How did you find the theremin?

Posted: 9/28/2007 12:35:47 PM

From: new haven ct.

Joined: 7/8/2005

Or how did the theremin find you?
This is sort of an off-shoot of the roll call thread but with so many new folks seemingly everyday, how did you find out about the theremin?
With me, I don't remember when I first became aware of the theremin. i just know i always thought it was cool and always wanted one. I remeber talking to my misicians friends in Jr. high and telling them about the best instrument in the world.
i guess it must of been from one of the sam Hoffman TV appearences in the 60's
Cut to around 12 years ago. i was reading RE/search magazine, their "Incredabily Strange music " issues, and an artcle on Bob Moog. It said moog was currently making theremins, and had the address to Big Briar. I sent away immediatly and got a bunch of fliers. All where for the 91A series except the last one, Introducing the first home theremin kit, the etherwave.
i ordered it right a way, a 5 weeks later my musical life became corrupted for ever.
BTW, this was before everyone had computers and internet access. Now i would of just googled theremin....

Posted: 9/28/2007 12:45:05 PM

From: Minnesota

Joined: 8/28/2007

For me it was a long strange trip. I studied Music in college and stumbled upon the Theremin in music history classes. I proceeded to forget about the instrument for years (like 10). I was in the studio recording with my band and we were listening to a song that was guitar vocals, hammer and pipe over an open piano with the sustain pedal down. I thought... this song needs Theremin. This caused me to research like a mad man, and try to learn as much as I could about this instrument. Now presto poof... Here I am trying to play this dang instrument. I will say this... my Theremin calluses are getting tougher, and my pitch is getting better! :)
Posted: 9/28/2007 4:47:24 PM

Joined: 10/31/2006

Back in 1996, I saw someone playing one and said to myself that if I ever saw one for sale, I'd but it. A few months later, I saw an ad for the Paia Theremax kit and bought one. A friend assembled it for me and I've been on my odyssey ever since.
Posted: 9/28/2007 5:00:01 PM

From: Kansas City MO USA

Joined: 11/26/2006

I was reading a review for a 2005 album by a band I’ve been listening to since 1984.
“with special guest appearance by Pamelia Kurstin, the words foremost thereminist”

GOOGLE: thereminist.
Someone that plays the theremin.

GOOGLE: theremin
“Sign right there on the dotted line. No, use blood, It’s more permanent”
Posted: 9/29/2007 12:41:16 AM

From: Undisclosed location without Dick Cheney

Joined: 2/21/2005

Like so many, I got hooked by the Theremin movie (on cable) and hearing Clara Rockmore play, but I actually remember the moment it sank in. It was the bit where Bob Moog has a Theremin hooked up to an oscilloscope and he's showing how one antenna controls the pitch, and *just* the pitch, while the other controls the volume, and *just* the volume. It really appealed to the engineer in me, just as Clara's playing appealed to the artist in me. When the two came together, I just became completely enthralled with it, and had the feeling of "I have to have one right away."

I pulled out my laptop and immediately started doing research, and quickly discovered the Etherwave. Its price wasn't prohibitive to me, but anything over $100 or so I always think about seriously before buying. So, I gave it a couple days, watched the movie again on tivo (and felt even more "I have to have one right away!"), and decided to go for it. There was some kind of lull in production going on that month, and every dealer seemed to have it back-ordered, and none of my local music stores carried it anyway. I finally located a dealer in Hollywood that had one, and ordered it.

Since then it's been on-and-off. My interest remains steady, but my time and willingness to practice comes and goes. I've also started and stopped a couple times, because I'd practice for a while, hit a plateau, and realize yet another problem with my technique. Slowly, with each new start, I get a bit better, a bit closer to feeling like I can really do it. Someday. Maybe.
Posted: 10/20/2007 1:35:41 PM

Joined: 10/13/2007

I have a pretty pathetic answer to that:

Lemon Demon, the online one-man-band famous for the Ultimate Showdown. He doesn't play the theremin, but that's where I heard of it. From a song called The Only House That's Not on Fire Yet.

If you were a theremin
I wouldn't know where to begin
My hands would stay here on my chin
With a hum that never ends
Posted: 11/3/2007 1:07:44 PM

From: Blaricum, The Netherlands

Joined: 10/24/2007

Well, I had seen an article in a Dutch electronics magazine, explaining how to build a Theremin. So I, certainly, thought: "Yes, offcouse, an ... eh ... a ... WHAT?"
I looked for a soundbyte and found it on YouTube. And instandly I was hooked.

Posted: 11/4/2007 5:41:33 PM

From: Croxley Green, Hertfordshire, UK

Joined: 10/5/2005

Which youTube video?
Posted: 11/4/2007 7:25:44 PM

From: Toledo, Ohio United States of America

Joined: 2/22/2006

I first heard the Theremin at about six years of age when first viewing "The Day The Earth Stood Still" on TV. I thought I was hearing a woman's voice. I thought the movie's music was creepy but, I remembered that woman's voice for days afterward.
Then, later, I heard "that woman's voice" again on a daily monster TV show called 'Dark Shadows'. The beginning and ending music gave me the tingling willies! Side-note: at that time I was learning to play the piano in ernest and was listening to a wide variety of classical music,(Thanks to my Mom, forever!).
I next heard "that voice" on a little watched show called 'Star Trek'. I thought that that "woman" was really working!

I forgot "that voice" for a while.

I next heard "that voice" on 'Doctor Who', a British TV show on the United States of America Public Broadcasting System, that I loved to watch.
It was a Theremin that I was hearing!
A, --- couldn't make it in commercial TV/ socialist--- PBS stooge, groveling for local support during one of the many Public Broadcasting Systems,("We don't get enough money from your tax dollars, we need some more from you--- more!"), programing-hostage diatribes, made clear that no woman sang on the 'Doctor Who' theme. "That was a Theremin," ,he said, " a musical instrument that one plays without touching! Only, on PBS, Ladies and Gentlemen, could one get that kind of minutia---" CLICK OFF!
I guess PBS is good for something during it's 'Dollar Days'.
So, I bought the PAiA kit.
And, the rest is just a whole lot of FUN!

Good Luck!


Posted: 11/4/2007 10:24:50 PM

From: Undisclosed location without Dick Cheney

Joined: 2/21/2005

Actually, neither Star Trek nor Doctor Who used a Theremin in their sound track.

Star Trek's theme was in fact sung. (Later versions were instrumental, but not a Theremin.) The thing is, that theme actually has lyrics (they're awful), so despite that they were unused, because there were singers on the recording, the lyricist had to receive a royalty for every showing of every episode. The lyricist was... Gene Roddenberry. It was one way he managed to make more money out of the show.

Doctor Who's theme was laboriously assembled out of snips of audio tape. They didn't have a synth at hand, so they recorded long tapes of specific tones generated by a simple oscillator, and cut it into specific lengths for specific durations of note. These snips were then spliced together, to make a single track of the recording. I believe it's described in detail in "Doctor Who: The Early Years".

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