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 Forum index » Instruments and Equipment » Theremin
electronic-organic divergence point
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fierlion



Joined: Feb 12, 2008
Posts: 5
Location: Seattle, WA

PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2008 4:26 pm    Post subject: electronic-organic divergence point Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I recently bought a moog etherwave theremin and in the process of learning to play it realized that it is a link between electronic and organic sound. Although its timbre is a simple enough tri/saw, the chaos introduced as I play rudimentary scales and arpeggios gives it a truly living character. The sensation is not unlike pinching an invisible self-resonating string.

Is the (seemingly insurmountable) divide between electronic and acoustic sound simply a result of too much perfection? As I applied the chaos principle to my buzzy little korg radias by twiddling random knobs and recording the random twists as modulation cycles I found my very digital synth taking on some freshly organic character.

My questions for anyone with thoughts on the matter is
a)what is the point at which electronic sound diverged from organic sound?
b)how do you reclaim the organic in your synthesis?

I believe the theremin is an interesting subject as a point of divergence given its pivotal role in bob moog's development.
I also believe that introduction of chaos is key to producing more living sound. An analog signal is inherently more chaotic because it is influenced by external factors--room temp etc. A digital signal is the result of a closed logical system with a minimum of chaos.
Thoughts?

Editor's note: moved to theremin forum - seraph
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Gordon Charlton



Joined: Oct 07, 2006
Posts: 75
Location: UK

PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2008 2:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Thoughts?

I think there is a real possibility that you will start getting very protective of your etherwave, glancing irritably at anyone encroaching on it's control zone, then you will give it a female name and get that remote look of blissful ecstasy called theremin face when you are manipulating her fields.

OK, seriously, there is an organic component to the theremin - it's you! - you are a part of the circuit in a very literal sense. Hands = capacitor plates.

My first experience of playing was a feeling that it is an essentially unstable instrument - like those jet fighters that get their responsiveness from being unstable - stop paying attention for just a moment and you'll crash!

Over time it has become more like riding a bike - you develop hand-ear coordination circuitry in your brain and little by little stop wobbling all over the road. Now the organic component is fully integrated into the instrument.

I see from your posting in the "Introduce yourself" forum that you want to emphasise the organic nature of the sound - make it more like an acoustic instrument. Me too! I came to the same conclusion that Martenot did with his eponymous Ondes - it is improved by adding a sound-box - hence my preference for working with reverbs, delays and resonant filters. Check the link in my sig for my take on organic thereminnery.

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fierlion



Joined: Feb 12, 2008
Posts: 5
Location: Seattle, WA

PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2008 7:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

yes--already I'm starting to sense the pitches hovering in the air rather than bending and sliding, more porta than actual pitch, around the theremin's invisible string.
I wonder how its timbre sits in a chamber string ensemble. Are there any string quintets with theremin as the +1?

I'm listening to William orbit's classical re-interpretations. I see windows to my future sound in his. There are moments of truly living sound. I don't dis the thumpy buzzy house track--I'm looking for the equivalent of electronic music AI. When sound comes alive it doesn't matter whether it's a robot (aka the human-bot hybrids daft punk) or human (before royksopp went pop, they were all-too-human).

Anyway--what happens when we start throwing godel's knots into our electronic sound structures? When will a synthesized sound pass the Turing test--is this simply a matter of passing granulated oscillations through looped fx chains? Or is it a chaos generating source like noise on steroids?

Now back to the love theme for 'the tempest'...
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Gordon Charlton



Joined: Oct 07, 2006
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 19, 2008 12:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

fierlion wrote:
Are there any string quintets with theremin as the +1?


I think this is the closest thing youTube has...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xeq6dN_YS-g

(Despite what the youTube page says, the thereminist's name is Carolina Eyck, not Eyek.)

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liquidpaper



Joined: Nov 23, 2007
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 23, 2008 2:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

i don't see electronic and organic sounds as being separate. electronic sounds are perfectly natural - just electrons doing their thing. then again, i see a computer as being every bit as natural as a tree. we aren't separate from nature, so the fact that a thing is "man-made" doesn't mean it isn't "natural." a radio is just as organic as a leaf.

in any event, i think things like piezo mics and victorian synthesizers are a link between what might commonly be called electronic and organic. also, there's a guy in the uk called Disinformation (aka joe banks) who is doing a lot in terms of recording sounds made by lightning and other naturally or atmospherically occuring electricity.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disinformation_(art_and_music_project)

an interview with disniformation:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LQoYOXmUuE0


i know what you mean as far as finding a sonic link between the electrical and the organic. perhaps looking at things differently and not seeing the two as distinct might help?
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A E J O T Z



Joined: Aug 14, 2011
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2011 5:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I love electronic sounds and consider the process of playing synths to be "cyborg" because I'm an organism.

And as long as many of the parts are played by hand instead of by sequencer, it is, to me, machine-assisted music instead of machine music.

I am hyper aware of sequencing, looping, sampling and find them distracting. I prefer the less-than perfect sound of hand-played music over the sound of too-precise machine made music.

But I also, these days, prefer clearly electronic sounds over simulations (or samples) of "real" instrument sounds. In fact, if I'm "getting into" some nice spacy electro sounds and suddenly a piano starts playing, I'm yanked right out of the mood.

So give me lots of boings and beeps, but please let a human be the main sequencer. Oh, and the less percussion the better, and play it yourself. If you are not a good "drummer" so much the better. That means you'll most likely have an interesting new approach.

The preceding is just a statement of my personal preferences.

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Infrablue



Joined: Dec 29, 2011
Posts: 123
Location: Utah

PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2012 6:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

A theremin can sound similar to a cello, mainly because in both cases we are hearing the expression and modulation of sound from of human muscle in great detail. Acoustic instruments seem to capture muscle, breath etc. nuance better than electronic... but when the electronic, especially analog, instruments are mapping out muscle inflection at a high resolution... and so on... lol

...it all can sound very human and emotional. That's why I love theremins and analog breath controller and robbons etc...

Do they have a eruorack module that has a human muscle imbedded and wired in? Someone could try that.
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