need help on creating a room size theremin

Posted: 9/30/2006 11:56:10 PM

Joined: 9/30/2006

I'm an installation artist that is looking at using the Theremin in order to create interactivity with in my art work. I’m currently in the process of making my first Theremin (although am relatively new to electronics). What I would eventually like to be able to create would be a Theremin that could be active within a 15’ radius. This way a individual inside of a given space could alter the pitch using their body. Does anyone have any suggestions on how I would go about starting this project?
Posted: 10/1/2006 3:49:41 AM

From: Australia

Joined: 1/21/2006

I tried a simillar idea but in the end i had to create a floor panel instead of a just a "room". My tips for a room would include using wire and sheet metal that can be concealed. Even try and use existing piping of the room for diffrent effects. But be carefull about using two theremins in close proximity, you must isolate their power supplies otherwise they can interact. I posted information about my other project here:

I think i might try the idea again but use proximity controlled lights as well to give a double effect.

Posted: 11/6/2006 2:58:03 PM

From: Brussels, Belgium

Joined: 11/6/2006

Hello. I have a similar Idea.

I am a circusperformer specialicing in Chinese Pole. I am planning to make a big theremin next to my chinese pole.

I want the volumeantenna around the top of a podium and the Pitchantenna as just a big antenna (or maybe i create a sculpture by it, is this possible?)

How much does the size of the antennas change the features of the theremin?
The ability to control the sound good enough to play "real" music is not interesting.
What I want is too be able to move my body on the chinese pole and that the theremin catch up my motion and create sound by it.

See this image for more information:

What do you think about this. Is it possible??
How much would it cost?

I never built a theremin before but I have good skills in electronics and I am a fast learner.
Posted: 11/6/2006 3:25:37 PM

From: Undisclosed location without Dick Cheney

Joined: 2/21/2005

Yes, it sounds doable.

You might have to adjust the size of some of the coils depending on the size and length of the antenna, if what you end up using is sufficiently different from the base design you're using. If it's reasonably similar you might be able to just twist a knob a bit to adjust the instrument to have the distance range you want.

You do understand, I hope, that it's likely to produce a sort of whiney, groany noise that many people will find kinda irritating?
Posted: 11/6/2006 3:29:53 PM

From: Brussels, Belgium

Joined: 11/6/2006

I realize that the noise won´t really be beautiful but the overall effect with the sound controlled by my motions and not me having to adjust to a prerecorded CD is what I am looking for.

How much will all this cost (the thereminparts) and is it possible to build from a normal build your own thereminkit?

Is it possible to do with this kit??
Posted: 11/6/2006 3:57:49 PM

From: Undisclosed location without Dick Cheney

Joined: 2/21/2005

I would guess a kit should be fine, but you might have to make some adjustments to the kit to get the physical distance range you want. Precisely what adjustments is a question I'll leave to a better expert. I would, however, venture to guess that starting with a kit should be a heck of a lot easier than starting with a pen and paper and trying to design it from scratch.

There are a number of kits on the market, the most popular is from Jaycar, you can find links to them in the Theremin Gallery on this site.

An alternative would be to contact Moog Music and see if they're willing to create a customized Etherwave Theremin for your purpose. It'll be costly, but depending on how you value your time it might not be so bad. Essentially I believe you'd be asking them to make a unit with a significantly longer antenna (you'll want it to be as tall as the highest part of your body that you want to be interacting with it will be, which I'd guess means as tall as your pole) and with a physical distance range that exceeds that of their standard instrument. I suspect their technicians can probably do that relatively quickly, if they're willing.

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