Newcomer on the Open.Theremin V3

Posted: 3/23/2017 7:43:25 PM

From: Athens, Greece

Joined: 2/27/2017

Hello ThereminWorld!

The theremin has intrigued me since I first heard about it some years ago, bit this interest escalated rather rapidly during the previous months, for not too clear reasons.

Anyway, since the end January, I have been listening the recordings of Clara Rockmore (my favourite is the "lost album") with great delight. As a matter of fact, on the first listening I felt a headache coming due to the unusual timbre of the instrument and the strong vibrato. But consequent tries made me appreciate and savor the expressive qualities of the instrument, which sounds full of soul and highly sentimental, while remaining, well ...mental and eclectic. The more I listened, the more I wanted to play. While I 'm not the best musician, I know my way around classical music, I have been playing the classical guitar for 8 years and also have been taught musical theory and harmony. In this time, the theremin is the only instrument that ever made me go after its particular sound.

So, long story short, I decided to get a theremin. And as I am in a tight budget (I 'm a 1st year Physics student) and a FOSS enthusiast/linux guy, the choice was quite straightforward (reading Thierry 's opinion was the icing on the cake). About three weeks ago I bought an Open.Theremin kit and assembled it. Meanwhile, I listened to every theremin piece I came across, read Clara Rockmore 's method for theremin, watched instructional videos and familiarized myself a bit with theremin circuitry.

I 'm quite happy with the Open.Theremin, and in less than a week I was able to play "recognizable melodies", which surprised me.

I do not have an amplifier, but I run my theremin through the aux-in of a mini HiFi system which has decent bass response (I can hear everything from the zero beat and up, with heavy vibrations (but not buzz) in the very low frequencies, and it also seems to provide good grounding. My theremin still has stiff wire antennas instead of pipes, but this is going to change soon...

I am learning Rachmaninoff 's Vocalise right now, and struggle to do proper vibratos. I can play with (relative) easy most exercises from Rockmore 's method.

Does anyone have any advice for an aspiring thereminist?

Anyone knows if it is normal that I often need to perform auto-calibration on the theremin (when I turn it on after, say, a day of inactivity), so that the zero beat comes into a usable range?


Best regards,


Posted: 3/29/2017 8:11:59 AM

From: Scotland

Joined: 9/27/2012

Hi Johnny,


I have an early generation Open Theremin and find that it is quite susceptible to fluctuations in temperature and other environmental factors which would cause you to have to re-calibrate the device more often than say, for example, the Etherwave.


Posted: 3/29/2017 1:32:35 PM

From: Athens, Greece

Joined: 2/27/2017

Actually the circuit is much more stable after I installed antennas with larger capacitance. Now it can maintain its tuning for hours, and then it will only need a minor adjustment of the pitch knob.

Posted: 3/31/2017 7:49:09 PM

From: Athens, Greece

Joined: 2/27/2017

I am currently trying to optimize my volume loop, as a have some spare pieces of aluminium pipes lying around. Can someone explain how the loop should be shaped, and why? As of now, I am using a simple U-shaped loop. I have seen the Open.Theremin used with a closed round loop, as well as a triangular loop, a U-loop slightly deformed by bringing the parallel lines closer together, etc.

What is the rationale behind the loop shape, and which one is better?

Posted: 6/10/2017 7:12:27 PM

Joined: 6/10/2017

Hey there... I just pulled the trigger on an open.theremin v3 board.

I have an old arduino uno laying around, and I figured this would be a fitting use for it.


What's the outcome of your Open.theremin build?  I don't know anything about theremins and this is my first auduino project.

Is what I'm going to end up with going to be playable at all?  How is the sound quality?

You must be logged in to post a reply. Please log in or register for a new account.