Very New To The Theremin ~ Want One BAD!

Posted: 5/14/2014 12:32:53 AM

From: Canada

Joined: 8/1/2008

One curious fact about the theremin that I forgot to mention in my previous post, is that unlike conventional instruments, EVERYBODY IS AN EXPERT.


I always advise people never to take advice on playing the theremin from anyone they have not heard play, or from anyone whose playing they have heard but did not particularly enjoy.


With traditional instruments there are international standards of performance and established, time-honored techniques for playing. The theremin has not been around long enough to have anything that could be called a "tradition" associated with it, and between 1932 (when RCA ceased manufacture of the instrument) and the very first theremins of the late Bob Moog, there was a hiatus in production of more than 20 years. 


All you have to do in order to call yourself a "thereminist" is own a theremin. No one who simply owns a violin would dare call themselves a violinist, but with the theremin you can get away with anything! 


The tragedy of the theremin is that the vast majority of players are self-taught. They are not only both teacher and student, they are also their own final examiners and the adjudicators of their success. 


I can't tell you how many people whose playing is REEEEEEELY bad, have told me over the years how proud they are of their success at mastering the instrument! And the one thing they have in common is their fervent desire to show as many people as possible how to follow in their footsteps!


"I followed in the delicate footsteps of Edna St. Vincent Millay in my dirty sneakers".  Dorothy Parker  ☺

Posted: 5/14/2014 2:59:32 AM

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

Joined: 12/17/2010

See, I enjoy Coalport's playing (He is Peter Pringle) but I could NEVER play like him. :)

Posted: 5/14/2014 12:19:04 PM

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 . ...................................

Joined: 12/7/2007

"unlike conventional instruments, EVERYBODY IS AN EXPERT." - Coalport

This doesnt just apply to playing the damn things - it applies to every aspect! Design, theory, construction, the lot!

The "one thing they have in common is their fervent desire to show as many people as possible how to follow in their footsteps!" also seems unusually common for those involved with design / modification / construction of theremins.. At all levels - The only ones not wanting to "share" or get others to "follow in their footsteps" are those with a vested interest in keeping stuff hidden.

I think it may be something to do with the irrational passion and huge investment of time and effort these instruments require..

When one has invested a lot in something, perhaps there is the tendency to think one should be an expert in it, and the inclination to self-delusion!

But apart from that, it is well known that ether waves are intoxicating! ;-) - Also, they have personality altering effects which sometimes causes mental illness in vulnerable egotistical people.*



Posted: 5/14/2014 10:58:44 PM

From: Burlington, Kentucky

Joined: 5/9/2014

Mr. Pringle.


Thank you so much for replying to my post and adding your comments. Your video of Over The Rainbow was the first video of a theremin I have seen and the reason I am interested in learning to play now. I've known about the theremin for a long time. But only as it's role in science fiction movies and spooky soundtracks. Never have I witnessed the theremin as a source of such beautiful music. I was instantly fascinated by this unique instrument and have made it my new obsession to learn to play.


I've been eating up every video, tutorial and forum I can find on this topic. I already have an amplifier lined up for purchase and several models of theremin to choose from. It will only be a matter of time before I have one in my hot little hands. I only wish I had more disposable income to invest in this new endeavor.


As simplistic as the theremin may appear, I'm sure the learning curve is steep. But I'm prepared... I think. I am very much a type A personality. When I get something in my head I won't rest until I see it through. I am also very critical about my own abilities. Without trying to sound too conceited, there are very few things I have set my mind to that I have not been able to achieved one way or the other. I can't birth babies, or walk on water...still working on that one!


I'm also a carpenter. This may not seem like it has anything to do with learning to play the theremin. But I'm very critical about measurements. Space, accuracy, symmetry and balance are things I obsess over. Not just in my carpentry skills, but in most every aspect of my life. I would think these traits would be beneficial to learning the theremin. I think I have a decent ear for music as well. I play the piano and the baritone ukulele. I've never had a formal lesson. Each I play by ear.


Hopefully these things will work in my favor as I take on this new task. I already have tons of tutorials bookmarked just waiting for the theremin to arrive. And I'm looking for a local instructor. Not as easy as it might seem. My wife thinks I'm nuts. But she understands my personality and knows this is just another stop for me on my to.... where was I going again??


Thank you again sir. Your opinion and advice carry a great deal of weight with me. And any recommendations you might have will always be greatly appreciated.


- Dean -

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