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tiorbinist   7/24/2014 3:08:06 PM
Doctor Who's intro was originally produced by Deliah Derbeyshire, assisted by Dick Mills, from a score by Ron Grainer, in the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. It was completed before the September 1963 airing of the first episode (obviously). Robert Moog did not produce a synthesizer (the first electronic subtractive, voltage-controlled synthesizer) until after he demonstrated his prototype at the AES conference in October of 1964. Although Moog had been designing and making (and publishing articles in Radio-Electronics and selling kits for) theremins since the early 1950's, the Doctor Who theme did not use one.

Instead, Derbyshire and Mills used banks of oscillators and white noise, coupled with Music Concrete processes to make the theme music. They recorded each sound on tape, adjusted and rerecorded to get all the reqired pitches, hand-tuned oscillator dials to get the sweeping melody, etc, then literally cut and taped together the sounds to produce the master tape. Although further editing was attempted, few of the results were used (one was used and later rejected, causing many of the video tapes to be re-written to eradicate the changed version.

The original Derbyshire/Mills version had an amazingly long life, despite licensing problems related to Grainger's death. Major changes usually involved adding live sound (orchestras, for instance), but it wasn't untll the 1980's when Radiophonic staffer Peter Howell recorded a new version, using analog synths by Roland, ARP and Yamaha supplemented by an EMS Vocoder.

In short, Doctor Who's theme has never been affected by a theremin directly or one of Dr. Moog's VCOs or synthesizers, at all.

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Etmax   7/24/2014 1:05:47 PM
1 saves
Made Doctor Who's intro more interesting though :-)

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Air Guitar V2
pseudoid   7/24/2014 12:34:52 PM
Theremini is the true reincarnation of the "AirGuitar" that would even make Keith Emerson proud, especially since he is right handed.  I am surprised that the masterminds at Moog forgot to make the control interface ambidextrous.

What a simple yet wonderful instrument that even your cat or your dog could play, without knowing what a picoFarad is.  For the silly price of $300, this device is a great introduction to the concepts of pitch and volume to a toddler, in the hopes that s/he don't become a hacktivist first!

Theremin101 - the basics of the original (analog) version circa 2007

I am not much into rap, electronic or house music but in this link, Amos demonstrates the Moog Etherwave Plus (older analog) Theremin, as a live controller for the Little Phatty Stage II synthesizer.

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R_Colin_Johnson   7/24/2014 11:38:38 AM
Thanks for the comment. Yes, there were earlier uses of the voltage-controlled oscillator for RF and such. Lets say he developed the VCO for the analog synthesizer. Thanks again for the careful reading.

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Re: Beachy
Crusty1   7/24/2014 11:16:27 AM
I think an earlier totally mechanical sound producing system was fronted by Les Structures Sonor. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lI3ZfHBgmCw

Considering these instruments were made from glass were they the fore runner to silicon?

I remember , as a kid, seeing these perform for a UK BBC Arts programme. it was a Bush 9" Black and White 405 line TV. I am still captivated by the sound and construction.


rick merritt
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rick merritt   7/24/2014 10:29:10 AM
Sounds like some good, good, good, good vibrations ;-)

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zeeglen   7/24/2014 10:05:26 AM
Robert Moog did NOT invent the VCO

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