This is “IN TRUTINA” from CARMINA BURANA by Carl Orff. The “Carmina Burana” is a collection of poems mostly in medieval Latin written in the 11th 12th and 13th centuries. They were discovered in 1803 in the Benedictine monastery of BENEDIKTBEUERN, in Bavaria. That is why I chose the chapel of the monastery as an appropriate place to play this piece.
The RCA Theremin holds a place in history as the first manufactured electronic musical instrument, and is credited with laying the foundation for all electronic music to come.
Further distinguishing the theremin from the traditional world of mechanical musical instruments (reeds, woodwinds, horns, strings, percussion, etc.), the theremin is the only instrument that is played without the performer ever touching it. To quote period advertising literature from RCA:
Simple and graceful movements of the hands produce and control the tone.
The theremin is named for its inventor, Lev Sergeyevich Termen, anglicized as Leon Theremin (born St. Petersburg, Russia, August 1896, died Moscow, November 1993). Theremin demonstrated his first working model of the instrument that bears his name in 1920 as the Etherphone, soon to be known as the Termenvox, or literally, Voice of Termen.
When properly adjusted and voiced, the RCA Theremin has a pitch range of 3.5 to 4 octaves, and a timbre that is somewhat like a cello at the low end and somewhere between violin and voice at the high end.
Quoting Dr. Robert Moog, the creator of the Moog synthesizer,
The theremin specifically, and Leon Theremin’s work in general is the biggest, fattest, most important cornerstone of the whole electronic music medium. That’s where it all began.
Amanda C of CatSynth attempts to play the new Theremini from Moog Music, Inc.
Dave from Moog Music shows us the Moog Theremini from NAMM 2014.
“Waldorf’s mystery knob is the filter control from a big filter in a box.
That’s right, Waldorf is introducing a 2-pole filter. And one heck of a 2-pole filter it is:
Filter with cutoff and resonance, but also a Drive setting, Rectify, and switchable between low-pass, band-pass, and high-pass
LFO with Depth and Speed
LFO set to Fast, Slow, and (hilariously) Gemütlich (kinda hard to translate, actually easy-going and slower than slow)
Envelope controls: Attack/Decay/Hold, threshold, a source (hard to tell what that does), and trigger.
And it takes CV for envelope, cutoff, and gate, with jack plugs for input and output.”
“Then there’s Moog, who are introducing, as rumored, a new Theremin. And this isn’t just any Theremin: it’s a Theremin that can assist you in keeping things in tune, all whilst looking like a space-age egg from Woody Allen’s Sleeper.
It’s a Theremin with presets. Crazy presets.
It’s a digital instrument with Theremin-style controls. (Readers who speculated, you guessed right.) It’ll upset purists, perhaps, but this is rather cool: it’s based on the unique-sounding Animoog sound engine.
The synth is digital, but the input is analog: classic heterodyning style, then digitized as control signal for the engine. Onboard MIDI, CV output (presumably pre-digitization, in fact), and USB. But that engine gives you more different ways to play.
Yes, there’s a display, scale and root controls, a Presets knob, plus built-in delay. There’s a built-in speaker and headphone jack, as well, for convenience.
Price: US$299 estimated is what we heard on the floor…”
Product descriptions from our colleagues at CDM
“The Theremini is a re-imagination of one of the oldest electronic musical instrument in history, and Bob Moog’s first love – the theremin. Its design fuses the experience of performing with an instrument you don’t actually touch, with a powerful sound engine derived from Moog’s award winning synthesizer, Animoog. The Theremini guarantees immediate success to any player at any skill level, while providing new ways to experiment with music, education, and gestural control.
Assistive pitch correction allows each player to adjust the instruments level of playing difficulty. At the maximum position, the Theremini will play every note in a selected scale perfectly, making it impossible to play a wrong note. As this control is decreased, more expressive control of pitch becomes possible. When set to minimum, the Theremini will perform as a traditional theremin with analog heterodyning oscillator and absolutely no pitch assistance.
A built in tuner supplies real-time visual feedback of each note as it is played, as well as its proximity to perfection. This is useful for correcting a users playing position, or to educate younger players about pitch and scales.
The presets section allows you to select from 32 wave or wavetable-based patches, store a selected scale & root note, set and recall a specified playing range, and specify per-patch settings for the included stereo delay.
Recessed in the top of the Theremini is a compact speaker perfect for private rehearsal and quick setup anywhere. Silent rehearsal is also possible via front panel headphone jack. Simply plug in ear-buds or headphones and the built in speaker becomes silent.
For live performance and gestural control, the rear panel features two line level audio outputs, a pitch CV output with selectable range, and a mini USB jack for MIDI I/O and connectivity.
Vector – a new way to interact with a modular synthesizer that’s a bit like a theremin on steroids.
Vector is a three dimensional control interface designed for Eurorack modular system. It senses the location of a hand over its face and outputs a signal proportional to position for each axis: x (left and right), y (up and down), and z (in and out).
Vector works by generating an electrical field and sensing changes in it causes by the proximity of your hand. Think of it as a smartphone screen with an added dimension of depth four to five inches from the surface. The system uses six electrodes to form the active sensing area. The sensing electrodes are part of the circuit board which lays just behind the piece of acrylic.
This allows you to control three things at one time, like turning three knobs all at once by moving your hand through the air. You could control the amplitude of a sound with the x axis, the pitch with the y axis, and the modulation of that sound with the z axis.
To provide feedback, Vector has LEDs ringing its active sensing area. These LEDs light up according to the location of your hand.
