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Podcast: Sonic TALK 065 - Freaking out in S.Korea
  08-Nov-07
9 Comments...  Post a comment    original story
Richard Hilton    Said...

one more thing regarding the theramin.....

i can understand the criticisms of the instrument based on most of its most widely known and popular uses. the notion that it's a more-or-less one trick pony, with no tonal variation and exclusively suited to the domain of late-50s horror flicks is unfair, in my opinion.

it is, in the hands (literally) of a skilled performer, an incredibly expressive and dynamic musical voice. clara rockmore, one-time wife of Lev Theremin and the worlds most widely recognized virtuoso on the instrument that bears his name, created stunning soprano performances of operatic repertoire. there are others who have gained significant talent on it too - i saw one such person myself a few months ago.

the idea that it "only does one thing" - well, before the synthesizer (and excluding the pipe organ or nickelodian), pretty much all the instruments did one thing. you might say the violin has more variation possible than the theremin - but does the celeste? i think we have to remember the context for this instrument, which pre-dated the modern synthesizer by many years.

08-Nov-07 10:10 AM


Nick B    Said...

Good point Rich, I think perhaps I've not had any virtuostic(?) experiences with the Theremin and that does rather colour my own experience of it. It is undoubtedly a difficult instrument to master - and perhaps it would be fairer to say that considering the amount of skill one has to apply, outlets for it's performance are limited?

08-Nov-07 10:54 AM


Nick B    Said...

BTW, The Circuit Bending CHallenge Winners have been announced!

We picked two of the three winners in George Lazen Bleeps Furbee and El Colins Bent Guitar, the final winner Squelchbox’s “The 15 Puzzle� - which we all missed!

Congrats to the winners and thanks for such an enjoyable contest

08-Nov-07 12:50 PM


Mr Tinley    Said...

Happy Birthday Rich :-)

08-Nov-07 04:38 PM


Richard Hilton    Said...

thanks mark....and nick....

the performance outlets for the theramin are mostly determined by the public perception of the instrument and the relative expertise of most of its exponents. if people in vast numbers were out there blowing us all away with the expressive potential of the thing, we'd all have a much different impression of it, perhaps.

I still think having your body in physical contact with the actual vibration being produced is the most profound effect a person can have on the actual sound being made from moment to moment.

that said, thanks for all the good wishes my friends, and i raise a glass to our continued collaborations on these shows.

and thanks, nick, for making it all possible contextually.

best, RH 51

08-Nov-07 06:42 PM


Marc JX8P    Said...

And a happy birthday to you from me too!

Another great podcast. Concerning the theremin, the thing is that the actual timbre is very rarely modified in the performances you hear so while it does produce an amazing sound (and it feels like listening to a human voice at times) I can understand that it's easy to get tired of it. Basically, every performance is only the modulation of pitch and volume with a static timbre. What I would really like to see is someone integrating some envelopes or filters or perhaps using effect pedals to change the sound. I think that would really allow for amazing performances.

09-Nov-07 05:20 AM


attrib    Said...

hi .. ue podcasts are quite good normally .. wich i will not criticise... but 1 thing i must say .. for the first time i checked out muso talk.de .. and all i can say is ur lucky its not in english .. i understand very little german but can already tell there site is much better and has alot more features and videos and stuff seems like they realy put an effort into there site and take alot of time going thru stuff instead of just very breif descriptions of new prroducts .. i think u should team up with non eric and make sonicstate the english version of muso talk.. dont get me wrong i think your site is good .. just not as detailed and indepth as muso talk please put more effort in

13-Nov-07 10:11 PM


Radar Caves (Australia)    Said...

How about a monomachine chamber orchestra, or and waldorf pulse philharmonic?

14-Nov-07 01:32 AM


Ian Webster    Said...

Very good podcast.. it ended too soon for me! I actually really liked the theramin piece, although the new world symphony was one of my favorites anyway.. On a similar note (!) have any of you seen the Sony "One note" ad.

14-Nov-07 04:20 PM


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