In October 2021 I received a grant to study and develop ways to enhance the range of timbres available while playing the Theremin. While e.g. the Moog Etherwave allows for both huge jumps over up to four octaves as well as delicate microtonal manipulation in conjunction with fine grained control over the amplitude of the signal, the tonal variations are quite limited. In effect the Etherwave can sound either sharp or soft.

Luckily the “Plus” edition of the Etherwave features three control voltage (CV) outputs, one each for volume and pitch, plus a gate. Combining the Theremin with a synthesizer offering CV control over some or all of its parameters, be it a modular or semi modular device, allows one to use that instrument as the voice, delegating the Theremin to function as a controller.

After employing a Make Noise 0-Coast with great results overall I began thinking about the possibility of expanding the range of timbres even more, or even creating a composite of a selection of sonic textures. There were two general approaches, number one offering an easily switchable array of voices, number two allowing for their dynamic composition in realtime.

After much deliberation I singled out the The Make Noise tELHARMONIC, a digital module promising to be able to recreate the amazing soundscapes of the Telharmonium, plus a Pressure Points module to control the volume with which to add it’s three voices to the mix. Four fingers of my left hand rested, more or less lightly on the capacitive touchpad while my right hand controlled the pitch.

As playing the Theremin is by necessity a monophonic experience, on most recording sessions and concerts I also employed a Haken Audio Continuum Fingerboard to enable me to create polyphonic movement and pads. In that case I either switched between the Theremin+synth and playing the Continuum with both hands, or I played solely with my right hand, mixed timbres with the left and adjusted the pitch with my body.

The cooperation with Quatuor BRAC and Katrin Bethge is a good showcase of me employing various techniques.


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