Anticipation, Concert, Part 1

Anticipation is a marvelous tool for reducing response times to a fraction of a second or in certain cases, getting rid of them altogether (the “good side”). But, as you noticed in the last articles, there are some serious flaws when the boundary conditions are not fulfilled. The “bad side” of anticipation is its dependency on advance information, and the “ugly side” is the high loss of time if you don’t choose the right alternative.

The following blog entry presents an example where anticipation is absolutely vital for such a performance. Only anticipation allows for perfect harmony between the musicians that leaves you speechless. This is a bitter pill to swallow. You get distracted while using the check list and figuring out why it works. Furthermore, it is one of the examples, where every item on the checklist is fulfilled.

One last note before we start. The checklist concentrates exclusively on anticipation. Even though you might fulfill the different checklist entries in general, the evaluation of your primary goals is still open. These goals are not part of this checklist, and must be checked separately. It is possible that you pass the anticipation test, yet completely fail regarding your goals. I will present other tools to systematically check your goals.

Take your time and enjoy the following piece of Ennio Morricone (from the movie The Good, the Bad and the Ugly):


Now back to the checklist. I will use the items that have already been presented in the blog entries Anticipation, Windshield Wiper, Part 1/ Part 2 and Check list for Anticipation. Please refer to these blog entries for any questions regarding the underlying ideas.


1, Are patterns or traits available? All the time?

Yes, there are a great number of patterns available. Furthermore, they are available all the time. The musical score offers the basic sensory information. Every musician has a clear view of the conductor. Everyone has the required advanced sensory information when and how to start and play. So this item is completely fulfilled.


2. Is there enough time to identify and interpret the stimuli?

The musicians can count on the information received in advance, since everything is pre-determined. For example, at the beginning, the music doesn’t start instantly. The conductor cues his orchestra (not visible in this video, but a standard). Imagine what would happen if he instantly gestured with his hands without any advance information. You would end up in the same situation described in the blog entry “Scissor, Stone, Paper” (Link Choice Reaction, Part 2). The first cue enables a synchronized entry of the musicians.


3. Is causality given?

Causality is given. A possible tree diagram consists of an endless stream of enchained elements without any alternatives. The conductor might vary the speed to change the character of the composition, although this is usually accomplished during rehearsal and not while performing.


STOP now for a second. Is this right? At least, it sounds good. Does it? You could think that there are no alternatives. This is one of the examples why I mentioned the absolute necessity to differ between available sensory information and the unconscious coupling of already available information from an internal model. You don’t have the exact information for the entry when you pass this point for the first time (e.g. while rehearsing). The musical score and the conductor are not sufficient for perfectly synchronizing the different members of the orchestra. If they were, rehearsing would be not necessary.

Achieving causality by reducing the alternatives to a single possibility is the combination of the already mentioned two elements and the knowledge of the internal model. What I am trying to show is a typical error in an analysis. Information that is definitely not available in a first run-through is used for reducing the alternatives. This is one of the main error sources in martial arts. Situations with a very high number of alternatives are not taken seriously, because information that is acquired afterwards is unknowingly added and taken for granted. Thus, the internal model that is derived from sensory information and is therefore not available in the first run is being used for analyzing a situation? Does this sound right? No, certainly not. The snake bites its own tail. And still, when you start to use this check list, you will recognize that this is a standard. If I had a dollar for every time I saw this …

From this point on, I’ll consider causality as a given, and the alternatives have been reduced to just one possibility. Let’s say the musicians have done their homework and rehearsed sufficiently. If perhaps your thoughts are now beginning to wander back to your own training and you are hoping that you have not been committing the same error…. well…., sorry, but the chances are very high that you have been doing exactly that. Don´t worry: You are in good company. The interesting things are yet to come. Even though this statement sounds harsh, there are cases when it doesn’t matter and is therefore overlooked. In the end, the thing that counts is whether the set goals are achieved and not how many alternatives exist.

The musicians achieve their goal of synchronization by reducing the alternatives to one possibility. This way is often blocked in martial arts due to the complexity. There are other ways to deal with this problem.


To be continued — Anticipation, Concert, Part 2

The post was published 8. August 2014 related to the category Miscellaneous and tagged with .