The first few hours...

Posted: 5/19/2008 1:40:36 PM

From: Graz, Austria (Europe, (almost) no kangaroos)

Joined: 5/7/2008

omhoge requested ( I share my first impressions with my new instrument - so here you have it.

It arrived three days ago and I have been fumbling (and there really is no better term) with it for about 5 hours total.

It is both a humbling and promising expierience.

I quickly got bored of doing the 'wooshing'/'scary movie sound' thing and started to try some fingering.

After about three hours I had been able to more or less satisfacorily reproduce a short version of "Alle meine Entchen" (a German/Austrian childrens song which I guess is the 'Smoke on the water' for kids new to an instrument of any kind).
Once. In about 20 tries. And I haven't been able to repeat it yet. :)

Right now I am in the process of working through the first exercises of Mr. Estradas book.

I haven't had to read sheet music (as opposed to bass/guitar/mandolin tabs) since a looong time ago so that poses an additional challenge - though it pales in comparison.

Somehow I had always imagined the Theremin to be the other way around - coming from the string instrument world I guess led me to believe the left hand was the 'melody hand' and the right one the 'rhythm' one.

That being said, one question for you all:
How important is it to keep no objects in the area of the antennas?

The Etherwave came with a small (~20cm height) 'table stand' which I find rather practical - my apartment is quite small and stuffed and being able to play while seated makes it easier and quicker to set up (that and the lack of a mic stand).
All the manuals instist that for playing, one should provide for much room so nothing interferes with the tuning. I haven't had a problem yet - I can reach all the pitches putting the dead beat at about the shoulder.
Obviously I won't be learing anything about proper stance this way, but i will keep that for later.

So much for my sharing of first impressions,
Posted: 5/19/2008 1:49:16 PM

From: Graz, Austria (Europe, (almost) no kangaroos)

Joined: 5/7/2008

Reading the above again I realize that might sound a bit frustrated.
Not at all - right now I am absolutely thrilled and fanatic about improving my skills.

Posted: 5/19/2008 2:11:36 PM

From: Richmond Hill, Georgia

Joined: 9/18/2005

Its very important to have a clear playing field around the instrument. Even the moisture in wooden objects can affect the tuning. Now, you must practice every day! You can't do it only once a week and expect to get better.

Good luck.

Philip Neidlinger
Posted: 5/19/2008 4:39:51 PM

From: Croxley Green, Hertfordshire, UK

Joined: 10/5/2005

Theremins can be left or right handed to suit the player. It is sensible to play pitch with the dominant hand as it requires greater dexterity.

Unless you have a particular reason to play very low notes you might find it beneficial to extend the field beyond your shoulder to a size where the notes in the mid-range are spaced to suit your fingering, rather than trying to adapt your fingering to fit the field.

If you watch some of the top players tuning up, you will see them playing an interval - a fourth(?) - and adjusting the field until the interval is correct.
Posted: 5/19/2008 6:43:20 PM

From: Colmar, France

Joined: 12/31/2007

GordonC wrote:
"If you watch some of the top players tuning up, you will see them playing an interval - a fourth(?) - and adjusting the field until the interval is correct."

A fourth is correct for the Rockmore method. For the Eyck method it's an octave.
Posted: 5/19/2008 8:19:04 PM

From: Kingston, NY

Joined: 2/13/2005

Thank you so much nephros for posting the experience of your theremin arriving. It is a very special time. And you sound taken with it and engergized to work with it naturally by bonding with the instrument.

Yes the the playing fields do need to be clear, and a simple weighted base mic stand works great taking up minimal space if you can fit it in.
Most of all you're exploring. You're eager to try and hear an innumerable number of things, which will inspire and lead you along.
ps. I really love low notes and tune just past my closed hand to shoulder spot.

Please keep us posted, and keep playing, just keep playing.

Posted: 5/19/2008 11:21:12 PM
Brian R

From: Somerville, MA

Joined: 10/7/2005

I would offer additional words of encouragement, but I'm just too captivated by the image of kangaroos leaping among the snow-capped Alps.

Posted: 5/20/2008 3:31:30 AM

From: Graz, Austria (Europe, (almost) no kangaroos)

Joined: 5/7/2008

Thank you all for your replies and advice. I will keep it in mind.

Brian, as GordonC pointed out elsewhere there are in fact some rare sightings of alpine kangaroos (
Posted: 5/20/2008 7:23:10 AM
Brian R

From: Somerville, MA

Joined: 10/7/2005

Nephros, thanks for the link. Not sure yet how to respond to this information... perhaps a tone poem, or an opera, if I can find a sympathetic librettist.

Main reaction is relief that it was a kangaroo on the loose, and not some more formidable creature ( lurking in the mountains.

(And if you think those knife-like claws are terrifying... just imagine them impaling cubes of bread, dipped in fondue... brrrrrrrr!)

Posted: 5/20/2008 7:36:02 AM
Brian R

From: Somerville, MA

Joined: 10/7/2005

Seriously, though, I'll just echo Philip's comments on regular practice... even just 15 min. every day is better than two hours on the weekend.

Perhaps it's just as important that you start by playing ("Spielen" wie als Bowlen, Karten, Wuerfel, ...) and just enjoying the instrument. Don't worry about what the neighbors are thinking.

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