Bagpipes and Theremin Together On Stage

Posted: 10/22/2013 2:23:55 AM

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

Joined: 12/17/2010

Thank you kindly, Coalport. I have missed you all so very much, but life has taken a lot of my time lately, but slowly ~ I am getting back to my old self. I had a scare with skin cancer a month ago, but all is ok after a small procedure and follow-ups. I have lost 25 lbs and I feel much better. Anyhow, I have not stopped playing my theremin, and in all honesty, that was pretty much the one thing that helped me to keep it all together. 


I am glad to be back, and also it is nice to know I have been missed a little bit ^.^

Sorry for the hijack!



Coalport wrote:


Amey - "'s nice to have you back where you belong!"






Posted: 12/5/2013 1:47:04 PM

From: Madrid (Spain)

Joined: 11/26/2013

Hi everybody!


I'm new in the forum. I checked Theremin World in the past and learned a lot reading your post. But I have to say  that it´s a pretty  weird surprise to discover now my name  described in this post in this bad terms. It's specially hard because the words comes from one of the masters of modern theremin, someone who I admired so much and listen so many times. So... yes, I'm Javier,  I'm the guy who must be lynched for that video, as Mr. Coalport said.

First of all I like to clear two points:

1) That wasn´t a concert, there was  nothing prepared for that meeting. Me and Cristina participated at TEDTalks Madrid sepparately, so the organization had the idea to mix the instruments, not a concert, not even an improvisation, just put the sound together and listen how it taste. Cristina have heard my work as musician and liked the idea (Of course I know well her work and career). 

2) The sound inside the stage was not good at all for the theremin, I can even heard what I was playing, Although that circunstances I tried to play something and keep my smile on my face. So Mr Coalport, I understand that you don´t like at all what I played, neither I like. Unfortunately for me this was filmed and upload to YouTube. Unfortunately for me this video was discovered and commented here in Theremin World 

My best moments on stage with theremin was not filmed, but at least I have better videos than this sad appearance with such a virtuoso like Cristina.

Please take a look at this videos: (Mahshav, variations on a theme by John Zorn)   (an excerpt from TED, this is a private video you just have to write   "ether"  as password)

Yes, sometimes  I use effects, sometimes I use loops, but I hope this videos could show  that I'm not one of these theremin possers (or "avantgardist" or whatever) who uses tons of effects in order to hide their inability  to play the instrument. I take the theremin seriously, I took my time to learn and work hard on it.  I know I'm not a theremin virtuoso, I have to improve my phrasing,  my tune, my technique...


About  "would gladly have participated in a mob lynching the theremin player",  well if you translate this sentence into spanish it sounds horrible. I guess it's a common joke expression in english, so I take it with humour. Anyway I don't think I deserve this words.


Thanks for reading and sorry for my poor english.





Posted: 12/5/2013 3:14:13 PM
RS Theremin

From: 60 mi. N of San Diego CA

Joined: 2/15/2005

Welcome Javier,

I focus more on the fun a theremin gives than what I can force it to do as she will dictate her needs. Only the insane take this instrument serious but that does not mean you can't attempt touching perfection.

I have been at this theremin stuff for over 10 years and have designed the finest theremin ever to come together. Ask anybody. I once waited for a positive compliment and thought I was not getting it because I am not an engineer or musician.

Over time I realized it takes a really ornery person to master the theremin in all its forms as the theremin itself is very ornery instrument as I am sure you have experienced.

I now consider any comment about my work as a compliment, that I was noticed, even if only cruel. Often the reaction a comment gets reveals more about the commenter.

So remember to always have fun; it was the theremin that chose you.


Sample comment: Thierry I am proud of you, you finally figured out how babies come about! Here in the states that is the first word someone says when their partner says I'm pregnant!

Posted: 12/5/2013 3:57:05 PM

From: FredM - fred[at]fundes[dot] co{dot}uk

Joined: 8/16/2012

i have been at this theremin stuff for over 10 years and have designed the finest theremin ever to come together 


Said mr chrestoper

Better than the eterwave po and betterer dan dat stuopid etervave terorvox and that other terobpx Russian rubish and beterrer than anyting dat stuopid Russian spy ever putted togeter

 Nd of cors I deed this cos I is a umblse geneeos

jest ask anybody here  even yo imagineiry frendz an dey tel yo


Posted: 12/5/2013 4:21:46 PM
RS Theremin

From: 60 mi. N of San Diego CA

Joined: 2/15/2005

So you finally got some humor.  Only one person at TW uses flamboyant fonts and coloring, now can we have that beer?

I understand your situation, one time I was so far into the other-world that the police found me in bushes and it took weeks to get back to my normal. That is why I appreciate your street people fund.


Edit: That Mr Chrestopher shows respect and tells me you might be that other person because of the creativity of the post? Shouldn't you be practicing as destiny is waiting?

Posted: 12/6/2013 10:09:03 AM

From: Croxley Green, Hertfordshire, UK

Joined: 10/5/2005

Hi Mistertrop, and welcome to Theremin World from a theremin posser. :-)

"these theremin possers (or "avantgardist" or whatever) who uses tons of effects in order to hide their inability  to play the instrument. I take the theremin seriously, I took my time to learn and work hard on it."

