Need helpful criticism....

Posted: 11/5/2005 3:08:42 PM

From: Richmond Hill, Georgia

Joined: 9/18/2005

Hello fellow theremin fans:

.....time for some feedback. Here is me playing Amazing Grace on this beat up Etherwave (note the nifty dirty silver paint job---I'm sure its done wonders for its playability).

Any comments about technique, my state of sanity, or just the dingy green tee shirt I'm wearing (its Saturday, after all), would be greatly appreciated.

Be brutal if need be. I'm a big boy, and can take it.

This is one month to the day that I borrowed this instrument. I have no prior music experience, nor have I gotten around to acquiring that somewhat useful skill of knowing how to read music.


If you want to chastise me off list the email is hypergolic at comcast dot net

Posted: 11/5/2005 3:29:31 PM

From: Liverpool, United Kingdom

Joined: 7/20/2005

If you've been playing for a month dude then all i can say is wow !!! I cant give criticism cos i tend to only play my own stuff and i get away with murder cos of that. im well impressed :)
the giant thumb at the end is cool too haha.
Posted: 11/5/2005 4:12:12 PM

From: COWafornia

Joined: 3/23/2005

1: I cud tell what the tune was - YEPPIE!
2: Your left hand is a bigger problem then your right. You need to work on the the temperal issues (which are just as important as pitch).
3: Pitch: you compress intervals a bit ... and tend towards going a little bit flat as well. This is typical of ppl starting out in singing so it is not suprizing that you are doing it on the T as well.
4: However - your playing might be even better than I think because this song has many reginal veriations on how it is played / sung. I think of two version: The Joan Biez version [which yours is closer to] and the "New Britten" version [which is a little less free and is has more "pep"] in Shape Note song books.

The kinds of problems your are having (esp the time ones) are typical of any beginning music student. Get a metronome to work on the time issues. Even a cheap one. Then play to the ticking of the beats (can even be just parts of beats) but don't play faster than the slowest part you can play.
You did realy well. Your vibrato is coming all quite nicly. Keep this up and you will be playing classical stuff in no time!
Posted: 11/5/2005 9:22:55 PM

From: Richmond Hill, Georgia

Joined: 9/18/2005

You know, there was a metronome on the piano behind me, now that you mention it. I guess I should use it, huh?
Posted: 11/6/2005 2:11:09 AM

From: Kansas City, Mo.

Joined: 8/23/2005

You didn't lose or gain pitch -- maintaining the key of F# major throughout -- a tremendous accomplishment!

On the high C#, you hit the note solidly then lost pitch while holding it -- you may have moved your arm or relaxed your fingers a bit. You may want to move your hand to hit the note rather than stretching your fingers out to hit it.

You hit F# (do) and A# (mi) right on... along with low C#. These tend to be the long notes on the piece and you are really "nailing" them. :) The passing notes between them were a little off pitch. You might want to consider a more rapid movement of your fingers from one note to the next on the small intervals. Also, try practicing just a section of the piece at a time rather than the whole thing from end-to-end.

You may want to consider a dynamic "plan" for the music. Most of the time you are playing "forte" (loud). Try positioning your volume hand for different levels (extra soft, soft, medium, loud, extra loud) and decide how loud you will play each phrase of the hymn. A simple and effective plan is to play softer on the low pitches and louder on the high ones. Play the high note loud, then bring your volume back to "zero", then play the last phrase very softly. See if you can hold the last note and fade out slowly.

Try playing one verse loud and the next verse soft.

Your vibrato is really quite pleasant and musical. Try to hit some notes with vibrato, and others without to develop comfort with and without vibrato.

Thank you for sharing your progress and for the opportunity to provide feedback.
Posted: 11/6/2005 9:02:49 AM
Charlie D

From: England

Joined: 2/28/2005

I noticed that you switched it on at the beginning of the recording .Leave the thing to warm up for five minutes beforehand! I personally find once the instrument has stabilised it becomes much easier to play, as the notes have decided more or less where they're going to be for the performance.

If you switch the theremin on and then begin to play straight away then you can never be sure that zero beat is going to be in the same place when you get half way through, let alone to the end. If you wait five minutes before you start playing and then 'tune' the theremin (adjust zero beat to be around about where you stand) then I'm sure you'll notice the difference.
Posted: 11/7/2005 12:32:22 AM

From: Richmond Hill, Georgia

Joined: 9/18/2005

Thanks alot for your feedback. I really appreciate it!

Posted: 11/15/2005 12:51:17 PM

From: Richmond Hill, Georgia

Joined: 9/18/2005

Coordinating the hand movements is killer. I can't seem to do vibrato at the same time I am changing volume. So I take it I should work on this. I've been doing some staccato work as well.

However, someone mentioned that using a guitar amp is not the best solution, since they are overdriven and cause volume loop idiosyncracies.
I think Uncle Howie uses a Crate amp.

My volume loop cuts off sound about 1.5 inches away from it, and it is very sharp cutoff, and not gradual, with the control fully clockwise.


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