Here’s some notes about Moog’s Theremini, which leverages Animoog’s engine. We mentioned the launch of the Theremini in Spring 2014. I do happily own a Theremini myself since mid-November 2014.
I don’t plan to build lots of content for the Theremini itself, my focus will be on Animoog until Animoog’s documentation reaches a certain level of maturity. That said, it’s easy to provide some content and pointers here. First thing to do is to make certain your Theremini is using the latest available Firmware, as of February 2015, that is version 1.1.1.
User-contributed Theremini presets:
Presets are the core of the Theremini, they determine what sound comes out of the Theremini and its parameters.
- The Theremini comes with 32 built-in presets
- A second set of 35 presets is available as part the official Theremini Advanced Software Editor app provided by Moog
The two first user-contributed Theremini presets I was asked to host are:
- Synthguy’s ‘ALT Library 1’, consisting of 65 presets (right-click link to save as a file)
- Steffen Presley’s 10 presets for the Theremini, “Of these, two or three are variations of presets from the Moog Theremini app library. The rest are from scratch” (right-click link to save as a file)
Other user-contributed presets available:
- Gary Honis’ 32 presets for the Theremini that use the extra hidden waveforms of the Theremini
- Thomas Grillo’s THEREMINS-2 presets for the Theremini, “half a dozen straight tone theremin presets which sound like a flute, male “ah”, nasally male “ah”, spooky “ooo”, a vintage RCA-ish tone, and an organ like tone”
Installation of presets:
- If you have an iPad, download the free official Theremini Advanced Software Editor app. You can send to yourself the .theremini file by email, open that email on the iPad and open the .theremini file from Mail to the Theremini editor app. Then you follow the app’s instructions to upload the new presets to the Theremini
- The easiest way to install third-party Theremini presets is via iFunBox
- For desktop computers, Moog provides a free Theremini Editor for MacOS X & Windows
- You don’t need to transfer third-party Theremini presets to your Theremini to play them. You can simply connect your Theremini to your iPad and select on the iPad which presets you want to play within the official Theremini app. Don’t forget to use the ‘folder’ icon to see the list of all third-party preset collections available on the Theremini
Kindly provided by rkram53:
- Dial back the range to C2..C5. I’ve found this gives you are pretty good and consistent spacing between notes (linearity) for most of the range
- Dial the pitch correction to about 10 O’clock. This will add some correction, but not too much so that you get over quantized – which at the beginning may actually make it harder for you as you want some fudge factor (portamento) between notes to try and make easy corrections
- Make sure you set to Chromatic scale, I set root to C , but that can be whatever you like
- Start with the Classic Theremini setting – and play around with it in the editor if you like
- Add in some delay to your liking. The default Theremin setting does not have enough
- Put on some slow music and try and play along with it. Don’t worry too much about the left hand to start. Just try and match pitches
By roaming on Moog’s Theremin forums, you’ll find users sharing more of their own tips on a variety of topics, such as leveraging the Theremini CV and midi capabilities.
- Are there any existing websites focusing specifically on the Theremini?
- ThereminWorld.com – For theremin players, not thereminis — that said, the site has content pertinent to Theremini players as well
- Moog’s official Theremin forum
Theremini user community:
What would be nice:
- A common web location to share user-customized Theremini presets – I’m ready to host the files if you have any to share, I’ll post them on this website and make them available to all
- A list of links where we can see and/or listen to great Theremini performances
Actually, those presets and list of links could be collaboratively built and hosted on GitHub. Same for the tips. But GitHub is not suited for discussions (the official Moog forums are). I might eventually move the content of this page to GitHub is enough people want to contribute.
You have ideas and time to help build a community around the Theremini? Let me know. I have plenty of ideas, but little time. I’ll be glad to participate, but for now, my focus will be on Animoog documentation. Cheers — Alex / Satri
- This page was first published in early 2015
- It has been updated in November 2015 with new tips on installing and accessing third-party Theremini presets
- Page updated in April 2016: I added Steffen Presley’s Theremini presets, along with other minor improvements to the page
21 thoughts on “Theremini”
Thank you for a great Theremini resource page! I cannot find a direct link for Synthguy – the first 32 presets load fine – how do you load the remainder?
Hi Ian, good catch! There’s only 32 presets in there! I’ll contact Synthguy for the remainder — Alex / Satri
Hi Ian and Satri,
The AltLibrary 1 theremini file by SynthGuy does contain 65 presets. When you send that file to the Theremini, only the first 32 presets will load on the Theremini. You can use the Theremini Editor Software to break up the file into two 32 preset files, but you will have one preset left over.
