This isn’t the usual kind of thing that I report on here, but I’ve always had great respect for Bob Moog and his contributions to music making. One of his products was a Theremin, an electronic musical instrument which the player controlled by waving his (or her – some of the most famous Theremin players were women) hands around two antennas.
In the spirit of Bob Moog, the company that bears his name this month introduced the Theremini. The original Theremin had one sound, the very electronic eery science fiction movie sound effect. The Theremini includes a library of Moog synthesizer sounds and effects based on the Animoog and, of course, including the original Theremin sound. A number of innovative features make what’s always been a very difficult-to-play instrument accessible to those who don’t specialize in it.
The new instrument offers such features as a “chromatic tuner” display that shows you when you’re on pitch, not only an aid to playing, but also an ear training tool which, with practice, will allow you to play it accurately. Though it sounds like cheating, the Theremini features controls for pitch correction, scale, and root note, which allow anyone to adjust the level of playing difficulty, and to explore new means of music creation and gestural control. At one end of the scale, the Theremini will play every note in a selected scale perfectly, making it impossible to play a wrong note. With pitch correction set to minimum, it performs exactly as a traditional Etherwave Theremin in which the pitch is determined by a variable frequency oscillator beating with a fixed oscillator. Unlike the original Theremin in its wooden cabinet reminiscent of an old fashioned wind-up Victrola, this is a stylish tabletop instrument, and it costs just a bit over $300.
More info from Moog here.