First time playing the mini-theremin…

Some of you might have remembered my fascination with the mini-theremin played by a cat not long ago. This evening, I received the package from Japan.

As you’ll see, the Otona no Kagaku magazine / assembly kit is beautifully packaged. I’ve got the mini-theremin build process as a series of photos, where you’ll see it’s easy and fun enough for anyone to put together. Only problem was tuning it, which turned out to be quite a bitch. Still, the intrigue kept me going. This is my first time playing a theremin, so it’s less of a performance, more of an experiment. You’ll see me trying to back up a track from Portishead’s new album, Third.

mini-theremin (from Otona no Kagaku)mini-theremin (from Otona no Kagaku)mini-theremin (from Otona no Kagaku)mini-theremin (from Otona no Kagaku)mini-theremin (from Otona no Kagaku)
mini-theremin (from Otona no Kagaku)mini-theremin (from Otona no Kagaku)mini-theremin (from Otona no Kagaku)mini-theremin (from Otona no Kagaku)mini-theremin (from Otona no Kagaku)

For the uninitiated, Wikipedia has a decent explanation of how to operate a theremin:

A theremin is unique among musical instruments in that it is performed without being touched by the operator. The musician stands in front of the instrument and moves his or her hands in the proximity of two metal antennas. The distance from one antenna determines frequency (pitch), and the distance from the other controls amplitude (volume). Most frequently, the right hand controls the pitch and the left controls the volume, although some performers reverse this arrangement. Additionally, some theremins use a volume dial and have only one antenna.

Aside: Youtube now has hidden links to download higher quality MPEG4 versions of your video. Here’s the link to mine.

9 thoughts on “First time playing the mini-theremin…

  1. 🙂 I really really have to say that, despite your try is really a good one, and we could see your courage in putting up that youtube video, I really I really don’t have the courage to finish watching your video until the last minute – I guess you have to let the main sound go through a sound filter like the theremin experiment as well, a guitar filter or something. >.<

    simply noisy. haha 😀

    Du Senyao Peter’s last blog post..My Daily Mac Software

  2. Wow, looks awesome. I immediately ordered mine 🙂

    Not bad for a first try (not that I know how to play one).

    [By the way, the link on your comment has some nasty chars that make it broken]

    alper’s last blog post..Existence

  3. Thanks Alper, I just fixed the link. It’s not going to be as playable as a real theremin, but it’s fun enough. Am thinking of collecting obscure portable instruments to form a mini-band. ;P

  4. My Otona no Kagaku mini theremin arrived today. Great fun.

    You might find it easier by following their bit of advice with the silver foil attached to the rear left -ve battery terminal and taped to the back. It really does extend the range and make tuning easier (although you do have to remember to keep your finger on the foil as you tune!!!)

    BTW – your youtube clip seems to have disappeared!

    🙂

  5. Stumbled across your entry on the theremin mini… and was wondering if you could help since you managed to get a tune out.

    I'm having trouble tuning the theremin. How should it be tuned? What sort of pitch is to be expected?

Comments are closed.