Theremin frequency range

Posted: 6/8/2006 8:30:02 PM

From: Montreal

Joined: 3/16/2006

Hi all,

I am currently thinking about doing a digital theremin and I just wanted to know if any of you know what is the minimum and maximum frequency that a standard theremin will do?

Posted: 6/8/2006 8:52:11 PM

From: Kansas City, Mo.

Joined: 8/23/2005

[i]You said digital Theremin and I jumped in discussing MIDI. I'll go ahead and keep the post as-is since it may answer some questions for you.[/i]


Most Theremins have a very wide frequency range spanning over six octaves.

However, there is the "frequency range" and then there is the "playable range" of frequencies.

On a top-of-the-line Theremin, such as an Etherwave Pro, the linearity of the pitch antenna allows playability across nearly a five octave range. A range switch on the Epro allows octave transpositions +/- one octave rendering a seven octave range.

At the high end (near the antenna) the antenna sensitivity increases such that the notes are too close together for precision playing -- at the far end the sensitivity tends to decrease.

Most Theremins have around a 3 1/2 octave minimum playable range.

One of the issues with MIDI is the choice of using CC events for the pitch or to quantize the pitch response into discreet note-on events.

I have wondered if it is possible to implement linearity in software by mapping the values from a non-linear antenna to linear output values.

There is much interest in MIDI theremins although, other than the Ethervox (no longer manufactured) I haven't seen great reviews for other MIDI theremins. If you can implement a MIDI theremin that is flexible and usable for precision playing as well as sound-effects, you will likely generate interest in such a product.

As for me, I'm considering just ordering a Paia MIDI brain (CV to MIDI converter) and using the CV outs from my Theremins to drive the MIDI brain.

Good luck to you.

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