First of all thank you for this amazing you’ve created!!!
Actually I’m not sure that there are 65 presets in Synthguy’s library…
In the file I’ve downloaded the preset resovibro is doubled ( position 8&18) with no different settings ( at a first glance ).
Thanks for the presets! Bummer that the Theremini can only hold 32 presets at once and that the Theremini Editor doesn’t have a way to preview them.
Tanks Soldier!!! Excellent Website !!! When I was a child my dad had a kit theremin he only let me play it if I didn’t touch the tip …in short it was shelved most of the time – in my punk years I shamelessly not remembering the wand was to the theremin would use it as a bass bow it wasn’t till I wasn’t until my late 20’s did I start to respect anything again nevertheless people I hung out with didn’t – it became no more- The iPad let me actually own a “moog” something I never thought possible,being as destitute financially(personal problems) -(iPad) was my first investment in since my Yamaha motif . I always have loved the theremin when the App Store opened I thought they were for the Mac ; of course my first app ,which was one of the first, was the Theremin- when I found out it works on the new iPods off I left for the store –the rest seems to be making his-story – “back to the brass-tax-man!”
For my birthday last year my daughter got me the theremini-!!! My dad then passed away the next month – he was an accordion player-I got his Roland it’s pretty awesome- nevertheless what I’m getting or trying to is YOR SIGHT has been a WONDERFUL release from the reality of the past year & I’m extremely grateful- but as for my Theremin skills for some reason my volume hand is programmed in reverse , it’s taken a ton of mentalism – could you recommend a foot controller that would help me -my goal is to play the blues -for that matter do you know of any foot controllers (?)
Hi Michael, thanks for sharing your enthusiasm! I admit I don’t know that much about foot controllers, but I do have a ‘MIDI Expression iO’ from http://AudioFront.net and I’m extremely satisfied with it. It allows me to easily attribute ranges of MIDI values to my expression pedals. Real fun to benefit from such a setup. I plan to write a blog entry about this eventually. Cheers Michael, enjoy your Theremini — Alex / Satri
Hello and thank you for the great site.
I am an electronic music enthusiast and thinking of buying a used theremini.
Do you know if the instrument is already registered with Moog is it necessary / possible to re-register it to be obtain the free software editor?
Hi Den, the Theremini software doesn’t need registering and can be downloaded by anyone as far as I can remember. You should have no issue using it with a used Theremini :-) You can in fact download it right away if you want to.
If you do buy a Theremini (I suggest trying one first, it’s a pretty ‘different’ and monophonic instrument), I hope you’ll enjoy it :-) Cheers — Alex / Satri
It is- I did this earlier tonight. Was pleasantly surprised. You’ll only need the serial number on the bottom of the theremini to do so and as far as I can tell every device can be registered and reregistered as many times as entered.
Maybe someone is interested in my newly created Theremini-Software for Linux.
Available here http://niebling.name/ThereMaxi.tar.gz
Thanks Peter, can you tell us where to find documentation and the source code? I’m eager to learn more :-) Thanks — Alex / Satri
Source code included – it’s perl ;-)
Some screenshots are here
I have a problem creating a library and loading the presets. What may be wrong with it? I just click the button “new”, name it but nothing happens, as well as with “load” and selecting a preset.
Hi Llovpu, I haven’t installed presets on my Theremini in a while, but what are you using? The iPad app? The OS X or the Windows version? If there’s really a bug, you should contact Moog Support, they’re usually pretty helpful. Hope this helps :-) — Alex / Satri
I use Windows version. Thank you! I’ll try to contact them;)
Great resource for my new instrument, thanks!
I’ve just got a Theremini, for Christmas, and so I’m looking for a friendly ,site to help me learn about this fun instrument (I just signed up to the ‘Theremin World’ website’s forum, and read a few posts from their users regarding the Theremini. What a bunch of nasty people! – I’ve just logged out and deleted my account)
So, newbie question, how can I download the additional Theremini sound banks (mentioned above), as when I Right-click, I only get the option to ‘Save Target As’, or, ‘Copy link’?
Hi Peej2000! Sorry for the delay. “Save Target As” will work to ‘save’ the presets. See the “Installation of presets” section above. Hope this helps and enjoy your Theremini! :-) — Alex
Does any one have a detailed explanation of what the advanced settings (volume, pitch antenna) in the Editor control?