Recreating a Theremin Sound "Outside the Box"

Posted: 12/21/2015 8:07:02 PM
Thierry

From: Colmar, France

Joined: 12/31/2007

No, it was me who removed that spam here :-)

Back to topic: IMNSHFO Timbre/Waveform is not an important or determining criterion for "true" or "good" Theremin sound. It's all in the hands of the player. Best example was a video snippet a few years ago with Lydia Kavina playing a Gakken Mini Theremin (an atrocious sounding pitch-only plastic toy). Although the timbre was a squeaky high pitched square wave, one could clearly identify that it was Lydia playing it as if she was playing her Henk or tVox tour theremin.

Posted: 12/22/2015 12:50:55 AM
rkram53

From: Northern NJ, USA

Joined: 7/29/2014

I'm not searching for a right waveform. I'm searching for a lot of "right" waveforms and a few wrong ones too. If you understand the sound, you can create a theremin that sounds like any theremin you want (that doesn't mean you will sound like any thereminist you want). Anyone who wants to create a digital theremin, they better well understand the sound unless they let you enter your own waveforms (then you need to know). The Open.Theremin project is very interesting in that regard. A theremin with one sound does not interest me as much as a theremin with 100 sounds. That way I only have to ever by one more theremin - if it works well.

The sound of the theremin interests me greatly. And I think it somewhat a fallacy to say almost any sound is acceptable because a good player will make it musical. A good player will make any instrument musical. I totally agree great theremin players have a style and often you can tell immediately who is playing.

But its interesting to look at the sound of an instrument - especially if you want to try and recreate it.

Let's take the Open.Theremin case. Here's the Standard wavetable and a wavetable they say is based after the Keppinger theremin. Well someone took the time to try and figure out what the basic wave shapes should be here - because with the digital theremin you absolutely must know about this subject unless you just want to experiment - and that's fine too. 

Open Theremin  Uno Wavetables

If my goal is to create acceptable theremin simulations to create mockups of pieces, I need to know what's going on here. 

 

Posted: 12/23/2015 12:28:10 AM
Thierry

From: Colmar, France

Joined: 12/31/2007

Don't forget that any "good" theremin has, like an acoustic instrument, a timbre which varies with the tone height (pitch) and volume. Best examples are the RCA and Clara Rockmore's custom built instrument by L.T. himself. That's why up to now, most transistorized and almost all digital approaches fail in creating a vivid, organic sound.

Posted: 12/23/2015 3:17:43 AM
rkram53

From: Northern NJ, USA

Joined: 7/29/2014

Yes. Thierry. For sure. That's a major issue and why wavetable synthesis is possibly the "wave" of the future here so to speak. Not a static sample table as in the case above but a dynamically shifting multi-dimensional table that organically changes sound in response to different stimuli as some of the more modern wavetable synthesis engines work. As pitch changes you could start moving to a new matrix in the multi-dimentional table (in the modular world, a variety of CV inputs can do this). Now a Arduino UNO may not be up to this task but I'm sure some hot DSP would be and integrating some flexible dynamic filter controls would help a lot too as even my iPhone running Animoog can get some incredible sounds. There is a lot going on in the modular synthesis world today that may well be applicable to new theremin sound engines.

Also changing the "shape" of the sound in the modular world is not that difficult by applying dynamic CV control to a filter that a theremin sound might be run through. As long as the thermein has CV outs, variety of sound is more a $ issue than anything else. Maybe it sounds like a theremin for some settings, maybe something quite different for others. But I think it's time that theremins vastly open up the sonic space they traditionally live in.

I always found it interesting that hardly anyone here talks about the sound of the theremin that much. Maybe that's because till now there really hasn't been that much to it.

I'm hoping your new creation will have CV outs.

Rich

Posted: 1/14/2016 3:51:39 AM
rkram53

From: Northern NJ, USA

Joined: 7/29/2014

https://soundcloud.com/rk53-1/haken-continuum-theremin-simulation-marcello-adagio

Having a bit of fun tonight programming the Haken Continuum to emulate a theremin sound. Expanded the FM tutorial patch modified to allow you to adjust two sliders like a tone and brightness knob and allowing control from three oscillators. Parts of it are rather convincing. At times the FM modulation contorts a bit (it all adjusts based on X position). Might have to tweak a bit, maybe roll back to two levels of FM. It's Marcello's Adagio from his famous Oboe Concerto in D Minor. Actually a very nice piece for theremin in its own right. I have it on my theremin accompaniments IMSLP page.

The undulating accompaniment here is Omnisphere played from a MIDI keyboard.

 

Posted: 1/15/2016 7:37:57 AM
RonaldoRoss

From: Alaska

Joined: 12/9/2015

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