for solo piano
Once upon a time, I was sitting at the piano messing around with some ideas while my then-girlfriend and my mother were on the couch across the room making comments about anything and everything. Eventually, the conversation shifted to post-tonal theory (like it does), and my girlfriend ended up suggesting that I play some stuff off of a receipt. So, I reached into my pockets and pulled out a crumpled-up Safeway receipt and started plunking out notes on the piano. This, of course, resulted in my girlfriend wanting me to write something based on that idea.
A little explanation about how this works: each pitch in western music has a number that corresponds to it in such a way that C is 0, C# is 1, and so on all the way up to Bb being 10, and B being 11. On a WINCO receipt, unlike any other receipt I have seen, not only gives you the price of each item you purchased, but also the serial number, resulting in an over-abundance of numbers to convert to pitches. Being the systematic person I am, I started at the very top with a can of refried beans, and worked my way down the receipt until the piece was done. Throughout the piece, one can hear various melodies and harmonies based on items such as a loaf of bread or a head of broccoli—sweetened condensed milk ended up being a main melody in this piece. Much to my surprise, one can also hear more tonal idioms, like cadences and entirely diatonic passages. Though this seems a little unlikely, I swear that every note, minus the repetitions, was taken strictly in order off of the receipt, and all the compositional aspects you hear were already in the numbers on the receipt. Who knew that a receipt could be so musical?