Let's Do a Survey of Your Playing Techniques!

Posted: 1/5/2020 9:22:47 AM

From: Minnesota USA

Joined: 11/27/2015

"The theremin is a cruel barometer of your physical condition. If your stance is shaky, or your muscles are stiff, an involuntary low-level random vibrato will sabotage everything you attempt." - elmo7sharp9

Thanks for your insights. This little truth quoted above gave me a chuckle.  I've always had this cartoon image of roadside DUI checks being given with a theremin instead of a breathalyzer.  "Now stand up straight and hold a middle C for 30 seconds..."

Hearing about musical backgrounds and alternative theremin techniques is interesting. This just continues to show that there is really no single "proper" way to play the theremin.

Posted: 1/5/2020 3:06:47 PM

From: Northern NJ, USA

Joined: 2/17/2012

"I tried finger-position playing for a while. It seemed dependent on knowing the exact notes I was going to execute ahead of time - great for if you're sight-reading or playing an intricate set piece from memory, less useful for improvisation."  - elmo7sharp9

This is my feeling exactly, expressed more succinctly than I could have.

"I come from an Electronics background and was initially interested in solving the many irregularities of a "classical" analogue theremin. I soon discovered that is an endless and hard-won field of endeavour."

I think it's possible to improve the analog Theremin, mainly by decoupling the pitch axis from the sound generation.  The low hanging fruit on heterodyning Theremins is long gone.

"When I turned the thing around 180 degrees, the muscle memory and brain specialisation from playing the guitar kicked in and things became effortless."

Being a long-term guitar plinker, this was at the front of my brain from the git-go, and wondered if I was making a mistake learning the Theremin the traditional handed way.  Guitar is weird because it feels backwards when you start (weaker hand doing all the muscle and control work) but when you get into fingerpicking it all comes clear.  I think right hand pitch control for the Theremin makes the most sense (for non southpaws) as the left hand doesn't have nearly as much to do.  But there are a lot of guitarists (and some violinists!) out there, and it's a little sad to not have all that training immediately applicable to Theremin.

Posted: 1/6/2020 4:48:59 PM

From: earth

Joined: 5/8/2017

I have an old Big Briar Etherwave and the Harrison Instruments Model 302 Theremin.  I have played the Maestro, RCA and Etherwave Pro - I prefer the Model 302.

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