Theremin Arrangements & Accompaniments for Practice

Posted: 7/24/2015 11:52:34 PM
rkram53

From: Northern NJ, USA

Joined: 7/29/2014

Well, one more project to add to the growing theremin project list.

As promised, I started a page on my IMSLP site to store the theremin arrangements I make for practice. They will be here: http://imslp.org/wiki/Theremin_Arrangements_%26_Accompaniments_(Kram,_Richard)

Link: Theremin Arrangements & Accompaniments

A few words on the page's structure (created as an IMSLP Collection).

For now I'll just add headings alphabetically by composer. There is an Arrangements & Transcriptions tab. This is where the scores for the arrangements and theremin parts will be for those who read music. There is also a Synthesized/MIDI tab. This is where the .MP3 accompaniments and MIDI files will be (if I generate them with Virtual Instruments in a notation program or Cubase). There is also a Recordings tab where I'll put arrangements that I actually perform. MIDI files are Type 1 (theremin and instruments all on different MIDI tracks). You can load them up into a DAW and delete the theremin part and then restructure it for your needs if you want to go that way. Some of the MIDI files will not have tempo changes in them however depending on how I create them, so you may have to add that on your own for a better rendition.

The intent of these files if for practice only, not to create accompaniments for performances for audiences. I'll try to keep rubato and tempo changes to a minimum so you can keep for the most part a steady beat, but there will be tempo changes in the .MP3 files (and you can see them in the scores if you are not sure what is going on).

These arrangements are all going to be copyrighted under Creative Commons Non-Commercial Share-Alike 4.0. This means you can basically do anything you like with these arrangements except try and make money with them in some way. It's my 1 year anniversary gift to Theremin World. It will be a year since I started here at the end of next month. How time and fingers fly.

These pieces hopefully will at times add to the theremin repertoire. Some of the things I put up will likely have been played numerous times before. Some will be new pieces that few if any of you have heard of (all from well known or established composers - all unfortunately long dead ones due to copyright issues).

Let's start with perhaps my favorite classical melody. Nimrod from Elgar's Enigma Variations. This is a very disjunct melody, so it's great for practicing leaps of all sorts. It also has a rather large range (note the once place in there I use 8va notation to avoid a lot of ledger lines). I also added an opening introduction of my own so you can both get your tonal bearings and also get ready to play. For the most part I always add some kind of introduction for this purpose (so poor Elgar may be rolling over right now - but remember they are for practice Edward!). Here I took the orchestral score (Nimrod is one of the Enigma Variations) and arranged it for keyboard - the original intent was for a synth pad to simulate strings, but for this version I actually played it through 8DIO's Adagietto String library (Sustain Ensemble Sordino patch if you are interested).

Finally, I'll put a note here when I add a new piece. I am not going to put up performances on the page. I may create some and put them up separately on SoundCloud and post links here (especially for pieces some of you may never have heard).

I hope this will be of value. I will entertain requests for arrangements (as long as they are useful for my practice purposes too) - but am a bit busy right now so I am going to start by posting the arrangements I've done up so far.

Rich

Posted: 7/25/2015 1:35:22 AM
rkram53

From: Northern NJ, USA

Joined: 7/29/2014

Just added Dido's Lament from Purcell's Dido and Aeneas. This famous Mid-Baroque piece on a ground bass is not that difficult (certainly not in the realm of the Elgar example). I only arranged a single statement of the melody here for strings and I did not use a thorough-bass along with it (a harpsichord or organ or even lute might be used to play the harmonies along with the strings in a real performance). Though I think the strings alone are fine for practice. There are also a lot of little rubatos in there that might not come across that much but add a little something and I don't think they are enough to throw anyone off - just give it a little more flowing feel.

As with the Elgar and most things I will post here, you can readily go online to hear performances if you don't read music and want to know what the melody sounds like that you are supposed to be playing. Frankly if you read music or not, your best bet for practice is to memorize the melody anyway. In my opinion, a good musical memory is the most important skill you need to play the theremin (more important that having a good ear, because if you can't remember what you need to play that good ear of yours is useless - though having the music in front of you may jog it for some - but I suggest to just memorize).

From here, I'll give myself a goal of adding one repertoire piece a week for the community.

Posted: 7/25/2015 2:36:21 AM
zoogie

Joined: 1/30/2015

Thanks for doing this.  Having the midi file in addition to the MP3 is excellent for me as I have software that does a good job of transcribing it as well as playing the accompaniment at my own pace while practicing.  

