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All play, no touch: The Moog Theremini

By: Mark Rosengarten
on March 20, 2014 8:00 am

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I’ve played a Moog Etherwave theremin (badly) for several years now.  Hooked up to a Korg KP3 effects processor, you can get some really great effects out of it.  However, plucking notes out of thin air in a continuous scale is maddeningly hard work.  Unlike a guitar or piano, where the notes are clearly delineated, a theremin has no defined notes.  In fact, you play it without touching it at all.  This lack of tactile feedback makes it one of the more difficult instruments to play.  Moog Music Inc. has come up with a solution that will make the theremin a more accessible instrument to the great unwashed masses, the Theremini.  Not only does it have pitch quantization and allow you to set a root note and scale type, it will even display what note you are currently playing on its LCD display.  It includes 32 wavetable-based sound patch presets so that you get more out of it and, for those theremin purists among us, allow you to play the good old-fashioned way.  The pitch antenna (the vertical one sticking on on the right in the photo above) detaches for easier portability.  The Theremini is not available yet but Moog is taking preorders for $319.  There will be one in my studio shortly after they are released!

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