Bonnie McNairn, James Wilson, “A SIMPLE THEREMIN FROM SCHEMATIC TO PERFORMANCE”, public translation into Russian from English More about this translation.

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The theremin schematic described here and appearing on the following page is reprinted with permission from Hands-on Electronics Magazine, September 1987 issue. © Copyright Gernsback Publications, Inc., 1987.

Last winter Phil Krieg, a fellow Houston noisician, gave us a copy of the theremin schematic which accompanies this article. This design employs a two-chip digital circuit powered by a 9-volt battery. It would be a good project for a beginner in electronics, as it is very simple to build, small and relatively inexpensive (we paid ap­proximately $10 for parts).

This theremin varies in pitch only, not in volume. The sound of this instrument is thin and a bit noisy, similar to short-wave radio. However, when used in conjunction with even simple effects units such as reverb and distortion, its voice can grow large and menacing, or smooth and oceanic.

Phil houses his theremins compactly in an 35mm film canister. Our circuits are housed in small peanut cans, and use a 10K trim pot with a knob (not the screwdriver kind) to adjust the sensitivity. Substitute 47pF capacitors for C1 and C2 if 51pF can not be found. For the antenna, any conducting material will suffice. Examples include metal, shielded/unshielded cable, or water.

The antenna we use is a 1’ x 4’ piece of sheet metal, spring mounted upright on a wooden stand. We chose this antenna to create a surface physically large enough to be visually and spatially confron­tational to the player’s body. We plan to use a 4’ x 8’ piece of sheet metal in performance during the October ’92 NAAO conference in Austin, Texas.

We took two theremins with us during our summer ’92 tour. After a performance for a small gathering in Port Townsend, Washington, the audience (ages 7 to 45 years) took turns playing the theremin. One by one, each person created a different character, moving their bodies to vary the capacitance. Their movement was being transduced into the audio version of the character. One woman stood motionless just at the threshold of the sound, mentally project­ing her energy field.

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