How many Theremin players Worldwide?

Posted: 12/30/2013 9:17:47 PM
coalport

From: Canada

Joined: 8/1/2008

I have had a surprising number of people tell me over the years that the greatest thereminist in the world - living or dead - is Jimmy Page. They say this not because Page is the greatest thereminist in the world, but because they like what he does, and he is the only thereminist they know.

 

Grandmother may make the best Irish stew you have ever tasted but that does not mean granny is a Master Chef.

 

For YOU she is a master chef, and for ME she is a master chef, but for a MASTER CHEF she's just a nice old lady who makes a damn good stew.

 
Posted: 12/30/2013 9:31:02 PM
Yeapsystar

From: Weert, Limburg, the Netherlands

Joined: 4/10/2012

 

Neighbor of the North wrote:

What defines a "master of the theremin" is the ability to play the piece a second time so that, for all intents and purposes, it is acoustically identical to the performance after which it is modeled. Of course, the real mastery here is not of the instrument. It is mastery of oneself.

 

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CanadianSista wrote: Hmmmm... I guess I am slooooowly achieving self greatness through the theremin then? :) I am at a point where I can play consitently *well* a piece of music time after time... 2 1/2 years ago, that was impossible feat. With time and patience I have surmounted plateaus and set backs... Pretty cool!

Well ... Maybe crazy, but I already figured out quite a while ago that theremins are just like kinda mood indicators (referring to me) ... If I feel crappy, my playing will be crappy, if I feel fine and safe, my playing will be a bit more wonderful ;-)

Love,

Marielle :D

 

Posted: 12/30/2013 11:21:36 PM
FredM

From: Eastleigh, Hampshire, U.K. ................................... Fred Mundell. ................................... Electronics Engineer. (Primarily Analogue) .. CV Synths 1974-1980 .. Theremin developer 2007 to present .. soon to be Developing / Trading as WaveCrafter.com . ...................................

Joined: 12/7/2007

"They say this not because Page is the greatest thereminist in the world, but because they like what he does, and he is the only thereminist they know." - Coalport.

To me, this is almost a definition of an extremely silly person.. Someone who uses terms like "greatest" when they have no knowledge on which to base any comparison - its even worse though when they have a negetive judgment - on say an entire group or race based on a single encounter, or more likely someone elses story of some "encounter".

Added ->

"For YOU she is a master chef, and for ME she is a master chef, but for a MASTER CHEF she's just a nice old lady who makes a damn good stew."

Dear Coalport ;-)

I am really confused and not sure what your point is with this analogy.. Are you saying that the "Master chef" is a master chef because he/she recognises their "superiority" ?

You see, to me, the proof of the pudding (or stew) is in the eating thereof - if some chef made a stew which I enjoyed more than granma's stew, then I would agree said chef was 'superior' in this particular art - But if I didnt like the 'masters' stew as much, then I wouldnt give a damn about his "superior technique" or "reputation" or what the fkuk he thought about granma or her stew.

The only food I get really into is curry - I have eaten curries and related foods and had some from reputable chefs - If I can afford to eat out, I go to the best Indian or Malay or other resturant I know, or have read good reports on -

A new small India Deli opened in my 'town' and they were doing a curry week - serving 'street food' (cardboard cones filled with curry and rice) so I got one - It was the best curry I have ever eaten - The Deli is run by a young Indian man and his girlfriend - they are in their early 20's - They use recipies from their mothers and grandmothers who are from different regions (one from Delhi, the other from a village now part of Pakistan) - they prepare and cook the food the way they saw their mums do it, using the same fresh ingredients - they toast the spices (no instant curry powders) - the menu is quite limited, and few of the standard curries are available, which means they lose business from the usual after-pub crowd who only know Kormas, Tikkas, Bombay potatoes or Vindaloos.. But they make up for this by having a load of Indian clients.

They do not regard themselves as master cheffs - but at £5 for a full meal I can afford to eat there quite often - And every curry I have had from them is better than any I have bought at any price from anywhere else, ever (and this includes Malay street curries from Cape Town which were damn good) - A friend took me for a meal at an Indian resturant of repute, with a recognised "master Chef" - ( this friend is a snob, and refused to go to my little Deli - and had a business credit card ) and spent £55 on my meal which tasted like a supermarket microwave take away...

It all, IMO, comes down to "the eating thereof" IMO, you are a "master" because I enjoy the music you make, and if you were off-key or off-time, but I still enjoyed your music as much as I do, you would still be a "master" to me.. but if this was the case I would probably regard many more thereminists as "masters" than I do now.. As it stands, you rank IMO as the top "master" in your genres.. And yes - It is possible to actually analyse precision and timing and from this produce a 'ranking' of 'mastery' for the kind of music you play, purely on a technical level -

But IMO thats not what its about, and for some reason it doesnt work anyway.. The things which make a 'master' are not entirely enclosed in technical specifications - and its probably these 'other' qualities which places the whole issue in the ears / mind of the listener - just like a curry - one extra tomato may enhance my enjoyment but reduce someone elses, and a bit more corriander may reduce my enjoyment but enhance someone elses - and no chef, master or otherwise, will get it "right" for everyone.. To me, a "master" is someone who essentially has the same ideas of taste that I do, who likes what I like, and "knows" what I will like, and can imagine and create a dish which I would not have imagined or had the skill to create, but which I like... As I said before, its entirely about ME, and entirely "selfish" from my perspective - I dont care what the chef thinks of his creation if I dont like it! 

But even a curry "master" will never get it right for someone who doesnt like curry!