Anxiously awaiting Dido's Lament to become available.

Great job! 

Posted: 7/25/2015 2:56:52 AM
rkram53

From: Northern NJ, USA

Joined: 7/29/2014

Glad you like it!

Also - if what you want are MIDI files, you can go to IMSLP and just search for whatever you like. Just about any classical piece you can think of is there with many arrangements for famous ones. Many pieces have MIDI files that people have posted for either the original or arrangements. But it can be a bit overwhelming. Just be careful for more modern pieces not to download things they note are illegal for US, EU or Canada (depending on where you live).

Of course there are a lot of sites you can download classical MIDI files from too and if they are Type1 you can just get rid of the melodies (useful for playing any songs you might want). You have a lot of options if you are working in MIDI.

Posted: 7/27/2015 2:01:21 AM
rkram53

From: Northern NJ, USA

Joined: 7/29/2014

Link: Theremin Arrangements & Accompaniments

Added Ave Maria - no, not the one by Schubert (or either that other one by Bach/Gounod) which you all know. This is an Ave Maria by Camille Saint-Saëns. He actually wrote no less than five of them, but this is my favorite (at least for today). So put down that Swan for a while as Saint-Saëns wrote a lot of other wonderful music and much of it is melodic and well suited for the theremin. In fact, many composers have written Ave Marias and this art form is a treasure trove for thereminists as they typically are slow, rather simple and lyrical. Many, however, are for multiple voices so you may have to do a bit of arrangement. Saint-Saëns has another one that is nice but it's a duet - might do that one up later for those looking for nice theremin duets which I'll post a few of when I get around to it.

Saint-Saëns' Ave Maria in A Major was published in 1865 (no opus number). I took the keyboard part and arranged it for strings. Did not do too much to the string arrangement - added a few inner lines here and there but pretty much kept to the keyboard original. It sounds something like this (hopefully you will play it better - but then the whole point of this exercise is to create things for us to practice with so we can all improve). 

Ave Maria (Arr. Strings and Theremin)

I think this is a pretty good beginner's piece and should be in the repertoire - doesn't stray from a simple diatonic setting too much and the piano part is ultra simple so just about any pianist will be able to play it (though to be honest it has numerous long sustained notes and the part is better suited for organ). I guess I could play in an organ accompaniment if anyone is interested but go here to see the original:

Ave Maria (Keyboard & Voice Original Version)

As usual I added an introduction of my own to let you get situated for practice. The real piece just kind of begins right away. So long Swan - hello Ave Maria!

Posted: 7/30/2015 2:51:36 AM
rkram53

From: Northern NJ, USA

Joined: 7/29/2014

Link: Theremin Arrangements & Accompaniments

Added an accompaniment for the Adagio from Alessandro Marcello's Oboe Concerto in D minor. A very well known piece that was formerly attributed to his brother Benedetto. IMSLP makes the point that once the piece was taken away from being a work of Benedetto and assigned to Alessandro, the recorded catalog of poor Benedetto dwindled to nearly anything – as most of the recordings of “his” music were of this piece (though he wrote some excellent flute/recorder sonatas, the slow movements of which I have to scan for possible theremin repertoire).

The Adagio has some other interesting history. J.S. Bach transcribed a number of concertos for keyboard by Marcello, Vivaldi and others, adding melodic ornamentation, “improved” harmonies, etc. This is one of them. You can find that here.

And that brings us to the arrangement I made for practice. Perhaps a bit unorthodox, as I made an arrangement of the original string accompaniment and added an SATB choir doubling to it in sustained notes (got a new choir sample library and wanted to test it). I’ll probably post the original string accompaniment too at some point.

The score I posted is a combination of things. It has the string & choir accompaniment along with the theremin part, which is a simplified version of the Bach keyboard transcription melody. This is much more elaborate than the original oboe part, which I also include in the score (and theremin parts) in case the intended melody is too difficult. You can play the original oboe part if you like, or for that matter, improvise around it (which is what any Baroque oboist would have done back then). This is a great piece for practicing scalar material as well as triadic motion (as is the case with a lot of Baroque music). So you can practice the simpler original oboe part and then move on to the Modified Bach melody.

Finally, I also added a keyboard/orchestral reduction of the accompaniment in the score, in case anyone wants to play the accompaniment on keyboard. It’s not that difficult.

