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Conductor's Theremin

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I've never understood exactly what's so special about conducting an orchestra, besides keeping up with two-dozen simultaneous lines of music at once. How do you tell a great conductor, besides one that knows the music, the correct tempo at a given time, and his orchestra? I dunno. My theory is that the best conductors usually throw as much melodrama into their work as they can, so to encourage the orchestra to emphasize the musicality of the piece being played; all kinds of facial expressions, lifting heavy invisible objects in heavy moments, wildly waving their hands during grandiose brass themes, and tossing their head around as much as possible, so that most are sweating profusely by the end. (Memories of Bugs Bunny conducting 'the Barber of Seville' spring to mind).

But what actual note is to come of all of that effort from the conductor himself? Nothing but the allegro tempo of his thumping heart. Instant instrument jealousy. I propose that we swap his conducting baton with a theremin stick, and let him wave away inside the active zone of a theremin, built into the conductor stand. Let's hear the results of all of the melodrama...

RayfordSteele, Dec 31 2002

(?) Radio Baton http://emfinstitute...its/radiobaton.html
Max Mathews' inverse theremin [csea, Oct 05 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]

Tod Machover http://web.media.mit.edu/~tod/
[JesusHChrist, Mar 21 2005]

[link]






       A baton of metal.   

       Just noticed that today marks my œbakery anniversary. My creative life used to have so little meaning and fulfillment. I used to be an aimless engineer who dreamt too much but slept too little, just looking for ways to fill the time. And then I came here, and nothing's really changed...
RayfordSteele, Dec 31 2002
  

       Ah, but now your audience is the world that heaps upon you praise and scorn. Congrats.
FarmerJohn, Jan 01 2003
  

       Happy Birthday Ray. I echo the hapless engineer bit.
egbert, Jan 02 2003
  

       Baked in '92 see [link]. I had something of this notion in the mid 1960's when my dad made a lighted baton so it could be seen in the darkend pit of a stage pit orchestra. A simple neon-bulb relaxation oscillator provided additional timing information. Just a couple more technology improvements to track position, add MIDI, etc.   

       p.s. my usual witticism relating my careers in music & technology is that i'm a "semi-conductor" ;)
csea, Jul 14 2004
  
      
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