Theremins and Music Stands

Posted: 2/3/2007 1:20:54 PM
Thomas Grillo

From: Jackson Mississippi

Joined: 8/13/2006

Hello, I know most of you are aware of this by now, but for the newcomers, I just wanted to offer a bit of info about the problems presented by metal music stands near theremins.

I've learned from trial and error, that a metal music stand, or evin wooden, or plastic stands that have metal parts in the corners of the music holder can cause problems if they are too close to the pitch, and evin volume antennae.

The best advice I can offer here is to look for music stands which have all wood, or all plastic desk or music holders. It's ok if the mast is metal because that part will likely be in the zero beat zone. However, if the mast does cause problems, it should not be to difficult to replace the mast with a wooden dowel.

Avoid stands that have folding music holders because of the metal parts that hold the holder together.

I've seen some nice non-folding wooden, and plastic stands, and one particularly interesting folding plastic stand that uses a metal mast. The nice thing about this one, is the music holder is plastic, but it's molded so the holder folds up without any apparent metal fittings that I can see. I've just ordered it, and by the end of the week should have it to check out. I'll let you know if it works, or not.

If anyone has this model, feel free to let us know how it works, or not.

I got it from
Just enter 8241S in the search box, and you'll see it.

I've seen wood and plastic stands in some pretty high press ranges, and a few that were cheaper, but this one seems to be the best feature vs price scale so far.

I'm sure some people have found ways of using metal stands near a theremin with little problem, but probably had to have it so far from the instrument that those of us who are visually challenged might not be able to use a metal one. An all plastic, or wood stand offers the ability to get the music close enough for a low vision thereminist like myself to work without problems.

But what about music bound in 3 ring binders? Well, I've seen some binders that use plastic rings and fittings rather than metal in office stores. You may not have any problems with metal rings in binders as these parts would be well within the zero beat zone. If I'm not mistaken, I've also seen folders with a bit of metal in the corners of the folder for looks, or perhaps for strength. I'd avoid those folders. Evin a paper clip can cause problems, so use adhesive tabs, a sticky, or postit note to mark your music with.

Any thaghts?
Posted: 2/3/2007 2:41:17 PM
Charlie D

From: England

Joined: 2/28/2005

It's odd that you should have encountered such marked difficulties.

In my experience, metal music stands provide absolutely no problems when playing the theremin since you can just retune to compensate for their presence. Unless it's moving, *incredibly* close to the pitch antenna, massive, or produces its own electric field, no nearby object should render a theremin unplayable.

I use a folding metal music stand and have experienced no problems whatsoever. Yes, it means I have to retune the instrument, but once I've done that it plays just as well as it would without the stand being there. The idea that an ungrounded metal paperclip or the metal sections of ringbinder folder will make a theremin unuseable seems to me ridiculous - have you really found such things to have a huge effect?

You might as well just buy the stand you like the look of most.
Posted: 2/3/2007 3:40:51 PM
Thomas Grillo

From: Jackson Mississippi

Joined: 8/13/2006

My vision is so bad, that I have to have the music stand practically on top of the theremin. There's no way to get the muxic holder far enough away from the antenna to provide reasonable tuning.

I did a test where I held a thin piece of wire near the antenna, and sure enough, it had an effect on the instrument.

My aim is to make it so I don't have to retune, because doing so means a smaller playing field, and on a nonlinear instrument like the EW Standard, that does present soome problems in terms of playing accuracy.

Fully sighted players really should have little or no problem just moving the stand further away, and making small adjustments though.
Posted: 2/3/2007 3:54:51 PM
Thomas Grillo

From: Jackson Mississippi

Joined: 8/13/2006

Perhaps because I was holding the wire, it was grounded.

So much for paper clips.

Posted: 2/9/2007 4:08:48 PM
Thomas Grillo

From: Jackson Mississippi

Joined: 8/13/2006

The plastic folding music stand showedup today, and works great. Evin though it has a thin metal pin holding the hinges of the music holder together, I did not have to adjust but just a tiny bit.

So, My worries over paperclips seem to be unfounded indeed.

The stand has a metal post, and that did not cause any problems at all.

This is great considering how close I have to have music stands to me to see.
Posted: 2/9/2007 4:15:54 PM

From: Jax, FL

Joined: 2/14/2005

Thomas I can sympathize since my eyes are pretty bad, too.

I hate having a music stand between me and the audience.

Whenever I make set lists or cheat sheets for chords and lyrics I use a huge font, especially if they are going to be on the floor, like when I am playing guitar or moving around.

Unfortunately, that probably won't work for sheet music.

Posted: 2/9/2007 5:18:23 PM
Thomas Grillo

From: Jackson Mississippi

Joined: 8/13/2006

I have a secret weapon that helps with reading music at a pretty good distance. It's a 6 X variable focus reading telescope that's mounted on glasses.

The other one is a closed circuit TV visor you wear like a virtual reality helmet. It has a camera, and LCD displays built into the whole thing. Neither of these provides much more than 5 degrees of field of view though. That's the trade off you have to accept when going for high power magnification.

When I'm performing though, I usually have everything memorized by then. I have too, because I can't see the conductor, and the music at the same time like folks with wide fields of vision can.

I'm used to memorizing because I sing opera, and barbershop which requires memorization. I used to use large print sheetmusic prior to getting the optical gear, but I still can't evin see that from a distance.

In opera, I usually hide cheat sheets n or on whatever props I was using to help with blocking.

I mostly use the music stand when I'm learning music at home.

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