Moog Announces Claravox Centennial, a Tribute to Thereminist Clara Rockmore

Photo of Clara Rockmore by Renato Toppo, courtesy of the Nadia Reisenberg/Clara Rockmore Foundation

To commemorate 100 years of the theremin and one of the instrument's early pioneers, Moog has created the Claravox Centennial.

Thanks to its switchable performance modes (classic analog oscillators or digital), assignable scales, quantization, and octave ranges, the company is calling the instrument "the most versatile Moog theremin in history."

The new theremin also includes an onboard bucket-brigade delay effect and plenty of ways to connect to recording devices or other instruments: MIDI, USB, and CV. Front-panel controls allow players to easily adjust the instrument's settings, or save and select presets. (An additional software editor lets you tweak settings in more granular detail, if you desire.)

The Claravox is named after Clara Rockmore, the virtuoso violinist-turned-thereminist whose ability to play "air" astonished audiences from the late 1920s onward.

Hear the Claravox Centennial in action in this performance of "Clair de Lune"

The theremin was not only one of the first and most-popular electronic instruments, but it was also Bob Moog's entrance into instrument building. Bob began to build his first theremins after learning of the instrument as a teen in 1949. And by 19, the mail-order business he launched with his father led to the founding of the R.A. Moog Company.

"I became a designer of electronic musical instruments because of my fascination with the theremin," Bob once wrote. "Using the experience and insights I gained by designing theremins, I started designing and building synthesizers."

Even as mono and poly synths took centerstage, Moog as a company has continued to make theremins in many forms, including recent models like the Etherwave and Theremini.

The Claravox Centennial is just the latest premium example. Find it on Reverb here, or browse all Moog theremins.

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