Ah, thank you for explaining why I have wasted the last eight years fooling myself into thinking I was researching and honing my craft, producing five albums(*), performing in five countries, delving into my musical heritage (mostly 70s Industrial music and the BBC Radiophonic Workshop) and generally being uncharacteristically "serious" about producing pieces that please me and an admittedly minority audience. Now that you have made it clear that I am doing it simply to hide my inability to play I shall immediately forsake my avantgardist ways and become merely another mediocre youtube thereminist.

Oh, wait, I just remembered that your opinion is ill-informed and belittling. Sorry about that. In the words of Lt. Commander Dexter Remmick (Star Trek: TNG) "You don't understand. We mean you no harm. We seek peaceful coexistence."

I quite enjoyed your TEDx performance. I found it amusing. Ms Pato was clearly amused too.


(*) Available at most good digital outlets. I perform and record as Beat Frequency on the White Label Music record label.

Posted: 12/6/2013 4:19:53 PM

From: Madrid (Spain)

Joined: 11/26/2013

Hi RS Theremin  Thank you for your post.
Hi Gordon C. It wasn´t my intention to underrate anybody or any form to understand the theremin. I just tried to answer what Coalport said about me. That's the reason why I use the term "avangardist" just to answer in the same semantic direction. But I have to say that for me "avantgardist" means something positive. Sorry for that confusión. My fault
Mr. Charlton I know well your work, I listened so much your pieces at your YouTube Channel. I really like it. I consider you are a master in the art of combining textures, ambiences and effects, believe me.  It's obious that you're not a posser. Anyway, now I realize that  it wasn't a good idea to use that word. Indeed I´m not sure if "posser" means what I though it means. Sorry about that man. If someone else could felt in the same way, sorry again. That things happens when you express in a language that it´s not yours.
As musician and Radio Dj (one of my occupations in Spain) I love dozens of different music styles, I really got into avantgarde, in the widest sense of the term. Indeed one of my main influences as electronic musician is industrial music, from Throbbing Gristle, Monte Cazazza and SPK to Coil, Einstürzende Neubauten, Test Dept or Foetus. I love too all those electronic wizards from the past: Raymond Scott, Bruce Haack, Tom Dissevelt and of course Delia Derbyshire, Daphne Oram, Tristam Cary and the complete list of BBC Workshop masters. What I´m trying to say you is that I understand, that my opinión is healthy-informed  :-)
I'm glad that you enjoy my TED performance. Thank You.
Posted: 12/7/2013 12:09:45 AM

From: Croxley Green, Hertfordshire, UK

Joined: 10/5/2005

Javier, if we meet in real like I will hug you. I may even buy you a drink. :-)

Posted: 12/7/2013 8:23:00 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

In this whole issue of words related to theremin playing and theremin playing styles etc, doesnt it all come down to one thing - Those who can play what they intend to play, and those who cant (even if they think they can) ?

The only ones who I think qualify for the word "posser" are those who cant play what they want to play (or at least not with enough precision that it isnt painful), know that they cant play, but subject their audience to their "playing" during a performance and use effects etc to mask their inability.

I think the majority of the "mediocre youtube thereminist" crowd arent "possers" - They are simply unaware of how mediocre or just plain bad their playing is.

There are those like Peter and Gordon who are masters of their particular theremin craft / style IMO -

I think Peter knows every note thats going to come from the theremin when he plays it, every nuance and dynamic, and is unhappy if what comes out is a few cents off what he wanted to come out. No two performances can ever be identical, but if Peter wants to play the same piece and have it come out the same as last time he played it, he will manage to do this to a degree that us mere mortals wont be able to tell the two performances apart ;-)

Gordon doesnt know exactly whats going to come out - but he knows the structure and "feeling" of what will come out - and those who are into his music will certainly recognise the piece - and be excited by the differences in the piece from last time they heard it - I enjoy some of what Gordon plays more than I enjoy some of what Peter plays, and vice versa - But for me the important thing is that both perform enjoyable music (to my ears)

Im not really into "avantgardist" or "industrial" or classical ;-) Most of the music I listen to doesnt really fall into any of these genres - The fact that I spend  time listening to Peter and Gordon is because for some reason I enjoy what they give... Its not because of the theremin - there are hundreds of theremin "performances" that I cannot stand for more than a minute!

Certainly to my ears, the worst "music" I have heard has been since I got into theremins and started listening to theremin performances - But also, some of the best music I have heard has also been from theremins - And Peter and Gordon (and now Amey is scoring highly in this group)  have provided the majority of the theremin music I enjoy.

Javier, I actually really liked your TED performance, but it was the pipes and entertainment that was probably what made this so enjoyable - I didnt really get what the theremin stuff was all about ;-) When I see an unfavorable "review" I tend not to bother listening to the performance - god knows ive listened to more awful theremin playing than I want to already.. But im glad I eventually viewed this performance.. And I do think the "review" was a bit harsh - IMO there have been far worse theremin performances that havent been damned nearly as strongly as yours was!


Posted: 12/7/2013 10:20:38 AM

From: Croxley Green, Hertfordshire, UK

Joined: 10/5/2005

Putting a theremin against bagpipes in a free improvisation context is a very demanding challenge. It's kind of like taking a pencil to a painting competition. I appreciate the skills involved in "taking a line for a walk" (to hijack Paul Klee's wonderful description) but the result is always going to appear sparse and sketchy when compared to a full colour painting.



(P.S. Sillyconica - Sockpuppets on TW? Really? Puhlease. :-/ )

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