THE THEREMIN: A MU­SI­CAL HIS­TORY

Sunday Herald - - NEWS -

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.

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