Posted: 4/8/2010 11:45:13 AM
Thomas Grillo

From: Jackson Mississippi

Joined: 8/13/2006

After learning of the Hammond Novachord a while back by way of Dan Wilson, who restored one, and had me do a theremin line to a piece he played on it. Originally, it was thought that our piece, Alto Volo was the first time theremin had been played with Novachord. We were a bit, well, wrong. Turns out there's an album I found recently called, Project Comstock: Music From Outer Space.

I'm sure a few of you've got it, but those who don't, it's a must have. It's got loads of theremin, modern orchestral, and synthesizer works, and indeed some tunes have theremin, and the Hammond Novachord playing together. But, that was done back in 1962.

It's been re-released on CD. I found one on amazon a while back.

I'm pretty sure the theremin is an RCA, but I could be dead wrong.

Anyway, anyone have that disc?
Posted: 4/8/2010 11:56:35 AM
Thomas Grillo

From: Jackson Mississippi

Joined: 8/13/2006

I found the insert, and just learned that Paul Tanner was the thereminist. He played a "specially built" on the album, but they didn't go on to tell us who built it, but I think I can guess at a couple of possibilities.
Posted: 4/8/2010 10:08:18 PM
Jeff S

From: N.E. Ohio

Joined: 2/14/2005

Thomas - I'm just a little bit surprised you're just now discovering this. Preoccupied with other things I suspect.

The "specially-built" "theremin" was built by Paul Tanner and was eventually known as an electro-theremin and later the Tannerin.

This ( webpage should help clear things up for you.

Here's ( a webpage that is likely a copy of the album's liner notes.
Posted: 4/9/2010 12:15:50 AM
Thomas Grillo

From: Jackson Mississippi

Joined: 8/13/2006

Hi Jeff. Yes, I have been rather busy lately. Theremin related, of course. lol :) But how this one slipped under my radar screen is beyond me.

I'm familiar with the Tanner page. I figured he'd built that instrument. :)

I gotta get out more...
Posted: 4/9/2010 9:25:47 AM

From: Canada

Joined: 8/1/2008

The novachord and the theremin were used together for "THE PLAGUES" scene by composer Elmer Bernstein in his score for the 1956 perennial blockbuster THE TEN COMMANDMENTS.

I don't know who played the novachord but Samuel Hoffman played the RCA theremin.

Unfortunately, both the instruments were used briefly, and only for "spooky" FX rather than for something uplifting and melodic. Many of the versions of the film that are used for modern TV broadcasts and video sales have important segments of the original movie edited out of them. The original uncut film was more than three and a half hours long which, if you add time for commercials, is much too long for the networks. These edited versions often exclude parts of THE PLAGUES scenes so the novachord and theremin often end up on the cutting room floor.

Posted: 4/9/2010 2:59:22 PM
Thomas Grillo

From: Jackson Mississippi

Joined: 8/13/2006

Hi Coalport. I remember when our educational television network here aired the film all the way through. I remember my parents commenting on the 3 to 3 and half hours. I was just a tot at the time they ran it, but I do remember the plague scene.

It's hard to imagin a complex instrument like th novachord having been invented in 1937. There's a video up on youtube by Dan Wilson in which he shows off the inside of "the beast" as he calls it. Now we know where all the tubes went. LOL :)

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