Why I believe music interpretation is the most important category in our artistic sport.
Music Interpretation is a combination of two factors:
– One is interpreting the intent of what the composer was writing through the markings on the score.
– The other is the exploration through tempo, dynamic and articulation of the notes, the specific instruments which play the melody or rhythm or those which accompany a soloist to determine our own interpretation of the composer’s intent.
As an athlete you may want to accent different notes then what was originally written because it emotionally connects with you in a specific way. This takes some time to learn but eventually you want to pull us in to your story and your interpretation.
Let’s take a look at the Concierto de Aranjuez by Spanish composer Joaquin Rodrigo.
The Concierto de Aranjuez was inspired by the gardens at Palacio Real de Aranjuez, the spring resort palace and gardens built by Philip II in the last half of the 16th century. His work attempts to transport the listener to another place and time through the sounds of nature. The most popular of this concierto is the 2nd movement. Rodrigo and his wife Victoria stayed quiet for many years allowing us to question how the inspiration for the second movement came to be. Victoria eventually shared that it was both a memory of the happy days of their honeymoon and Rodrigo’s devastation at the miscarriage of their first pregnancy.
Gemma Mengual and Ona Carbonell swam a section of this piece of music in their free duet at the 2016 Rio Olympics and Qualifying event. We have also seen Michelle Kwan skate to a different version of the second movement by Ikuko Kawai at the 2003 World Figure Skating Championships. The question I ask you the reader, do these two performances interpret the intent of the composer?
Gemma Mengual and Ona Carbonell 2016 Olympic Qualifier (1:56.12)
Michelle Kwan 2003 World Figure Skating Championships (Long Program)
In our role as coaches, athletes and officials we should study the history of our music and why it was composed. It can help you from suit design, walk-ons, choreography and most importantly, captivating your performance for spectators and officials.
In the two performances, I believe they perform to two very different interpretations. The duet stayed true to their Spanish flamenco style as that was most of their routine music after a section of the concierto. Where as Michelle skated more freely in her program. Could it have been her interpretation of Rodrigo and Victoria’s honeymoon, or maybe her version of villagers feasting and dancing in the streets of their town festival during the times of Bourbon Kings?
Whatever their intent or yours, take some time to read up on your music selection and develop your own interpretation of the composer’s intent. The more it speaks to you, the more we are drawn in to your performance.
I hope this article about music interpretation has been of your interest!