Moog Theremini Owners

Posted: 10/28/2014 3:42:00 AM

From: Northern NJ, USA

Joined: 2/17/2012

"Have you ever considered spending some time at the Vulcan monastery at P'Jem?"  - coalport

Wow, my meager ST knowledge is no match for yours!

Posted: 10/28/2014 11:14:18 PM

From: Canada

Joined: 8/1/2008

I'm a "trekkie". 

Been one for so long, I never switched to "trekker" when everybody else did.


I think I'm the only person in the world who actually LIKED the prequel, Star Trek Enterprise.

Posted: 10/29/2014 12:31:49 AM

From: Northern NJ, USA

Joined: 7/29/2014

In final defense. Yes I said those things. As a two or three week old newbie. This was before I decided to take the time to invest in learning the ins and outs of the Theremini.  After playing around with it I realized that if you set it right you can play it almost as well as the Etherwave with about the same linearity for a good portion of the range. At least I can play it that way as a beginner. Perhaps Peter and the other professionals can see limitations that make it difficult to use perhaps in their domain, but that doesn't mean its a bad instrument. I've managed now that I can edit to get some sounds out of this Theremini that are as good a theremin-like sounds as my Etherwave (my only other exposure to the instrument).

So I have to eat a lot of my previous words. And I was also knocking the instrument prematurely. I should have worked with it more before I said those things, especially seeing as how I was so new. But that doesn't change the main problem here. This tread was a plea from Theremini owners for objectiveness and kindness to help them have a better experience with their Theremini, help them learn. I really tried to take that to heart and help. Most others just towed their Theremini party line in a thread that clearly asked to limit all the negativity. As a teacher that really upset me. Knock the Theremini if you like, but it should not have been done here.

And I can absolutely guarantee that if Peter wanted to take the time to just accept the limitations of the Theremini and do up a piece, it would be spectacular. That's because spectacular is the only word I see in Peter's musical vocabulary. If he can make music on an ancient lyre for goodness sake, I know he could knock the socks off the Theremini community as well.

I also tried to help Moog asking them how I can help make the Theremini better and they were open to my assistance in testing apps where I have a lot of experience.

With all this TW combined knowledge and experience, I just don't see  why everyone is not trying to help the one company with the best chance to further the theremin. Bob Moog is gone, but that doesn't mean his legacy can't continue if TW puts their mind into really helping them. That's my goal now. I owe my musical life in part to Moog as I would never have gone into classical music if it had not been for the "Switched on Bach" album where I heard for the first time that new life can be breathed into 250 year old music.

Stop the knocking and start the helping. That's my final plea. 



Posted: 10/29/2014 2:31:10 AM

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

Joined: 12/17/2010

Hummmm.... Peter did say if (I recall well) that the "Theremini is a piece o' sh!t."

Posted: 10/29/2014 2:45:17 AM

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


I am glad you came back - Not so I can bash you again, thats not what I ever want to do.

I made several points which, if answered, may change my attitude. My last post gave detailed reasons why the theremini cannot be a theremin, and detailed Dr Bob Moog's criterion for what a theremin was, and how on these criterion the theremini was not even close.

But the one question is at the core of all this - Can Moog make the theremini's latency lower than 10ms ? If they can and do, and do so quickly, and retrofit this to anyone who wants it, then things can move in the right direction.

But at the moment they are not being honest about this fundamental "theremin" vs "theremini" issue, they are not even acknowledging it. When confronted, they imply the latency is 60 microseconds when everyone who can play can see a noticeable latency, and it has been measured at ~ 100 milliseconds.

Nobody can help Moog if they aren't interested in being 'helped' - And it certainly appears they have no real interest in being honest or in improving the problem which excludes the theremini from any chance of being a theremin.. There may be linearity and other issues, but compared to latency these are probably no issue - Repeatedly these "other issues" are mentioned in passing, but the elephant in the room is stoically ignored.

And at present "accepting the limitations of the theremini" is the same as saying "accepting that its not a theremin" -

Which is fine - its some sort of musical thing that can be played and make music.. but its not a theremin, it is dishonest to call it a theremin, it cannot be played like a theremin.

So how can we help? By including it here and promoting it as a theremin? No Way!

