Handmade Music NYC 8/29, 1979 Photo-theremin Workshop, Call for Works

Handmade Music returns August 29 to New York City – now in Manhattan at the new Culturefix space on the Lower East Side. Beginners, this is your chance to learn about electronics and sound making, with a newcomer-friendly workshop on making a photo-theremin – and yes, you’ll even learn to solder. (Like knitting, you’ll find it gets easy fast and can even be relaxing.) Entry fee includes all parts cost, and you leave with a fun creation. If you have work you want to show or a performance to propose, be sure to see the call for works at the …

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Artist Jo Hamilton, Working with the Gestural AirPiano Digital Controller

Watching the bleeding edge of new musical instruments often means having to see new designs in tech demos, in proof-of-concept experiments as artists first try their hands on a new object. If you can use some imagination and see potential, that’s fine, but it’s a bit unfair to the instrument – you don’t get to see it really exploited musically. Here’s a case that’s different: Jo Hamilton, an acclaimed up-and-coming artist from the UK, is really integrating the new AirPiano into her performance. Nor is she waiting for production: she’s got the only prototype outside of Berlin. We saw the …

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Attention, Newcomers: Theremin Explained in 3 Minutes

Video Games – E3 2010 – It’s #&*%ing Science! We know you’re out there: somehow, you haven’t heard the gospel of the Theremin, the first great electronic instrument of the 20th Century. Our friend Yaniv Fituci, associate producer for G4 TV, takes on the topic and some condenses it into the space of about three minutes, through the magic of lots of jump cuts. (It’s called MTV-style-editing, and I hear these kids love this MTV thing. It’ll be huge!) It’s actually a pretty darned good explanation, and features the innards of a Moog Theremin kit getting replaced with an Altoids …

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The Sonic Manipulator: Bizarre Wearable Musical Inventions, Stolen from Space Aliens?

It may be 2009, but you can still play electronic music as though you’re an invading alien visitor from the future. Just ask The Sonic Manipulator, an electronic musical performer and inventor, alias Claude Woodward. His musical creations range from warped radios to instruments derived from turntable scratches and Theremins. And then there are some instruments that seem to be sonic weapons. (Apologies to recent protesters in Pittsburgh.) CDM reader Andrew Cordani caught Claude at the UK’s British Invention Show. Claude is apparently a Perth, Australia transplant, by way of Cambridge, though Andrew writes that he “has been known to …

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Alternative Music Distribution: Moldover’s CD Case as Circuit Board Noisemaker

Making music into an object – the central genius of recording – could be a wonderful thing. But the CD was always somewhat utilitarian as a distribution mechanism, with its easily-splintered plastic jewel case and inserted artwork that paled next to the grand visions of the LP. Moldover is the latest artist to experiment with ways of re-imagining the musical object. Already a fan of custom sonic circuitry, he made his CD into a circuit board. Some of it is just aesthetic, like the printed lettering. But there is also integrated noise-making circuitry for a very simple optical Theremin (well, …

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Play Super Mario Bros. with a Theremin

This is worth posting for this line alone: “Who needs a Natal when you’ve got a theremin!” (If you don’t know what he’s talking about, see here.) Yes, in case you’re looking for a creative way to practice your Theremin playing, here you go. Now, where’s our Theremin Hero game? From the description by Glasgow-based YouTuber conquerearth, previously seen using the Theremin to play “Still Alive.” This is even more fun with two people playing! One person controls left/right, the other controls jump. Its not just limited to the theremin. Its even possible to hook up a microphone and use …

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Strap on Gloves, Play Two-Handed Spatial Theremin

Based on work with the Oblong g-speak “spatial operating environment” gestural system – research that inspired the film Minority Report – our friend Trey Harrison has been doing some wonderful work with new Theremin-style interfaces. He writes: I have been working with Oblong Industries (http://oblong.com) and took some of my spare time to combine their technology with my Salvation project (http://slvtn.com) and build a theremin-like instrument. There are three degrees of control: Pitch is adjusted by moving hands left and right. Volume is adjusted by moving hands up and down. Vibrato is adjusted by moving hands foward and backward. Many …

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Moog Adds CV Control to their Theremin, Discontinues Minimoog Old School

Score one for “old school” on the Theremin – minus one for “old school” on the Minimoog keyboard. There’s plenty of debate about whether or not you can justify splurging on the extra cash for the Moog name on synths and effects – no one questions Moog’s quality, but there is other great boutique gear out there that gets far less attention. But one area where the Moog line is unquestionably superior is on the Theremin. And the Etherwave Plus at US$519 is an instrument you can really sink your musical teeth into over a period of years. With the …

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NYC: Handmade Music Now Monthly – 12/11 Event, Call for Works, Beep-It Workshop

Handmade Music, the regular series of DIY music tech parties CDM hosts with Etsy.com and Make Magazine in New York, is back. And it’s back in a big way: the event has a new home in Bushwick and will be held on an actual schedule monthly. The first event is next Thursday, December 11. After the December debut, it’ll be every third Thursday of the month, starting with January 15, 2009. We’ve got a spacious, new home at the hip galleries and workshops of 3rd Ward in East Williamsburg, Brooklyn. We want to see your projects, from simple first-time creations …

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Beep-It: Portable, Open, DIY Optical Theremin

Beep-it from Michael Una on Vimeo. Cast your shadow, shine a light, make a square wave synth make noise. Michael Una is at it again. This time, he’s created something called the Beep-It. It’s a wonderfully elegant design for a light-controller soundmaker, an optical Theremin. He describes it to CDM thusly: This minimalist electronic musical instrument eschews esoteric interface in favor of intuitive, expressive control.  One button turns the device on or off, which can produce a continuous tone or a rhythmic sequence.  One sensor varies pitch of the output waveform in response to ambient light.  The resulting system encourages …

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