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Thread: The Theremin

  1. #16
    sah
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    Other videos where the theremin is used:
    http://elcastigodelassirenas.blogspo.../theremin.html

    It seems that Clara Rockmore was not only a virtuoso player, but contributed also to improve the instrument:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clara_Rockmore

  2. #17
    Senior Member cwarchc's Avatar
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    There are quite a few clips on Youtube relating to this.
    Some of them are very early and have the inventors daughter playing one
    It looks as though it is very difficult to master, as you can tell by the various quality of the sounds on some of the clips.
    However it is a facinating instrument

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    Sounds like something you take 3 times a day.

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    Varese used a fingerboard Theremin, also known as the Theremin Cello.

    "Ecuatorial" by Varese, was scored for bass voice (or chorus of basses), brass, keyboard, percussion, and two electronic instruments built for Var鑚e by the inventor Leon Theremin (a later revision substituted two ondes Martenots for the Theremins).

    theremincello.jpg
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    There is a number of articles about Theremin in Wikipedia, all describing the inventor, his life and Theremin in fair details.

    It mentions that at the height of its popularity in the 1930-s, there was a performance of multiple Theremins (*?) in Carnegie Hall. Also, it appears Theremin was not kidnapped, but left the US voluntarily, though somehow in secret, and was working, until retirement, in a number of "black" KGB research organizations. There he invented, for one, an ingenious eavesdropping device that was planted in the US Ambassy in Moscow and functioned for a number of years until, with great difficulty, it was finally found.
    Last edited by MichaelSolo; Mar-20-2013 at 23:22.

  6. #21
    Senior Member KenOC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelSolo View Post
    There he invented, for one, an ingenious eavesdropping device that was planted in the US Ambassy in Moscow and functioned for a number of years until, with great difficulty, it was finally found.

    I think this was the bug that was hidden in the Great Seal of the United States, a big one hanging on a wall. I remember watching Henry Cabot Lodge on B&W TV speaking in the UN, thrashing the Soviets bitterly for this piece of (as he pronounced it) esSPYonage.

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    Senior Member EddieRUKiddingVarese's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KenOC View Post

    I think this was the bug that was hidden in the Great Seal of the United States, a big one hanging on a wall. I remember watching Henry Cabot Lodge on B&W TV speaking in the UN, thrashing the Soviets bitterly for this piece of (as he pronounced it) esSPYonage.
    Correct - the story is told in Spycatcher Peter Wright a former MI5 officer's Autobiography- its a great read, got it when in first came out. We Aussies were lucky, it got published first in Australia, when others tried to ban the book.
    "Everyone is born with genius, but most people only keep it a few minutes"
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  8. #23
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    Little known factoid: Shostakovich was one of the first composers to uses the Theremin in at least (IRC) one of his film scores from the 30's (Odna)!

    /ptr
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    Senior Member millionrainbows's Avatar
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    As Argus said, Good Vibrations featured the instrument he mentioned; pitch was controlled by moving your finger along a "ribbon controller," a flat strip.

    I've got a Moog Theremin, designed by Bob Moog (mine's black, like Sheldon's). I found it in a pawn shop for $230, and did a lay-away. It's a great instrument, and very flexible. The oscillator's pitch-range can be changed with a knob, and the degree of volume-sensitivity can be determined, so you can customize the settings to your desires. It mounts on a mike stand.

    Put a little reverb or echo on it, and it can provide hours of fun.

    The guitar/theremin mentioned by Mark Harwood was originally developed by Randy California (of Spirit), and he turned-on Jimmy Page to the idea when Spirit toured Britain. Page's use of it can be heard during the "space section" of "Whole Lotta Love," where the "zipping" sound of the Theremin is run through an echo unit.
    Your closing key is not the same,
    This gives the Masters pain;
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    In Spring, it must be so! 'Tis plain!


