"Who owns Clara Rockmore's theremin"

Posted: 4/22/2006 12:30:29 AM
Reid Welch

Joined: 1/7/2006

Hi Andy,

Those notes of Bob's are all we have.
The vital details (secrets) of the volume control circuit are lacking.

He could no more tear down the instrument
(Clara would never allow that), than I could.
But when he made his repairs, he expertly sketched what he could see of the circuitry.

Lacking measurements of the various coils and transformers, the drawings are not of much value to us.

The entire instrument is a tuned ensemble with its components,
right down to the very rare and early alnico magnet 15" speaker.

If the brittle, old paper speaker cone should very be destroyed, then that's the end of that particular sound.
Thin, full range, paper 15" cones are not made today.

The delacacy of a tubed theremin,
as you know, is quite a challenge to maintain.

A tube swap can make or take away the desired tone. Clara worked Theremin very hard until -she- had obtained the tone she wanted.
She had a vision from the beginning, defining what the theremin should sound like in order to be a full range and perfect instrument.

I don't suppose, but do not know, that Lucy Rosen's theremins ever sounded like Clara's machine.

Certainly, the few "Teletouch" instruments I've seen *well, two to be exact*, were not made under Theremin's purview.
And they are miserable-toned machines, those built in the late thirties, or after Lev decamped.

The RCA standard tone is quite good.
Clara wanted better and got it.
I don't know that any other tubed theremin ever came to match her *own design*.

She said as much. She wasn't so modest, but
hey, the truth is the truth. And Lev served her wants ,just as any of us would do-- willingly.
She was the seer and quite a wonderful guide to accompany. I regret I met her years too late;
I'd only seen my first theremin in January of '94 when I obtained a nice RCA. It was then I became a theremin technician in search of that wonderful Rockmore "Clara tone", as I like to term it.

I'm no Termin, though. No termite either;


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