How many of you actually knew that a musical instrument by the name “Theremin” exists?
I would really be surprised if I see many raised hands. Frankly, I did not know that an electronic music instrument by this name existed even after playing the keyboards for several years.
Ever heard all those creepy sounds in movies, especially in horror or sci-fi movies? It’s produced by this instrument, and it’s actually used by many Musicians around the world.
A Theremin is also known by other names such as etherophone, thereminophone, aetherphone, thereminvox or termenvox.
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What’s a Theremin?
Is it possible to play a musical instrument even without touching it?
Does it seem like a senseless question?
Not if you see the Theramin!
You play the Theremin without touching it. I guess it is the only one of its kind and one among the oldest electronic instruments.
A Theremin might sound like an alien name or something, but it is actually a brand of electronic musical instrument or a melodic tool which is able to play various pitches of sound in different volumes based on how close a musician’s playing hands are in closeness to the two mounted antennae on the instrument.
The Theremin is quite unique as musicians don’t even need to have contact with the instrument in order to play it. It works by detecting the proximity of both hands with the antennae where one hand controls the frequency of oscillators, while the other controls the volume. The signals from the Theremin are then amplified and played from speakers.
Where is it Used?
As mentioned, Theremin is often used to create eerie and very creepy melodic sounds, and is used widely by well known Musicians all around the world. You can see its use in background scores for many movies.
It was patented in 1928 by Professor Leon Theremin, hence the name of the instrument!
At times, Theremins can overshadow the performer and have this tendency to easily amaze the audience, unlike other musical instruments.
If you have heard this instrument, i’m sure you know that the sound can almost be mesmerizing.
Of all the modern Theremins that are available in the market, Moog is definitely among the better ones because of its stability, and it uses all solid and sturdy materials and components.
With the other brands, the unit may become a bit inconsistent as the Theremin heats up, especially if you play it for a longer time. You may observe that the distance between the various notes tends to change or wander slightly when the thermein gets heated up.
Not with the Moog though! They have been around for some time and are among the leaders when it comes to sound related technologies. The Moog theremin is easy to setup and use, takes minimum time to assemble it, though it is not easy to play the Theremin.
Moog Etherwave Theremin Kits, Amplifier
Importance of Theremin
So what’s the importance of Theremin as a musical instrument?
A lot! And as mentioned earlier it has already been used to lend voice to several background scores, and has also been used by famous bands.
There are several concert composers who have written for the Theremin, and have been used a lot in Pop music, Film music, Television and Video games.
If you can play it well, it will be a good addition to your band as well. Connect it an amplifier and you are ready to start gigging (or even for practicing).
Brands: For Theremins, Moog Theremin is the most trusted brand, which promises unbeatable quality.
Moog Music Etherwave Theremin Kit
Are you more of the technical type and fancy doing some work with your own hands and in the process also save some bucks? Here is a build-it-yourself Theremin kit from Moog. You also get a couple of instructional tutorial DVDs along.
You get the audio out- standard 1/4′ phone jack for connecting to amps and then ou have the other core components like power rocker switch, pitch rotary control, volume rotary control, and waveform rotary control.
Moog Music TB15 Etherwave Theremin Amplifier
Looking at the Theremin itself, you will know it needs to be played through an amplifier. Though you may use any keyboard amp or a PA, here is a good basic amplifier for your Etherwave theremin. It is 15-watts and has a 3-band EQ with 2 inputs.