Moog Theremini - melodic instruments simulation?

Posted: 9/4/2019 11:57:20 AM
Ftoso91

Joined: 9/4/2019

Hello everybody, 

I am new here and I am about to purchase a Moog Theremini. I've seen that there is a number of built-in presets which I can use, and they are all really "unique" sounds. 

However, I was wondering if there is a way to create (or event better, to import) some new presets which resemble the sound of the "classic" instruments (for example trumpet, flute, violin, etc).

I know that the users have the opportunity to create new presets from wavetables or something like that... but I am not an expert so I wouldn't be able to do this by myself. Anyone has some hint for me?

Thank you

Posted: 9/4/2019 1:33:37 PM
DreadVox

From: The Lower Lands (East)

Joined: 6/18/2019

Welcome to the Theremin World forums Ftoso,

as usual with factory presets, some you will want to keep, but to edit/build your own and trying out other available settings made by others you can set up your own 'pallette' of sounds. There are not really direct 'emulations' of 'classical instruments', however, keeping in mind an advice for synthesizers in general, when you want to emulate a traditional instrument, study how that instrument is being played, and imagine you are playing that instrument while playing the synth or theremin.

Another aspect is matching the dynamic aspects, like a flute or brass wind instrument tends to have less vibrato (pitch hand) and more tremolo (voulume/expression hand), while for bowed strings it's the other way around, while a singing human voice can use both and vary the ratio between them. 
The theremini is a hybrid instrument, a theremin front end (gesture control interface) operating a wavetable synthesizer with quite a lot of editing options whith the editor software/app. There is a learning curve in creating useful presets, but that mainly involves spending time with it and playing around and hearing and feeling what the various settings and parameters do, and saving the settings when you like it, and then after playing maybe tweak it some more.

While some call it 'a toy' outright, I think the Theremini does have it's place, and it's not the worse thing there is 'to get your fingertips wet'. Depending what music and playing style you're wanting to play on it, how you want to use it, where you are going with it, it may suffice, or you may get to the point in learning that you will want a more 'real/pure' theremin, or otherwise expand things with synth/synth modules, effect boxes, MIDI software etc. When you are seeking and want to experiment to see where it & you want to go, I've personally have found the Theremini to be a good starting point for that. But after less than a year I did buy an Etherwave model, as I felt I was starting to run into some of the Theremini's inherent shortcomings versus a pure analog traditional theremin. 

Also take a look at this Animoog Love Theremini page

Posted: 9/4/2019 2:44:20 PM
Ftoso91

Joined: 9/4/2019

Hello DreadVox,

Thanks for your reply. It is all clear... I was just wondering if there is some theremini player that may have already tried to emulate a classical instrument, and has eventually shared his "custom-presets" somewhere in the web. That would be a good starting point for me.

Would you have any suggestion in this sense?

Posted: 9/4/2019 6:41:47 PM
DreadVox

From: The Lower Lands (East)

Joined: 6/18/2019

Besides the AnimoogLove Theremini page there is a page about the Theremini editor, extra waveforms and presets libraries

Posted: 9/4/2019 7:13:18 PM
rupertchappelle

From: earth

Joined: 5/8/2017

EHX Mel 9 pedal - all you need to start with. 

Buy a real theremin. Plate antenna ones are easy to play.

How you play the instrument is more important than the waveform that you get, but the volume dynamics are very difficult to achieve with the standard volume mapping.

Inverse volume mapping like on the model 302 enables staccato play and the emulation of the opening sputter of brass instruments done with a downward stroke and bounce.

Now, how many theremin players actually play the volume antenna? Ever hear anyone do TREMOLO???

Without going beyond the standard playing technique, one is hobbled. Which is what people desire, limitations.

Posted: 9/4/2019 8:13:07 PM
DreadVox

From: The Lower Lands (East)

Joined: 6/18/2019

Reverse volume mapping is actually easy to do with the Theremini versus an Etherwave, I think it's the Burning Chrome factory preset that has/demonstrates it, or you can set it up during the calibration steps by holding your hand far from the volume antenna when it tells you to hold it near the antenna and vice versa. The pitch field of the Theremini can also be reversed in the same way.

