Moog Theremini!

Posted: 1/24/2014 4:44:15 PM
FredM

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 WaveCrafter.com . ...................................

Joined: 12/7/2007

" I find myself squarely in the target market for this instrument. Have you read some of the words used to describe people for whom it would be suited?" - GordonC

I dont understand - How are you in the "target market" ?

The "target market" as I see it is those who want to play "tunes" but dont have the ability to play "tunes" and dont have the required skills or devotion to obtain the ability to play "tunes".. I think the "words used" are aimed at those people.

And I am highly surprised that you have interest in quantised pitch - You are a (the?) master of creating imaginative theremin music outside of the mundane ETS normality.. I would have thought that the theremini was less targeted to you than to almost anyone else on the planet!

Fred.

Posted: 1/24/2014 4:58:10 PM
GordonC

From: Croxley Green, Hertfordshire, UK

Joined: 10/5/2005

Not so much for the autotuning, although I do have an EP of autotuned theremin pieces with my record company waiting to be released. (Sample track - http://youtu.be/RkRc7b4jhfo )

I'm excited about the sound set it offers. I have a copy of Animoog for iPad, from which the audio engine for the theremini is derived, and it's rather good, and not at all theremin-like, which means it will not be duplicating any of the theremins I already own. Also the scalable pitch field and the possibility of good linearity that going digital offers.

(BTW - Animoog for iPhone and iPod Touch is currently free, if anyone wants to grab a copy.)

 

Here, for the sake of making a positive contribution to this thread, are my thoughts on autotuning that I posted recently on facebook.

This is what is wrong with autotuning a theremin (for a classical thereminist) - the pitch field is unpredictable enough already, with pitch correction on you lose the direct correlation between hand position and pitch that you rely on. Say you are playing a C. You do not know if you are 49 cents sharp or 49 cents flat, because it sounds in tune. So a tiny movement could abruptly and unexpectedly cause the instrument to jump to a different note if you are unknowingly close to the boundary between two notes. (Or will pitch preview be uncorrected? Being out of tune would sound awful, hearing both the untuned preview and the corrected pitch through the amp. My guess is you wouldn't be able to tell if you were sharp or flat.)

There are other ways to provide audible pitch assistance to a thereminist using pitch preview - for instance, one idea would be to make pitch preview stereo on headphones, and relate the pitch accuracy to the position of the sound in the stereo field, so (for a right handed player) very flat notes would be heard in the left channel, and very sharp notes in the right channel, with on-pitch notes being in the centre. I haven't tried this (I don't believe anyone has) but it seems to me like it would be worth trying, if playing in tune is your thing and you want training-wheels.

Posted: 1/24/2014 5:07:35 PM
Ruslan

Joined: 7/23/2010

> "Disgusting sound" - Where did you hear it?

On Amey's facebook page. Strictly saying, the instrument has 32 timbres, one of them is awful. Maybe that pro upgrade kit fixes this for additional price.

Posted: 1/24/2014 5:12:49 PM
FredM

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 WaveCrafter.com . ...................................

Joined: 12/7/2007

Thanks for the info on the sound engine, Gordon..

Yeah - Pitch quantizations problems (on the theremin) are not trivial - so I wonder how well the theremini will manage it.. I spent many hours before I came up with my "On-Key-Emphasis" solution - but thats not pitch correction or quantization really..

I can see how wider tone / synthesis pallette would be of interest you (as it is to me) and could increase the "target market" hugely, to include those not interested in pitch quantisation..

The focus has been on pitch correction - and I wrongly assumed this was somehow what you were interested in.. I had no idea that the sound engine might be really good.. Sorry.

Fred.

Posted: 1/24/2014 5:19:41 PM
GordonC

From: Croxley Green, Hertfordshire, UK

Joined: 10/5/2005

BTW - the "disgusting sound" appears to be a sawtooth. Pretty harsh by itself (although I have used far harsher sounds), but really good for filtering with all those harmonics.

 

Also, here is a review of animoog. ( http://youtu.be/oT-p-9j2FBI ) Obviously the theremini will only do a small proportion of what the app does. I rather hope that the pro upgrade will let me connect my iPad mini to the theremini and use the full animoog app.

I previously made a track using an etherwave and another moog app - "filtatron" and that was a lot of fun. (Indoor Alien Dad on the album Invisible Horn by Beat Frequency. Available at all good digital outlets or here for "try before you buy": https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/1546794/indoor%20alien%20dad.mp3 )

Posted: 1/24/2014 5:25:06 PM
rogmusic

From: Los Angeles, CA

Joined: 5/18/2007

I'm curious about the linearity (spacing of the notes) of this instrument. The "progressive practicing" possibilities of the Theremini are interesting. I'm hoping to go to the NAMM show to check it out.

Posted: 1/24/2014 5:33:26 PM
Ruslan

Joined: 7/23/2010

They are sort of implying it is a theremin ~ it is called a "THEREMINi", right? If they didn't not intend it, then they are misleading people.

right, which means, that it is theremin-like instrument. Otherwise it would be called an Etherwave Theremin SomeWord.

Posted: 1/24/2014 5:34:04 PM
AlKhwarizmi

From: A Coruña, Spain

Joined: 9/26/2010

I agree 100% with Fred's analysis. I don't think the autotuning is a bad thing as long as it's optional. And I don't think any real thereminist should be worried by that. The whole point of learning to really play the theremin is its unique sound, shaped by things like the transitions between notes and the vibrato. People who play with autotune are going to lose all that so they are not going to make non-autotuned players "obsolete" at all. Their renditions of "The Swan" will always sound soulless unless they turn off the autotune dial.

I do think that loop is a joke though.

Posted: 1/24/2014 6:18:52 PM
dewster

From: Northern NJ, USA

Joined: 2/17/2012

"This is what is wrong with autotuning a theremin (for a classical thereminist) - the pitch field is unpredictable enough already, with pitch correction on you lose the direct correlation between hand position and pitch that you rely on. Say you are playing a C. You do not know if you are 49 cents sharp or 49 cents flat, because it sounds in tune. So a tiny movement could abruptly and unexpectedly cause the instrument to jump to a different note if you are unknowingly close to the boundary between two notes. (Or will pitch preview be uncorrected? Being out of tune would sound awful, hearing both the untuned preview and the corrected pitch through the amp. My guess is you wouldn't be able to tell if you were sharp or flat.)"  - GordonC

I think the thing to do would be as you suggest: have a responsive visual "tuner" that is uncorrected.  And have a knob that controls the quantizing strength, anywhere from harsh steps, to a more gentle on-note-emphasis like Fred is talking about, to normal continuous response.  It could also try to get you on-pitch when ramping up the volume.  And even if it's set to steps you might still be able to take fast-ish vibrato info and apply it.

With audible pitch preview, maybe uncorrected in one ear, corrected in the other?

Posted: 1/24/2014 7:46:28 PM
omhoge

From: New York, NY

Joined: 2/13/2005

 I thought you had to be deranged to play the theremin at all.  Maybe not, but it sure helps.

 

 

" People thought I was a bit deranged when I said that I felt insulted that this theremin provides real time pitch correction" - Amey

Awwww - Cmon Amey! ;-)  .. I think I was the only person who responded to that post, and I dont think you are "deranged" (or at least, no more so than anyone who is involved in any way with theremins ;-) .. And I Do understand your frustration.....

 

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