theremin major

notes from me and my moog etherwave pro

Music April 15, 2007

jenhammaker @ 6:43 am

To track my progress, I’ll let you listen to where I’m going with all of this mess!

None of the hot traxx you may find here are meant to sound finished or polished. I have a crappy recording arrangement in my little apartment. It’s a great way for me to gauge my improvement.

Feel free to comment, but you don’t have to tell me things like, “You have a tendancy to go sharp,” “You tend to swell too much,” or “Boy, you have a long way to go!” I know all that stuff.

The Swan (recorded before I started school, December 2006)

Air (recorded early March 2007)

Vocalise (recorded mid-April 2007)

The Swan: Take 2 (recorded on my new computer, May 2007)

Vocalise: Take 2 (recorded on my new computer, May 2007)

I finally got a new computer! It’s an adorable little MacBook and with it, I can do things like check my email in under an hour and make music.

So here are some fun tunes I put together with the help of GarageBand:


Nuff Night



6 Responses to “Music”

  1. Mica Says:

    These are beautiful. I loved Vocalise! Thanks for sharing, Jen!

  2. “Swell too much”? Au contraire!

    One of our disadvantages as thereminists is that we can’t modulate timbre independently of pitch and volume. Ergo, for expressive performance, it’s better to err on the side of excessive cresc. and dim.

    One of my standard comments to students in performance-coaching situations is: Don’t just sit on the long notes; they usually need to grow. This is especially true if said long tone crosses a barline (or the middle of a 4/4 bar), because more often than not it represents a dissonant suspension, which translates into Thou Shalt 1) begin the note softly, 2a) swell as you sustain it, 2b) reach a peak at the end, which is a dissonance, and 3) subside on the resolution (downward by step) to a consonance.

    (Why yes, I am a music theory instructor… how did you guess?)

    So, bottom-line: I didn’t recoil from excessive swell at any point; to the contrary, I would recommend shaping phrases with more variety of volume. Keep in mind that performers of any voice or instrument typically need to exaggerate; expressive gestures that seem adequate to you might not project beyond the front row of seats.

  3. omhoge Says:

    “Cinque” was such a sweet surprise today.
    Thank you Jen.
    It’s very hope giving.

    Side note, also impressed with the music player control too, what are you using for that?

  4. omhoge Says:

    OH, forgot, btw we miss you over at TW.
    I know you are fobidden from mention that place where you spend time studying music. But it’s still a ground breaking adventure I wish I could do a little write up about.
    skol – omhoge

  5. Charlie Draper Says:


    I never got to hear you play in person at Hands Off, but congrats! You’ve got some skills. I particularly liked your choice of timbre for ‘Vocalise.’

    I too disagree about the swelling. It’s really hard to get good volume control on the E’Pro – generally players have a choice of about 20% variation in loudness, or intermittent silence and noise closer to the loop. The trick is to turn up the amplifier really loud, and make smaller gestures. It looks less interesting from a distance than flourishing your volume hand dramatically. . . but ultimately the sound benefits.

    Volume control is a nightmare on the E’Pro. It’s a fact. Improving ones ability to shape notes will come from two things. Experimenting constantly, and listening to other musicians critically. Unfortunately, Clara’s advice (and the general consensus) to ‘mold notes beautifully’ or whatever doesn’t really cut it. :S

  6. ian Says:

    Very nice!
    Have you put a cd/mp3s out for download yet?


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