Ian Dicke
Musa : for violin, trombone, and live electronics
for violin, trombone, and live electronics

, United States
Date of Publication: 2010


Ian Dicke’s (b.1982) works include a variety of genres and multi-media, integrating acoustic ensembles with cutting edge audio processing techniques. He holds degrees from The University of Texas at Austin (D.M.A), University of Michigan (M.M.), and San Francisco Conservatory of Music (B.M.) and currently serves as an Assistant Professor of Composition at the University of California, Riverside. His music has been commissioned and performed by ensembl es and festivals around the world, including the New World Symphony, the Cabrillo Festival Orchestra, ISCM World New Music Days, and the Atlantic Coast Center Band Director’s Association. He has received grants, awards, and recognition from the Barlow Endowment, San Francisco Conservatory of Music, New Music USA, New York Youth Symphony, ASCAP, and BMI. He was also awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to research interactive musical interfaces and environments in Stockholm, Sweden. His other work for trombone is O Bury Me Not (2013), commissioned by the New World Symphony, and scored for solo bass trombone, chamber ensemble, and live electronics. A recording by Jeremy Morrow, bass trombone with the New World Symphony, is available on the composer’s website.

The composer states the following about Musa:

Musa was commissioned and premiered by violinist Molly Emerman and trombonist Steve Parker for a series of concerts given throughout Brazil in December of 2010 Using the electronic music programming language MAX/MSP, the amplified violin and trombone signals are delayed and looped over a collage of sampled sounds culled from the rich legacy of the Bossa Nova canon. Among the voices is the legendary Brazilian singer Nara Leão, who is often cited as the “Muse of Bossa Nova.”

Musa requires the following electronic setup:

Amplified Violin, amplified by either a standard instrument microphone on a stand or contact microphone attached to the violin.

Amplified Trombone, amplified by either a standard instrument microphone on a stand or contact microphone attached to the trombone.

Computer running Max/MSP Runtime (free download available for both Mac and Windows: An audio interface with at least two inputs is required to feed the live audio into the computer.

Midi Pedal connected to the computer via a midi keyboard or an adapter available for purchase:

Stereo Speakers, two high quality speakers positioned at least 12 feet apart; headphones may be substituted for rehearsal purposes.

Rather than going into a detailed description of the musical style, readers are urged to listen to the two recordings that are available on the composer’s website: This is interesting, well constructed music, in an accessible, adventurous, modern language. There are hints of minimalism but never applied in a dogmatic way. Both the violin and trombone parts are technically performable by university level musicians. This is good music, appropriate on any recital.


Reviewer: Karl Hinterbichler
Review Published November 9, 2019