Theremin

Topics: Theremin, Sound, Musical instrument Pages: 4 (1482 words) Published: January 13, 2011
Ancient life was all silence. In the nineteenth century, with the invention of the machine. Noise was born. Today, Noise triumphs and reigns supreme over the sensibility of men. One of the biggest and most influential of these machine inventions was the theramin (or thereminvox). The theremin was one of the biggest cornerstones for electronic music and pioneered future generations of electronic and electrivally amplified music. It is named after its Russian inventor, Professor Léon Theremin, who patented the device in 1928; to fully understand the theremin we have to go back earlier in Theremins life as to how he came about inventing the machine. Physics and the invention of musical devices go hand in hand, and the theramin is no exception to this. Theremin was born in 1896 and at the age of 17 Theramin was experimenting with high frequency circuits, optics and magnetic fields. On May 9th Theremin attended Abram Fedorovich Loffes dissertation on the magnetic field of cathode rays, the elementary photoelectric effect and similar studies. During his research at a Military Engineering School he was called by Loffe to attend his Physical Technical Institute. It was here he built a high frequency oscillator to measure the dielectric constant of gases with high precision; upon investigating further uses for this research, he invented the first motion detector, which would be used as a “radio watchman” (commonly used as security devices today). While adapting the device with circuitry to produce an audio tone Theremin noticed the changes in pitch when he moved his hands around. He first demonstrated the findings in October 1920 and went to try out musical pieces he learnt on his cello growing up; on November 1920 he performed his first public concert with the instrument. The theremin produces a very eerie sound; because of this it was associated with the realms of the bizarre and the creepy. It was featured in films such as ‘The Spiral Staircase’ (1946), ‘The Thing’...

Bibliography: [1] http://www.thereminworld.com/films.asp
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theremin, Performance technique.
[3] Ether Music and Espionage by Albert Glinsky, page 296.
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