Roll Call! - 2010!

Posted: 10/14/2010 7:06:21 AM

From: Norway

Joined: 10/14/2010

Hello everyone,

My name is Rune. I'm from the northern part of Norway (the part where the first snow of the winter has just arrived in the first half of October...).

I've just ordered a Moog Etherwave Plus Theremin for some musical experimenting. :-) I've never played a Theremin, so this'll be fun!

I compose and play electronic music, inpired by musicians such as Jean Michel Jarre (of which I've done a few covers as well), Vangelis, Kitaro, Tangerine Dream etc. But most of all I think it's important to explore my own paths within music rather than imitating someone else (that's what cover versions are for!).

On my YouTube channel ( you can see the kind of music I play.

I've recently constructed my own Laser Harp, which can be seen both in my cover of Jarre's Third Rendez-vous ( and my own piece Dreamcatcher (

I'm planning on routing my Theremin via the effects of my Korg M3, so that could be very fun indeed. :o)

BTW, cool to see Thomas Grillo in here as well. I've watched and enjoyed some of your YouTube videos. :o)
Posted: 10/14/2010 9:04:17 AM

From: Canada

Joined: 8/1/2008

Just watched DREAMCATCHER.

WOW! That laser harp is waaaay cooool.

Other than the fact that it is really spectacular and fun to watch, does it have any advantage over a keyboard?

Loved the EWI too. I play one but it is an earlier version (EWI 3000). Yours looks like it is a 4000 (??)

Congratulations on ordering your Moog Etherwave Plus. I think you are going to enjoy it.
Posted: 10/15/2010 7:41:56 AM

From: Norway

Joined: 10/14/2010

Thank you!!

Yes, it's an EWI4000s. And yes, the Laser Harp can't really do anything that can't be done on any simple keyboard - BUT it looks cool and is way more fun to play. ;-)

Looking forward to some Thereminization of my music. :-)
Posted: 10/15/2010 8:20:50 AM

From: Canada

Joined: 8/1/2008

Since you are a fan of Kitaro, it might interest you to know that one of the first (perhaps even the very first "001") Moog Ethervox MIDI theremins went to Kitaro. At least that is what I was told at the time. My own Ethervox "007" arrived in the early spring of '98.

The Ethervox is the only true MIDI theremin ever made.

Posted: 10/15/2010 8:29:19 AM

From: Norway

Joined: 10/14/2010

That's cool to know!

As I've ordered the Plus version of Etherwave, I'm planning on getting an Analog-to-Digital converting box (still researching that) so that I can connect the Control Voltage outs on my Etherwave to my computer via USB.

I'll then attempt to write a software program (I'm a professional software developer) that converts these voltage signals to MIDI, effectively MIDIfying the Theremin.

But this is probably months down the road - first I need to get the Theremin itself, then get familiar with it, then get the voltage-to-usb-box and then start the programming bit. Can't wait to get started!! I have some ideas that will be fun to explore.

Posted: 10/15/2010 7:25:45 PM

From: Canada

Joined: 8/1/2008

The problem with the MIDI theremin has always been the fact that MIDI receivers are not built to receive the volume and pitchbend commands that the MIDI theremin generates. Commercial MIDI modules are made to receive and respond to note on/note off commands generated by MIDI keyboards. When you try to play one of them using gestures that send only volume and pitchbend, what you end up with are inconsistencies and audio artifacts.

The MIDI Ethervox has a "CHROMATIC MODE" that is capable of gesturally generating note on/note off commands but few Ethervox owners use it. There are analog to digital MIDI converters made specifically for theremins (like the Wavefront MIDI-WAVE) but the owners of these devices that I have talked to have not been very satisfied with them.

If you are interested, here is a sample of me playing the MIDI Ethervox in a pentatonic scale. It is triggering a Roland JV-2080. The Ethervox has 16 programmable scales. The hardware was designed by Rudi Linhard of LINTRONICS. Rudi worked with the late Bob Moog on a number of devices.

MIDI Ethervox (
Posted: 10/17/2010 9:50:58 AM

From: Norway

Joined: 10/14/2010

Wow, I didn't know that coalport here was the same as copperleaves on YouTube. :-) I've watched several of your videos, and you have an excellent control over your Theremin!!!

Your video is a very nice example of a MIDI theremin using discrete steps (in this case a pentatonic scale) to play single notes to a MIDI device based on the position of your pitch hand.

It is true that most MIDI receivers (ie. synths) are not built for this kind of stuff, and a sample-based synth will have serious trouble with stretching the sample to different pitches unless you use discrete steps like chromatic or pentatone.

But the synth I'm going to use is a Korg Radias (or actually a Radias expansion card inside a Korg M3). It is an analog modelling synth that doesn't use samples but mathematical waveforms that can be stretched without artifacts. And the pitch bend format in MIDI supports over 8,000 steps from 0 to max bend in either direction. The idea is that it will play as a theremin (a single note that is pitch bended over a large range), but have the advanced choices of waveforms, filters and effects etc. of the synth.

Now, I'm not sure that this will work as intended, and it is very much an experimental research project, so we'll see.

I just did a simple test using a sequencer, and the sound of the Radias has no problems pitch bending from the very deepest notes to the highest, and the >16,000 pitch bend values in between are still so closely placed together that there's no audible "steps" between them.

I will of course also connect the audio out of the theremin to the Korg M3's audio in to route the theremin's own sound through all sorts of effects in the M3.

I also know that I'll have a lot of fun experimenting with it. :-)
Posted: 10/17/2010 1:18:43 PM

From: Croxley Green, Hertfordshire, UK

Joined: 10/5/2005

Coalport - I have a question about your video. It seems to me that you are using a lot less hand movement around the volume loop than in your other videos.

Is this an artistic choice that the music requires a less subtle variation in volume than the other pieces you have recorded, or in some way a reflection of the limitations of using your ethervox in MIDI mode, or a misperception on my part?
Posted: 10/18/2010 10:30:59 AM

From: Canada

Joined: 8/1/2008

Hi Gordon,

The volume antenna linearity as it feeds into the ROLAND JV-2080 is less sensitive than it is when playing the Ethervox (Voice One) traditionally. In fact, it is little more than an on/off switch. A genuine diminuendo is so squeezed that it goes from "forte" to "pianissimo" in the space of about an inch. Not enough for any real control of expression.

I'm not sure why this is, whether it is the E'Vox itself or the MIDI receiver. I suspect it's the latter but I have not spent any time trying to figure it out. I rarely use the MIDI possibilities of the Ethervox as I am far more interested in, and satisfied by, the traditional theremin.

I am looking forward to rfoshaug's experiments with his KORG M3. Bob Moog told me how he would design a MIDI receiver for use with his Ethervox theremin that would avoid artifacts. Unfortunately, he never got around to it. Perhaps KORG has come up with something that will do the job!

Time will tell.

Posted: 10/18/2010 2:53:05 PM

From: Richmond Hill, Georgia

Joined: 9/18/2005

I've been playing for 5 years now.

I now own a tux as a direct result of the theremin.

I am a picky electrical engineer. So picky (and so poor) in fact that I built a vacuum tube theremin as it is unlikely an RCA will cross my path in the near future.

Still working on my technique as I am not distributing the workload of my arms as I should be.

Philip Neidlinger

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