Some days ago my father in law told me, that he had seen a woman playing an instrument without touching it, just by moving her hands through the air. For me it was clear, that he talked about a theremin. I had visited several profiles in myspace of players of the theremin, and so I decided to write a post about this strange and rare instrument which is played without touching it and which has gained a certain popularity today.
The theremin is a very early electronic instrument of the world. It has been invented by the Russian Léon Theremin in the 1920s. It has been used in some films of 50s to create some special sound effects in a time, before the sythesizer had been invented. Today a professioanal theremin is produced by the moog music company. Combining the control of the theremin with the posibilities of synthesized sounds seems to be a good decision and should add a lot of new posibilities to this instrument.
The Theremin produces a single note whose pitch and volume is controlled by moving hands around two aerials, the left hand controls the volume, the right hand controls the pitch.
For me this instrument has similarities to the sound of a singing saw or a one-string slide guitar.
I was surprised to find so many videos about the theremin, its history, how to make your own theremin and how to learn the theremin – I have selected the most interesting videos in this thread.
The Canadian band Nathan is using a theremin in some songs. Her an example video:
The song: More deliteful music from that band that we don’t know but still love!
Keri Latimer – vocals, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, theremin
Shelley Marshall – vocals, electric guitar, accordion, banjo
Devin Latimer – bass, vocals
Damon Mitchell – drums, percussion, harp, vocals.
Homepage Nathan: http://www.nathanmusic.ca/
Myspace Nathan: http://www.myspace.com/nathanband
A complete concert played by Nathan is available as podcast (Nov. 13) in the CBC Canada Live Podcast series: http://www.cbc.ca/radio2/podcasts/canadalive.html
Barbara Buchholz has just demonstrated the theremin in the talent show of the RTL TV channel:
Video available at clipfish
On the myspace page of Barbara Buchholz you can find more information and sound clips: Barbara Buchholz bei Myspace
Mandolin and (Toy) Theremin
This is a video that I have found more than a year ago. Kozo Onishi on the mandolin and a friend on a toy theremin play a Japanese folksong – not very seriously, but the only example for mandolin and theremin that I have found until today:
おもしろセッション その1 マンドリン テルミン
テルミンとマンドリン荒城の月 Theremin and Mandolin duo Koujyou no tsuki
Find more information about the theremin, almost 1000 bands and musicians that use a theremin in their music, where to buy and how to build a theremin, …: http://www.thereminworld.com/
More theremin links in my link collection at pinboard.in: Pinboard Links
Playlist Barabara Buchholz – Theremin