Volume Hand

Posted: 1/13/2006 6:18:11 PM
omhoge

From: New York, NY

Joined: 2/13/2005

Oh yeah, the other hand...

How would you describe your volume hand technique?
Mine is kinda like dipping my middle finger in a bowl of water with the motion coming from the wrist.

How do you develop your phrasing?
Posted: 1/13/2006 10:25:16 PM
kkissinger

From: Kansas City, Mo.

Joined: 8/23/2005

I usually play with my fingers out straight, occasionally dipping my middle finger towards the loop.

I find for very fast repeated notes that I keep my fingers relaxed (no dipping) and use a wrist stacatto motion (same as on a keyboard).

A good practice tune is "I've been working on the railroad." On the "Fee, Fi, Fiddly I Oh"... see if you can clearly hear each note.

By the way, on rapid repeated notes, you do not have to completely mute each note to get the illusion of seperate notes. Of course, a smaller antenna range (higher sensitivity) makes this a little easier to do however the ear will latch onto the individual notes even if the space between them is not completely muted.
Posted: 3/26/2006 9:05:33 AM
omhoge

From: New York, NY

Joined: 2/13/2005

Poor volume hand.
Do you feel left out?
You who are the real musical breath and life of theremin playing; you who lend more character and drama than any other hand.

Your companion paw gets many discourses on fingerings and shapes, positions and angles, pictures and charts, scales and etudes.
But where are your secrets reveled, you subtle sonic chimera; a slow soft note, a quick soft note, a fast bite of sound, a wa-wa kinda sound, a long drawl on a phrase, a sfortzando, the breath of life in a long note, the quick catch breaths between repeated notes giving each one it's own space and time; how do you dance in relation to that loop to give true feeling and voice to the music of the ether?

Oh you magical hand, you lark among appendages, we can but wait and hope for fingerings, shapes, pictures, books and videos transmitting all your deeper secrets.
Posted: 3/27/2006 2:01:40 PM
omhoge

From: New York, NY

Joined: 2/13/2005

Thank you Guest 11/10/2004 2:41:28 AM, whoever you are.
I'm copying your post here too, hope you won't mind.

""I find I prefer the traditional shapes, especially the volume loop. The loop shape allows for rapid changes in interactivity by changing the hand shape; from an outstretched hand one can change rapidly to a fist or a claw, reducing drastically one's inductance. From this shape one can quickly null volume with only one finger, and then go to almost full volume simply by pulling that finger away. This technique works quite well from the outboard side of the antenna, or from the rear. The loop also allows the player to hold a clenched fist above the "hole" inside the loop; again, the player may effect changes in volume with one's fingertips.
""
Posted: 3/27/2006 3:03:21 PM
Charlie D

From: England

Joined: 2/28/2005

When Gordon saw me play I was interested to hear that the first thing he mentioned was my volume loop technique.

I do a really weird sort of flicking/beckoning/grasping/invoking gesture that I find not only lends better control than the traditional flat-handed 'pumping' action, but also looks visually much more interesting.

Clara Rockmore had a highly developed volume control technique, and although currently with the 'snappy' E'Pro I have my technique doesn't present any advantage or cause any hugely discernible nuances, it *did* with my non-snappy E'Standard. I really think I must get the unsnappifying mod carried out as soon as possible.
Posted: 3/27/2006 4:29:35 PM
GordonC

From: Croxley Green, Hertfordshire, UK

Joined: 10/5/2005

It certainly is visually interesting. I had to keep reminding myself to look at the pitch hand too.

Having read omhoge's cross-posting from Guest I rushed off to my Kees to experiment, with terrific success!

Holding my volume hand slightly before and just above the near side of the volume loop, I bent my fingers at the lowest joint so as to form a right angle and rotated my forearm 90 degrees so that the fingers pointed towards the pitch antenna and the thumb, relaxed, pointed towards the audience.

From this position straightening the fingers stops the sound completely, touching the fingers against the palm gives full volume, allowing both fine control of the volume with small movements of the fingers in between the two extremes and fairly staccato notes by flicking the fingers rhythmically back and forth. One might call it the "come hither" technique.

Far better control than my previous "patting a person of limited stature on the head" style.
Posted: 3/28/2006 3:44:21 AM
Charlie D

From: England

Joined: 2/28/2005

Isn't that Pamelia's walking bass snap technique?
Posted: 3/28/2006 4:55:44 AM
GordonC

From: Croxley Green, Hertfordshire, UK

Joined: 10/5/2005

I've never seen Pamelia's technique, so I don't really know.

(I thought it had something to do with sticking aluminium strips to the theremin.)
Posted: 3/28/2006 6:31:51 AM
omhoge

From: New York, NY

Joined: 2/13/2005

I bet lots of folks have arrived at techniques like a "bass snap" or "sock puppet" over time, it's not so much a recent discovery but has become very refined, identified and popularized by a successful player.
Thanks guys.
I'm playing around with that kinda scoop/twist/wrist snap that I see Clara and other thereminsts using.
Posted: 4/12/2006 8:55:21 AM
omhoge

From: New York, NY

Joined: 2/13/2005

I'm starting to think one caveat for healthy volume hand playing is not to ever flex it upwards and allow the back of the hand to rise above the back of the forearm. It's fine to drop the wrist bring it level, or raise or supinate the whole fore arm to help articulation. But allowing the hand to snap up beyond the line of the forearm repeatedly can cause pain and that is bad.
hth

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