Etherwave's annoying behavior - Surely player related.

Posted: 1/20/2011 11:27:22 AM

From: In between the Pitch and Volume hand ~ New England

Joined: 12/17/2010

Last night, practice session wasn't really pleasing :( I might have been too tired as I was practicing at 12:30 am :( I had such a great vocal recording session prior, so I thought the joy would extend itself to my Theremin session. Boy was I wrong lol.

It took me for ever to tune my Theremin to where it should for the range of the songs I was practicing. But then, when I would play a certain higher notes with vibrato, the Theremin's response to my actions was almost thrill like, uneven, and unattractive sound would come out, like my Theremin had a spike of growing pains. I don't know how to describe the sound - I am sure some of you might have experienced it one time or another...

Is it because I tuned my Theremin with such a wide range that when you reach the higher portion of the register, the notes are clustered together and makes it difficult to play without these annoying tones?

Last night practice really made me question my understanding of this Etherwave's pattern...
The Epro is linear and this one is not... Can someone explain me how should I be playing this Etherwave? From body to Antenna in a straight line? I am confused :( I understand the arc pattern, but I am unsure on how to imaginatively put this in my head so that I can play without questionning myself all the time.
Posted: 1/20/2011 4:21:26 PM
Jeff S

From: N.E. Ohio

Joined: 2/14/2005

One thing you probably learned is that it's usually not the best idea to practice when you are fatigued.

"Is it because I tuned my Theremin with such a wide range that when you reach the higher portion of the register, the notes are clustered together and makes it difficult to play without these annoying tones?" - Amethyste

Assuming the theremin is behaving normally, that is likely the case. Yes, there is a point in the Etherwaves high range where it sounds screechy and unpleasant no matter what you do. That part of the range better serves the more experimental types of players.

You are correct that the notes of the Etherwave get more and more compressed the higher you go. All theremins exhibit this characteristic to some extent. Some more than others.

There are a couple of techniques to aid in playing the higher octaves. One is to move your body closer to the pitch antenna. This has the effect of "stretching" the notes out a bit. The other is to play directly to and fro BUT to "aim" just slightly to the side of the antenna. This allows you a little more room for error as you get close to the antenna.
Posted: 1/20/2011 6:48:48 PM

From: Colmar, France

Joined: 12/31/2007

You can workaround this and several other problems by tuning your Etherwave in a different manner. Don't tune it in order to have the tones where you want to have them. If you do the same on an Epro it will not be very linear too.

First learn something about your pitch field: The tuning knob influences the lower octaves much more than the higher octaves. Approach your hand towards the pitch antenna until only 1cm distance. Keep this tone in mind and try to find the octave below. Play this octave jump up and down until you have memorized the movement and the positions. Now experiment with the pitch knob. You will see that you may vary those both tone just by about 1 and a half tone. Now move your hand away from the antenna in order to find the middle C. Check the octave below and compare as before. You will see that the pitch knob will make much more effect: Adding 120 Hz to 2000 Hz makes just a half tone. Adding the same 120 Hz to middle C (260Hz) makes already a quint.
So we learn that the highest octave spacing isore or less given by design. The three middle octaves can and should be tuned for equal spacing with the pitch knob. The lower part can then be fine tuned by the distance of your body: Are the tones too spaced, move away. Seem they compressed, come nearer. So start on top and report, check and correct the octave spacing downwards. The lower you come the less turning if the tuning knob is required. With this method you can obtain about 5 almost linear octaves, even with an Etherwave Standard/Plus.

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