I'm listening to the new Christopher O'Riley CD of rock piano transcriptions. I always have mixed reactions to this. On the one hand, he clearly has artistic intent and talent compared to the assembly line of the Vitamin String Quartet and their 294 albums (so far).
But as one who often likes the original music as well as "true" classical performances by O'Riley, these transcriptions leave me in some middle ground of familiarity without the possibility of transcendence. Classical arrangements of Frank Zappa have the same result.
Although applied to the notion of pygmy music being representative of what was played thousands of years ago, Music 000001 has an interesting post today on how cultural drift happens (or doesn't happen) in traditional societies:
...there is never a moment of transmission when something is "handed down" but a continual process of cultural imprinting, enforcement and re-enforcement...Traditions change only when confronted by powerful forces capable of altering or destroying the cultural fields that maintain them. If such forces are never encountered, then both the fields and the traditions will persist.
It's probably a good thing that we currently lack an effective mechanism of cultural enforcement.
Journalist Gillian Gaar described "Heart-Shaped Box" as "the Nirvana formula personified, with a restrained, descending riff played through the verse, building in intensity to the cascading passion of the chorus".Cobain said the song was inspired by documentaries about children with cancer.