This is important to remember because we can let this false sense of transparency get in the way of us enjoying what we do--affecting us in live and recording situations. I can’t keep track of how many times I’ve disregarded a track from a recording because of a harmonic or rhythmic fluff. Things that were obvious to me, but no one else—unless they were sitting there listening with the same critical ears with which I listened.
I understand why we want flawless recordings. Who wants to cringe every time the section with the out-of-tune notes comes around? But one of the dangers of letting the illusion of transparency infiltrate our musical decisions is that we might cater to our paranoia rather than to the best musical moments.
There are so many classic jazz recordings where I didn’t even notice the fluffed melodies or the missed chord changes until having listened to them for several years. And I’m sure there are some mistakes on some classic records I’ve still not noticed. There’s so much great music played on those recordings, those minor fluffs seems inconsequential. In fact, those imperfections give those recordings character and beauty. Which makes my point: When you cater to one’s paranoia instead of the great musical moments, you run the risk of only including tracks from recording sessions that are perfect in terms of satisfying your illusion of transparency neurosis, however, disregarding recorded moments with real aesthetical value. In other words, going with the music that’s perfect, but sterile.
We're not as readable as an iBook. And since we’re looking at things from a psychological perspective, maybe should practice “selective amnesia.” So when we do make a mistake, we’ll just forget that it ever happened.