Theremin



What is Theremin ?

Theremin transforms your graphic tablet into a fun music instrument. As the early electronic instrument of the same name, this program lets you control the frequency, pan, amplitude and modulation of a sine wave by gesture. But it also lets you replace the sine wave by any wave file... It was initially written and tested for Wacom tablets, but since it is using the WinTab API, it should be compatible with all kinds of tablets.



How does it work ?

The orange area corresponds to the graphic tablet. The position of the stylus on the tablet is represented by a cross. A line is drawn to show the orientation of the stylus, as well as a plain circle, which corresponds to the pressure.

The position of the stylus determines the frequency (Y coordinate) and the pan (X coordinate) of the audio signal generated. The pressure corresponds to the amplitude, and the tilt to the amount of frequency modulation.

In addition to the default mode in which Theremin lets you play a sine wave, you can select any .wav file to use your own sample data. It can be a full guitar or drum loop, or a single cycle of an analog waveform for example. In both modes, a delay effect can be inserted before the audio output.


How to use Theremin ?

You can of course use Theremin in live, but you can also record its audio output into a .WAV file with the Record button. Then, you can process the .WAV file in any sound editor such as Sound Forge / Wavelab etc..., or import it as an audio track in a sequencer.


Download

Click here to download Theremin. You just need to unzip the file and the program is ready. Make sure you read the documentation.


What is next ?

This is version 1.0 of Theremin. Future improvements could include:

  • filtering of the samples (based on the angles and the buttons).
  • different waveforms on the eraser end of the stylus.
  • the use of a button to switch the modulation on/off, or to lock its value.
  • a better interpolation when using samples.
  • user-definable minimum and maximum frequencies.