Or perhaps by stating loudly and clearly that its a dishonest scam to call it a theremin, and shaming Moog into correcting it ?

While Moog continues to lie to us, I dont see any option but the latter!

(I dont actually think we will manage to shame Moog - to behave the way they have probably means they are beyond such feelings as shame, and are only interested in their lucrative scam - they are effectively saying "to hell with Bob's legacy - it doesn't buy us the lifestyles we want" - They will learn that Bob's legacy was the goose that laid the golden eggs, and that killing it was a mistake  )

Moog has not been interested in this community really since Bob died.. That is the complete picture. Moog will not advance the theremin - it can hardly manage to maintain even the EW production to any reasonable standard of quality..

And this is understandable - there is no money in theremins! It was Bob's passion and "hobby" but apart from the EW its given the bean counters fits!

Theremins will only advance because of the irrational passion of engineers in love with them - there is nobody at Moog with a passion for theremins any more - and if there had been, such a person would have resigned before working for the company which put a theremini on the market!

The only hope is that Moog is forced to re-engineer the theremini because of us.. its a tiny hope. Accepting the theremini will only serve to show Moog that it can get away with anything if they market it as 'cool' and tell lies from day 1 - there is no way that they will correct the theremini unless they are forced to - I doubt we have enough weight to do that, and I think post-Bob "Moog" and this community are on the way to divorce.


This is what Moog needs to sort out:

The qualifications specified by Dr Bob Moog (who has designed and produced more theremins than any person on this planet) clearly and absolutely put the theremini far outside the scope of what a theremin can ever be. Dr Bob Moog did not specify that the sound engine must be heterodyning, he did not specify that the sound engine must be analogue, but he did specify that pitch response must be immediate! If you read what Bob says about the theremin, it is this one thing - the freedom and fluid instantaneous control of the pitch - which sets the theremin apart from all other electronic musical instruments.

The only way we can help Moog is by reminding them of what their Grand Poobah said.

Moog needs to realize that, like it or lump it, the source of their future is in the archives Bob left - that mocking Bobs memory will lead them to ruin eventually - oh, they may rake in the cash for a while, but reputation takes a long time to build, and when lost even longer to re-establish.

Posted: 10/29/2014 5:09:14 AM

From: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Joined: 1/1/2011

there is no way that they will correct the theremini unless they are forced to

The Theremini is just another branch on the evolutionary tree of theremins and the main force at work is the free market.  The question is will it take the path of Homo Sapiens or Neanderthals?.....It's now believed by some anthropologists that the two may have co-existed together for a period of time and even interbred.   Just something to think about over several glasses of Pinot Noir!

Posted: 10/29/2014 5:46:31 AM

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

Hi bisem,

yeah - it will go the way it goes.. Except that "market forces" evolution is being undermined by dishonest naming and advertising.

This isn't only a battle raging in the theremin world, it pervades all aspects of our modern world. There is no problem in my mind regarding the co-existence of other gestural controlled instruments and the theremin.. The primary problem is that the one company who should know what the theremin is is dishonestly marketing their thing as a theremin.

Its only moog who could have caused this furore! If Yamaha or Gakken or anyone else had brought the theremini to market, we would have had no confusion - there would be no argument against anyone here who said that it wasn't a theremin, when thereminists said it was unplayable, their views would be respected - And when engineers showed why it was unplayable there would have been no argument.

And telling someone that it wasn't a theremin wouldn't have drawn enmity.

But from moog, this was IMO a body blow - If moog had brought out the theremini and advertised it honestly, that could actually have advanced the whole field of gestural musical instruments and theremins - but they didnt.. They went out of their way to distort the truth and tell some blatant lies as well - mentioning heterodyning amd that the instrument could be played like a conventional theremin (which it cant - and heterodyning implies immediacy - Bob Moog specifically referred to heterodyning in terms of its immediacy)

The bulk of future gestural controlled instruments will almost certainly be on theremini lines, and I have no doubt that they will be called theremins.. Co-existence is only possible if one 'branch'  allows the other to survive - The theremini, due to being marketed as a theremin, will (I suspect) lead to reduction in interest in real theremins.. The theremin market (small already) will perhaps reduce to near zero, the 'cool' new gestural 'things' will enjoy a reasonably large market for a while and mop up what was once the theremin market  - (those newcomers who wanted a theremin) leaving only the tiny dedicated group who are probably almost all  here and on LevNet.

