MO-Band Theremin

January 03, 2020 | Rex Wang

Have you ever played a theremin? It is an amazing electronic instruments, you play it by moving your hands in the air, one hand controls pitch, and the other controls volume. In this tutorial, I’ll work you through how to use MO-Band to imitate a theremin.

What is theremin?

Theremin is an electronic musical instrument invented by Russian and Soviet inventor Léon Theremin in 1927.

The instrument’s controlling section usually consists of two metal antennas that sense the relative position of the thereminist’s hands and control oscillators for frequency with one hand, and amplitude (volume) with the other. The electric signals from the theremin are amplified and sent to a loudspeaker.

The sound of the instrument is often associated with eerie situations. Thus, the theremin has been used in movie soundtracks such as Miklós Rózsa’s Spellbound and The Lost Weekend, Bernard Herrmann’s The Day the Earth Stood Still, and Justin Hurwitz’s First Man, as well as in theme songs for television shows such as the ITV drama Midsomer Murders. The theremin is also used in concert music (especially avant-garde and 20th- and 21st-century new music), and in popular music genres such as rock.


How to imitate theremin with MO-Band?

First you’ll need Ableton Live with Max for Live. If you have them, then follow these steps:

  1. Download the Theremin M4L device here.
  2. If you haven’t calibrate your MO-Band, please do so: press and hold bypass button on MO-Band, once the LED turns into red, keep drawing figure 8 in the air until the LED back to green.
  3. Create 2 control sources in S-Motion, one for Y axis, the other for Z axis.
  4. Click on Device Configuration button on the top bar device_config_button, then click on the settings button settings_button, choose “Set New Heading Position”.
  5. Follow instruction to set the center of your heading position, this will allow Z axis to stay in a good range.
  6. Open Ableton Live, insert Theremin M4L device on any Audio Track.
  7. Map Y axis to Theremin’s gain, and Z axis to freq.
  8. Start playing!