Percussa micro super signal processor

You’ve heard the Theremin as the eerily-beautiful musical instrument, but via the magic of pitch detection, it can be a controller for video, too. Sean McDonald of the Moog Foundation recently hooked up the original gestural, touchless controller to VDMX video software at the HATCHfest arts festival in Moog home base Asheville, North Carolina. The result: festival goers making sweet, sweet video mixes by waving their hands around the early 20th-Century invention.

The Theremin has a special connection to Moog, too; not only are the Moog Music Theremins arguably the best available, but it was making Theremin kits that helped inspire Bob Moog to go into synthesis. The rest is history, and as music and visuals continue to converge, I’d say there’s plenty of history left.

Want to try this yourself? We’ve done a couple of stories on the idea on our sister site Create Digital Music:

How to Turn Theremin into MIDI, Free with Pd
Theremin as AV Controller: Technical Details from Spacedog

If you’re not familiar with the Bob Moog Foundation, they’re a really terrific organization working to preserve the archives and legacy of the synthesis pioneer. That should be deeply important to visualists, too, as the modern VJ/live visual scene got its start in the 60s events at which synths first appeared, and our technologies often cross paths. (But I probably don’t have to convince you of that, do I?)

Guest blog: Live video remixing controlled by a theremin at HATCHfest [Bob Moog Foundation Blog]

Thanks to David Lublin of Vidvox for this one. Unfortunately, the documentation is pretty poor, so use your imagination while watching this video: