Why did you make a "Pitch Only Midi Theremin" ?
Well, to call this theremin "Pitch Only" is not quiet correct. It does have a
"External Volume Control" input, that allows you to use another theremin or some other sonic
contraption to control the volume i.e. optical etc ... If you
have no need for the external volume control input and you are not using it,
of course, it is a "Pitch Only Midi Theremin".
Many performers of electronic music like to twiddle lots of knobs. This is just how they
do business. To twiddle, you need at least one hand free. But: having small knobs (...) can be a
little bit limiting in regards to "mechanical resolution" - small knobs, big hands ... there
must be a better way. This is where the Theremin comes in: A touchless "Control Knob" with
400 mm mechanical range and excellent resolution ! Pretty cool. It's way more fun than a
ribbon controller and it looks better on stage too.
Does the Midi Theremin have a volume control option ?
Yes it does. The Theremin "Motherboard" if you like, is able to accept two theremin
circuits - one for pitch and the other one for volume. The basic Theremin (MWT-01) does
not make use of this option since it is targeted to the "non-traditional" theremin player.
But (!) the Theremin can be ordered (custom-order) to be fitted with two antennas and will
be assembled in a larger body (480 mm long). The second antenna-control can then be used for
controlling the volume, auto-trigger frequency etc, or as a 2 dimensional controller (one hand
control's pitch and another parameter ... together !)
The MWT-01 however has a external volume control input (envelop follower) which is much more
powerful than a manual volume control. The volume can be controlled externally from a
sequencer, a trigger pad or anything that provides a dynamic signal (yes, you can plug in
a good old horst-theremin (PTP1)
and use it as a volume control.
Is the Wave Theremin really a Theremin ?
Certainly yes ! The sensing circuit with the antenna attached, is a proper
Theremin Circuit (using inductors, reference oscillator and nearly identical pitch-antenna
oscillator, finely tuned with matched, high quality components and electronic tuning circuit).
So far, the Theremin Police has not knocked on our door yet and it is common convention
to call a Pitch-only Theremin a "Theremin". We have been selling hundreds of Theremins for
over 10 years now and no customer of ours has ever questioned this naming convention.
Check out this Vintage Theremin at
Is the MWT-01 Theremin Linear ?
Yes it is. This Theremin has a powerful DSP processor inside and thanks to the magic
of software, we can control the linearity extremely well. We have also provided external
controls to distort the field (to stretch the lower octaves or to squash them) but have never
actually used the Theremin in this non-linear mode. In fact, for the sake of simplicity,
we are currently considering dropping the adjustment option.
How do you tune the Theremin ?
Easy ! After the theremin has been turned on, just push the Trigger-button and step back.
Within seconds the Theremin has tuned itself. No more fiddeling - always perfect
How do you adjust the Active-Range of the Theremin ?
Easy ! After the theremin has been tuned, select "Setup: Antenna-Range" and adjust the
"active range" to your liking (I usually have it start at around 350 mm). You can also
adjust the "silent band" near the Antenna where the Theremin goes silent. Some Theremin-
Player like to touch the Antenna to silence the Theremin, so the "silent range" near the
Antenna would be set to minimum (ca 5 mm), but you could set it to say 10 ... 20 mm if
you like. After you are happy with the setting, just save it and it will be remembered
next time when you power up the Theremin. To disable the Silent feature, select the option
Can you adjust the Start-pitch (far) and End-pitch (near antenna) ?
Absolutely. You can adjust the Theremin to play just a few notes (say 2 octaves) by setting the
start-pitch and the end-pitch accordingly (You can do this for each instrument). This will
make it much easier to "hit the notes". The octave selector then allows you to jump up and
down the octaves during your playing performance. Alternatively you may want to pack the
full audio spectrum into the "active range". Your choice - thanks to modern technology.
Do you hate moog Theremins ?
Absolutely not ! In fact, Robert Moog is one of our heros ! Sadly he passed away but
his spirit will live on in his creations. Robert A. Moog was buried in 2005 at Lou Pollack
Cemetery, a private jewish cemetery. If you want to sound like a good old traditional
theremin player, we recommend a Moog Etherwave Plus.
I am a Keyboard player - what's the deal with the pitch-bend ?
Well, the way it works is: you plug the Midi Theremin into your keyboard (Midi-in)
and set up the Theremin to Pitch-Bend mode (without Note trigger). Set the pitchbend range
in your keyboard to whatever suites you and voila, you have a ultra high resolution
touchless pitchbend control. Very nice !
Now, you can play and accentuate notes/cords/melodies and play them like a theremin.
Have a closer look at the following video from our tutorial:
4.1 The Pitch-Bend mode used with external keyboard
How many Midi-modes does the MWT-01 Theremin have ?
The Midi Theremin has three distinct modes. The Pitch-bend mode, the Piano mode and the
Continous-Controller mode. CC-messages are used to control filter cut-off frequency
How do you trigger Midi-notes with the MWT-01 Theremin ?
You have a number of options and this is what makes this Midi Theremin quiet unique:
Manual-trigger (push-button), Auto-trigger (using a build-in and adjustable oscillator) or
External-trigger (drum trigger input). External trigger signals will derive the Note-velocity
from the trigger signal itself, just like a drum trigger input. The Manual- and Auto-trigger
events use the Theremin-volume as the Note-velocity.
In Piano mode, if the "Note-Glissanto" is enabled, notes will be automatically triggered when
the note-pitch increases or decreases (like a harp). Last but not least, in Pitch bend mode,
if the "Bend-note-ON" option is selected, a fixed note is always turned on whenever you
enter the active region of the pitch antenna and the note is turned off again when exiting
How big is the MWT-01 Theremins ?
It is 285 mm long, 150 mm wide and 50 mm high (70 mm with knobs). The Antenna is a fixed
length rod of 310 mm, but a longer Antenna can also be used. Since the Theremin tunes itself,
no antenna adjustment is required during tuning. The Theremin weight is about 1.5 Kg.
Please ask more ... frequently ...
You can contact us via:
horst (at) wave-theremin.com