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    If you're interested in the theremin, please have a look at the theremin-based chamber ensemble I play in here: http://www.youtube.com/user/DivineHandEnsemble

    I play vibes and marimba in the group. The videos with glockenspiel in them are from before I joined; I'm NOT the guy playing glock (he's our guitar player now).

    Our thereminist believes that the theremin should be treated as just another musical instrument rather than a source of sound effects or a novelty. I totally agree with him; when played tastefully (and in tune) it's a wonderfully expressive instrument. When played poorly (which unfortunately happens too often), it's another matter entirely....
    Last edited by rrudolph; Mar-26-2013 at 19:11.
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  11. #26
    Senior Member millionrainbows's Avatar
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    I need to put in some practice on the Theremin...I haven't touched it in months!

    My callouses are getting soft!
    Your closing key is not the same,
    This gives the Masters pain;
    But Hans Sachs draws a rule from this:
    In Spring, it must be so! 'Tis plain!


    "In Spring! In the creation of art it must be as it is in Spring!" -Arnold Schoenberg

    "I think that all right-thinking people in this country are sick and tired of being told that ordinary, decent people are fed up in this country with being sick and tired. I知 certainly not! But I知 sick and tired of being told that I am!" - Monty Python

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    Quote Originally Posted by joen_cph View Post
    Theremin, a Russian of origin, made a career with his instrument in the US in the 20s, but was kidnapped by the KGB
    nonsense. Theremin was a stalwart communist http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L%C3%A9...e_Soviet_Union i personally met him in his late days in the 1980s.

  13. #28
    Senior Member millionrainbows's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sharik View Post
    nonsense. Theremin was a stalwart communist http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L%C3%A9...e_Soviet_Union i personally met him in his late days in the 1980s.
    "Kidnapped" is being used as a figure of speech here. He was "convinced" to go back to Russia and do work for the military, instead of parading around with celebrities and making musical instruments, just the same way Putin is "convincing" the Ukraine to rejoin Russia.
    joen_cph and Hmmbug like this.
    Your closing key is not the same,
    This gives the Masters pain;
    But Hans Sachs draws a rule from this:
    In Spring, it must be so! 'Tis plain!


    "In Spring! In the creation of art it must be as it is in Spring!" -Arnold Schoenberg

    "I think that all right-thinking people in this country are sick and tired of being told that ordinary, decent people are fed up in this country with being sick and tired. I知 certainly not! But I知 sick and tired of being told that I am!" - Monty Python

  14. #29
    Junior Member lincrusta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rrudolph View Post
    If you're interested in the theremin, please have a look at the theremin-based chamber ensemble I play in here: http://www.youtube.com/user/DivineHandEnsemble

    I play vibes and marimba in the group. The videos with glockenspiel in them are from before I joined; I'm NOT the guy playing glock (he's our guitar player now).

    Our thereminist believes that the theremin should be treated as just another musical instrument rather than a source of sound effects or a novelty. I totally agree with him; when played tastefully (and in tune) it's a wonderfully expressive instrument. When played poorly (which unfortunately happens too often), it's another matter entirely....
    Very cool! Currently studying the theremin; always neat to hear about thereminists in chamber ensemble.

    I can see where he's coming from, but the use of the theremin for sound effects must be commended and has brought some major pieces in itself (as well as balance to Rockmore's inaccessibility to masses). Plus, using it as novelty was what got us the "Spellbound Concerto", which is brilliant and beautiful to me. Then again that's my opinion... :P Guess I fall between Rockmore's and Hoffman's theremin worlds.

    Here's a great read on Hoffman, which also brings up Spellbound.
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  15. #30
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    The thereminist I work with (the guy in the videos I linked to) did a performance of Spellbound Concerto with the New Jersey Capital Philharmonic (with whom I have also performed, as a percussionist) on New Year's Eve. Great piece! Rosza was a great composer, whether for movies or concert stage.
    ptr and lincrusta like this.

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