We (the developers of real theremins), and the theremin, are facing extinction...The "new" market is already gone as who would (without knowing what a real theremin is) buy an expensive instrument when they can buy a theremini for the same or less?  interbreeding isn't an option, theres no money for the new species in doing that.. and money is their only interest.

Digital theremin developers are probably the worst hit - they had a battle to be noticed by the theremin 'purists' anyway, and now the other less pedantic market has been taken by moog. If it was evolution, then that would motivate more evolution.. But its not.. It was CHEATING that caused the theremini to be promoted.

If Moog had stayed true to the theremin, then even when others brought out "thereminis" the most respected voice on the subject could have kept the balance and co-existence would have been possible.. But this is unrealistic, moog had no reason to do this because moog doesnt give a damn about the theremin or about Bob's love for it.

And I have said enough, I am sick of the whole thing.. Theremins are mad anyway - WTF am I doing trying to 'defend' what is probably the stupidest instrument ever invented? So what if something even stupider replaces it? The very thing that makes it unique and special is the same thing that restricts mastery of it to the few - the new things "give it to the people" but in so doing remove everything that had any worth in it.. Perhaps a thing that anyone can make musac with is the better..  We could have had both stupid instruments living happily , one in theremin world, the other in theremini world (as in, everywhere on the internet except theremin world) - but these two stupid instruments in one world and one gets past critical mass...


Posted: 10/29/2014 11:01:16 AM

From: Scotland

Joined: 9/27/2012

Firstly, I agree with all that has been said about the Theremini in this thread.

Going to say something controversial here:

I kind of think of it in a similar way to those who present to the world a thing called a vegetarian Haggis.
By any classification it cannot really be called a haggis but it still is presented and advertised as one by those who make them.
The thing is that in and of itself, it is, or can be (depending on producer) quite a tasty thing - only that it is NOT a haggis.

In the same sentiment, and for as long as MOOG decide to present it as a theremin, and for as long as TW advertises a flashing eye-catching picture of it in it's page headers (I understand why TW does this), then I think there should be a place for the theremini in TW.

As Rich has said previously, people will rightly come to TW looking for information on the Theremini because MOOG told them it was a theremin. It's not their fault, it's MOOG's fault.

So might I suggest that TW has a thread for those who want to share their experiences and ways to play/use the theremini, at the same time TW continues to put pressure on MOOG to right the theremini wrong but this is done in different threads.

I think it is only fair to those who have been duped by MOOG.



Posted: 10/29/2014 8:16:20 PM

From: züriCH

Joined: 3/15/2014

veggie haggis? now that's a nice analogy. the theremini must feel like the beetroot at the internationel butchers congress.

and i agree, if i get it right.: TW should be a table to have a feast together, in some sort. no, not that kumbaya- nonsense, more like a menagerie completement foux.(... and the ad keeps blinking on top right, so all'swell) 

come on, it's a bit elitist sometimes, if not to say dogmatic, like what's a theremin and what's not and it's proper use. take for example the reversed volume response, or talk extensivly about the ew-cv-synth use and it might blow some peoples fuses not to mention plate antennaes. sacrebleu et mon dieu.! it needs sometimes culiones to stay a while on TW and push some ideas. i like talking/ reading the use of effects, external stuff, apps etc...but i already hear the distant voices like "mnjäääh, its not theremin, nag nag nag." and that pmo. really.

btw.: as everybody knows: "the thing that must not be named" or so, get advertised from well known artists, (and i like what and how they play,)  along other theremins and no one can stop them! hopefully no one does so. must be a hilarious job, as far as i saw on the www. got  it kids?  sending all tttmnbn-newcomers off to a whatever other website?.. just because?.. hopefully not.

just my 3 peas.

Edith: maybe a new forum on TW might solve things, like: theremini (and other new designs, witch might be tolerated but mostly neglected)

Posted: 10/29/2014 8:39:29 PM

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

Joined: 12/17/2010

... I just got an email from a "fan" asking me if I recorded my latest theremin/piano album with a Theremini.

Well, 2 instruments from the same company ~ completely a world apart.


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