Vector lights red for the z axis and blue for the x and y axis. As you get closer to the surface, the red LEDs get brighter. As you move closer to a location on the x-y axis, the blue LEDs in that region get brighter and those farther away get dimmer.
Vector can also recognize a number of simple gestures. It recognizes swiping gestures, as well as circular motions over its surface. These gestures can be used as trigger outputs and for interacting with the built-in looping feature. Vector provides a menu system that uses gestures to change the system behavior.
Vector can record up to 30 seconds of position and gesture data for looping playback. Simply press the large illuminated switch to start the loop and release it to end it. The loop plays back immediately.
The loop can be retriggered with swipe gestures or by external signals from a module with trigger outputs. Vector records as long as the switch is held down, so long rhythmic sequences can be recorded by moving a hand in an out of the active area.
The loop switch can also be used as a sample and hold control. When pressed quickly, it freezes the hand position to lock in the output. The loop playback can be sped up or slowed by using circular gestures, clockwise for faster, counter-clockwise for slower. The loop recording can also be triggered externally. One pulse starts the recording and the next pulse ends it. Using external triggers to start and stop recording as well as to synchronize the playback, you can make perfectly synchronized loops.
Vector is being developed as a Kickstarter project, with the controller available to early supporters for $299
Playing Moog Etherwave with KORG Volca beats/bass/keys.
The Therevox ET-4.1 is an analog continuous pitch instrument inspired by the interface of the rare Ondes Martenot.
Each oscillator has six different waveforms, including the classic sine wave of the Electro-Theremin and the Ondes Martenot’s unique octiviant and white noise settings. Each oscillator can be tuned separately, or synched to create intervals or interesting harmonics. Oscillator 2 can also be set to a consistent note or used as an LFO to modulate the filter. The internal low-pass filter with variable cutoff frequency is used to shape the sound and this can also be controlled with an external expression pedal or CV source.
Details and Specifications
- Two independent temperature compensated analog oscillators with sync function
- Six octave positions for each oscillator covering C0 to C8
- Six waveforms (sine, triangle, rectified sine/octiviant, 50% pulse, 30% pulse, 10% pulse (white noise on Osc 2)
- Adjustable ring with metal reinforced wire
- Replaceable reference keyboard with alternatives available (ex: lapsteel, specific scales, microtonal)
- Dual wooden pressure-sensitive intensity keys with approx. 3/4″ travel
- Low-pass filter with adjustable cutoff frequency (can be controlled by expression pedal or external CV)
- Internal spring reverb with dry+wet mix control
- “Silent” tuner output, switchable between oscillators
- Line-level (+3db) output with volume control
- Control Voltage (CV) outputs for ring position (1V/octave) and both intensity keys (0 – 10V)
- 16VAC power input
- Dimensions: 30 x 11 x 4″
- Includes: Printed manual, power supply (110-120V and 220-240V Available) and extension cable.
- Made in Canada
The Therevox ET-4.1 is priced at US $1475.
Albert Glinsky, author of Theremin: Ether Music and Espionage sat down with us to give a brief history of the Theremin covering everything from it’s orignal inception in a Russian chemistry lab to it’s developement as a musical instrument. In addition to outlining its rich history Glinsky gives a basic tutorial in playing the Theremin and points out some of the refinements that Bob Moog made to Leon Theremin’s original design.
The theremin control voltage outputs can be used to play the synth in the background. The theremin is in fact an excellent PAiA Theremax, the same as used for the Badgermin. The owl rests on a sliding carriage, which can slide along four vertical bars fixed inside the log. When the motor is turned on a winch mechanism winds a length of sash cord, which loops over the top of a second pulley, which in turn lifts up the sliding carriage. When the carriage reaches the top, a limit switch is automatically pressed, switching off the motor. For the owl to descend, the owl activation switch is flipped once more, reversing the polarity of the motor, allowing the carriage to be lowered down onto another limit switch. The antennae disconnect for ease of transportation, and the lower half of the stand can be unbolted.
More details: www.nervoussquirrel.com/owltheremin
A home made theremin by Gavin Howe, description below:
Made my first “synth theremin” yesterday, sending it through the audio in+comb on the emx with flanger pitch shift (-12) and some short delay, then into kp3 for stereo delay, just playing around with different capacitors and korg effects. All sounds originate from the optical synth.
Vintage Electro–Theremin, Onassis Martino style synth.
This app captures the magic of early classic slider controlled synthesisers such as the Ondes-Martenot (1928) Trautonium (1929) and Tannerin/electro-theremin (1950s)
The E Theremin has three oscillators that generate a rich fat analogue tone, with a choice of 4 waveforms (saw, square, triangle and sine) octave shift and amp control. The E Theremin can achieve portamento, vibrato and quarter-tones with precise control. 4 presets allow you to store your sounds and jump quickly between them during performance.
– Ideal for professionals looking for an alternative to the keyboard controlled synth.
– Great for anyone interested in synthesizers, particularly early analogue.
In 1928 Maurice Martenot created one of the first electronic musical instruments, entitled; the Ondes-Martenot, the prerunner to the theremin, similar in sound but with a very different type of user interaction, an inspiring slider on a cord was used. Later in the 1950s Paul Tanner invented the Tannerin a.k.a. Electro Theremin. The Tannerin used the same slider controls as the Ondes-Martenot to control pitch. The Tannerin went on to play a large role in records such as The Beach Boys “Good Vibrations”.
- Three oscillators (osc2 unison)
- 4 waveforms
- 3 octave slide control
- Fat analogue sound
- Jump between 4 user presets
- Classic slider pitch control
- Retina GUI
Grab it before it goes up to regular price!