Tactile Tacticality

Day 351 Week 51 Q4  Saturday, December 17, 2022

Yes, I know Tacticality is not yet a word, but I am declaring it to be one, and furthermore, I am defining it here and now for the first time. Tacticality is playing an instrument in a way that feels tactically good. If you’re a classical musician, I am not sure this will make sense to you unless you ever noodle on your instrument playing notes that have nothing to do with assignments or exercises but simply playing what feels good unifier the fingers and also sounds good too. And I expect that most guitarists know what I am talking about unless they are classically trained. There are simple ways and places of holding and putting your fingers on an instrument that simply feel good and sound good. I suspect this is where a large portion of instrumental rock, sometimes called fusion, comes from. This is the equivalent of free-form rock dancing as opposed to ballet, with modern dance coming down, I suspect, in the same place as guitar noodling, where it simply feels good to put your fingers there. In fact, I would go so far as to say that your fingers are like modern dancers going where it feels good but making it beautiful simultaneously. Hey, whether it looks beautiful or sounds beautiful, who cares. And is this a piece of music or dance? Is it scored or choreographed? Will either qualify as fine art?  I have no idea, but they both feel fine and, when performed by a high-grade practitioner, can be quite artful. Does a jam band play something that qualifies as music? It depends on who you ask. Are the Grateful Dead playing music? Well, sixty years of fans and 450 songs in their catalog make them more prolific than most of the musical outfits in the history of the world.  I mean, I can not name another musical ensemble with such a large catalog, and by the way, they did not read or write music, but they sure performed it as frequently as any other musical group.

If people are dancing at a club or wherever else spontaneous dance breaks out. Are these dances? Are they even repeatable? I cannot answer that question, but I can tell you they are acting in a manner that is Tactile Tacticality. It feels good and is strategically intelligent. The more you know and understand your body and how it works, and no, I do not mean from reading an anatomy book; I mean from dancing or playing an instrument. We are excellent pattern recognizers, and some physical patterns simply feel good and work well I am quite certain that more Musicians and Dancers approach life with a Tactile Tacticality than formal training and pedagogy. In fact, I would hazard an educated guess that the formal training and pedagogy are all derived from Tactile Tacticality.

Think about this the next time you are ready to dismiss yourself or others who are simply doing their thing, feeling good moving around a dance floor or an instrument’s fingerboard or keyboard. Usually, if it feels good and also looks good, then it is good and has a pretty chance of sounding good when on the musical side of things. I felt the need to define this new phrase which will probably not catch on despite the alliteration, but Tactile Tacticality is how I feel when I play a musical instrument my body and fingers are intimately familiar with. Somehow combinations of muscle memory guide me to places that both feel good and sound good, and I know these are not at all random but quite strategic, having evolved over years of noodling and performing.

Try not to disqualify yourself when you think that you do not know what you are doing because there is not a logical, rational map pedagogically derived underlying your actions. You may think the world is a rational, logical place where everything makes sense and can be accurately delineated, but you will not find much joy in this direction, for it is an illusion. I would guess that a great many excellent musicians, artists, dancers, business people, healers, therapists and leaders are not formally trained at all, and they seem to function at extremely high levels. All of this exists in the realm I call, as of today, Tactile Tacticality. We move in certain ways, and they work. They may feel good and also be strategic.

Any questions?  If so, I refer you to the art of lovemaking which has served to keep our species alive for thousands of years without a manual or formal instruction being required. But the moves are certainly tactile and strategic. In short, this is Tactile Tacticality, and it rules, so do not dismiss it.