The actual range over which the volume control of the Theremin works is rather cramped, it seems like it's mapped linearly over the range where one would want logaritmic and could probably be fixed in a firmware update (together with some other anoying bugs, that occur especially when it's in the 'theremin mode').

I am actually playing the volume antenna (including tremolos) and playing the silences, the pitch rod and volume/expression loop suit me fine so far, I could also go into the mystic symbology of the theremin and the gestures used to play. Let me just say that holding the thumb and index finger together is (also) a mudra (hand position/gesture) which signifies and promotes a connection between the higher self and the individual self, and that the pitch rod and volume loop symbolize a lingam (or world axis) and yoni (or receptable), a world tree and its root, yang and yin. One's own inner male and female sides, and the hemispheres of the brains need to be well balanced and connected, and the self well connected to the higher self and to earth/ground to become one with the instument and have it transparently sing, duplicating what your inner voice is singing. When one is giving less concideration to the volume antenna side, one may have to look into one's female side and whether one is not neglecting or limiting that.

The theremin offers freedom from the established rules and limitations, still it can be useful to get very familiar with those existing/established rules and limitations, so one can consciously choose when to stay within them and when to go beyond them, but much depends where you would want to go with it in the first place. The only limitation is in an individual's own choices in the end. As well as what challenges one wants to take on.

Posted: 9/4/2019 8:52:11 PM
rupertchappelle

From: earth

Joined: 5/8/2017

Dreadvox, congratulations for thinking outside of the box.

The staff/flail and crook of the pharaoh is the inspiration. The use of the antenna metaphor was marketing since radio was really hot and exciting - capacitor plates not so much.

Yep, it is the male part and the female part, be sure to drape the cable over the female part and never ever touch the male part. I am reminded of the SEVENTH PLANET, which rightly should be named after the Goddess Urania, but astronomers tended to be a bit odd back in the day . . . 

Now what is a philosopher doing in a a place like this?

I found the easiest way to play the Etherwave was to lay my hand upon the wooden case and angle it back and forth and/or slide it back and forth, enabling accurate play, no vibrato and a place to rest my weary hand. Breaking the rules.

BTW - I only use mudras for weather control and to quiet crying toddlers - both easier and more reliable than playing the theremin. I never touch the thumb to index finger - I only use the thumb to middle finger mudra.

Posted: 9/4/2019 10:36:10 PM
DreadVox

From: The Lower Lands (East)

Joined: 6/18/2019

When I found myself in a turn of events I felt I had lost my grip on just about everything, the best thing to do seemed to start and learn to play the musical instrument that can and must be played by having no grip on it. After about 1 year of exploration and practice, some jamsessions, a somewhat unplanned try-out performance and my first gig that was planned in advance, I'm now getting clear signs that the theremin self-therapy appears to be working even better than I could foresee when I started.

With both the Etherwave and the Theremini, when I fist allow my subconscious to map out the pitch field when standing behind it, and then try to trust that my subconscious knows where and how to hold my hand to get the pitch I'm hearing/singing internally, and when I trust and allow that the intonation matches the intention. Inner mood and state is reflected in playing immediately, as are small subconscious muscle movements. Practice brings the hand-ear coordination and the needed free/open proprioception to a point of getting more and more transparent/invisible and in this way it becomes more of an extention to one's singing voice. That's more or less where I'm aiming at in practical terms.

Posted: 9/9/2019 4:26:13 PM
rupertchappelle

From: earth

Joined: 5/8/2017

DreadVox - I think you have got it. The less one thinks, the better one plays.

Posted: 9/10/2019 3:27:10 PM
DreadVox

From: The Lower Lands (East)

Joined: 6/18/2019

It seems to apply to all musical instruments including the voice. Part of the trick is to stop identifying oneself with the thinking process and the talking inside one's head. Those are tools in our toolbox which can and should be laid aside at times that they are more of a hinderance than a help. They can be picked up and employed again when and where it's appropriate.

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