Hi, i want to buy one but...........

Posted: 4/3/2006 8:51:16 AM

From: Barcelona, Spain

Joined: 4/3/2006

Posted: 4/3/2006 9:30:41 AM

From: Kingston, NY

Joined: 2/13/2005

Welcome to theremin world. Keep clicking around here, there's a ton of info.

Here's my quick two cents on your questions:

1) "is the theremin a "temporal" instrument? does it damage with time? "
Nothing lasts for ever and electronics are susceptible to voltage surges and the like, but a well built solid state theremin should normally last. I've heard the EWStandard's volume circuit does age and change after a number of years, hopefully some one here can speak to that.

"10000000000000000 years?" from your mouth to G*d's ear, we should all be so lucky.

2)"do I have to wait for it to warm?" Well, you should already have it on and have checked your output before playing a song. I can only speak first hand of the EWPro. It requires minimal warm up time and is normally solid and playable when powered up.

This is a strange instrument and sometimes *very* strange and frustrating things can happen in performance. That's part of life's fun with a theremin.

3) "walkin' bass lines"? The theremin can do it and this bass technique seems to be all the rage right now (it can do a lot of other wonderful things too). "is the theramin an instrument that can be used for fast playing?" yes it's possible, it's usually sort of an "advanced" thing to play fast detached notes with spot on pitch hitting, it takes practice.

4) "Is the etherwave a good machine?" Moog makes good instruments. There were some issues with the EWPro, it suffered from the typical "new electronic product" syndrome, but the workmanship issues generally seem limited and I have had great experiences with the Moog company. I do not know what it would be like over seas. I love my EWPro and am glad I got it. The EWstandard is simpler and has been around a lot longer so it's design has settled in and it's a stable product. Both have nice playable pitch ranges, from the quick exposures I've had to the standard I think the EWPro might be even "easier" to play as it has a segmented octave selection and the pitch linearity is very consistent.

4a) "learn jazz bass?" yes you could do that. The Pamalia video for the EWPro demonstrates her techniques for playing theremin bass and others are discussed here from time to time. Both extremes of the pitch range get trickier to control, the lowest range on the theremin is a bit less stable than the mid range but is playable once you absorb the technique of it. I most often play in the baritone and bass ranges and find the EWPro very satisfying for this; those notes were a bit harder for me on the standard, but then again that is not the one I own and play so I've not mastered the standard. I have found that bass theremin gets lost in the mix easier so the tone controls on EWPro are very helpful for getting more bite in the sound down there, you can also add any external processing you want to any theremin to augment the tone.

We are lucky now a days to hear more excellent thereminsts who play in Jazz idioms.

Listen to Spellbound too if you can. I usually get the downloads and enjoy them alot, you can't ask for more variety of styles.

40 min wait time, hope we were quick enough. :~)
You'll find a very helpful and international band of theremin nuts here. Most of us are now helplessly addicted to this first and most elegant space control instrument!

Let us know what theremin you get and how your adventure proceeds!
Posted: 4/3/2006 4:03:43 PM

From: new haven ct.

Joined: 7/8/2005

I know it's an old argument, but being a life long bassist, and playing theremin for ten years, why not learn the bass!!! playing theremin bass is a nice gimmick, and thats about it. i'm not talking about playing in the low registar in general but trying to sound like a bass. If you want to try theremin bass, it really helps to know how to play bass in the first place.
Even Pamelia comes from a bass background.
I'm sorry for ranting on, but it's my biggest pet peave with thereminists.
Other than that, the theremin really isn't a "beebop" instrument If your going to try do Charlie Parker licks, it's pretty much impossible.
If you want to do jazz, it's best to stick with more of the ballads, or moderate tempo tunes. There are some standards that sound really beautiful on theremin.
Who knows, maybe you will be the one to transend the instrument in to a bop instrument.
Posted: 4/4/2006 12:36:42 PM

From: Barcelona, Spain

Joined: 4/3/2006

Hi folks, its me again.

I saw the video you recommended me and it looks cool when she does the blues walking bass, but as far as i can see, she can't be accurate in many of the notes she plays, so much that the blues ends in a different pitch that started... That absolutely cannot be done in a jazz band since the bass is the "soul" of the band........ is it that hard to be accurate without having to use those "bendings" for adjusting the note once its playing? I mean, the contrabass is a fretless instrument, but it can be accurate... i mean, is it possible to memorise a position of the whole arm like we do with the fingers in fretless instruments?

Also, one other question, I really want to see some group with a real virtuso, not things like beach boys (liek FX and those stuffs) or so melancholic music like Rockmore's... is there any?

I really want to swith my instrument, but I'm affraid to get something that maybe i won't be confortable with...

Thanks for your help guys.

PD: Of course i know i'll never do a be-bop 210bpm but i think that an insturment than cannot go so far in a metronome is -for me- a handicap, so i really want to see someone who does something "fast" (dont care how fast, just faster that I've seen in Rockmore's and more tuned than Pamelia's...something in the middle....)
Posted: 4/4/2006 1:51:28 PM

From: Kingston, NY

Joined: 2/13/2005

That demo in the video was very loose. She's an accurate precision player.

"is it that hard to be accurate" yes it can be, precision playing takes practice. The theremin is far more than fretless, it's just air, you do not have any physical, tactile reference when playing.

