Theremin Guitar Hero - Vocalists and Guitarists Need Not Apply
June 10, 2010 1:26 PM   Subscribe

Greig Stewart, aka ThereminHero, began posting videos of video game song covers made on the theremin shortly after he started playing the theremin in 2008. That's small beans, as theremin covers (prev), even video game covers, are plentiful. OK, how about performing the vocals in Rock Band on the theremin (plus an OCZ Neural Impulse Actuator for overdrive and hand claps)? Still not impressed, or maybe you're wondering where his computer science background might fit in? Right then, try Theremin Hero Air Guitar!

The YouTube page for Theremin Hero Air Guitar has more background, including this simplified version of how it works:
The sound from the theremin (or voltage output if available) is recorded live and captured by the software. The software then splits out the frequency and amplitude values and maps these to a virtual joystick, which has different 'hit areas' corresponding to the different buttons on a controller. The button presses are then fed into the game running on the same computer.
For single player mode, a software 'bot' reads the screen and detects which chords are coming up. When the player strums a note which is part of a chord, the bot automatically adds in the rest of the note button presses to make up the full chord.
In co-op mode, player 1 combines the second note of the chord is played by player 2. In this mode, player 2 strums chords only, and player 1 strums single notes only.
The work-in-progress video posted on January 22, 2009 shows a bit more of the rough set-up.

Stewart also made an audio-controlled (theremin) input for the NES, shown in action with Super Mario Bros, after Microsoft's Project Natal was demonstrated in 2009.
posted by filthy light thief (10 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite

That... that is just so much cooler than I could have imagined it being.
posted by lholladay at 1:42 PM on June 10, 2010

The theremin/Rock Band vocals makes perfect sense and is just so impressive.
posted by griphus at 1:42 PM on June 10, 2010

That Donkey Kong Country cover really takes me back. Sometimes, I miss the early '90s.
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 1:46 PM on June 10, 2010 [1 favorite]

Fear not, Parker, by my watch retro-early-90s is due to be huge by 2015.
posted by Kirk Grim at 1:51 PM on June 10, 2010 [1 favorite]

Woah, the Portal song is in RockBand?
posted by Threeway Handshake at 2:08 PM on June 10, 2010

Threeway Handshake, it's not an official song, but a custom song hack.
posted by filthy light thief at 2:40 PM on June 10, 2010

No, filthy light thief, Still Alive was officially released for Rock Band.

I was very amazed by this at first, but I was confused by the fact that I couldn't imagine how it could be used to control more than a single note at a time -- an Etherwave theremin can really only control pitch and volume. While nailing pitch on a theremin is a remarkably difficult task in and of itself, that the other notes in the chord turned out to be played by a bot makes this much less impressive.
posted by eschatfische at 4:13 PM on June 10, 2010

eschatfische - thanks for the clarification! It was the Zelda and Final Fantasy boss battle music that was imported through other means.

He wrote the bot himself, if that might sway your vote back towards "kind of impressive."
posted by filthy light thief at 5:00 PM on June 10, 2010

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