The Altura Theremin MIDI Controller emulates the behavior of the early electronic instrument invented by Russian physicist Léon Theremin in 1920. With Theremin’s gadget, as the player moves his right hand closer to one antenna, the device emits an eerie tone that rises in pitch. As the player moves his left hand farther away from the other antenna, the tone becomes louder. The device is very sensitive, and makes wonderful, spooky music – but it is very tricky to play. The performer can only play by ear: there are no frets in mid-air!
Our MIDI Controller version uses sonar range finders in place of antennae, and rather than producing sound directly, the Altura emits MIDI messages that are interpreted by a separate synthesizer. The Altura was designed as a companion to the Macchiato Mini Synth by Zeppelin Design Labs: there are a few special features that will only work well when paired with the Macchiato. Otherwise, the Altura conforms with General MIDI specifications and should easily control any device bearing this mark. Many MIDI devices do not conform to the General MIDI specification. In these cases, you may need to fiddle with your synthesizer some before it will respond properly to the Altura. Please download the Quick Start Guide and Reference Manual for all the details!
- Altura Theremin MIDI Controller – DIY Kit or Ready-to-Use
- Black acrylic case, DIY Kit or Ready-to-Use
- Iridescent cardstock for making your own case. Template included with Altura.
- 9V DC Power Supply
ALTURA FEATURE SET
- Right Sensor – MIDI Pitch (Note On/Off)
- Octave Select – set 1 to 8 octaves, ascending or descending
- Key Select
- Scale Select – choose from 12 different modes
- Left Sensor – Send Control Change
- Pitch Bend
- Channel Volume
- Portamento Time
- Data value is adjustable to any range from 0-127, ascending or descending
- X-Y Mode: Both left and right sensors send Control Change data, any value, any two controllers
- Channel Select
- Articulation (responsiveness) adjust
- 9V DC Power Input — wall wart or battery
- MIDI Out
- Power On indicator
- 3-digit display
- ISP Header
The Altura MIDI Theremin open-source software is covered by the Creative Commons Share Alike / Attribution / Non-Commercial License. The Altura code was written in the Arduino 1.8 environment and is available open-source on our Github page. Arduino enthusiasts can modify the code and flash it to the Altura using a programmer. Find detailed instructions in the README.md file on Github.