Theremin thoughts....

Posted: 9/20/2007 11:26:30 AM
Matts

From: Minnesota

Joined: 8/28/2007

So I have only been playing for a couple days, but I had a question about others technique. When I practice scales/and arps. I tend to think in terms of intervals. Whole step and half step. I guess this comes from my string bass playing, but does anyone else do this? As I practice I am working on having my hand/arm focus on the space to move from note to note. This is one of the techniques I used when learning string bass, and I think it could work on theremin. Am I heading down the correct path? Has anyone used this type of technique to learn?

Posted: 9/20/2007 12:21:20 PM
kkissinger

From: Kansas City, Mo.

Joined: 8/23/2005

The video "Jumps on the Theremin" ...

http://kevinkissinger.com/videos.shtml

may shed some light on the topic.

Assuming a warmed-up and tuned theremin, the note spacings are predictable. One traverses the distances with motions of the arm and/or knuckles.

Indeed, to think in terms of intervals is effective compared to just hitting individual notes with no attention to their intervals/spacings.
Posted: 9/20/2007 12:26:57 PM
GordonC

From: Croxley Green, Hertfordshire, UK

Joined: 10/5/2005

Welcome to Theremin World, Matts.

Bear in mind that unless you have perfect pitch you are going to face the problem of dead reckoning - if you're only two cents flat each time, eight bars down the line you could be a whole semitone off.

I suggest practising to a backing track to avoid this.
Posted: 9/20/2007 12:29:13 PM
Charlie D

From: England

Joined: 2/28/2005

Thinking in tones and semitones is really, really important for fast passages. On my score, I now do what Lev did in his scores - mark out scalic passages with + signs above for whole-steps, and - signs for half-steps. This way, you know exactly what you're playing without having to think in a key-signature.

I didn't used to do it, but it's done a lot to help me.
Posted: 9/20/2007 12:47:09 PM
Matts

From: Minnesota

Joined: 8/28/2007

Thanks for all the info. I do warm up the theremin and tune each time I practice. I also try to warm up my mind to focus on the event.

As a beginner is it too early to play to backing tracks? I understand that getting out of pitch just a tiny bit will throw me way off even if I am only playing scales. Are there simple midi files available to practice to?

Thinking in terms of intervals has been very helpful to my progress. It sounds like I may be on the correct track. Thanks for the tips!
Posted: 9/20/2007 12:55:55 PM
Charlie D

From: England

Joined: 2/28/2005

Thinking in tones and semitones is really, really important for fast passages. On my score, I now do what Lev did in his scores - mark out scalic passages with + signs above for whole-steps, and - signs for half-steps. This way, you know exactly what you're playing without having to think in a key-signature.

I didn't used to do it, but it's done a lot to help me.
Posted: 9/20/2007 1:22:54 PM
omhoge

From: New York, NY

Joined: 2/13/2005

>>"As a beginner is it too early to play to backing tracks?"
For me, no it's never too soon.
A fun play-a-long song I think is critical in the beginning and I used it to open and close my practice sessions. A teacher of a different instrument really drove that home to me so that at the beginning practice always starts and ends with a positive feeling.
In between though you'll want to do your serious work both with a backing track and a capella.

>>"Thinking in tones and semitones is really, really important for fast passages"
I'd say for any passage even.
The hand/arm position you use for any note is very dependent on the notes before and after it.
When practicing a tough section in isolation, I try to include the initial lead-in and lead-out notes as well. Context is important in fingering on the keyboard and the theremin.

And lastly welcome to ThereminWorld and to the adventure of learning precision playing on the theremin. It has been the most rewarding thing I've ever committed myself to and hope it is for you too.

Keep us posted on your adventures, it's always inspiring to hear!
Check out the Aerial Fingering forum [http://www.thereminworld.com/forum.asp?cmd=p&T=1391&F=780] and use the TW search here, there's tons of stuff tucked away in this site that's very helpful.
Posted: 9/20/2007 1:46:38 PM
Matts

From: Minnesota

Joined: 8/28/2007

Wow what a great thread on ariel fingering. I have checked many of the other threads on this site and they have been very helpful especially when it came to purchasing a theremin. I have not had a chance to watch the DVD that came with my etherwave, but I guess I need to clear my calendar and sit down to watch it.

I can not wait to get home and spend some time practicing!!!! Once again this site has proven to be a wealth of knowledge!! Thanks
Posted: 9/20/2007 5:22:03 PM
Charlie D

From: England

Joined: 2/28/2005

> The hand/arm position you use for any note is very > dependent on the notes before and after it.

I find it's governed by the highest and lowest note in the passage I'm playing. If say, I start on an E, want to make an octave leap up to the E above, and then do some other stuff a bit lower before returning to the first E later on, I'll be sure to keep the first E 'saved' in my muscle memory as closed-hand position, so that when I close my hand later on I can be *sure* of hitting that E bang-on.

Probably makes no sense. I should really do a YouTube demo.

Posted: 9/20/2007 9:15:12 PM
Matts

From: Minnesota

Joined: 8/28/2007

Kevin... Thanks for the videos. They really helped me out.

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