THE THEREMIN: A MUSICAL HISTORY
THE Theremin was originally the product of Soviet government-sponsored research into proximity sensors. It was invented by a young Russian physicist named Léon Theremin in October 1920 after the outbreak of the Russian Civil War. After a tour of Europe, during which time he demonstrated his invention to packed houses, Theremin moved to the United States, where he patented his invention in 1928. He later granted commercial production rights to RCA.
The Theremin is played without physical contact. The Thereminist stands in front of the instrument and moves their hands in the proximity of two metal antennas. The distance from one antenna determines pitch, and the distance from the other controls volume. Higher notes are played by moving the hand closer to the pitch antenna. Louder notes are played by moving the hand away from the antenna.