Making Stupid Mistakes

24th March 2011

He gave some stunning examples of how errors have persisted because we "recognize" what should be there and move on.  One of his best examples is a wrong note in the score of a Brahms sonata that countless musicians never noticed because, for years, they silently "corrected" it in performance.  A naïve piano student kept getting it "wrong" until he looked and saw that she was actually playing what was on the page.

It's the same problem all of us run up against when we try to proof-read a text, especially if we were the ones who wrote it.  We see what we know the text means, rather than what is actually printed on the page.  It is hard to make the text sufficiently different from what we assume it is, "strange" enough so that it can be really seen.

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