"I really want to see some group with a real virtuoso" Give a listen to Project Pimento, they play "lounge" jazz and Mr. Virus is a great player. Kip Rosser plays jazz too there may be some samples on his web site and he's a regular on Spellbound and his rendition of a Piazzola tango is hair raising if you can find it. There may also still be videos on line of Carolina Eyck playing fast stuff.

"faster than Rockmore" ?? Listen to her fierce playing of the Fuleihan Concerto for Theremin and Orchestra, no one's gotten faster or more accurate than she was. And though not Jazz, Kavina's darn quick and spot on too in her contemporary classical pieces.

"affraid to get something that maybe i won't be confortable with" You need to try one out ASAP. Even in a store, you've seen enough now that 15 minutes with a theremin will inform you a lot I bet.

Posted: 4/4/2006 5:31:53 PM

From: new haven ct.

Joined: 7/8/2005

As omhoge say's, you don't get any faster, or more intune than Clara. If your looking for some jazz theremin, try to find Kip's playing. He does some really nice playing on some standards.
Project Pomento is a great band, and Robbie is a top notch plyer, but the band is more of a lounge jazz band, and not a lot of soloing, at least judging from an older album.
You said you were thinking of switching instruments. keep playing guitar the better you are at a regular instrument, the more it'll help your theremn playing.
The theremin is unlike any other musical instrument out there. You really need to try one to understand.
Also, if your planning on playing jazz and improve, you'll really have to look in to getting an EPro in stead of a regular one. You can learn on a regular one, but if you want to develop any jazz chops, unfortunatly the Pro's the way.
It's a lot more exspensive, so you really should try to try one first.
What did some say once, that the drop out rate for theremin players someting like 80 %?
Posted: 4/4/2006 11:20:23 PM

From: Kansas City, Mo.

Joined: 8/23/2005

Hi, alejocazu!

You may wish to checkout the "Spellbound" program. You can download .mp3 podcasts of previous programs. Spellbound presents an eclectic mix of music styles that use the Theremin.

Listen to the Theremin as it is used in all the genres: jazz, classical, rock, pop, folk, electronica -- and ask yourself if the sound you hear is something that you can use to express your music.

"You don't choose the Theremin, the Theremin chooses you" is an oft-quoted saying among Thereminists.

Ultimately, you will pursue the Theremin because its magic reaches out to you.

Best wishes to you on your Theremin quest.

-- Kevin
Posted: 4/6/2006 9:24:24 AM

From: Kingston, NY

Joined: 2/13/2005

"vonbuck: I know it's an old argument... learn the bass..."
Been pondering this vonbuck and I relate it, like everything I know, to my previous organ life.
I often had to play Mendelssohn's Wedding March, and often chose to play Pachelbel's Cannon. "Why not learn the orchestra or hire one?" is the translation of your argument in that case and when I chose to play Clare de Lune it would be "learn use the piano". The reality is that transcriptions are an old, vital and important part of organ literature. Many people heard Bach organ works transcribed for orchestra who otherwise might never have heard them (of course I'd be biased to the originals but it's undisputable and made for a great opening for the Fantasia movie).

It's the same for the theremin transcriptions are vital. And a successful transcription expands the composer's original work and makes it accessible to other instrumentalists and audiences who would be denied it by a purist approach. I think the key is not to imitate the original but to transform it.

Hope that makes sense, thanks for the thought stimulus.
Posted: 4/13/2006 8:24:02 AM

From: Madrid, Spain

Joined: 2/19/2005

Hello alejocazu!

I hope you already know us too, the Theremin Hispano guys/gals at Spain... Also, there are some people from Barcelona-even an emergin theremin club there, like Madrid's ;)

About bass theremin playing : I have been playing as a semi/amateur bass guitar for about 12 years or so. Not being a very good bassist, I must say, it is not possible to play an imitation of a bass with a decent sound with an Etherwave Standard - you would need an Etherwave Pro. There is no chance to sound much different from a van at the bass range with a normal theremin. Even, the spacing of notes is much bigger and makes it impossible, like in every other common theremins...

Anyway, I was able to see Pamelia in front of me playing her lefty E.Pro, and the real thing is: if you want to start playing basslines, you should stick to a bass-guitar or even a keyboard. Going straight to play basslines on theremin will desperate you. I grant you.

Anyway, about jazz sound on theremin, We have a proffessional jazzman friend there at Theremin Hispano (Arturo Cid) who is saxophonist, clarinetist and basssist, owns a Pro and... I am sure that briefly he will show us at Spain how to really play jazz on theremin ;)

I hope to see you on both forums!!
Posted: 4/13/2006 1:22:03 PM

From: new haven ct.

Joined: 7/8/2005

There's a big difference in interpeting music to the theremin, and trying to make it sound like another instrument.
When I play classical numbers on theremin,it still sounds like a theremin, an out of tune, sloppy one, but still a theremin. I'm not trying to replace an orchestra, piano or vocalist.Learning the classics is a great way to familarise yourself to the theremin. If people want to play bass on the theremin, there is nothing wrong with doing that it just seems to many folk are trying to be theremin bass players and not theremins playing bass. That's what i disagree with. It's fun to do, and looks cool,for a song or two, but it's still not a bass.
Why bother? The effort it takes to play crappy theremin bass is harder than learning average bass.
Learn the theremin, then try bass sounds.,

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