Posted: 12/31/2013 12:12:52 PM
coalport

From: Canada

Joined: 8/1/2008

Fred wrote: ".....you are a "master" because I enjoy the music you make, and if you were off-key or off-time, but I still enjoyed your music as much as I do, you would still be a "master" to me.. "

I guess the big question here is: are there any objective criteria for mastery of some particular skill, or is it all entirely subjective and dependent on whether or not someone likes what you are doing.

 

If you say Ke$ha is a "master of the theremin" then, for you, she is. 

 

These are very democratic days and people are entitled not only to their own opinions, but to their own facts as well. Anyone who disputes them is liable to be branded elitist, intolerant or a bigot. If you tell me you believe the universe was created in six days no more than ten thousand years ago and I tell you you are wrong, I am liable to be viewed by society as the bad guy!

 

I find that I am constantly having to judge the source of an opinion as well as the opinion itself. As politically incorrect as it may be, when someone expresses an opinion, I think we must ask ourselves not only whether the person is qualified to make such a judgment, but whether we ourselves are in a position to know.

 

You can take granny's Irish stew and by adding a little ghee and a carefully blended medley of coriander, cardamom, turmeric, red chilies and mustard seeds, you can turn it into a passable curry in less than 5 minutes. Watch out for the cardamom. If you use too much, it can easily overpower the other spices and your dish will be too "perfumey". A couple of green pods are usually enough. Don't buy powdered spices in a bottle. Get the raw ingredients and grind them yourself, as needed, in a mortar & pestle. It will make all the difference. You can use a coffee grinder but if you do, use it only for Indian spices. If you use it the next day for coffee beans you'll end up with coffee masala.

 

UGH!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted: 12/31/2013 3:56:47 PM
FredM

From: Eastleigh, Hampshire, U.K. ................................... Fred Mundell. ................................... Electronics Engineer. (Primarily Analogue) .. CV Synths 1974-1980 .. Theremin developer 2007 to present .. soon to be Developing / Trading as WaveCrafter.com . ...................................

Joined: 12/7/2007

"You can take granny's Irish stew and by adding a little ghee and a carefully blended medley of coriander, cardamom, turmeric, red chilies and mustard seeds, you can turn it into a passable curry in less than 5 minutes." - Coalport

"passable" ? IMO no! - the meat in the stew will not have been optimally coooked with the appropriate spicing, to mention just one minor aspect - Granmas stew will never be a curry, at best it will be a curry flavoured stew! (oh yes, I do some quite mean curries - I started by adding "curry components" to stews or whatever, but got way beyond that many years ago..)

"I guess the big question here is: are there any objective criteria for mastery of some particular skill, or is it all entirely subjective and dependent on whether or not someone likes what you are doing."

I think the answer is more "yes" for tightly defined activities - We know a master chess player because there are absolute rules which cannot be broken - you cannot change the moves for any piece mid-game for example, and the moves are what makes the game (My son and I have been experimenting with giving, for example, the queen the right to move like a knight as well as her normal moves, or allowing pawns to jump over a blocking piece, or giving knights a double jump option - and we concluded that every alteration we make to the original game completely ruins it ;-)

And for something like music, one can accept whatever "objective criterion" is accepted for the particular genre, and base any judgment on that - and in this context what you "do" and judgments you make and express, are entirely correct and valid.

IMO, it is only when crossing to some other genre that these judgments become a 'problem' - a bit like arguing with people playing chess where pieces have a different set of legal moves - the instrument is the same, but all the paradigms are different.. some "games" may use chess board and pieces, but use pieces as if they were chequer pieces without regard for their 'form' - such a game wouldnt be chess, but it would still use the same instrument and still be a game..

One alteration we made to the game was really interesting - we started out by placing the pieces on the board one at a time (taking turns), and being able to place any piece anywhere in the first two rows - so the starting conditions were entirely different to a normal game.. from then we played in the normal way - IMO this may be a good analogy to musical genres - and particularly 'experimental' - because none of the standard set patterns apply, everything is entirely "improvised" and the game is unrepeatable unless one sets the pieces ap with identical starting conditions.

But in the end it comes down to the one thing thats important, and nothing else matters one iota, the enjoyment or otherwise that your creation 'generates' - If you like what you produce, and loads of others like it, then you may make it commercially as a musician .. But even if its only the creator who likes it, it still has value to them, and if they really like their production more than anyone elses production, then they are their own supreme master (and probably a raving narcisist ! ;-)

Fred.

 "If you say Ke$ha is a "master of the theremin" then, for you, she is"

- Not if its never played a theremin, even with its boobs ;-) .. comes back to the "silly person" stuff - cannot make any comparative judgment if you have only heard one performer.. all you can say is "I like it" or "I dont like it".. or something between those extremes - or at least thats all you can say unless you are silly.

** Just thinking about the chess analogy - It may well be that a chess master would be better placed to play a variant of the game than my son or I .. that their skill and mastery would give them a huge advantage - And I suspect that this could apply to skilled  "rules bound" musicians moving to an 'experimental' genre - IF they were able to "step outside" their comfort zone and not 'engineer' the 'game' to make it conform to their usual paradigm.. I suspect that they may find it easier to move to 'experimental' than an experimental musician would find it to move to their genre skillfully.

But in truth its probably unlikely that 'masters' of either group would be at all interested in switching sides or encompassing both masteries... its probably only "wanna-be's" like me who would like to be able to master both, knowing that we probably wont master either.

Thank god - only a few hours left of this damn awful year! Wishes to you and everyone here for a happy healthy and fullfilling 2014! - I am now off to be with my children in my former home with my nearly former wife to play some distorted version of "happy families" - or at least thats what I hope we will be playing - 

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