struggle with spins 2.1). And I love Yuna!
    I'd also like to add something about Yulia: she follows the beat in the moment she's extending her body lines to the maximum. I find that impressive! I think it's more difficult than "just" doing the steps themselves to the beat, which is pretty difficult as well. Another thing remarkable in that program is the fact that the tempo changes in the middle. It starts slow, and very free, and then adds the bass to have a strong rythmic reference. That's how she manages to skate in a pretty relaxed way at the beginning -- long movements, plenty of flow, choreographed to the lyrics and melody more than to the rythm: she jumps just before "C'est une chanson", adds a gorgeous ina bauer and "qui nous ressamble", this is the presentation of the song, and of herself, just as the lyrics say. It's perfect! "Toi qui m'aimais/ Et je t'aimais" has a somewhat coquettish shoulder movement that I love; and then comes to a more energetic part with "mais la vie", which is where the part you explained with the beats comes in handy. Another really nice choreographic/musical touch is the placement of spins. Yulia spins really fast, and it'd be off-tempo, so they're placed always on rubato or ritardando. That means she can spin as fast as she wants to (or even speed the spin while in it) and it won't be out of place.
    I could do a dot-thingy of her, but I think your post got the program mostly covered

    Quote Originally Posted by gkelly View Post
    Hypothetically,

    Skater A strokes on the beat throuought the program, times the jumps and big movements with musical accents or highlights, skates exactly on the beat throughout step sequences, with some surprising highlights reflecting details of the music, times arm movements and changes of foot or position in spins with the musical phrasing, etc, but shows hardly any facial expression and uses limited upper body movement.

    Skater B is very emotionally expressive to the overall feel and mood of the music, uses the face and whole body to engage with the audience, but doesn't phrase or time the movement directly to the music at all, often starting an element in the middle of a musical phrase or vice versa, etc.

    Who is more musical?
    Most skaters are a mix between A and B, so it's very difficult to answer this. I can't believe any skater would follow the beat to a T without feeling anything through it, and I don't think anyone can be very expressive to the music without having some kind of reaction. That being said, due to my training, that while I can somewhat excuse a skater missing the beat (it irks me, though), if they don't engage me with the performance I can't get behind that at all. There are many ways that one can follow the music, and having every step in a beat is just one of them.

  3. #123
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mussique View Post
    Wow, I'm glad you guys liked my earlier comment! Thanks everyone and thanks for the recs too I wanted to answer this but then decided to do a video with the beats with dots and it took me more time than I expected. If any of you would like me to analyze some video just tell me btw! It's very fun!
    .
    As always, thank you for your illustrative posts. Can you do a point thingy for more programs?, that´s very helpful.

  4. #124
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    The simple answer is you can't really measure it, at least not in any clear cut, objective sense, although IJS tries to tell us otherwise. Musicality, like artistry, is very subjective and fans and judges may respond differently to the same skater depending on their own preferences and cultural backgrounds. I consider a skater musical if he/she becomes the music and is able to bring it to life. Skaters I consider the most musical include Michelle Kwan, Lu Chen, and Janet Lynn. Recent skaters include Mao, Akiko, and Jason Brown. I also think some skaters who are very charismatic are not necessarily very musical. Plushenko and Yagudin are both skaters of immense charisma that I don't see to be inherently very musical. However, then there are skaters like Daisuke Takahashi and Oksana Baiul who are both charismatic and musical.

  5. #125
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    To me, a skater's musicality is most tested when the music skated to is unpredictable, irregular, abstract.

    I find most music with base, tempo, etc. are not as difficult to skate to even if the beat changes.

    For example, my favorite Gracie's SP which is hated by almost everyone is very challenging. Kudos to Gracie for even trying:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5KWdRufZZYA

    Besides Gershwin, there are others with this quality by Chopin, Stravinsky, Debussy (Afternoon of a Faun), Philip Glass, Astor Piazzolla, Vivaldi (esp. 4 Seasons), Paganini (eg. la campanella, caprice like no. 13), Rachmaninoff.

    It would take a very special type of skater to skate well to them!

  6. #126
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    Originally Posted by gkelly View Post
    Hypothetically,

    Skater A strokes on the beat throuought the program, times the jumps and big movements with musical accents or highlights, skates exactly on the beat throughout step sequences, with some surprising highlights reflecting details of the music, times arm movements and changes of foot or position in spins with the musical phrasing, etc, but shows hardly any facial expression and uses limited upper body movement.

    Skater B is very emotionally expressive to the overall feel and mood of the music, uses the face and whole body to engage with the audience, but doesn't phrase or time the movement directly to the music at all, often starting an element in the middle of a musical phrase or vice versa, etc.

    Who is more musical?
    I will definitively say Skater A - it is more challenging to use body movement to portray the nuances in music than to "act" the music while say, doing crossovers.

    For example, an Aria from an opera. It is much easier and more direct to portray the themes with facial and emotional expressions than to keep a more neutral expression and "skate the emotions", conveying through intricate, varied, variously timed and choreographed movements the rich range of feelings and successfully evoking them in the audience.

  7. #127
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    Quote Originally Posted by gkelly View Post
    Hypothetically,

    Skater A strokes on the beat throuought the program, times the jumps and big movements with musical accents or highlights, skates exactly on the beat throughout step sequences, with some surprising highlights reflecting details of the music, times arm movements and changes of foot or position in spins with the musical phrasing, etc, but shows hardly any facial expression and uses limited upper body movement.

    Skater B is very emotionally expressive to the overall feel and mood of the music, uses the face and whole body to engage with the audience, but doesn't phrase or time the movement directly to the music at all, often starting an element in the middle of a musical phrase or vice versa, etc.

    Who is more musical?
    I would definitely say Skater A.

    In theory, Skater B can do all those things without needing the music. They'd have great performance and interpretation skills though (which is not the same as musicality). They show that they can understand the piece and the feelings etc. it evokes. Obviously, performance and interpretation are great and important, but if the program isn't really matching with the music, then the musicality is still lacking. The music would basically serve as an indication to the audience about what the skater is trying to perform and get them in the mood, but isn't exactly part of the performance. They would be able to change the music a similarly styled piece with a similar mood while performing the same program and be able to produce the same effect.

    Whereas for skater A, the music is really used throughout the program, meaning that if the music was removed or changed, it would take away from the program or require program changes. They may not have the performance or interpretation abilities as Skater A, but I would consider them to have more musicality because they're skating with and to the music. Being able to have a good grasp on the nuances and structure of the music is more foundational to musicality, whereas performance and interpretation would further that.

    In terms of musicality, I'd say that while performance and interpretation is important, actually skating to and with the music and showing an understanding of the way the music is created/structured comes first. It's more foundational and then performance and interpretation would build on top of that to create a better program.

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