Posted: 8/2/2015 12:52:59 AM
rkram53

From: Northern NJ, USA

Joined: 7/29/2014

Link: Theremin Arrangements & Accompaniments

Added another wonderful and rather simple piece by Camille Saint-Saëns - Menuet. The public domain score on IMSLP I used as the reference for the string arrangement here is for voice and piano. Pretty easy piano part again, so this will be a nice piece for anyone who wants to play with a pianist who is not Rubenstein. There are a few places with the theremin doubles the first violins. I took out some of that but left in others where it's more a tutti statement with orchestra. The piece is obviously meant to be in a neo-Barqoue style when he wrote it, and it certainly is very suggestive of other Baroque works I've heard. Not sure if he borrowed a bit of material for it or not - but who cares, it's "loverly". It pays to rummage through the public domain scores on IMSLP. You never know what gems you will find.

The page is getting long so its easiest to just look at the top Contents link and then click what you like and it will bring you to it.

Posted: 8/9/2015 11:32:02 PM
rkram53

From: Northern NJ, USA

Joined: 7/29/2014

Theremin Arrangements & Accompaniments for Practice

For this week's repertoire builder/practice session I present a wonderful piece by an all but forgotten Czech composer: Ferdinand Laub (January 19, 1832 – March 17, 1875). He wrote some wonderfully melodic music though was more well known as a violinist - one of the best of his era (Tchaikovsky called him "the best violinist of our time").  He actually played the viola part of Harold in Italy in a Russian performance - with Berlioz himself at the conductor's podium. So he was a major player in his time, but alas history as it has a want to do for second tier composers has not treated him that well, but I'll do my part to resurrect his music a bit (though he may be turning in his grave being reconstituted for theremin). 

I arranged his Canzonetta, No. 1 of 4 Morceaux, Op.12 for theremin and strings (the original is for violin and piano). If you go to the IMSLP link above, I have the score and string accompaniment arrangement. I also played in the original piano part on a MIDI keyboard and output with Garritan CFX piano. So you can play the original version if you like as well. The theremin part is pretty much verbatim to the original violin part with the exception of a sextuplet I put in there that is a much more florid violin line in the original which is not appropriate for the theremin.

Here's quick and dirty version of the piece so you can hear the melody if you don't read music. Didn't have time to do up anything better today. Look's like Sunday is turning into my arrangement day. This one I definitely am going to learn how to play. He also has a wonderful Romance (Op.2, No.1) that I plan on arranging in the future.

Ferdinand Laub - Canzonetta (Arrangement for Theremin and Strings)

And for those who want to play the original:

Ferdinand Laub - Canzonetta - Violin & Piano Score

Posted: 8/10/2015 12:10:55 AM
ThereminCat

Joined: 7/13/2015

All your synthesized accompaniment tracks are excellent! I want to start uploading music to Soundcloud - my theremin playing and maybe some acoustic accompaniment if you have any requests for public domain music that I could play on piano or ukulele. I don't have a lot of recording equipment, would a recording on an iPad or karaoke mic have good enough quality audio?

Posted: 8/10/2015 1:04:25 AM
rkram53

From: Northern NJ, USA

Joined: 7/29/2014

Well if it sounds ok, that's the only determining factor.

Many people do amazing things on the ipad - but you'll have to create .mp3 files to upload. You can get iPad music editors, all kinds of things. So yes, I would think you can use an iPad if you have the right tools for it. And even the most sophisticated music apps for iPad are only like $20. If you have an Ipad and you love Moog - you absolutely have to get their Animoog synthesizer for the iPad. It's a wonderful synth that many people use to create great stuff (on the iPad).

As for a Karaoke mic, well that could be a bit of a problem, but once again if your iPad app has some processing maybe you can get away with it (reverb, EQ, etc). But how are you connecting the mic to your iPad? Do you have a little mixer or are you planning on recording to the iPad and mixing direct there? 

You don't use a PC? There are free audio editing programs for that we've talked about here as well. Of course an Apple computer will come with recording tools if you use that.

Theremin and ukulele. We'll that's a combination that will be interesting.

How are you going to create your mixes? You iPad has an app for that?

How good a pianist are you? What kind of music do you play? Public domain music for piano will consist of classical pieces and old folk/ethnic songs. I know - do up an accompaniment version of Greensleeves for that Uke of yours. That might go nice with theremin.

 

 

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