Mathemitician Ronald Fisher makes an analogy in regards to genetic mutations that fits quite snug with music.
Steven Pinker explains: “a large twist of a focusing knob has some chance of bringing a microscope into better focus when it is far from the best setting. But as the barrel gets closer, smaller and smaller tweaks are needed to bring any further improvement”.
Once we reach a certain point in our music making, the changes made for further enhancement get more subtle. It is then a matter of small tweaks, zooming in and sometimes zooming out, to get close to the best setting.
Perhaps all the individual facets of music making are microscopes and we have to make tiny adjustments or make initial large twists to get to those tweaks. It makes me wonder if excellence is a game of inches rather feet.